Best state to purchase a ranch

What is the Best State to Buy a Ranch Property?

Owning any agricultural land is always a wise decision. Most of this property will appreciate over time and remain stable during economic downturns. Turning that land into something even more valuable involves using the property for mining, manufacturing, tourism, farming, and more.


One of the more rewarding ways to leverage agricultural land is buying a ranch. A ranch is different from a farm, where you would raise crops and maybe set up a corn maze. It refers to a parcel of land dedicated to raising herding animals like cattle or sheep.


If you dream of riding horseback or on an ATV tending to livestock in the crisp morning air and reconnecting with nature on a whole different level, then this is the real estate investment for you. Even better, you can transform a working ranch into a luxury off-grid experience for agritourism, further improving your revenue streams.


The only question now is, where do you purchase ranch land?

A Quick “Know Before You Buy”

Before you jump into buying a ranch property, you may want to visit a working ranch to get some experience. Plenty of these locations will offer tours or stays in return for doing some light ranchhand duties. That will give you a little more insight into what you’re getting into.

As you explore the many opportunities across the United States, be sure to consider:

  • Operations: Will you be someone directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the ranch, or will you be a silent partner? You want to design a working plan based on the number of livestock animals you’ll be raising and the network of buyers/sellers upon whom you’ll be relying.
  • Ecology: What is the bioavailability of the landscape you’re targeting? Are there any plants or animals that may threaten the lives of your herd? Do you have underlying resources like mining opportunities on the property? Get a comprehensive test and assessment first, always!
  • Water: You must know where you’re getting your water. Livestock requires a lot of water for drinking, cleaning, and irrigation. Know your rights before you buy.
  • Infrastructure: If the ranch already has working facilities, you should check out the condition. You don’t want to purchase ranch real estate only to get stuck with a million-dollar bill for new fencing.
  • Public Land: Grazing rights on public land are equally important. You can usually contact the National Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management to learn more about if your target property may include some rights to access public lands.

With this information well understood, you can begin to find the best states for ranch properties to start your ranching journey.

Best State for Ranching

Landing on the best state is incredibly challenging, given the many parameters you’d want to consider. Availability of real estate, access to natural resources, and a supportive network of fellow ranchers are crucial to your success.

While states like Kansas, North Dakota, Texas, and Oklahoma certainly meet these unique criteria, one other state stands out in our estimation, and that is Montana.

Montana’s economy grows faster than the national average and has been doing so since the early 2000s. This is partly due to the state’s top exports being cattle and calves. The available plots of farm or ranch land average over 2,000 acres in size, leaving you plenty of space to begin your ranching career.

Ranchers began raising beef in mining towns in Montana in the 1860s. To say cattle drivers and ranchers are part of the community in this state is a drastic understatement. This is why you see popular TV shows and films like Yellowstone taking place in Montana. The infrastructure for ranching life is so vibrant and set up that it is easy to find filming locations.

Then there is the beauty. Given the proximity of Big Sky and Yellowstone National Parks, you cannot go wrong with ranching in Montana. The trick is you need to get involved right now. Record sales of farm and ranch land in 2021 have led to a shrinking inventory of available real estate on the market. Demand is increasing prices, and development is threatening the front doors of many ranchers. 

The over 700,000 acres of available ranches in the state are valued at around $943 million. With rodeos like the Livingston Roundup and plenty of tourism events like the Montana Beer Festival, Whitewater Festival, and Yellowstone Ski Festival, you can bet businesses are targeting the state for future tourism and luxury retreat endeavors. Buying a ranch now will lead to higher values in the future if you choose to sell or revamp your property.

Final Thoughts

Being a rancher is tough work but highly rewarding. You don’t have to be stuck in a cubicle all day long and can still get a good day’s work if the internet suddenly stops working. You are crucial to the national food supply and get to connect with the natural world in ways the rest of us only fantasize about.


As this investment is a solid vehicle for storing and attaining wealth, seeking a ranch property in Montana can lead to a long-term asset set to grow in the future. Do your research and set up your infrastructure, and you should see fair returns for your Montana ranch property.



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Timshel Farm is an exceptional 57 acre ranch in Jacksonville carefully curated for the individual who appreciates luxury outdoor living and the rich heritage of Texas land
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Featured Ranches for Sale in Montana

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Montana Beyond Ranching

From great education, culture, real estate taxes, rich history and breathtaking views, there are many reasons to live in Montana.