The traditional definition of a ranch is a property maintained for the purpose of rearing livestock in a range lifestyle (meaning the livestock get to graze relatively freely). However, the practice of ranching has come a long way from the old days of the Wild West, and even farther from its origins in the vaquero cowboy culture of Mexico, adapted from Spanish conquistadors.
These days there are many different kinds of ranches, owned and operated for many different purposes. Here is a quick rundown of the major types of ranches for sale in the U.S.:
Cattle ranch/livestock ranches-
These are working ranches where owners raise livestock of all kinds- cattle, horses, goats, sheep, even bison. (Actually, as of a 2012 census, there were more than 162,000 bison living on private ranches in the U.S).
this type of ranch is dedicated mostly to agriculture, although generally there are some livestock present as well. There are more than 2 million farms in America, and surprisingly, 97% of them are family farms rather than large scale commercial operations. The average size of an American farm is only about 450 acres (keeping in mind that an acre is about the size of a soccer field, and the average industrial farm requires more than a thousand acres to operate).
a hunting ranch is land maintained for the specific purpose of game preservation and hunting sportsmanship. These ranches often allow guests to pay a fee to stay on the ranch and hunt game such as quail, turkey, deer, hog, and other non-native animals kept preserved for the hunt.
A guest ranch for sale (also called Dude ranches) boasts space for owners to operate a tourism attraction and invite visitors to stay on the property. These are often combined working ranches and allow the guests to participate in the agricultural and livestock lifestyles. Looking for a guest ranch for sale, you will see a range from very natural experiences “roughing it” on the farm, to luxury ranches with spas and fancy restaurants onsite for guests looking to be more pampered.