Our blog will help keep you informed about news and information related to the farm, ranch and rural real estate markets. If you share our desire for wide open spaces and investment in the land, we hope you will subscribe, read and discuss the stories we find and develop here. More than just an investment, ranch, farm and rural real estate evokes a type of lifestyle that was born over a century ago and still provides a certain romance and passion for those who embrace the pioneering spirit from those days gone by.

The Blackfoot Valley Remains Unchanged due to Progressive Land Owners

By: Stoney Burke

After over 40 years working as a ranch broker I decided to retire and purchase a small ranch for myself . I am now sitting on the back porch of  that ranch house looking out over the Blackfoot Valley of Western Montana .

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Purchasing this ranch was an easy but informed choice after all the places I had toured and brokered. It was all about the surrounding area and the people who live here. The Blackfoot Valley is one of the few places in the west that remains largely unchanged from the first time I saw it in 1974. How and why did this happen?

By the late 1960s what had been remote western landscapes began to see change. Real estate developers and land speculation was the new highest and best use for ranch land. The Blackfoot Valley, 60 miles east of Missoula was a prime target.

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However there were several landowners who did not see it that way. Many became active in finding ways to discourage development and preserve traditional values through collaboration with other ranchers, nonprofits, state and federal agencies. Forty years later the offspring of these early day crusaders is a powerhouse non-profit, The Blackfoot Challenge headquartered in the hamlet of Ovando, Montana. This unique organization works in a diverse ecosystem that encompasses 1.5 million acres, from the continental divide on the east to the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers 10 miles east of Missoula.

This collaborative effort to preserve and enhance the traditional western way of life includes: ranchers, loggers, fishing and hunting guides, wilderness outfitters, land  trusts, national nonprofits, state and federal land management agencies. This unique group has become unlikely allies in developing a blueprint of long-term sustainable land and natural resources management that is  nationally recognized.

At this writing the Blackfoot Challenge has played a big part of conserving more than 285,000 Acres in this remarkable valley.

This link will take you to an array of ranches for sale in Montana.

 

Exploring Ancient History on a New Mexico Ranch For Sale

By: Jeff Buerger

New Mexico truly is the “land of enchantment” and has deep roots with ancient Native Americans. Past remnants of building foundations, stone dwellings, projectile points, flint chips, story-telling petroglyphs – aka “rock art,” and pottery shards that look like they were crafted and painted yesterday. Most of the relics likely date from the Puebloan Period (500-1,350 A.D.), though archaeologists have found projectile points from the Paleo-Indian Period (9,500 to 6,000 B.C.)

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Recently we were fortunate to spend four days filming the Lobo Ranch just west of Albuquerque, New Mexico -  a place where time has seemingly stopped, and a place where one can go all day without seeing another human being. We covered over 70 miles internally on this 46,485 acre ranch and during this process discovered a naturally occurring arch that was obviously a deeply spiritual location for Native Americans as evidenced by literally hundreds of petroglyphs carved into the this sandstone masterpiece. There is such an abundance of various geometric forms, including big-toed feet, horned animals, constellations, deer tracks, hunters, lizards, snakes, mystical creatures, and so much more that it is a surreal experience to say the least.

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Being a partner at Hall and Hall is a richly diverse career full of challenges, adventure, opportunity, relationship building, problem solving, a constant state of learning, and  access to world class private property. Our time on the Lobo Ranch serves as a perfect illustration, and I personally couldn’t be happier to represent such an incredible and magical property. I am always reminded of how fortunate and blessed I am to do what I do. It is such a humbling experience to spend time like this and makes my job feel, well……….not like a job at all.

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When the Lakes Come Back

The improvement site on Lucky Star Ranch southwest of Bridgeport, Texas is always impressive.  The site features a limestone home with steel roof, multipurpose building of similar construction, manicured lawn, amazing landscaping, and pipe-fenced irrigated corrals all dotted with trimmed oak and mesquite trees in private setting.  But for the past few years one thing has been missing.  The Lucky Star improvements include a private boat ramp and private boat dock on a quiet cove on the south side of Lake Bridgeport.  Lake Bridgeport went missing.

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As a result of a multi-year intensive drought that peaked in 2011 and has lingered since, Lake Bridgeport started the month of May over 24 feet low and at 38% of capacity.  The lake is now at 100% of capacity and is still running over the spillway.  The story is similar for numerous reservoirs along the Trinity, Red and Brazos River watersheds that span north Central Texas to the Panhandle.  In almost all cases these reservoirs are the primary water source for cities and towns, have primary and second homes along parts of their shores and provide recreational activities for residents in a wide radius of each respective lake.

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Those that utilize the lakes, directly or indirectly, see immediate impact when the lakes come back.  The lake community real estate markets become more active and the recreational opportunities are eagerly utilized.  Some municipal water authorities have already gone from severe rationing to limited or no rationing.  But to grasp the full impact of a full Texas lake in a sometimes arid region, you have to study the watersheds that support the named rivers and their tributaries.  The Brazos River watershed for example stretches from east central New Mexico 1,050 miles to the Texas Gulf Coast.

When the lakes are full or filling fast it means that an enormous expanse of productive farm and rangeland has received significant rainfall.  It means that the pastures are green, the trees are thriving, crops have been or will be planted, the earthen stock ponds are full and the seasonal streams are flowing, which in turn improves the utilization of the land within the watershed by livestock and wildlife.

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May 2015 is now the wettest single month on record in Texas and that is reflected in many of the reservoirs in north Central Texas.  When the lakes come back, so does the land within the watershed.  With rainfall events like those experienced through much of Texas during May of 2015 (and now June) there are tragedies.  There are dams, roads and fences to fix and structures to be repaired or rebuilt.  It’s part of a long term cycle that Texans have endured since the state was settled, but history suggests it should be decades before we experience a long-term drought of similar length or intensity.

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I invite you to take a look at new photos of Lucky Star Ranch highlighting a fully recovered Lake Bridgeport adjoining a thriving ranch property.

 

Franklin, TN: One of America’s Small Town Gems

By: Elliott Davenport

Garden & Gun magazine just published a great article about America’s best small-town escapes near major metropolitan areas.  It resonated with us because Franklin, TN made the list, and we have a gorgeous Tennessee farm for sale near Franklin called Wildflower Woods.

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Franklin’s charm comes from a myriad of features that include a buzzing music scene, southern eateries, a growing arts community, and a well-preserved and historic town square.

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Not to be forgotten and just down the road from Franklin is the “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-village” of Leiper’s Fork, which adds to this local small town flare. Leiper’s Fork is home to a rich community of artists, musicians, farmers and locals dedicated to the preservation of the surrounding landscape and this quaint community.

Tucked into this special area of middle Tennessee is Wildflower Woods, a gorgeous 1,715± acre farm located just minutes from Nashville. There are lots of exciting things happening in Williamson County these days, and the chance to own such a magnificent tract of land ranks up there as one of the more unique local opportunities.

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 Wildflower Woods is being offered in conjunction with our exclusive southeastern affiliate, The Wings Group.

 

Update from Hall and Hall Company Retreat at HF Bar Ranch

Despite rain/snow and cool weather the entire Hall and Hall team was able to enjoy a two day retreat together last week at the HF Bar Ranch near Buffalo, Wyoming at the base of the Big Horn Mountains.

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As the second oldest active “dude ranch” in the U.S. dating back to 1906, the HF Bar offers a classic setting rich in beauty and history where our group – scattered in nearly a dozen offices from Texas to Idaho – were able to connect on many levels personally as well as being able to brainstorm in short, intense sessions on the way forward for our company.

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Activities included hiking, riding, mountain biking, fishing, shooting and just hanging out around a roaring fire. As an employee owned enterprise, we are truly a large family and it was wonderful to be able to interface on that very personal level as well as having an opportunity to renew our commitment to each other and to you our clients and supporters.

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Hall and Hall Sponsors Idaho Conservation Easement Seminar

Trent Jones, broker and partner in Hall and Hall’s Sun Valley office, participated in the recent Idaho Conservation Easement Seminar hosted by the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts (ICOLT), a group of 19 nonprofit land trust organizations and two local and state government-sponsored programs working on private land conservation and voluntary conservation agreements throughout Idaho.

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The event was attended by landowners, attorneys, appraisers, real estate agents, and conservation professionals from around the state. Discussion topics included — a landowner’s perspective on easements, how easements are valued, and tax incentives of easements.

Trent, who is a board member of the Wood River Land Trust, has been involved with conservation easements in a variety of capacities over the past two decades.  During the seminar he participated on a question and answer panel addressing many practical aspects of easements, including the relationship between eased properties and the current real estate market.

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There are tens of thousands of conservation easements across the country covering millions of acres of private land. These easements are held by a variety of federal, state, local, and private non-profit entities.

As landowners’ goals have changed with the times, Hall and Hall’s Resource Management Group has become a valued partner to ranch owners. Established in 1981, its  traditional land management approach has evolved to include the enhancement of aquatic, wildlife, and recreational resources as well.