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.

Survival and Supplemental Feed for Bobwhite Quail in Texas

By: Justin Bryan

I’m often asked about what can be done to manage for quail in Texas. In response, my shoulders sink, I shove my hands in my pockets, kick a little dirt, take a deep sigh and respond with a less than enthusiastic statement of, “Yah – that is a good question.” These dang bobwhite quail are just a hardheaded species…they only want things their way or else they will take their ball and go home. Why can’t they be like deer and move into the suburbs, eat your plants, reproduce, and live on your lawn?

If it is too hot, they delay nesting or won’t nest. If it is too cold, they delay nesting or won’t nest. They need rain, but too much rain will drown them and/or their chicks. Tasty – the little buggers are tasty to every bobcat, hawk, anteater, snake, platypus, and coyote around. They are borderline high maintenance, in my opinion…but I guess I still like them. The management techniques aren’t the hard part, it’s keeping the quail alive to benefit from them that is the challenge.

Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) quail covey drinking at Texas pond

Since bobwhite quail tend to be a sensitive species, yet beloved by everyone, researchers such as Dr. Brad Dabbert at Texas Tech University continue to investigate new and improved management techniques to provide these birds with a better opportunity to survive year in, year out. Taking a note from the Tall Timbers Research Station (TTRS) and their quail management efforts, Dr. Dabbert has modified the TTRS supplemental feed distribution technique to possibly make broadcast feeding an applicable management method on ranches in Texas. Since 2010, Dr. Dabbert and his students have been investigating the feasibility of broadcasting supplemental feed (milo/sorghum) into pastures to provide a reliable year-round food source to wild bobwhite quail populations. The hypothesis is that the supplemental feed will allow the quail to stay healthy throughout the year and thus increase annual survival rates, which would lead to higher numbers of birds nesting/hatching during the spring and summer. In general, bobwhite populations fluctuate heavily up and down, year in/year out, depending on weather conditions. During extended periods of drought, bobwhite population can become very low in numbers, which is a concern for the species in general.

Historically, supplemental feeding of bobwhite quail has shown to have little to no positive impact, but Dr. Dabbert’s current research may create some hope. Interestingly, during one heavy snow event this past winter, bobwhites that were in feed areas suffered less than 10% mortality while those quail in non-feed areas neared a mortality rate of 50%. Further data shows that bobwhites in areas where feed is broadcast are nesting earlier than areas without feed. In addition, those birds nesting in fed pastures are showing very high nest survival rates. For more information concerning this ongoing research, follow the link to the Texas Tech quail research website http://www.quail-tech.org.

Fishing for Salmon in Alaska

By Bill McDavid:

I spent last week in Alaska with client and friend, Dave Miner, owner of Miner Family Vineyards, at Crystal Creek Lodge in the Bristol Bay Region of Alaska. There aren’t many ranches for sale up there but there’s land as far as the eye can see. The vast nature of the landscape boggles the mind and the fly fishing is world class. It was my second year in a row at the lodge for Miner Wine Week and it was no less impressive this year than last. Think bears and salmon, trout and tundra.

Bill McDavid and a big salmon.

Bill McDavid with a Dolly Varden Trout

Big bear fishing for salmon.

Big bear fishing for salmon.



Colorado Land & Water Auction Rakes in $12.6 Million

The auction of a family-owned farm near Mead, Colorado raked in $12.6 million Thursday, July 28th as farmers, developers and five cities bid for land and the attached water and ditch rights. Below are excerpts from the Denver Post article reporting the sale.

The auction was packed with bidders, and 13 emerged with a piece of the Reynolds family portfolio. Municipalities, developers and farmers all grabbed units of Colorado-Big Thompson water (CB-T), while developers and growers signed deals for land.

The auction was of high interest, given the land’s location in the path of northern Front Range development and the large amount of water attached to it.


Hall and Hall Auctions partner Scott Shuman said 276 CB-T units brought in the largest chunk of money, about $7.6 million or an average of $27,356 each. The CB-T units, already trading for high sums, were expected to be the most pricey given their given their scarcity and the ability to use the water for uses such as agriculture, development and industrial processes, including oil and gas extraction.

But on a per-share basis, the 15.75 Highland Ditch shares stole the show, averaging $148,900 each for an estimated total of $2.3 million. All the shares were sold to farmers or investors.

Although CB-T water got most of the attention prior to the auction, Shuman said the ditch shares provide more acre-feet of water than CB-T and are not limited to a specific geography. CB-T water, which is conveyed from the headwaters of the Colorado River near Grand Lake, can be used only within the boundaries of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

The 461 acres of land averaged $6,970 each, bringing in roughly $3.2 million. At the last minute, 50 acres of land and two Highland Ditch shares were added to the auction.


Big Sky Country State Fair & 4H Competition

By: B Elfland

The Big Sky Country State Fair is a focal point of our family’s entire year.  Any Montana 4H family will tell you that summer really doesn’t begin until after fair. The kids in the beef project purchase steers the previous fall, so they typically have about 10 months invested with their animal. During that time, they bear the risks of market price fluctuations, health issues and feed costs.


 A lot is on the line for kids who have invested months of their time and money toward their 4H livestock project. How well their animal sells will determine if they will be profitable and if they’ll have anything to set aside for college. The 4H barbecue and auction is really a fun event. It’s so well supported by the community that it makes you feel blessed to be a part of it, and it’s great to be able to support the kids.

B Elfland grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In 1988, he graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Business Administration. B settled in the Bozeman area and guided fly fishermen on southwest Montana’s renowned waters for seven years. He was licensed in real estate sales in 1999 and is currently a licensed broker in Montana and Wyoming.

About 4-H:
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, empowering 6 million young people throughout the United States. In the late 1800s, Cooperative Extension joined forces with land-grant universities to engage young people in 4-H in all 3,007 counties of the United States. The impact of the Cooperative Extension partnership is profound, bringing together National Institute of Food and Agriculture of USDA, land grant universities and county government to resource learning opportunities for youth.As a product of this joint venture, the 4-H program reaches every corner of our nation—from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities. 4-H offers more than 80 projects from forestry to aerospace, from theater arts to beef. Contact Kelton Jensen, Gallatin County 4-H Youth Development Agent, for information on joining 4-H at 406-388-3213.



Scott Shuman Elected as VP of National Auctioneers Association

Yesterday, our Partner Scott Shuman was unanimously elected as Vice President of the National Auctioneers Association (NAA).  In one year,  he will rotate into the Presidency.  It’s a great honor and testament to Scott and Hall and Hall’s reputation within the Auction Industry.

Founded in 1949, NAA is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to auction professionals. Headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., the NAA represents the interests of thousands of auction professionals in the U.S., Canada and across the world.

Scott has more than 29 years of auction experience attending auction school in 1986 and opening an auction firm shortly thereafter.  He is the 2014 Colorado State Champion Auctioneer, and was awarded the 1997, 2002 and 2014 Auction of the Year awards from the NAA, as well as the prestigious Rose Award presented by the Certified Auctioneers Institute. Scott has served as an instructor for the Certified Auctioneers Institute and Trustee for the NAA Education Institute.  He is a past CAA Board member and currently serves as a director on the NAA Board.  Scott and his wife Krista reside in Eaton, Colorado with their three children. Their hobbies include snow skiing and cheering on the Denver Broncos.



Ranch Broker Joel Leadbetter Profiled by LAND Magazine

We were thrilled by the comprehensive profile of Hall and Hall Partner Joel Leadbetter written by Lorie Woodward Cantu in the July 2016 issue of LAND Magazine.  The article details Leadbetter’s 30+ year career as a ranch broker with Hall and Hall, including a number of his high-profile deals, such as the recent sale of Texas’ historic 512,000-acre Waggoner Ranch. It also delves into his upbringing on a commercial cattle operation near Ennis, Montana, while simultaneously detailing Hall and Hall’s rich 70 year history. The full article can be found here.

An excerpt reads:

Celebrating its’ 70th anniversary in 2016, Hall and Hall is built on a longstanding tradition of delivering superlative service for its clients. Henry Hall Sr. and his sons, Warren and Henry Jr., founded Hall and Hall Mortgage Company in 1946 as the exclusive correspondent for the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, a major lender to the agricultural community at that time.

Through the years, the company added complementary divisions to meet the needs of their growing client base. Over time, it developed into a ‘one-stop shop’ for people who are interested in land as an investment and an enterprise. Today, the service lineup of Hall and Hall includes: traditional brokerage, auctions, finance, appraisal and farm and ranch management.

“I was taught a man’s word is his bond—and I still believe in the binding power of a handshake,” Leadbetter said. “At Hall and Hall, we operate on old-school principles because our clients deserve—and expect—honesty, integrity and personal accountability. Our brand is built on trust.”

Leadbetter at the 2016 Reno Rodeo Invitational  roping with ranch broker, Chance Bernall of Beaverhead Home and Ranch Real Estate. Credit Brenda Allen

Leadbetter at the 2016 Reno Rodeo Invitational roping with ranch broker, Chance Bernall of Beaverhead Home and Ranch Real Estate. Credit Brenda Allen