How do you differentiate between a farm and a ranch?
By definition, a farm is a piece of property that is used for growing crops and a ranch is a large piece of property that is used to raise livestock such as sheep and cattle.
On average, a farm is considered a ranch at about 450 acres although this varies significantly by state and cattle headcount. In the USA you will find small ranches with about 200 acres of land and 2,000+ acre properties which are considered large ranches. The below list features the largest and most recognized ranches in the nation with over 500,000 acres of land.
A list of the largest ranches in the USA:
1. King Ranch
825,000 acres | TEXAS
Located in the southeastern part of Texas, King Ranch is the largest single ranch property in America. Noted on the National Register of Historic Places, the King Ranch was founded in 1853, when Captain Richard King and Gideon K. Lewis purchased a creek-fed oasis in the Wild Horse Desert of South Texas.
The ranch was devoted to cattle drives and raising cattle, and horses as well as farming, and in 1934 added oil and gas and agribusiness operations.
King Ranch is considered the birthplace of ranching in North America and today it specializes in in ranching, farming, retail, Quarter horses, Thoroughbreds, and more. Visit the website.
2. Singleton Ranches
1,000,000 acres (divided) | CALIFORNIA & NEW MEXICO
The Singleton Ranches was established 1986 by Dr. Henry Singleton. He purchased the famous San Cristobal Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The ranch specializes in breeding and raising cows and horses. The purchase of land grants in New Mexico and California over the years have resulted in assembling more than 1,000,000 acres of ranch country.
Today the ranch is operated by Dr. Henry Singleton’s five children who continue his passion and legacy. Through its Foundation, the ranch supports local youth – including FFA and 4-H organizations. Visit the website.
3. Diamond A Ranch
750,000 acres | ARIZONA
The Diamond A Ranch also known as The Big Boquillas is the largest cattle ranch in Arizona. Established in 1982 by Harvey Dietrich and then partner Richard Rudnick the ranch is a part of an old cowboy tradition to this day.
There are 10 full-time camp cowboys employed by the ranch to look after the 7 ranch camps and additional cowboys are taken on for the spring and fall wagons. The Diamond A currently runs a remuda of 75 working saddle horses, 30 broodmares, 3 stallions, and 35 young geldings and fillies.
4. Babbitt Ranches
700,000 acres | ARIZONA
Established in 1886 Babbitt Ranches operates on the principles of a lasting legacy and what they define as Cowboy Essence. The Babbitt Ranches raises calves with approximately 8,000 head of grass-fed, open range, hereford cattle. Visit the website.
5. Briscoe Ranches
660,000 acres | TEXAS
The combined landholdings of the heirs of the former Governor of the state of Texas from 1973 to 1979, the late Dolph Briscoe Jr., total 640,000 acres. Three generations of the Briscoe family have managed the 100,000-acre Catarina Ranch in South Texas.
550,000 acres | NEW MEXICO
Vermejo Park was originally part of the Maxwell Land Grant. After Vermejo Park went through several owners in the late 19th century, William H. Bartlett purchased 205,000 acres from the Maxwell Land Grant Company in 1902. In 1926, Los Angeles Times baron Harry Chandler bought the property from Bartlett. W. J. Gourley, a Fort Worth businessman, began buying property in the Vermejo Park area in 1945 and increased its area to 480,000 acres. Today the Vermejo is a nature reserve and guest ranch with a main focus in conservation and nature-inspired activities. Visit the website.
7. Waggoner Ranch
535,000 acres | TEXAS
The largest ranch in Texas under one fence was established in 1849 by Dan Waggoner. The W.T. Waggoner Estate stretches into six counties, with headquarters in Vernon, Texas. Main interests of the company are ranching, oil, and approximately 26,000 acres in cultivation. Visit the website.
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