With roots in the Miller-Lux cattle empire of the 19th century, this expansive cattle and hay operation is located in the Malheur River basin of eastern Oregon near the small ranching community of Crane, an hour southeast of Burns, Oregon. The ranch encompasses 52,445± deeded acres and nearly 100,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land under grazing permit to the ranch. With an emphasis on premium beef production, the ranch can accommodate 1,700± breeding cows plus bulls and produces excess hay on 1,500± acres, including 1,125± acres under nine center pivots. Abundant water features and improvements include reservoirs, year-round creeks and streams, irrigation and stock-water wells, springs, ponds, playas, and range developments. The ranch is modestly but practically improved with employee housing, equipment storage, barns, shop buildings, and cattle facilities including a 750-head permitted backgrounding lot. The ranch is home to an array of western wildlife and the owner is eligible to receive up to eight landowner preference tags to hunt elk and deer on the ranch. There are also strong populations of chukar and California quail, and the reservoirs offer excellent largemouth bass fishing. Hall and Hall’s management division has provided professional oversight of the ranch since 2008 and is available to work on behalf of a new owner to manage the ranch under a long-term arrangement or as part of a transition strategy. The 2,230± acre JMK Ranch unit of McEwen Ranch and Cattle Company, located 10 minutes north of Crane and consisting of 1,125± irrigated acres under nine center pivots, is available for purchase separately for $3,900,000. Please contact the Broker for more details on this separate offering.
Just the Facts
- Large, profitable cattle and hay ranch in eastern Oregon one hour southeast of Burns
- Encompassing 52,445± deeded acres with multiple adjoining BLM grazing allotments
- Capacity for 1,700± cows plus bulls
- Producing excess hay on 1,500± acres, including 1,125± acres under nine center pivots
- Numerous water features and improvements providing abundant water for irrigation, livestock, wildlife, and recreation
- Modest but practical livestock and ranch facilities
- Excellent big game hunting, wing shooting, and largemouth bass fishing
- Year-round access on paved highways and good gravel roads
- Annual property taxes are approximately $20,000
- This offering includes one-half of all minerals and mineral and royalty rights owned by the Seller in the property
- Cattle, hay, and machinery are not included in the offering price but available for purchase
Among the largest operating ranches in Oregon, McEwen Ranch and Cattle Company encompasses 52,445± deeded acres in two principal units – the 2,230± acre JMK Ranch (the “JMK”) and 50,215± acres that are home to the ranch’s headquarters and adjoin approximately 100,000 acres of BLM grazing allotments under permit to the ranch (the “McEwen”). Here is a description of each unit:
Located 10 minutes north of Crane, 30 minutes southeast of Burns, and 35 miles west of the McEwen, the JMK is a contiguous, level tract of land consisting of 1,125± acres of pivot irrigated cropland, 1,085± acres of dryland pasture, and 20± acres encompassing buildings and ranch improvements. The elevation at the JMK is approximately 4,200 feet. In addition to supplying hay to the McEwen, the JMK generates excess hay to sell and serves as a location to winter the ranch’s bulls, receive cattle, and hold remnant calves. Since 2008, the owner has invested approximately $700,000 into further developing the property’s abundant groundwater resources and expanding and upgrading the ranch’s center pivot irrigation system. At present, there are eight Valley pivots (with three being newer – 2008, 2010, and 2011) and one Zimmatic pivot installed in 2015. Six pivots are planted to alfalfa and three are transitioning to alfalfa. The ranch produced organic hay until two years ago and is now being fertilized and working toward three cuttings with yields of four to five tons per acre. Ample irrigation water is available and originates from eight productive wells on the property that are interconnected by a buried mainline system. Wells pump between 500-800 gallons per minute and depths are in the 300’ to 600’ range. All pumps and motors have been pulled, inspected, and maintained over the past five years. Buildings and infrastructure include a manufactured home, shop building, nine-bay open-sided machine shed, general purpose building, horse barn, and a permitted 750-head backgrounding lot with concrete bunks and metal panels attached to metal posts. In addition, there is a cattle-working facility, loading chute, hydraulic squeeze chute, and an enclosed 20,000 lb. beam scale. Cattle pens are watered with automatic frost-free troughs. Stock water is also available to each of the pivot fields through an interconnected system installed in 2015. The system consists of tire tanks with floats and is capable of providing water throughout the winter.
The McEwen lies about 30 miles east of Crane and a little over an hour southeast of Burns and is comprised of multiple parcels of deeded land surrounded by BLM grazing allotments under permit to the ranch. The elevation at the McEwen ranges from 3,900 feet along the South Fork of the Malheur River to nearly 5,300 feet in interior of the ranch. Stretching across a vast, dramatic high desert landscape, the McEwen extends for almost 25 miles north to south and over 15 miles east to west and encompasses irrigated hayfields and pastures, rocky canyons, grassy mesas, rugged buttes, steep ridgelines, broad valleys, meandering riparian areas, and pockets of aspen and juniper. An extensive network of public and private roads crosses the McEwen providing access to virtually all portions of the property. There are numerous water features at the McEwen including three irrigation storage reservoirs (Cobb, Chapman, and Star Mountain reservoirs), four primary year-round streams (South Fork of the Malheur, Visher Creek, Granite Creek, and Swamp Creek), springs, seasonal creeks, playas, and numerous stock ponds and dugouts. In addition, there are two major stock water developments installed within the past several years involving wells with cistern storage and associated pipelines and tire tanks.
The ranch headquarters (referred to as the “Visher”) sits along Riverside Road and encompasses the main set of ranch buildings plus approximately 200 acres of sprinkler and flood-irrigated cropland. Improvements at the Visher include a manager’s home, bunkhouse, Quonset-style machine shed, equipment shed, working corrals with hydraulic squeeze chute, steel-sided calving barn, two mobile homes, and multiple smaller outbuildings. Cobb Reservoir is located just south of the headquarters and stores irrigation water for hayfields at the Visher. It is filled by springs as well as water diverted from Visher Creek and is home to largemouth bass and crappie along with various species of diving and dabbling ducks. The South Fork of the Malheur River flows along the northern boundary of the Visher for over a half-mile and provides additional irrigation water at the Visher. The riffles and pools of the South Fork offer fishing for bass and the occasional redband/rainbow trout. Visher Creek, a spring-fed stream that rises on the ranch’s deeded lands southeast of the headquarters, is the other main source of irrigation water for the Visher.
Another 200± acres of irrigated cropland and two sets of additional ranch buildings lie northeast of the headquarters in a portion of the ranch known as Granite Creek. Buildings here include a modular home with a steel-sided storage shed, cattle pens with stock water, an older frame home, a mobile home, and a shop/equipment storage building. Chapman Reservoir, which stores irrigation water for the ranch, lies within its own secluded canyon surrounded by BLM lands north of the buildings and is fed by year-round Granite Creek. Although the reservoir is located on federal land, the only vehicular access to the reservoir is across the ranch, making the site very private. Largemouth bass and crappie can be found in Chapman Reservoir, and the canyon walls flanking the east side of the reservoir are an excellent spot for coveys of chukar partridge.
Swamp Creek, a very scenic part of the ranch lying south of the headquarters, is another core area of the McEwen and features approximately 100 acres of native meadow that are flood-irrigated, pastured, and hayed depending on annual moisture conditions. Year-round Swamp Creek flows through its own valley for over five miles on its way to the South Fork of the Malheur. Buildings at Swamp Creek include a two-bedroom hunting cabin and adjacent storage sheds.
Situated in the heart of eastern Oregon’s high desert, McEwen Ranch and Cattle Company is a well-managed, profitable legacy ranch that represents one of the largest deeded properties available in the West today. The JMK Ranch unit of McEwen Ranch and Cattle is available for purchase separately for $3,900,000. Please contact Broker or visit Hall and Hall’s website for more information.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
JMK Ranch 2,230± acres
- Irrigated cropland 1,125± acres
- Dry pasture 1,085± acres
- Farmstead 20± acres
- Irrigated hayland 530± acres
- Rangeland 49,635± acres
- Farmsteads 50± acres
Deeded Acres: 52,445±
Total Acres: 52,445±
McEwen Ranch and Cattle Company features multiple sets of modest, functional improvements sufficient to support the current farming and livestock operations at the ranch. These include the following:
- Modular home – 1,296± 3-bedroom/2-bath Karsten brand home on foundation installed in 2008
- Shop – 3,900± sq. ft. steel building, concrete floor, half insulated and heated
- Machine shed – 5,400± sq. ft. open-front building with 9 bays, power, and concrete and gravel flooring
- General purpose building – 3,900± sq. ft. with concrete floor and overhead sliding doors on each end
- Barn – 1,500± sq. ft. pole frame with power, water, and dirt floor
- Scale house and 20,000 lb. livestock scale 750 head permitted background lot with concrete bunks and metal panels
- Corrals – steel paneled with working facility, hydraulic squeeze chute, and automatic frost-free troughs
- Main house – 1,489± sq. ft. 2-bedroom/1-bath frame construction with metal roof circa 1950
- Shop – 1,980± sq. ft. metal Quonset building with power, concrete floor, and wood stove heat
- Bunk house – 616± sq. ft. 1-bedroom/1-bath wood-sided building
- Machine shed – 2,400± sq. ft. open-front building with 6 bays and powre
- Corrals – wood/steel with hydraulic squeeze chute and loading chute
- Calving barn – 2,000± sq. ft. with metal siding, stalls, overhead door, power and water
- 14’ x 60’ mobile home
- Misc. sheds and storage buildings
- Modular home – 1,296± sq. ft. 3-bedroom/2-bath Karsten brand home on foundation installed in 2007
- Storage shed – 480± sq. ft. with steel siding
- Shop/machinery storage building – 2,400± sq. ft. with 900± sq. ft. enclosed shop area with concrete floor, power, and wood stove heat
- Vacant older home and mobile home
- Vacant house – 795± sq. ft. with aluminum siding with adjacent storage sheds
This offering includes one-half of all minerals and mineral and royalty rights owned by the Seller in the property.
McEwen Ranch and Cattle Company is a well-managed, highly productive year-round cow/calf operation focused on premium beef production. Under current ownership, the ranch rates at 1,800± animal units made up of 1,700± breeding cows and 100± bulls and offers significant management flexibility because of its overall size and configuration. McEwen calves are vigorous, hearty and well-suited to thrive in eastern Oregon’s high desert environment. The owner has been committed to developing high quality genetics, and as part of this program the ranch purchases quality bred heifers to supplement breeding stock rather than holding over replacement heifers. The ranch purchases registered Black Angus bulls focusing on growth and carcass characteristics. As a result, weaning weights continue to increase and calves perform well in the feedlot and grade well on the rail. Calves are verified natural, non-hormone treated (NHTC) and global animal partnership (GAP) certified. The McEwen cattle herd is available for purchase, and by acquiring the herd one could take advantage of the current owner’s strong commitment to breeding and developing high-quality cattle.
Depending on weather patterns and fall feed conditions, the ranch begins feeding cattle in early December. Bulls winter at the JMK Ranch, while cows typically winter at the McEwen in two to three separate groups and are fed an average of one and a half tons of hay per head. Calving generally begins in February, and feeding continues until all cows and calves are turned out onto grass by April 1st of the following spring.
In a typical year, 1,000 to 1,100 tons of mostly alfalfa hay are harvested at the McEwen Ranch from approximately 400 acres (300± acres under wheel line with the balance flood irrigated by ditch and gated pipe). There are multiple water right certificates from various sources, including South Fork Malheur River, Visher Creek, Cobb Creek, Granite Creek, Hickey Creek, and Swamp Creek. The balance of the ranch’s hay requirements come from the JMK Ranch, where 1,125± acres are irrigated by nine center pivots utilizing water from eight irrigation wells.
The McEwen is divided into approximately 15 large pastures that combine both deeded and federal lands. Cattle utilize and rotate through these pastures from spring through fall. Once cattle come off the federal lands at the end of October, interim fall grazing is available on deeded pastures and aftermath hay fields. Under current management, calves wean in bunches from October through December and are hauled to a feedlot in Brogan, Oregon where they are “warmed up” to shipping weight. Weaning weights are in the mid-500s for steers and low 500s for heifers. The ranch is currently running 1,300± cows plus bulls.
Other PropertiesMore Like This
“When it was time to invest in a ranch for our family, we knew we needed to work with Hall and Hall. The expertise is unsurpassed.”
In 1988, Joel Leadbetter became a partner at Hall and Hall where he has been instrumental in completing complicated, high-profile deals such as the recent sale of Texas’ historic 512,000-acre Waggoner Ranch.
“The professionalism, preparation, and overall positive demeanor exhibited… were truly impressive… I have never before worked with a more dedicated, knowledgeable, and level-headed sales professional.”
I had been looking for the right property for several years and Elliott Davenport’s insight into the quail plantation market and his ability to think strategically was instrumental in helping me find our new place. Elliott was helpful on all technical aspects of contracting and due diligence. His post closing help with hiring and contractors made the process much easier as well.
I have purchased 4 ranches through Hall and Hall over the past 20 years, and there is simply no other team in the world like them. They have navigated complexity, professionally attended to every detail, operated with fairness and integrity, and demonstrated an unwavering commitment to me– whether representing me or the person on the other side of the deal.