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Lost Creek Land and Cattle

$29,950,000 Roggen, CO 17,102± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

At 17,102± deeded acres, Lost Creek Land & Cattle is an exceptionally well-located, multifaceted investment opportunity. Lost Creek is very desirable currently as a productive, income-producing farm and ranch. However, there is much more to this unique, resource-rich property.
Consisting of approximately 2,620 pivot irrigated acres and 14,480± acres of grazing land, the property has historically grown a variety of crops and run 500 to 700 head of cattle. With all 18 of its irrigation wells located in the Lost Creek Ground Water Basin, no augmentation water is required. This is a significant benefit compared to many northeastern Colorado farms. Current owners have also investigated the feasibility of converting this water to other uses which could then be transported to the growing metropolitan area between Ft. Collins and Denver. Owners estimate potential for over 3,650 acre feet of transferable consumptive-use water from the Lost Creek property.
Buildings on the property include three homes, an office and apartment, two modular dwellings, hay storage, shop, and livestock facilities. These are not extravagant improvements but are well-suited to handle the day-to-day needs of a working farm and ranch.
Located in agriculturally friendly Weld County, the property is ideal for a large dairy or cattle feeding operation.
Lost Creek Land & Cattle has a proven history of profitable farm and ranch operations. Because of its nearby location to the Denver metropolitan area and other fast-growing Front Range communities, the property has enormous potential as a water resource, agribusiness site, residential or commercial development, or combination of uses.

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Just the Facts

  • Located less than an hour from downtown Denver, Colorado and just over 30 minutes to Denver International Airport
  • Several miles of frontage along Interstate Highway 76
  • 17,102± total deeded acres 
  • 2,620± acres of productive pivot-irrigated cropland raising corn, alfalfa, edible beans and potatoes
  • The remaining 14,480± acres is primarily rangeland supporting several hundred cow/calf pairs through the summer
  • Irrigation water is in a designated ground water basin that does not require augmentation water
  • Up to 3,650 acre feet of transferable consumptive use water rights 
  • Good set of agricultural buildings to support the farm and ranch operations
  • Located in Weld County, Colorado, the property is very suitable as a site for a dairy, feedlot, other agribusiness or development

General Description

Lost Creek Land & Cattle consists of two parcels.  The larger tract consists of 18 center pivots, native rangeland, and building sites, while a smaller, noncontiguous parcel of approximately 11 acres lies south of I-76.

Center pivots are located primarily on the western side of the property and are served by 18 wells.  Pivot-irrigated land runs from level to gently rolling topography.  The primary improvement site is on the northern edge of the property and includes three homes, a shop, hayshed, office with apartment, and livestock support buildings.  In general, these improvements are older but functional.  There are two mobile homes located west of Weld County Road 386.

Lost Creek, which runs on only an intermittent basis, enters the west boundary of the property and runs near the primary improvement site before leaving the ranch on the north.  There are a few stands of trees along Lost Creek.  Older dams and diversion structures were constructed along Lost Creek but rarely hold water for any significant period of time.

The balance of the property is gently rolling rangeland, and sandy soils support a variety of grasses.  Rangeland is divided into approximately 19 pastures.  A neighboring 400 acre property is used by Lost Creek as pasture.

Broker's Comments

Lost Creek has a proven history of agricultural productivity that can be continued forward into future years.  The factors that differentiate this property from the typical agricultural investment are its potential for other uses.  

With its tremendous water resources and location, it has potential for providing water to the growing population of Colorado.  It is projected that Colorado’s population could be over 10 million by 2050, with the majority of growth occurring in the Arkansas, South Platte and Metro Basins.  This is nearly a doubling of the current state population.  The Colorado Water Conservation Board projects the possibility of needing to develop the equivalent of four times the water in the Denver water system to serve this growth.  Lost Creek is well positioned to be one of the sources to fill this future need.

Because of Lost Creek’s advantageous location, water resources, and productive capacity, other potential uses that can be considered are agribusiness opportunities such as a dairy or feedlot.  Weld County’s zoning laws are very favorable for this type of development.

In addition to the above, with its location on an interstate highway less than an hour from a major metropolitan area and an international airport, many development possibilities can be considered. 

Lost Creek is truly a multifaceted investment opportunity.

Learn about the locale

Location

Lost Creek Land & Cattle is very accessible and ideally situated between Denver, Fort Morgan and Greeley.  Lost Creek has over six miles of frontage along Interstate 76 northeast of the Roggen interchange.  Downtown Denver is less than a one-hour drive from the property, while Denver International Airport and the outskirts of the metropolitan area are approximately 30 minutes away.  Fort Morgan is 20 miles east of the property on I-76 and Greeley is 30 miles to the northwest using Highway 34. Weld County Road 386 runs through the western areas of the property with WCR Road 91 providing access to the eastern areas.

Locale

Lost Creek is located in Weld County, which leads the state in many aspects of agricultural production. This part of the county is primarily an agricultural area comprised of irrigated and drycrop farms together with native grass rangelands.  Large dairy operations and feedlots also operate in the general area. 

Transitional areas of rural residential development are a short distance to the west, while the productive South Platte River valley lies north of the property. The small nearby communities of Wiggins, Prospect Valley, Keenesburg and Hudson provide basic services.  Supported by agriculture and small local industries, these towns also serve as bedroom communities for residents who commute to employment in the Denver metropolitan area.

Lost Creek’s location is well suited for continued use as a farm and ranch.  However, with its proximity to an interstate highway, major metropolitan area, and international airport, potential for other uses is easily foreseeable.  

Climate

The climate in this part of Colorado is considered to be semi-arid with annual precipitation between 12 and 14 inches.  Average annual snowfall is approximately 24 inches. Snow cover typically lasts for only a few days. 

Summers include many days in the 90s followed by cool evenings.  Afternoon thunderstorms during the summer are common.  Winters are generally mild with January’s average highs in the upper 30s.

Occasional severe winter storms can result in larger snowfall and extended cold snaps.  There are also many milder days during winter. 

Elevation at the headquarters is 4,580± feet.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 17,102±

Total Acres: 17,102±

Highest Elevation: 4,580

Acreage Breakdown

Acres of Irrigated Crop: 2,620±

Acres of Improved Pasture: 14,480±

Acres AG Total: 17,100±

* All acreages are approximations.

Improvements

The buildings on Lost Creek are utilized for supporting the agricultural operations of the property.  Many of the structures are older and suitable for their intended use.  A two-story residence includes several bedrooms, two bathrooms and living areas.  Across the yard from this home is a smaller dwelling with three bedrooms and two bathrooms with living areas.  Within the site are a shop building, large hayshed, historic barn, numerous livestock sheds with corrals and working facilities, and a number of smaller outbuildings.  A modern fuel storage set up with secondary containment holds four tanks.

A short distance to the south is the primary residence and detached office/apartment building within a landscaped yard. The home is a single story with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two fireplaces and living space. The office apartment has two rooms and a bathroom. The mobile homes are located southwest of the primary improvements.  These buildings are utilized for employee housing or rentals.

Water Rights

All 18 irrigation wells are located in the Lost Creek Basin, which is considered as a designated basin by the Colorado State Engineer.  Irrigation wells in the Lost Creek basin are not required to have an augmentation supply.  This is a very significant benefit to the Lost Creek farm when comparing it to many other properties in northeastern Colorado that rely on wells.  The irrigation wells are also located outside of the Lost Creek Ground Water Management District and are therefore not subject to the rules and regulations of the management district.

Current owners of this property have investigated the feasibility of converting this water to other uses, with potential for transportation to the growing metropolitan area between Ft. Collins and Denver.  Owners estimate potential for over 3,650 acre feet of transferable consumptive-use water from the Lost Creek Property.

The significance of being located in the Lost Creek Basin and being outside of the Management District are highlighted as:
  • Export of consumptive use from other wells within the Basin has been previously approved 
  • Export of water from the Basin requires approval of the Colorado Ground Water Commission but no water court proceeding is required
  • Export does not require approval of the Lost Creek Management District
These important factors contribute to the value of this water resource.

In terms of use as an agricultural resource, the Lost Creek Basin is a relatively shallow basin where the annual use relies on recharge from precipitation over the basin.  New irrigation wells are not permitted in the basin thereby protecting water levels.  The Lost Creek property is located in the northern part of the basin, which is considered to be the more stable water area in the basin. See the brochure for full summary of the irrigation wells.

In total, the property is permitted to use up to 6,744 acre feet of water on an annual basis.  

The property may also have storage and diversion rights along Lost Creek.  Lost Creek runs infrequently so these rights rarely provide any actual water.  Seller will convey all water rights but does not represent that the storage and diversion rights from Lost Creek historically appurtenant to the property are still active and useable. 

Livestock water is well distributed throughout the ranch.  The majority of this water is provided by wells, although the property has three taps from the Morgan County Quality Water District.  This water is used for livestock on the east side of the property.

Mineral Rights

No minerals are included with this offering. 

Taxes

Property taxes for 2015 are estimated at $26,414.  The taxes are quite advantageous compared to nearby states and much of northeastern Colorado.  There are no special assessments for irrigated land on Lost Creek. This compares favorably to the $14.50 per acre assessment in addition to other taxes for wells in the Republican River Water Conservation District.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

Deer, antelope, and waterfowl are observed on the property.  Being located just west of Empire Reservoir, this area is well known as a flyway attracting large populations of ducks and geese.

Current ownership has not focused on developing the recreational aspects of the property.  A future owner could certainly generate additional income or personal enjoyment from this resource.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

Lost Creek Land & Cattle is a combination farm and cattle ranching property.  The 2,620± acres of pivot irrigated land are used to raise crops including corn, alfalfa, edible beans and potatoes.  
Typical yields on the property are:
Representative Actual Yields  and Yields for Budgeting
Corn    180-220 bushels per acre    195 bushels per acre
Alfalfa    Up to 8 tons    Up to 6 tons
Edible beans    Up to 60 bushels per acre    40 bushels pinto or yellow beans

Potatoes are typically raised by a tenant, with Lost Creek cash leasing irrigated land for this purpose.

Irrigation is provided by 18 pivots ranging in size from approximately 120 to 180 acres.  The pivot sprinklers are Valley models, 13 of which have poly-lined pipe.  Eighteen irrigation wells supply irrigation water.  Additional information on water rights is presented on following pages.  

The wells are shallow with pumping levels typically less than 100 feet.  Power for the wells and pivots is all from electricity.  Typical pumping costs are $80-90 annually per acre.  The farm is enrolled in the government farm program.  Additional details on this are available from the broker.

Ownership runs a cow/calf livestock operation on the property. Currently, this consists of approximately 550 cows plus replacement heifers and bulls.   A summer yearling program is an option for the cattle operation. 
Cattle are typically turned out to grass beginning in April and will stay on grass until the last crops are harvested.  Winter feed is provided by a combination of grazing on pasture, corn stalks and hay.  A typical winter will require less than one ton of hay per head to be fed.  The fed hay is usually grown on the property.

Grazing is on a rotational basis through the numerous pastures.  Most pastures are 400 to 700 acres. Each pasture has livestock water with at least one pressurized tank. 

The cattle operation consists of owned cows with company employees providing labor.  Farm operations are conducted by an overall manager with employees handling irrigation and irrigation equipment maintenance.  Farming operations are provided by a local custom farmer.

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