Purchasing a Live Water Ranch

The Importance of Access to Live Water When Purchasing a Ranch

Only about 2% of the total U.S. population are families involved in farming and ranching. This staggering statistic is jaw-dropping considering that 2% directly contributes to the vast majority of food sold in grocery stores, farmers markets, and even the meat packing district of Chicago.

Running a ranch takes more than simply tossing a bit of feed into some cattle run. How you supply water when operating a ranch will make or break your business. In particular, the ability to access live water can make all the difference in the success of your ranchland.

What are Live Water Ranches?

Whenever you scroll through listings in Montana, Texas, Idaho, and Wyoming, you want to pay attention to “live water ranches” instead of open farmland. Live water means you get direct access to a naturally moving body of water as part of the land deal.

 

Ranchers typically get the water they need to keep cattle in good health from one of two sources. The first (more common) are underground resources like tapping into local aquifers or using a pump in a well.

 

The other pathway for water supply access is having some form of live water source. You may have a stream or river running through the property or even a pond with your own private dock for catching crawdads.

 

This live water directly contributes to the beauty and biodiversity of your ranch property, especially when it comes to evaluating the price tag of investment.

Benefits of Live Water Access

Whenever you’re in the market for new ranch land, you want to get live water access. It ensures you have the resources you need for a thriving headcount – which is what will make your ranch profitable. Overall live water benefits include:  

Agricultural Irrigation

Crops will thrive because they get the essential minerals and nutrients, especially in arid regions or during dry spells. That will improve your chances of avoiding crop failure and, in some cases, lower your crop insurance premiums.

Livestock Watering

The most important reason to seek out ranchland with live water access is to ensure your livestock supplies have constant access to fresh water. It is the efficiency you need in the convenience of your own property.

Wildlife Habitat

Many ranches are located on rural real estate where endangered or threatened wildlife still thrive. Natural water sources attract a diverse range of wildlife. They can offer some financial incentives if you align your ranch with those protections. You may save a bit on taxes and upkeep because you allow a specific waterfowl or type of fox to thrive.

Land Value

Ranches with live water access are and will always be worth more than basic rural real estate. Those seeking investment in ranches will always look for live water first, so when you get your hands on one of these properties, you can expect the land value to increase over time.

Easy to Test

Water quality on live water ranches is easy to monitor and maintain. The occasional test is affordable, and remote access controls provide updates without having to travel to and from different areas of your live water access.

Lower Livestock Expenses

A rancher’s most significant investment is their cattle. However, that is also the greatest expense. The more head you have in need of attention, the higher the cost of feed, water, and medical treatment. Having live water access, which you don’t need to filter or treat, drastically reduces one of your core expenses on your operational budget.

Creating a Natural Border

Unfortunately, border disputes will happen every now and then. Having a clearly defined border with live water saves you a ton of headaches with your neighbors and fosters a more rewarding local community so you feel safe and can focus on what matters most – running your ranch.

 

A ranch has many moving parts. Success is measured by the efficiency of operation and profitable sales of cattle. Keeping those resources in proper health is so much easier when you have access to live water sources like rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams.

 

The next time you are considering investing in a ranch for business, pleasure, or both, be sure to examine if the property has live water access. That one little sliver of the river where your cattle will graze can be all it takes to turn operating a ranch into a successful multigenerational legacy.

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