The Rocking JY Ranch is located in the productive and scenic Clarks Fork River Valley six miles south of Bridger. Comprised of approximately 1,040± deeded acres, of which 305± acres are irrigated, the Rocking JY is a certified organic farm. Aside from the irrigated base, the remaining acreage includes strong native grasses and colorful wildflowers in season. Cottonwood Creek and a chain of ponds provide excellent habitat for an assortment of wildlife. The ranch is situated between the Beartooth Range and the Pryor Mountains providing panoramic views from every room in the four bedroom owner’s home. In addition to this primary residence there is a log and stone guest house, a shop, a greenhouse and a chicken house. This is an extremely accessible ranch with abundant wildlife, superb improvements and the viable resources needed to sustain an ongoing farm and ranch operation.
Just the Facts
1,040± deeded acres
305± irrigated acres
Organic farm certification
Contemporary home and guest house
Waterfowl, deer and upland birds
Beartooth Mountain views
Six miles south of Bridger, Montana
The Rocking JY Ranch lies in one contiguous unit that is accessed from the east off Highway 310. The access road which leads to the improvements parallels the irrigation ditch and borders the irrigated hay fields as it brings into view the main residence with the magnificent Beartooth Mountains as the backdrop. Arriving at the improvements, the ranch stretches out nearly a mile to the west taking in both hay fields and range land. Cottonwood Creek which begins on the ranch and is in view from the headquarters runs south to north and provides year-round water for livestock from live springs. The ranch, which does not have any leased land itself, borders both state and BLM lands for additional recreational enjoyment.
The Rocking JY Ranch represents an opportunity to own a highly productive farm/ranch in an area with abundant recreation and easy access to both the city of Billings and the Beartooth Mountains. This allows one to easily enjoy the culture of Montana’s largest city and the recreational opportunities of the mountains along with the resort amenities of Red Lodge. This opportunity comes with an attractive and very comfortable home in arguably Montana’s most desirable climate. The added opportunity to produce value-added organic crops is an increasingly appealing business in which to engage.
Learn about the locale
The Rocking JY ranch is located six miles south of Bridger, Montana on Highway 310. Bridger is approximately 45 miles southwest of Billings. Delta, Alaska, United and Allegiant airlines serve Montana’s second largest airport from their hubs in Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Las Vegas and Denver, providing several flights each day. A full range of services, markets and supplies are available at several communities including Bridger itself and Red Lodge, the Gateway to Yellowstone National Park only 26 miles away.
The Rocking JY Ranch is located in the Clarks Fork River valley 50 miles southwest of Billings, Montana’s largest city. This valley is known for its mild climate and fertile soil. In addition to the typical hay and grain crops, the farmers in the valley raise beans, with a facility in Bridger, as well as sugar beets. The beets are harvested in the fall, stockpiled in the valley and then hauled to the processing facility in Billings throughout the winter months. The agricultural activity in the area has given rise to several small towns and they supply the basic staples for the area. Most residents make the trip to Billings for major purchases, professional services and medical care for which it has a well-deserved reputation. In addition to its reputation as the distribution center for Montana and northern Wyoming, Billings has become a major cultural center with the Yellowstone Arts Center and the Alberta Bair Theatre as well as the newly renovated Metra Park Event Center. Commerce, culture, and an ever-growing medical community have all combined in recent years to make Billings the hub of activity for the Northern Mountain Region.Although the Clarks Fork Valley is a well-regarded farming community, it enjoys close proximity to the Beartooth Mountains and the destination resort town of Red Lodge. The expanding Red Lodge Mountain Ski Resort is only a short 30-minute drive from the ranch.
Nestled in the rain shadow of the Beartooth Mountains, the ranch and surrounding area enjoy their own micro-climate, often referred to as the “banana belt.” Typical annual moisture is six to seven inches with humidity in the 20 to 40 percent range. The average low temperature in January is 4 degrees F and the average high is 35 degrees. The average low in July is 52 degrees F and the average high is 85 degrees. The area is considered one of the driest areas in Montana which means that irrigated farming with dependable water rights is rarely interrupted by bad weather and residents enjoy over 300 days per year of sunshine and clear skies.
The original property of 400± acres was part of the National Homestead Act which was awarded to W. J. Breen on July 8, 1915. The second owners acquired the land through a judgment for non-payment of taxes. They then sold to H.E. Shoemaker on January 31, 1933. George Althoff bought the land from Shoemaker at the age of 15 in 1947. The current owners bought the original 400± acres in 1997. Since then they have added to the ranch in 2003 and 2011.
Learn more about the property
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Deeded Acres: 1,044±
Total Acres: 1,044±
* All acreages are approximations.
The primary residence consists of a lovely contemporary home which contains four bedrooms and three baths. The main floor has a living room /dining room combination that features large windows which offer abundant natural light and tremendous views of the Beartooth Mountain Range. A large master bedroom, a well-designed kitchen and a screened-in porch round out the comfortable main floor living area. The walkout basement, which includes the double-car garage, has a bedroom used as an office plus two bedrooms, one of which is a spacious bedroom suite with a living area. Every room in the house has abundant natural light and splendid mountain or pastoral views.The second home is approximately 1,400± sq. ft. and was built in 2007. This two-level structure has an open floor plan and offers hardwood floors, granite counters, custom cabinets and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. The main floor has a bedroom, bathroom, great room and laundry while the upper floor has an open loft arrangement. The covered front porch which overlooks the pond offers a very peaceful and private setting. In addition to the garden buildings which include a sprout house, a washing barn and hoop house, there is a shop which is a 40 ft. x 80 ft. pole-frame building with a metal roof and metal siding. The most impressive improvements on the ranch are its solar power and geothermal heating and cooling systems. The solar system is rated at 15,900 watts which consists of 60 Suniva 265 watt modules that use two inverters to convert the DC electricity to AC. The electricity feeds into the grid of Northwestern Electric and gives the owner a credit towards their electric bill. The credit is given at a wholesale price and the owner is charged at a retail price for their usage. The system is designed to put the house and the buildings at a net charge from Northwestern Electric Company at between $0 and $5 per month. To ensure that energy costs remain near zero for the primary residence and sprout house, the buildings are heated and cooled with a geo-thermal pump system. The guest cabin is not part of the solar geo-heat pump system and receives its power from Beartooth Electric Coop.
The ranch has 305 shares in the Mutual Ditch Company at an annual cost of $2,440.
All minerals appurtenant to the ranch and owned by the Sellers will be transferred to the Buyer at closing.
Property taxes for Rocking JY Ranch are approximately $6,220 based upon past years.
Learn about the recreational amenities
The Clarks Fork’s mild climate and abundant habitat combine to make the area an ideal home to a multitude of wildlife. Whitetail and mule deer can be found on the ranch at any time during the year. Local populations of waterfowl species use this fertile river valley throughout the year. Later in the fall, thousands of ducks and geese along with sand hill cranes find local refuge during their migratory trek south and use the irrigated fields and ponds. Pheasants also use the irrigated fields and the brush along the riparian corridor for cover, forage and nesting. This area is well known for its pheasant and upland bird hunting. Innumerable song birds, raptors and fur-bearing animals make their home on the ranch as well.From the ranch, the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River flows nearly 35 miles until it empties into the Yellowstone River near Laurel, Montana. The river is Class 1 for its entire length in Montana, so it is a very good beginner’s river for the raft enthusiast. The best fishing is going to be upstream from Bridger and all the way into Wyoming. Several other rivers are close which include the Stillwater River, Rock Creek, the Rosebud rivers and the Yellowstone River and all are tremendous fisheries. Wade fishing or float fishing can produce rainbow trout, brown trout, and cutthroat trout up to 15 inches or more in certain sections of the Yellowstone.
Learn about the general operations
The Rocking JY Ranch is a certified organic farm which is inspected annually by ICS, Inc. of North Dakota. Currently the owners have hired interns to grow and harvest the organic vegetables which are sold at three farmers markets during the growing season. Typically the vegetables are started in the sprout house which is heated with both geothermal and solar heat. In addition, a hoop house is used to extend the season while a washing barn, a cold room and a root cellar are used to clean and store the vegetables. The meat marketed on the farm is beef and pork and it is also “Certified Organic.” It is delivered to a certified butcher in Columbus for butchering and from there it is delivered to their customers. In the past, the owner has run his own cattle and done all the farming, but currently the owner is on a 50/50 shared crop arrangement with a local operator on the hay. The most productive stand (80± acres) yields 5 tons per acre on three cuttings while the balance of the hay ground is cut once and yields 2 tons per acre and the regrowth provides grazing for the cattle.