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Sierra del Rio Ranch

$5,000,000 Murphy, ID 3,605± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Consisting of 3,605± deeded acres in two units, Sierra del Rio Ranch is a year-round cattle operation that combines productive irrigated cropland, convenient winter range, and highly reliable summer pasture. The ranch is currently running 500± mother cows and 100± replacement heifers and has a reputation for producing the highest quality calves that consistently bring top prices in the marketplace. The setting for the ranch represents the best of southern Idaho’s diverse landscapes.Referred to as Sinker Creek Ranch, the headquarters and winter unit for Sierra del Rio is located 12 miles southeast of Murphy, Idaho, the county seat for Owhyee County, and 1.5 hours from Boise, Idaho, the state capital. Consisting of 1,070± deeded acres, Sinker Creek Ranch occupies its own canyon and is surrounded by federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as part of the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. Sinker Creek features 385± acres of sprinkler-irrigated cropland and pasture, a 55± acre year-round lake, frontage on the Snake River, and an adjoining winter grazing allotment. Ranch and residential improvements include a pueblo-style owner’s residence overlooking the ranch, employee housing units, pressurized irrigation system, machine shed, cattle-handling facilities with certified scales, feedlot, and feed storage. With an elevation of approximately 2,400 feet, Sinker Creek offers one of the mildest climates in the state and is ideal for raising crops and wintering livestock. Upland game birds thrive in this environment as do ducks and geese which utilize the lake and adjacent irrigated fields throughout the year. The lake provides fertile habitat for bass and bream and is also well-suited to grow large rainbow trout.The summer range for Sierra del Rio is located 35 miles west of the community of Grandview and about 75 miles southwest of Sinker Creek. This unit is referred to as Deep Creek Ranch and features 2,535± deeded acres in ten individual tracts surrounded by the ranch’s summer BLM grazing allotment and an associated state lease. The deeded parcels are strategically positioned within the grazing allotment and control water sources and access points. This is a large, varied landscape encompassing extensive grasslands, sage-covered mesas, juniper forests, red rock canyons, and abundant creeks, springs, and seasonal lakes. There are two cow camps at Deep Creek each with a line cabin and horse pen. A set of loading corrals sits along Mud Flat Road, the main county road linking Deep Creek with Grandview and Jordan Valley, Oregon. Elevations at Deep Creek range from 5,000 feet to 5,800 feet. Wildlife includes elk, mule deer, antelope, sage grouse, and chukar partridge.

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Just the Facts

3,605± deeded acres in two units – the 1,070± acre Sinker Creek Ranch 12 miles southeast of Murphy and the 2,535± acre Deep Creek Ranch 35 miles west of GrandviewYear-round cattle operation currently running 500± cows and 100± replacementsWinter and summer BLM grazing allotments with associated State of Idaho grazing leasesFull set of residential and ranch improvements385± acres of sprinkler irrigated cropland and pasture55± acre lake that provides irrigation water and fishing opportunitiesSnake River frontage suitable for a boat landingAdjoining Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area and Pole Creek WildernessPlentiful wildlife including elk, mule deer, antelope, chukar partridge, sage grouse, California quail, and pheasant with opportunities for landowner appreciation tags in hunt units 40 and 42

General Description

Sierra del Rio Ranch encompasses 3,605± deeded acres in two units – the 1,070± acre Sinker Creek Ranch, which serves as the ranch headquarters and winter unit, and the 2,535± acre Deep Creek Ranch which encompasses the ranch’s summer range. Sinker Creek Ranch occupies its own canyon formed from an ancient bend in the Snake River. One enters the property via a private gravel road that winds its way down to the canyon floor. The 300-foot canyon walls above Sinker Creek make for a secluded, spectacular setting. Surrounded by federal lands managed by the BLM as part of the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, Sinker Creek Ranch features 385± acres of sprinkler-irrigated cropland and pasture, a 55± acre year-round lake, frontage on the Snake River, and an adjoining winter grazing allotment. Ranch and residential improvements include a pueblo-style owner’s residence overlooking the ranch, employee housing units, pressurized irrigation system, machine shed, cattle-handling facilities with certified scales, feedlot, and feed storage. With an elevation of approximately 2,400 feet, Sinker Creek offers one of the mildest climates in the state and is ideal for raising crops and wintering livestock. The summer range for Sierra del Rio is located in the Owhyee Mountains 35 miles west of the community of Grandview and about 75 miles southwest of Sinker Creek. This unit is referred to as Deep Creek Ranch and features 2,535± deeded acres in ten individual tracts that range from 20 acres to over 640 acres and are surrounded by the ranch’s summer BLM grazing allotment and an associated state lease. The deeded parcels are strategically positioned within the grazing allotment and control water sources and access points. This is a large, varied landscape encompassing extensive grasslands, sage-covered mesas, juniper forests, red rock canyons, and abundant creeks, springs, and seasonal lakes. In 2009, Congress designated 14,000 acres along the west side of the ranch as the Pole Creek Wilderness because of the area’s pristine qualities and vast open spaces. There are two cow camps at Deep Creek, each with a line cabin and horse pen. A set of loading corrals sits along Mud Flat Road, the main county road linking Deep Creek with Grandview and Jordan Valley, Oregon to the west. Elevations at Deep Creek range from 5,000 feet to 5,800 feet.

Broker's Comments

Spanning two very distinct natural settings – the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area and the Owhyee Mountains – Sierra del Rio Ranch represents a special combination of privacy and seclusion, diverse scenery and landscapes, quality outdoor recreation, and a productive, self-supporting, year-round cattle operation.  

Learn about the locale

Location

The ranch headquarters and winter unit for Sierra del Rio are located within Sinker Creek Canyon 12 miles southeast of Murphy, the county seat for Owhyee County and among the smallest county seats in the nation with a population of 100. The city of Boise, which is Idaho’s state capital, is located 1.5 hours northwest of the ranch. All-season county roads link State Highway 78 with Sinker Creek Ranch. A private gravel road provides access to the ranch and features awesome views as it descends along the canyon wall to the ranch. The summer unit at Deep Creek is located 35 miles west of the farming community of Grandview, Idaho and about 75 miles southwest of Sinker Creek Ranch. Access to Deep Creek is via the Mud Flat Road, a seasonal county road that links Grandview with Jordan Valley, Oregon. The city of Nampa, Idaho, which is located about 45 minutes north of Sinker Creek, serves as the main commercial center for the area and offers a variety of retail and commercial services as well as a general aviation airport with a 5,000’ x 75’ runway and 24-hour Jet-A and 100LL fuel service. Boise is home to an excellent, mid-sized commercial airport with direct flights to cities across the central and western United States. In addition, Murphy features a 2,500’ x 45’ asphalt airstrip capable of handling light aircraft. 

Locale

Owhyee County, the state’s second largest county in land size, occupies nearly 7,700 square miles of deep, basalt-lined river canyons, broad sagebrush plateaus, and juniper-covered mountains and foothills. The county is located on the south side of the Snake River in the heart of a remote, sparsely populated region encompassing portions of southwest Idaho, southeast Oregon, and northern Nevada. Sometimes referred to as “America’s Outback,” this is an area of high desert landscapes, large working cattle ranches, and scenic beauty that rivals the splendor found in more well-known parts of the American West. The Snake River corridor, which includes the communities of Homedale, Marsing, Murphy and Grandview, has the highest concentration of residents in Owhyee County and is highly regarded for its mild climate and rich soils used to grow a variety of row crops. As one moves south and west from the Snake into the interior of the county, irrigated farms give way to expansive rangelands used to run cattle during summer months. Owhyee County is home to a significant number of large, old-line ranches that have been operated under the same ownership for decades. The Owhyee Mountains, located in the western part of the county, dominate the local landscape rising to over 8,400 feet, while the lowest point in the county sits at 2,000 feet along the Snake River at the Oregon border. The name “Owhyee” derives from an early variation of the word “Hawaii” used by Anglo-Americans in referring to native Hawaiians after James Cook first visited the islands in the late 18th century. Noted for their hardy physique and maritime skills, native Hawaiians were often hired as crew members aboard European and American vessels, and many sailed to the American Northwest where they joined trapping expeditions or worked at fur trading posts. In 1819, three “Owhyee,” who had joined Donald Mackenzie’s Snake River Expedition, left the main party to explore the Owhyee River. They disappeared and were presumed dead. In memory of these native Hawaiians, British fur trappers began to call this region “Owhyee” and the name lasted. 

Climate

The climate in the Murphy area is best described as semi-arid with total annual precipitation of just over eight inches. This part of southwest Idaho enjoys four seasons with open winters along the Snake River and heavy snowfall in the nearby Owhyee Mountains where the summer range is located. With an average year-round temperature of 54 degrees, the Murphy area generally experiences very warm summers and mild winters. 

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Sierra del Rio Ranch consists of 3,605± deeded acres per the Owhyee County Assessor in two principal units:
  • Sinker Creek Ranch 1,070± acre
  • Deep Creek Ranch 2,535± acre

It is estimated that the BLM grazing allotments and State of Idaho grazing leases associated with Sinker Creek and Deep Creek cover an adjoining 55,000± acres of federal and state lands.

Deeded Acres: 3,605±

Total Acres: 3,605±

* All acreages are approximations.

Improvements

Sierra del Rio Ranch features a set of functional improvements sufficient to support current farming and livestock operations. The main residence is a custom-built, pueblo-style, stucco home constructed in 1981 and consisting of 3,550± sq. ft. The home blends into the rocky bluff on which it sits and provides expansive views down Sinker Creek and east across the ranch compound to the lake and irrigated pastures beyond. The home features a master suite, two guest bedrooms, study, living/dining room, breakfast room, and attached two-car garage.Additional residential dwellings are located in a treed setting east of the main residence next to the ranch compound and include a manger’s residence, assistant manager’s home, and housing for seasonal employees. Operating improvements include cattle-handling facilities with certified 50,000 lb. scales, 600-head backgrounding lot with concrete bunks, equipment and tool storage buildings, feed-storage building, and steel machine shed. There are two cow camps at Deep Creek, each with a basic line cabin and horse pen. A set of loading corrals sits along Mud Flat Road.

Water Rights

ground and surface water rights

Mineral Rights

All mineral and subsurface rights owned by the seller will transfer to the new owner at closing. 

Taxes

Annual property taxes are approximately $8,125.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Recreational Considerations

Sierra del Rio Ranch offers an array of recreation opportunities. The winter unit at Sinker Creek lies within the Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area, which is home to the largest population of nesting hawks, falcons, eagles and other raptors in North America. At certain times of the year, bird watching for these magnificent birds of prey is unparalleled. The focal point at Sinker Creek is the 55-acre lake that is used for water storage during the irrigation season. Once developed as a commercial trout farm, the lake provides extraordinary habitat for rainbow trout that grow at rapid rates feeding on the lake’s abundant freshwater shrimp. For many years each April, the lake hosted a charitable fly fishing derby and was well know across the region as a stillwater fishing destination. Today, the lake is a warmwater fishery producing large bass and bluegill. With renewed stocking efforts, the lake could easily return to its former glory as a producer of large trout. The Snake River flows adjacent to Sinker Creek and can be accessed from an unimproved boat launch on the ranch. The Snake offers miles of boating, hunting, and fishing through the Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. Upland game birds, including California quail and chukar, thrive in Sinker Creek’s low elevation environment as do ducks and geese which utilize the lake and adjacent irrigated fields throughout the year. Adjacent to the federal Pole Creek Wilderness Area, Deep Creek Ranch enables one to truly get away from it all. Elk, mule deer, antelope, and chukar are found in good numbers in this remote, rugged environment. Sierra del Rio lies within hunt units 40 and 42, and the owner is eligible to apply for Idaho landowner appreciation program controlled hunts in these units. Contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for more information on this program at fishandgame.idaho.gov. 

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

Sierra del Rio is currently running 500± mother cows and 100± replacement heifers and has a reputation for producing the highest quality calves that consistently bring top prices in the marketplace. The ranch’s cow herd is all “home raised,” and calves are AngusSource, certified natural, and GAP certified. Beginning on May 1st, cattle are trucked to Deep Creek and trailed to the south end of the ranch. Cattle graze and move north through the summer, ending up at the north end of Deep Creek in the fall. Bulls are pulled from the cow herd in the middle of July when cattle reach the mid-point of the ranch at Indian Crossing. Calves are weened at Deep Creek on October 15th, and cows return to Sinker Creek two weeks later. Once home, the older cows move onto Sinker Creek’s BLM winter range until the end of December, while younger cows are kept on the ranch’s deeded fields. Weened steers average over 600 lbs. Calves are backgrounded in the ranch’s feed lot for approximately 45 days and shipped the first week of December. Shipping weights for steers typically range from 680 lbs. to 750 lbs. Approximately 385 acres are irrigated at Sinker Creek, including 40± acres of BLM land, using wheel lines and hand lines. Of the irrigated acreage, 115± acres lie above the lake and are in grass, while 270± acres are located below the lake and are mainly in alfalfa. The irrigation season typically begins on April 1st. The upper fields are irrigated with water from the lake, while the alfalfa fields below the lake are irrigated out of the Snake River. The lake is filled with water from Sinker Creek during winter months, and in a normal year the draw down for the lake is only two to three feet. If necessary, an irrigation well on the ranch can be used to augment lake levels. A separate 17± acre parcel of land fronts the Snake River and provides access to the pumping station that delivers water to the fields below the lake. The ranch produces between five and six tons of alfalfa per acre in three cuttings. The fourth cutting is left for fall and spring grazing. Carrying capacity on the irrigated pastures above the lake is up to three head per acre during the peak-growing season. Under current management, cattle are fed approximately two tons of hay per head from January through April until they are turned out at Deep Creek on May 1st. A complete tabulation of associated water rights is available from Hall and Hall or the website of the Idaho Department of Water Resources at www.idwr.idaho.gov.

Leases and Permits

Sinker Creek serves as the base property for two adjoining, private-use BLM grazing allotments and a state grazing lease. The Sinker Butte allotment is permitted for 203 cattle and 707 animal unit months (AUMs) from November 15th until February 28th. This allotment covers approximately 7,180 acres. The Montini Fenced Federal Ranch (FFR) allotment is permitted year-round for 12 cattle and 140 AUMs from March 1st to February 28th and covers approximately 2,275 acres. The state grazing lease covers 320 acres and is adjacent to the Montini FFR allotment. The BLM allotments at Sinker Creek are part of the Owhyee Field Office. The state lease is administered by the Southwest Supervisory Office of the Idaho Department of Lands.As with Sinker Creek, Deep Creek is the base property for two adjoining BLM grazing allotments and a state grazing lease. The Big Springs allotment is permitted to three different cattle operators, each with its own designated grazing area and pastures. Sierra del Rio runs on the westernmost portion of the allotment and is authorized for 547 cattle and 3,021 AUMs from May 1st to October 15th of each year. Sierra del Rio’s portion of Big Springs Allotment covers approximately 43,655 acres. The smaller Nahas FFR allotment is a private-use allotment located at the north end of Deep Creek Ranch and is permitted for 54 cattle and 80 AUMs from April 1st to November 30th. It covers approximately 690 acres. The state grazing lease encompasses 2,360 acres in several tracts located within the Big Springs and Nahas FFR allotments. The BLM allotments at Deep Creek are part of the Bruneau Field Office. The state lease is administered by the Southwest Supervisory Office of the Idaho Department of Lands. 

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