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.

Scott Shuman Named 69th National Auctioneers Association President

Scott Shuman, CAI, of Eaton, CO, and head of Hall and Hall Auctions will serve as President of the the National Auctioneers Association (NAA). After serving one year as NAA Vice President,  Shuman formally accepted office as NAA President on Thursday, July 13, during the NAA International Auctioneers Conference and Show.

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Thirty-two previous NAA presidents lined up at the sold out President’s Gala to officially pass the ceremonial gavel to Shuman. In fact, it was passed hand by hand along the line of previous presidents until it reached the hands of its newest recipient. Shuman described the ceremonial welcome as one of the best moments of his life.

In addition to Shuman’s accomplishments, Hall and Hall won three USA TODAY marketing awards at the conference.  Thank you to Krista and the rest of the Hall and Hall marketing team for their exceptional efforts.

Ranch Broker Road Trips

By: Tim Murphy

Each year Hall and Hall travels nearly a million miles in pickup trucks, small aircraft, helicopters and ATV’s.  I don’t know a single one of us that has to refer to a map to know where we are going.  To each of us on our own regional turf, this is familiar territory and nobody does road trips better than we do.  Our partners, management staff, appraisers and lenders all have depth in this industry far beyond our collective colleagues and countless miles and hours behind the wheel.  It’s what makes us effective at what we do and valuable to our clientele.  Our opinions are generally quite calculated because we have “been there” many times before.

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A million miles sounds like something only a trucking company could accomplish.  It’s a daunting number to think about, but consider what we do and where we go.  We are extremely fortunate to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world and sell unique and at times massive assets within this market.  Driving thousands of miles to me is not something I dread, rather I cherish it.  On any given year I discover a new canyon or secret trout stream that most people are not aware of.  We see the best and worst of all seasons as they roll in and out.  Through the windshields we often see things that few other do.  Truthfully, I never tire of this and often take the time to pull over and photograph something interesting.

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Photography dovetails perfectly with our careers. I have been fortunate to work with many incredible professionals such as Kenton Rowe and Craig Hergert who are masters of the art.  One thing that I never knew about the hobby is that it ultimately causes you to look at everything differently.  Primarily, you see how light reacts to certain subjects.  For better or worse (I think better), you never look at anything the same ever again.  You appreciate beautiful landscapes just a little bit more than the norm.

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The best opportunities are often the ones you don’t see coming.  Upon completing a multi-day tour with clients in the Cody, Wyoming region, I was blessed with an opportunity to take a personal adventure home across the Beartooth Plateau.  The plateau is located on the east side of Yellowstone Park.  A primitive highway ascends to 11,000 feet extending for nearly 70 miles above tree line connecting the communities of Red Lodge, Cooke City and Cody via spurs of this road.  It rightfully is claimed to be one of the most scenic byways in North America, potentially in the world.

That day, I could not have timed better as the high-country was just out of winter slumber coming a bit late as parts of the region received 200% snow pack.  At 10,700 feet my thermometer read an exceptionally pleasant 64 degrees contrasted to the predicted 94 at Red Lodge below at lower elevation.  Thick wedges of snow and ice still dotted the landscape and I stopped at the Gardiner Headwall to watch skiers descend off a cornice and into a cirque to the lake below.  A short distance later I spotted a band of mountain goats 100 yards or so off the road.

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There was a place to pull over so I parked, grabbed my camera and walked downslope a bit to take a few images of them.  The light was high in the sky so I was not hopeful on any sort of quality but the ground was a complete carpet of wildflowers, the air was fresh and I was having a moment just happy to be alive and sitting in that location.  The goats were feeding towards me so I stayed put and watched as several very young kids fed and played amongst the nannies.  The kids were snow white and just starting to figure out how to forage.

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The band continued coming closer, and closer and closer. They leveled off at 10 feet and literally fed right through me.  They knew I was there but did not feel threatened despite me aiming a large camera at them and snapping 220 images hoping/praying one would turn out.  I think a few did indeed and you can see the culled photos in this gallery link- Beartooth Goat Gallery.    I found it amusing to stand up after 45 minutes to find a crowd of people had gathered above me many of whom were commenting that they were taking photos of me taking photos of the goats!  I was pretty neat from my vantage point, I am sure it was from theirs as well. This was a solo experience, and I rather enjoyed it.  It is often that we are fortunate to share these experiences with clients.  It’s a rewarding part of the process for all of us.

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Chasing Gentleman Bob – Quail of the Rolling Plains

By: Justin Bryan

Bobwhite quail are a boom and bust species. With an average life expectancy of one year, their reproductive ability must be able to make the most of a good situation. For us in the Rolling Plains region of Texas, a “good situation” is defined by maintaining 100% usable quail habitat on any given property. This includes an abundance of nesting sites, escape and loafing cover, and praying for cooler than normal, wet summers. Fortunately, we can control the range conditions (i.e., quail habitat) through proper grazing, unfortunately we cannot control the weather.

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Below is data collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which represents the mean number of quail observed along defined routes per year for the Rolling Plains.Notice the “booms” and “busts”? Those once again are tied to range and weather conditions and more importantly represent years you can hunt and years you likely should not. As quail enthusiasts, we would like to hunt good populations of wildlife quail every year.

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Our goal as quail managers is minimize the drop in the “busts” and maximize the increase in the “boom”. We do this by implementing mechanical, chemical, prescribed fire and judicious grazing techniques to enhance the habitat and then pray it rains. For more information on quail habitat management in Texas, contact Justin Bryan at 325-260-5883.

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A Rancher’s Paradise in Montana

Mountain Living magazine recently published a very nice feature story on Dancing Wind Ranch. Located 10 miles south of Livingston, the 1,750± acre all-deeded property is arguably the most beautiful ranch on the coveted east side of the Paradise Valley. It enjoys an impressive setting with its lush valley meadows transitioning to the dramatic wilderness front. This incredible scenery actually harbors both a productive livestock operation and extensive wildlife. The icing on the cake is of course the sensational Jonathan Foote-designed owner’s residence.

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The IX Ranch—No “Fixer Upper”

The IX Ranch is not a ranch requiring more capital expenditures after its purchase. It’s not like the situation often found among ranches for sale, a place that’s been let go because the owner is “over it” and has fallen off in his ranch maintenance, repair and reinvestment.

For example, it’s haying season in North Central Montana. Equipment needs to be in top condition to get through weeks of cutting, raking, bailing, hauling hay on fields over the ranch’s many miles. So, the IX just spent close to $300,000 on new haying equipment. It recently arrived on the ranch and includes a number of items from a $25,000 rake to a $120,000 tractor.

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North Carolina Plantation For Sale Profiled by Bloomberg

We were excited to see Willow Oaks Plantation profiled by Bloomberg.com.  The beautiful and diverse property comprised of 1,769± acres is situated on the Dan River in Rockingham County, North Carolina. It is an incredibly rich and bountiful recreational hunting property.  This area of North Carolina is regarded as the state’s trophy belt for whitetail deer and Willow Oaks is known to be one of its premiere spots.

An excerpt from the article reads: Although the plantation is vast, potential buyers will find that it requires “very little maintenance,” Dick said. When he acquired it, it was run as a dairy farm, but he got rid of the cows and turned the barn and other facilities into a guest lodge. (In Byrd’s time, the property was almost entirely wild; subsequent owners converted it into a large-scale farm.) Dick said that when he bought the land, “it’s not that it was mismanaged; it just wasn’t managed at all.” Grazing pastures were overgrown, roads on the property were eroded, and the 7,722-square-foot house had fallen into disrepair. “I did a total renovation of the house,” he said. “I actually put it up on temporary supports in order to redo its foundation. You name it, I did it.” 

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