Ranch Marketing Blog

Is Saudi Arabia’s Purchase of California Farmland Contributing to the State’s Drought Crisis?

Due to climate change, Saudi Arabia is experiencing a debilitating drought, which is hindering their ability to grow alfalfa. So, in order to feed their cows, a Saudi-owned dairy company, Almarai, has bought up massive amounts of farmland in California. Yes, the dangerously drought-stricken U.S. state, California.

As it turns out, approximately 100 billion gallons of water per year is used to produce feed for foreign cattle. The U.S. is receiving compensation for these exports; however, this forces the U.S. to bear the burden of providing water to the rest of the world when we don’t even have enough groundwater in some parts of the country to meet the basic needs of our own residents.

water for farms
Yet, foreign companies who can no longer support their businesses in the conditions present on their own soil are snatching up California farmland for sale. Almarai has now purchased around 14,000 acres of farmland in the western region of the United States.

There are just over 2.2 million active farms in the U.S. and California farms lead the nation in the growth of 66 crops, including artichokes, dates, raisins, pistachios, pomegranates, sweet rice, and walnuts. Despite its current environmental setbacks, California’s top three agricultural exports are almonds, dairy, and wine, and about two out of every five acres of crops grown by American farmers are exported elsewhere. Additionally, about 25% of California-grown alfalfa is being exported across the globe to feed foreign cattle.

The selling of farmland real estate and the practice of exporting crops to foreign businesses and consumers are not the problems for those who have expressed concern. Rather, critics are worried about the amount of water that is going towards growing the specific crop: alfalfa. Alfalfa is known as one of the most water-intensive crops around, and California does not have a lot of water to spare.

It is not just Saudi Arabia. In fact, China, Japan, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates also grow significant amounts of alfalfa in the United States. But why are these countries choosing the United States as the ideal place to grow their water-sucking crops? It is because of how our government subsidizes agriculture. It is a good thing that the U.S. government contributes in order to feed the nation, but when that agriculture is being shipped halfway around the world, and our residents never see a morsel, that is when people become concerned.

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Spring finally makes an appearance at Deep Creek Ranch north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Spring has been a long time coming here in northwest Colorado.  All of the locals say “this is how it used to be” but I often think those folks are just reminiscent of the good old days – Mother Nature has a way of keeping us on our toes and in my 30+ years here every year has been different.  Last spring the snow was off of the Elk River Valley hay meadows by April 1 and the following 3 months made up for the light snowpack with an abundance of rain….it was a record hay crop!  The year before, we were checking calves in May on a snowmobile.  You never know what hand the weather will deal you but one thing I’ve learned in ranching and in showing ranches, even the worst hand provides a moment to snap a photo of a bright, new wildflower defying the cold and reminding me that summer is just around the corner.

colorado mountain ranch flowers on colorado ranchColorado Ranch greening up

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The Importance of Land Surveys when Buying your Colorado Dream Ranch

By: Christy Belton

The survey exception in the title insurance policy does not give coverage against encroachments, easements and boundary disputes. An approved survey not only can remove that exception and protect the owner and lender from claims, but it just makes sense to know what land is being purchased.  Land in this area costs too much to not know exactly what is changing hands.

A boundary survey will establish true corners and boundary lines on a land parcel.  They can sometimes show easement lines if requested.

ranch for sale fence

An ALTA (American Land Title Association) survey is much more comprehensive. It can cost several thousand dollars, and can take weeks to complete.  Property lines, improvement locations, easements, utilities, fences and ditches are shown as well as other conditions affecting the property.

In addition to having a survey done when purchasing Colorado ranches for sale, you might also consider one for the following: When selling land and you do not clearly know where the property line is on the ground; when land is not clearly defined by a plat, legal description, or older survey; when building a fence, building, shed, or anything close to an unknown property line; when clearing or doing construction in “wetland” areas in the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers; and to settle a boundary dispute.

colorado ranches for sale fence

Two surveyors measuring the same line may end up with different results, although they should be close.  Measurements are always subject to error, but more importantly, measurements are based on found evidence. Surveys performed at different times may not have the same evidence available.  A more recent survey may use recent monuments set since a prior survey and the monuments used for the prior survey may not even be available.  Surveyors also rely on their own records as evidence; hence the reason surveying has been termed an art rather than a science.

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3 Important Factors of Agriculture Land Buying

This country has always been high on agricultural production. There are more than 2 million farms in the United States and each one serves its own purpose and contributes to the entire agricultural industry.

Finding farm land for sale to begin a career as an agricultural farmer is a great decision. You’ll be able to begin a family tradition of caring for this new property for decades. Doing some research and keeping these important factors in mind, you’ll be ready to begin a career on a beautiful piece of land doing something that you love.



Agricultural production happens in every single one of the states in this country, but the market is much more profitable in certain parts of the country. Knowing where to settle down and begin your career as a farmer will help give you an advantage over other beginner farm owners. You will be all set to join the ranks as a successful production farmer.


Land Details

Knowing everything about the land — especially the stuff that previous owners or the seller doesn’t want you to know — is extremely important when buying farm land. It’s important that you know every possible detail that affects your property: weather conditions, flooding issues, damaged property, nearby gas plants, and more. Recently at a ranch in California, the property owners were not aware of a major gas plant near their property and a large leak broke out, damaging the property. The cost of that gas leak is now over $600 million. These kinds of issues — with varying degrees of severity — can happen to anyone. Which is why it’s extremely important to work with experienced real estate agents who can discover these potential hazards for you ahead of time.


Exact Property Lines

It’s also important to know exactly where your property begins and ends. Knowing this information will help you avoid any issues down the line. This way you will know where you can and where you can not alter your property.

The real estate value for agriculture land in the U.S. is worth about $2 trillion. Whether you’re in search of a cattle ranch, horse property, hunting ranches, or just beautiful farm land, becoming an agriculture land owner can be great.

If you want to know more about this great industry and find quality land for sale, contact us today!

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Beef Industry and Colorado Ranches for Sale

By: Christy Belton

I recently read a fantastically entertaining, often hilarious and totally eye opening book about one man’s self-challenge to raise enough food to sustain him for one month.  He converted his 800 square foot of backyard space into a mini farm/ranch in Brooklyn…New York.  He assumed the role of traditional farmer on a small scale and experienced many of the same challenges producers on all levels face. Although he was not dependent on his farm for his livelihood, not even part of it, he raised the question of how practical it would be to be truly self-sustaining.  He successfully answered the question, but you’ll have to read the book to find it out: My Empire of Dirt by Manny James.

This experiment is timely considering the increased emphasis society has placed on sustainability, the environment and healthy food.  The desire to know where your food comes from and the cost to the earth to produce it has resulted in great new technology that allows cattle operators to produce more beef on less land with less impact.  A study published in the December, 2011 Journal of Animal Science found that raising a pound of beef in the United States today uses 33% less land, 12% less water, 19% less feed and 9% less fossil fuel based energy than in 1977.  The resulting carbon footprint was also reduced by over 16% in that same time period.  As with most other competitive industries, the beef industry takes advantage of new technologies to increase profits.  By applying these advancements to their operations, farmers and ranchers have been able to raise more beef from fewer animals by maximizing resources while simultaneously reducing the impact to the environment.

Colorado Ranches For Sale


As I read the book, it became pretty evident that in spite of the fact that I help feed more than just my family, I never really considered what it takes to feed Earth’s inhabitants. The world population recently reached 7 billion and is expected to grow to 9.5 billion by 2050. As the demand for land and resources increases, the efficiency of a farm/ranch becomes increasingly critical. The beef industry is well positioned to meet growing consumption demands.  Beef is an important component of efficiently meeting nutrition needs for humans; it provides more than 10 percent of recommended value of 10 essential nutrients and vitamins for less than 10 percent of daily calories.  That’s a tremendous bang for the buck!

As demonstrated in the author’s experiment, raising food for human consumption is challenging regardless of whether it’s for one man, for one family, for a community or for a planet.  As the author so colorfully learned, “It’s one thing to know the farmer, it turns out—it’s another thing entirely to be the farmer.”  Next time you sit down to a nice steak you can feel good that you’re not only eating an excellent source of tasty and healthy vitamins and nutrients, but that you’re also supporting an industry committed to responsible, safe and sustainable food production.


Christy Belton is the 2012 President of the Routt County Cattlewomen.  She helps her husband raise cattle in the Elk River Valley.

See all of Christy’s Colorado Ranches for sale!


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What to Know Before Buying a Cattle Ranch

Owning a cattle ranch can be an incredibly rewarding experience full of fresh air and rural living. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before you invest.

The difference between cattle ranches and farmland.

Farmers primarily raise crops, and they are soil and fertilizer experts along with plant growing professionals. They maximize their land potential through the crops they grow and treat their soil as a key ingredient in producing food. There are over 2 million farms in the United States with the average farm measuring about 435 acres, and it’s the state of Texas leading the nation in the value of farm real estate.

farms for sale
A ranch, however, raises cattle, sheep or other livestock. They maintain farm animal activities, researching animal genetics and making related investments to ensure the animals are always provided and cared for safely.

How many animals will your property support

Before you invest, you will want to know the cost benefits you can receive from your ranch. Contacting a professional for the information about product potential is key. They’ll give you information on soil type, precipitation, vegetation, and forage condition — all to help you accurately predict production potential.

How much of your time will be required.

Because cattle require significant care, it is crucial to prepare for the different management activities, animal care, and ranch maintenance needed properly. There is the option to hire someone if you are unable to provide the time needed.

What will I need to know about financial expenses?

One of the most important investments you can make into your cattle ranch is to buy quality livestock. Proper research will offer you good quality bulls, and superior product.

When it comes to gross income, it is important to remember cattle is an agricultural commodity. Prices will fluctuate with the market, but a good way to overcome any unexpected costs is to contact a professional.

A cattle ranch owner also needs to invest in quality, efficient equipment to provide the highest profit margin. Also, take into consideration the cost of hired labor, profit margin with net income, and breeding costs.

Interested in purchasing a ranch? Contact RMA Brokers and choose from our wide array of cattle ranches for sale!

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Things to Keep in Mind When Looking for Agricultural Production Property

Agricultural production has been one of the greatest industries in the United States since the beginning. We now live in a digital world with all this technology, but some “old school” institutions like agriculture production will never go out of business.

Agricultural production happens in all 50 states, and all together, the amount of real estate value from agricultural land amounts to about $2 trillion. It’s certainly a lucrative industry: in 2011, U.S. agriculture generated a gross output of more than $370 billion and employed over 750,000 people.

There are always going to be opportunities for agricultural production around the country, and deciding where to look for agricultural property can be an exciting, stressful process.

agriculture land for sale
The options available to you are almost endless: farmland for sale in California, Colorado ranch for sale, hunting ranches for sale in Texas, horse property for sale in Wyoming — there are so many land-purchasing options available. Deciding where you and your family are going to settle down and begin your agricultural production career can be a bit overwhelming.

Working with real estate professionals can help make the property-buying process as easy as possible. It is important to make sure you do enough research beforehand to ensure that you’re getting the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals offering their assistance. These professionals will give you advice on what property has the highest potential return on investment, any dangers facing the land, and if the agriculture industry is declining or on the rise in those areas.

Agricultural production has been a family-owned industry for hundreds of years. Keeping the tradition and history alive is important if you want to pass along your legacy to future generations. You might end up looking at a Colorado ranch for sale one day and then the next thing you know you’re handing down ownership of the property to your children, only to be passed down to their children in the future.

There are always going to be negative and positive trends in every industry, and the agriculture industry is no different. It’s an unpredictable industry and might see many negative numbers and outlooks one year, but surely can turn around in the next year.

Whether you’re looking for a Colorado ranch for sale or a Texas luxury cattle ranch for sale, finding successful agricultural property can change your family’s life forever. Find your lifestyle.

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Winter on the Colorado Ranch

By: Christy Belton

Winter is a welcome visitor to the ranch this year.  Following a crazy-hectic fall schedule, we are looking forward to the simplicity winter offers.  Although the cold winter weather doesn’t usually make a rancher’s work easier, it does add a degree of predictability to the job.  Spring, summer and fall demand taking advantage of every hour of daylight to fix fence, harrow fields, irrigate, harvest hay, and gather cattle at a relentless pace.  Winter demands feeding cattle on a regular daily schedule and routine is allowed to take a front seat.

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While most locals can’t wait for that famous Champagne Powder to blanket the slopes, we can’t wait for it to cover the meadows so we can pull the feed sled through the snow and feed our cattle. Our day begins when the barn door opens and the black Percheron work horses diligently stroll in for their morning grain.  As they eat, they are harnessed with simple leather gear that will enable them to pull with amazing force and grace.   Done in less time than it takes for a cold tractor to warm up, harnessing only takes a few minutes per horse.  The horses are then led in two’s to the feed sled equipped with runners that allow smooth pulling across the deep snow.  Once they’re hooked up, they’re driven to the appropriate hay stack where they patiently wait, steam rising off of their backs, while we hand load a feed sled with about 6,000 pounds of hay.

colorado ranch

Once loaded and following a stern voice command, the horses work in unison with a powerful tug that frees the sled from its ruts.  The horses then fall into a routine and together they pull the load through the snow.  The cattle fall in behind the sled with the dominant ones keeping pace in an effort to get a taste of some green meadow grass hay before it’s pitched from the sled. We scatter the hay along a trail that allows the herd to spread out and eat without pecking order pressure.  With the bells on the harness ringing, the snow creaking under the weight of the hooves and the horses labored breathing; it is a melodic reminder of why we love what we do.  After a few trips around the feeding area, we head back to the barn where the horses are returned to their respective stalls and allowed to cool off while they finish their morning grain.

Somehow the routine seems to set the bar for the rest of the day and we are energized but relaxed at the same time.  We are able to connect as a family and with our animals.  We often say there is no better way to start the day than by feeding cattle with a team of work horses.  Wintertime gives us the opportunity to slow down and take notice of how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy this lifestyle.


Find your Colorado lifestyle!

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Searching for Farmland? What You Should Know

Farming is an indispensable aspect of the United States. Throughout this country’s history, farming has been the backbone of the United States.

The farmland real estate value totals approximately $2 trillion in the United States, making it a lucrative industry. If you are looking to break into the farm industry, here are a few facts about farms that might be of interest.

farms for sale


    • There are more than 2.2 million farms in the U.S., so finding a farm for sale shouldn’t be too difficult. You can find farms all over the country of various sizes. You and your family might enjoy a small farm where you can focus a lot of your time on caring for a specific area of the farm, or you might prefer a large farm with acres and acres of land to look over. Whatever you prefer, there is a chance that farm is available for you to enjoy.


    • Family-owned farms are an important part of the farming industry. Of all the crop-producing farms in the United States, as many as 96.4% of them are owned, operated, and maintained by families. Owning a farm with your family can be wonderful. Think about how great it would be: If you happen to be a young couple searching for farmland for sale, and you find a perfect farm for sale, you can own that farm for years and years, and then pass it down to your children, a trend that can continue for generations.


    • Consulting with a professional real estate agency is one of the most important aspects you should consider while searching for a farm for sale. They have a lot of experience and know just what to look for in agricultural property. They will make sure that you’re not paying too much for unhealthy land, as well as handle all the other real estate issues that may arise.

Whether you want to break into crop-producing farming, cattle farming, or just want to enjoy owning some beautiful property; being knowledgeable about the farming industry, knowing what you want, and working with experienced professionals can help you find the farm of your dreams.

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Agricultural Production Land and the Benefits

Owning property has so many benefits including increasing value over time. Property that is able to be used for agricultural purposes has even more benefits.

In the United States, agricultural production happens in all 50 states, so finding land for sale that can be used agriculturally should be relatively easy. The property value of farming land in the U.S. equals approximately $2 trillion.

agriculture land for sale
Searching for farmland for sale does not have to be a very difficult process. The average farm is just over 400 acres of land and there are over 2.2 million farms in the Unites States. That’s only a mere 880 million acres of land (on the low end). It is important, however, to work with knowledgeable professionals who can assist you in your farm buying process. Knowing where good land is can save your savings account down the road. There are plenty of beautiful properties that look amazing on paper or online, but that land might not be actually what was advertised once your name is attached to it. Working with professional brokers can help make sure you are making the right decisions when you’re purchasing property. Many farms across the U.S. are family-owned as well: just over 95% of agricultural farms across the country are family-owned.

If you aren’t searching for farmland for sale, there are various other properties available around the country that can be used leisurely, commercially, and agriculturally.

      • Equestrian Property – Purchasing equestrian property can be great for anyone with — or thinking about — getting horses. Living with and training horses has many benefits as well.


      • Luxury Ranch – For those that wish to live a luxurious lifestyle with the beautiful, large scenery. Purchasing a luxury ranch can provide you with some of the most valuable pieces of property imaginable.


      • Hunting Ranch – Being able to own a large piece of land that can be used as hunting grounds is a great advantage of rural property.


      • Cattle Ranch – Having a cattle ranch has just as many agricultural and other benefits as any other pieces of land named before. Raising and taking care of cattle on a cattle ranch can be a family tradition for centuries.


No matter what kind of property that you’re purchasing, make sure to do the necessary research so that you are getting the best property available.

Search hunting, fishing, horse and cattle ranches, and luxury ranches for sale as well as farm land for sale. Search

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