The historic Duck Bar Ranch consists of 7,005± acres located 35 miles southwest of Valentine in the heart of the Nebraska Sandhills. The ranch is all contiguous, supporting sub-irrigated meadows and rolling Sandhills with Gordon Creek meandering over six- miles through the property. Duck Bar Ranch is a solid year-round cow-calf operation with many recent updates to buildings, corrals, fences, and water resources. Recreational and hunting opportunities are abounding on the ranch and surrounding area. The current owners rate the ranch as a comfortable 400 cow-calf year-round operation with all the supporting livestock.
Just the Facts
• Sandhills Ranch
• Over 800± acres of sub-irrigated meadows
• Over 6 miles of Gordon Creek
• All contiguous ranch
• Estimated to carry 400 cows with all supporting livestock
• Excellent improvements and fences
• Additional hunting and Airbnb income
• Top-notch water resources
• Abundant big game and birds
• Trophy class deer
• 18 fenced pasture
• Blacktop road access
• Ranch located in the heart of Nebraska’s best outdoors
• Located near Merritt Reservoir, McKelvie National Forest, Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie Club Golf Resort
• Gordon Creek surface water permit
• High-capacity groundwater irrigation permit
• Within minutes of one of the Nation’s best cattle sale barns
The historic Duck Bar Ranch is uniquely situated in one of the most highly sought-after areas of the Nebraska Sandhills. The Sandhills have provided many a good life with raw beauty mostly untouched since its creation. The area has just about everything to offer. The ranch shows a very strong pride of ownership with many new updates and excellent range conditions. The condition of the range and meadows show how comfortable the ranch handles 400 head of mother cows. Fences are all tight with good corners and is ready for someone to move in without any improvements needed. As I toured the ranch, I couldn’t help but notice how good the topography laid for a Sandhills Ranch. Truly a cow haven, Duck Bar Ranch has big valleys with ample water and grass.
Learn about the locale
Duck Bar Ranch is located near Valentine, which is the major hub for Cherry County. From Valentine, travel 16 miles south on Highway 83, then west on 16B, which turns into Kennedy Road, for 19 miles. Valentine Airport supports a 4,700 foot runway capable of jet service. Valentine, with a population near 3,000, is the major hub for the Northern Sandhills and offers all major amenities.
The area is comprised of large ranching heritage due to the major attributions the Sandhills have to offer: grass, hay and water. The Sandhills are noted for the finest cattle producing region in the United States, with one of the top sale barns, Valentine Livestock, only minutes away. The Sandhills cover over 13 million acres and are situated atop the Ogallala Aquifer with depths reaching up to 2,500 feet deep. Valentine is a popular tourist destination and known for its recreational opportunities, such as canoeing, hunting, fishing, and world-class golf courses. The ranch overlooks Merritt Reservoir, which is over 3,000 acres with sand beaches. Merritt is home to the state’s best walleye and muskie fishing, along with panfish, bass, pike, and catfish. Duck Bar Ranch is situated between McKelvie National Forest and Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. The two public areas cover over 190,000 acres and provide ample opportunity for hunting, fishing, and recreation. Nearby is Prairie Club Golf Resort, which is a private/public award-winning golf course overlooking the Snake River Valley.
Average annual precipitation is 18-22 inches, which the majority of comes during the spring and summer months. Average high temperature ranges from 85 degrees in July to 36 degrees during January. For the most part, the area is noted for low humidity, allowing comfortable evenings and mornings.
In 1907, L.C. Beel, set out from Illinois to discover a new place to settle and raise cattle. L.C. found the Duck Bar Ranch, which covered more than 90,000 acres at its prime. The current homesite became known as the town of “Kennedy.” The town provided a post office as well as a gas stop for the locals passing through. Some remnants of the town can still be seen today. The horse barn was moved to the ranch in the early 1900s from Fort Niobrara, which was located on the Niobrara River just east of Valentine to provide protection for early settlers. The current Duck Bar Ranch is the heart of the early L.C. Beel ranch.
Learn more about the property
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Deeded: 6,365.64± Acres
Sub-irrigated Meadow: 800± Acres
Rangeland: 5,565.64± Acres
BELF Lease (good until 2029): 640± Acres
Total Acres: 7,005.64± Acres
Deeded Acres: 6,365±
Other Leased Acres: 640±
Total Leased Acres: 640±
Total Acres: 7,005±
Duck Bar Ranch consists of an owner’s home, two bunkhouses, and numerous outbuildings. There have been many recent improvements made with existing buildings and new buildings added. You can see the pride in ownership by the well-kept headquarters and tight fences. The majority of the corrals and cattle loadout, with concrete floors, have been built in the last few years along with many miles of new fence. New automatic waterers, hydrants, 15 tanks, electrical, sewer, and creek crossings are just a few of the recent improvements made.
Building Improvements Include:
Main Home 1,972 square feet
Guest Home 779 square feet
Bunkhouse 1,236 square feet
Machine Shed (2015): 40’X64’X15’
Car Port (2017): 24’X24’
Vet Room* (2015): 16’X32’
Pole Shed: 21’X69’
North Calving Barn: 50’X35’X12’
South Calving Barn: 51’X26’X8’
Horse Barn: 26’X48’X12’
Pole Shed: 30’X80’X10’
Two Calf Shelters
Welker Cake Bin
Numerous Additional Outbuildings
*(Insulated with water and heat)
Duck Bar Ranch sets atop the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the largest freshwater aquifer in the U.S. with depths reach up to 2,500’ and range between 400-600 under the ranch, with very shallow static water table. Gordon Creek meanders through the heart of the ranch over 6-miles with year-round flows providing abundant water for livestock and wildlife. Unique to the Sandhills are the sub-irrigated meadows. The meadows provide grazing and haying even during times of drought due to the high-water tables.
A bonus to the ranch water amenities is a stocked lake for fishing. The ranch consists of 22 windmills and three solar wells along with a pipeline feeding five tanks. Cattle will always have a short walk to a water resource. There is an old surface water permit for Gordon Creek to flood irrigate approximately 80 acres and high-capacity groundwater permit to center pivot irrigate approximately 90 acres. Neither water permits are being utilized by the current owners but remain active permits.
All current owners’ mineral and water rights will be transferred.
Annual taxes are approximately $28,576.
Learn about the recreational amenities
Duck Bar Ranch has become a wildlife mecca. The current stewardship of the owners has benefitted a wide range of wildlife, including whitetail and mule deer, upland game birds, waterfowl, and a nesting pair of bald eagles. The eagles return each year and successfully hatch a nest of eaglets. There have been many trophy deer taken off the property in recent years. Upland birds include pheasants, sharp-tail grouse, prairie chickens, and dove. Geese and ducks utilize the ponds, creek and meadows. Mother Nature is at her best from the front porch of the Duck Bar Ranch.
Learn about the general operations
Duck Bar Ranch is currently running as a cow-calf operation of 400 head mother cows and all supporting livestock, including bulls and replacement heifers. Calves are born in April and go to summer-range in May. The hay meadows are utilized for early grazing while the hills are getting a jump on grass. As the spring rains come and grass grows, cows are moved to the hills for summer-range. Then again, cattle are brought back to the meadows following haying and graze the meadow regrowth in the fall. The ranch raises about 1,000 tons of hay yearly on the sub-irrigated meadows. A good share of the winter months cattle graze and are supplemented with protein range cake. Calves are weaned in the fall and sold throughout the winter months. Additional income is earned from leasing out the hunting and utilizing the guest home as an Airbnb. The guest home has generated $12,000-$15,000 additional income per year. Traditionally, this is cow-calf country but could also be utilized as a yearling operation as well.
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