Executive Summary: The 71 Ranch Hysham Farm represents an opportunity to make an entry-level investment in a producing farm in Montana’s well-regarded Yellowstone River Valley. Alternatively, it offers a reasonably priced add-on to an existing farm operation. The farm contains 526± acres with over 461 under pivot and flood irrigation. This is high producing irrigated land in one of the longest growing season areas of the state. It is easily accessed from Interstate 94 on good graveled county roads. It is also convenient to Hysham (2 miles) and Forsyth (19 miles). The only improvements are the irrigation systems, so one is not paying for nonproductive improvements. The Hysham Irrigation Canal runs adjacent to the fields and provides water from the Yellowstone River, which is considered one of the most dependable sources of water in the state. It is an area well populated by successful farm operators who would be potential tenants for an absentee owner/investor
Just the Facts
- Location: 2 miles southeast of Hysham.
- Acreage: 526± contiguous deeded acres.
- Acreage Breakdown: 247± acres pivot irrigation, 40± acre wheel line irrigation, 184± acres flood irrigation, 65± acres range
- Improvements: None
- Operation: Your choice of irrigated crops including alfalfa, malt barley, wheat, corn, sugar beets.
- Water: Hysham Irrigation Canal out of the Yellowstone River.
- Summary: Highly productive irrigated farm in 130 plus day growing season area of Yellowstone River Valley with easy access to markets just off I-94. No unnecessary improvements.
This all deeded farm lies in a contiguous block just below the Hysham Irrigation Canal. Water is diverted from the canal by gravity and is pressurized at the pivots by pumps.
Crops include sugar beets with yields over 30 tons per acre. Malt barley with yields in the 150 to 180 bushels per acre range. Alfalfa hay in the 6 to 7.5 tons per acre range. Corn sileage with yields in the 22 to 27 tons per acre range. New crops such as hemp and other specialty crops would all be possibilities given the long growing season, dependable water, and good soils.
The two Reinke pivots are about 12 years old. They have been well maintained and are up to date low pressure systems. The pumps are electric with annual costs running around $8,005.
Highly productive unimproved irrigated farm with easy access to markets in a well-regarded part of the Yellowstone River Valley.
This farm is located three miles northeast of the Hysham exit off I-94 and about the same distance northwest of the Sarpy Creek exit and just two miles southeast of Hysham. Hysham is about an hour’s drive east of Billings on I-94.
This is a highly regarded farming area in the Yellowstone River Valley. The immediate neighbors are long-time family farms, and the nearby towns of Hysham and Forsyth are comfortable small farm towns that anchor the community and provide most all of the services one needs on a day to day basis. Billings, of course, is only an hour away and is Montana’s largest city. It offers a full range of services from major medical services, equipment dealers, banks, accountants, lawyers, as well as shopping and concerts, fine dining, galleries, and museums to suit most every taste.
Elevation on the farm is around 2,650 feet above sea level. Growing season is estimated at 132 days, which is one of the longest in the state. Annual precipitation is estimated at 13.59 inches with average low temperatures in the winter ranging around 11 to 12 degrees and average highs in the summer getting up into the 87 degree range.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
- Pivot Irrigated: 247.2± Acres
- Wheel Line Irrigated: 40± Acres
- Flood Irrigated: 183.9± Acres
- Range: 65± Acres
- Total: 526.1± Acres
Other than the irrigation systems, the farm is partially fenced and otherwise unimproved.
The water for this farm is allocated from the Hysham Irrigation Canal and is included in the annual taxes.
All mineral rights owned by seller will convey.
Annual real estate taxes are estimated at $4,871 per annum based upon past year’s taxes. Annual water charges are added to the first half property taxes at a current rate of $20 per acre as a base rate plus $15/Acre Foot for the water used. Use can vary considerably depending on timing of annual precipitation, wind, humidity and on crops planted. The sprinklers can cut the use in half versus flood irrigation. On balance one can be pretty sure that one will use one acre foot per acre. Beyond that it depends on all the other factors.
This farm has been utilized primarily to grow feed crops for the 71 Ranch’s nearby feedlot. It has also been leased out to area farmers. There are a variety of lease scenarios that could be considered. Per acre cash rent for pivot irrigated land is the simplest and puts all the risk –weather, market, and yield - on the tenant. Naturally, this gives the lowest return. Various crop share scenarios with different agreements regarding the sharing of input costs will provide potentially higher returns. Annual per acre cash rents are highly dependent upon who pays the operating costs. In most scenarios, the landlord would pay the water costs, insurance, and taxes. With pivots, the tenant normally takes care of regular maintenance, but major repairs are usually paid for by the landlord. This would also be true of major repairs on the main pumps. Per acre rentals can run in the range of $130 per acre under the above scenario.
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