Ranching in Oregon

Ranching in Oregon – A Modern Day Oregon Trail

Oregon is a popular destination for those looking for adventure. From fishing to hunting to exploring the diverse mix of mountains, forests, and prairie land Oregon has a niche for anyone with adventure in their heart. An aspect of Oregon that many may be unfamiliar with is the deep connection to ranching in Oregon.


In its heyday, Oregon was a major producer of both cattle and wool, allowing for a blending of many cultures and traditions. Cattle ranches in the state’s southeast corner were run in a fashion found in California and Texas. Cattlemen called themselves “buckaroos” and transitioned from small ranch operations to larger acreage ranches in the later part of the late 18 and early 1900s. While open range grazing of the past has changed significantly with the federal protection of land, the cattle industry still represents a $900 million economy in Oregon.

Sheep farming and wool production with Spanish and Irish heritage were and still are a massive part of Oregon’s ranching culture. Sheep are summered on the hills and mountains and spend the winter months in the valleys and lowlands. Even in today’s busy world, roads in the mountain passes are brought to a halt as ranchers drive thousands of head of sheep up or down the mountains.


Three Sisters mountains near Sisters, Oregon

Three Sisters Mountains near Sisters, Oregon

Working cattle and sheep ranches are still economic drivers in Oregon. With a focus on sustainability, many non-profit groups help ranchers offset the initial costs of regenerative ranching with grants. Regenerative ranching focuses on the impact animals have on the landscape and attempts to harmonize the two. Free-range grass-fed animals reduce problems with nitrogen loading while maintaining more natural biodiversity in the fields. Furthermore, with sheep herding, the grazing animals reduce the risk of wildfires by eating the underlayers of the forests.

Types of Ranches

We have already explored working ranches for either cattle or sheep. Both ranches pay great dividends; watching livestock grow can be a reward, but being a revenue producer is a greater incentive for most. Being surrounded by charismatic livestock like cows and sheep can also serve as a draw for guests.

Luxury Ranches

Buying or building a “luxury ranch” can become its revenue stream too.

Working ranches are a growing niche For tourists looking to spend time in nature. Learning about the history and heritage of ranching is an added value for guests who visit Oregon for its green spaces.

Understandably running a cattle ranch while operating a bed and breakfast type property may not be for everyone. There are many other uses of prime ranch land in Oregon. 

Hunting and Fishing

Oregon is a sportsmen’s dream. Mallards and geese are common in flooded pastures across the state, and pheasants and quail are a frequent addition to grassland game. The forested slopes of the cascades are home to grouse and turkey. We’ve only begun listing some of the state game birds. Bear, elk, deer, and antelope species are drawing hunters nationwide. All of these species are found in the state, and property owners may apply for Landowner Preference tags in the case of deer, elk, and antelope. Landowners or LOP tags allow property owners to apply for tags to hunt game on their land and are transferable to guests. LOP tags are coveted as they don’t require a lottery drawing like public land tags. While the game animals on the ranch can travel freely on and off property, the ranch owner can landscape waterholes and other features that will draw animals.

For ranch owners with access to rivers and water, angling can be another option to turn a hobby into a revenue stream. The regions near the Columbia river and its tributaries offer salmon and steelhead fishing. Both fishes offer excitement and great eating for any angler. Ranches in the state’s southern half provide anglers with trout fishing in the streams and panfish like crappie and bass in lakes.

Eco Ranches

Luxury ranches don’t have to be geared to providing guests with sporting opportunities. Tourists to Oregon often wish to escape the views and sounds of urban life. Horseback riding, hiking, birdwatching, and nature photography are offered to guests staying at a ranch. A chance to connect to the outdoors draws guests to ranches during their stay in Oregon. Smaller pole tents and rustic cabins have become popular for tourists looking to have a wilderness or “cowboy” themed vacation. Multiple smaller units on a ranch also allow for multiple bookings, allowing ranch owners to adjust how many guests they have at once based on their workload.

Oregon is far more than Portland. With a rich history of ranching and a statewide commitment to sustainability, Oregon will continue to be a jewel for those looking to escape concrete and phone screens. Ranches in the state are as diverse as the state itself. From working cattle ranches to luxury hunting ranches, prospective ranch owners have a trove of options to choose from. Explore more of Oregon’s ranches here at UCRanchesforsale.com



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This unbelievable Tennessee ranch is a showstopper! rare opportunity to purchase 983+/- acres under a fence with approximately 21 miles of interior trails/roads, including a road around approximately 98% of the perimeter.
983 AC