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Top 5 Things To Know Before Buying A Ranch In Nebraska

October 15, 2020
  • Tips For Buying

A significant portion of our business is working for production-minded buyers and sellers.  These clients have a real appreciation for the components that create a productive environment, whether it be for crop or cattle production.  They consider the “bottom line” and the cash flow potential in addition to the investment value which is reflected in appreciation over time.  This often leads us away from the mountains with trout-filled streams and bugling elk, and instead seeking a better climate with grass-covered hills with adequate groundwater for irrigation or stock-watering purposes.  This search often lands us in Nebraska!

Here are the top five things to know before buying a ranch in Nebraska:

  1. Focus on profitability, not property taxes!  Nebraska has relatively high property taxes compared to other states.  However, net profit on Nebraska ranches is often higher due to superior production capability, consistent moisture patterns, shallow/accessible ground water for irrigation and stock water, close proximity to cattle and grain markets, lower cost feeding options, and low cost of living.  A solid business plan considers all of these elements to determine the net profitability, not basing decisions on any single factor.

  2. Land values in Nebraska often have a direct relationship to production and commodity market conditions.  Unless a recreational component is influencing value upward, the agricultural operation needs to be able to provide adequate cash flow to justify the investment.  This principle helps tie production and market conditions to the market value of the land.  For this reason, producers look to Nebraska for buying more production with each dollar spent.

  3. Nebraska has Water!  While many aquifers across the United States have been depleting over time due to excessive water extraction for crop production, the level of the Ogallala Aquifer underlying much of Nebraska has seen an increase.  Nebraska sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer where the saturated thickness is the highest.  Due to the porous nature of the soil and shallow depth to the top of the aquifer, the recharge speed is faster as surface water easily seeps back into the aquifer.  Long-term crop and cattle producers consider the availability of water and the value of locating in an area where the level of the underlying aquifer is stable.  This places Nebraska as one of the top areas to consider.

  4. Proximity to the “Corn Belt”.  Why does this matter?  Being within and close to the corn belt provides marketing options for grain crops and is where most cattle are transported for feeding and finishing.  Not only can a producer take advantage of multiple marketing options, but transportation costs and reduced livestock stress give Nebraska ranchers a competitive advantage compared to neighboring states to the west. 

  5. Rural Nebraska has friendly people!  It has been our experience that the people of rural Nebraska are some of the most welcoming and friendly people anywhere.  Perhaps it is the work ethic instituted in children from a young age or their tie to mother nature working the land year upon year.  They are often grounded in their thinking and value family and relationships over modern trends and fleeting fads.  Community is important and lending a helping hand is first nature.  They don’t flaunt their success and enthusiastically support other likeminded individuals who are willing to work for it.

We currently have one of the best Nebraska Ranches listed for sale.  Parker Ranch, a 28,750± total-acre ranch, of which 27,482± are deeded, has consistently supported 1,600± Animal Units.  With the ideal combination of abundant grass, unlimited stock water, efficient cross fencing, well-designed improvements, close proximity to cattle markets and convenient to abundant feed resources, this is a unique opportunity to invest in one of the cleanest and most efficient ranches on the market.  This is a consistent ROI opportunity.