Experts Share What You Should Know Before Buying An Equine Property

Some come to know the land or the farm or the ranch by way of being raised on one. It’s the same story for most of the agents at Hayden Outdoors, including Casey Stayman and Tracy Heckert. Both became lifelong experts on equine properties by trotting, galloping, or wandering their way through life on horseback. Today, they’re two of Hayden Outdoors’ leading specialists on buying and selling horse property, with extensive experience with what to know before buying equine property.


The Benefits of Owning Equine Property


Casey and Tracy are no strangers to the benefits of owning horse property; they don’t hesitate to talk about how horses have shaped their lives, and the power of being in such close contact with the impressive animals.

Casey Stayman Fell in Love with Horses at a Young Age

Casey was born and raised in Colorado. Her early days were spent picking up riding the old fashioned way.  “We’d buy horses for $50 to $200, and learn to ride on a trial basis. If you fell off, you got back on.” The grit and tenacity served her well, and she embarked on a proper equine education at 15 when one of her neighbors was training reining horses and took her under his wing. Later, after her son was born, horses helped her find her way through a severe case of postpartum depression. Fall off, get back on.

Today, she lives with her family in Wyoming, but still manages the Hokey Pokey Ranch Company in Livermore, Colorado. She rides mostly Western, working with roping horses and her new cutting horse and is actively involved with her local 4 H program. She’s been a real estate agent for over 15 years, and has proudly been with Hayden for eight of those, representing farm, ranch, and horse properties in Wyoming and Colorado.


Tracey Heckert had an Equine Upbringing

Tracy’s mom was an assistant to a trainer at a successful Arabian horse farm in Southern California. She was on horseback not long after she learned to walk and enrolled in 4-H when she was nine years old. She attributes most of her equine education to the organization, became a 4-H leader at one point and then briefly bred paint horses before moving to Colorado in 2004.

After settling in the Centennial State, Tracy founded a non-profit sanctuary for kids and horses – the Charis Youth Ranch. She partners rescued horses with at-risk youth, giving the horses a second chance and the kids an opportunity to build confidence and self esteem. She’s now based out of Fort Collins, Colorado, and rides mostly English, but, “I like an old Western saddle every once in a while.” Tracy has specialized in brokering farm, ranch, and equine property in Colorado since 2004.

While they’re horse lovers at heart, both agents are quick to point out the benefits must be weighed against a variety of other factors when you’re considering buying land that can accommodate horses. They walked through the important things to look for before you do.


Understanding Your Needs


Before you invest in real estate with the intention of putting horses on it, it’s important to take a close look at what you hope to accomplish. Casey often asks these questions to potential clients to get a sense of what they need:

  • What kind of horses do you have? Or are you looking to purchase your first one?
  • Do you ride in a certain discipline?
  • Are you looking for a basic or sophisticated property?
  • Will you need to set up a tack room?
  • Are you looking for pasture?
  • What are the zoning, covenants, and infrastructure requirements?

Tracy continues, “You have to cover the bases from two perspectives – what the horse will need, and what the client wants.”

Horse Property Features


Both agents outline the minimal requirements for a horse to live on a piece of land:

  • Fencing
  • Turn out
  • Feed
  • Water
  • Shelter

From there, the conditions get more specific to each client’s – and each horse’s – needs. Says Tracy, “I really try to educate my clients on the different types of fencing. If you buy some beautiful acreage, but it’s peppered with old barbed wire, you’re going to need to pull it out and definitely put in a new fence.”


a palomino horse grazing in spring with gentle mountains visible behind - know before buying equine property


Property size is an obvious but very important consideration. The agents have seen a trend in people wanting to downsize their equine property while still maintaining some of the key aspects of a larger horse property. For these buyers, Tracy and Casey look at equine-specific developments with shared facilities and infrastructure. If you want to purchase a large parcel of land for your horses, you might need to consider the cost of hiring a live-in caretaker to help with maintenance.

Pay attention to topography, grasses, and soil type. Horses need plenty of grass but typically don’t fare well on rocky soil. Talk with your agent about the rain cycles and how those cycles might affect the grass and hay seasons. Make sure your horses will have sufficient access to a water source, or consider installing one.

And if your goal is to ride, consider whether there are already trails on the property or access to nearby trail systems and riding areas.


Working with a Real Estate Agent to Buy Equine Property


Horse properties in the United States can require additional knowledge of the land and a particular attention to detail on your agent’s part, so it’s important to ensure you’re working with someone who has a deep understanding of horses and land.

Some important questions to ask your recreational real estate agent when looking for land for your horses are:

  • Do you ride or own horses?
  • What are the current zoning requirements for owning horses in this area?
  • How many animals am I allowed to have on my property?
  • What is the topography of the region?
  • Are there any poisonous plants or predators to be aware of?
  • If I want to build infrastructure on my horse property, what are the expected building costs and what is the builders’ expected timeline?
  • What are the neighboring properties like and do they pose any risks?
  • Are there any nearby potential traffic hazards to my horse land?
  • Can I access the property towing a horse trailer?
  • Are there nearby equine facilities or training centers?

Tracy, Casey and other Hayden Outdoors agents offer an innate understanding of horse properties for sale in the West, or how best to prepare yours if you’re looking to sell. They know what to look for, what to avoid, and how to work with local and regional agencies to ensure you and your horses will be happy.


Financing Your Horse Farm


Another important reason to find the right recreational real estate agent when buying horse property? Financing it. A seasoned agent can help you navigate and understand your financing options and considerations, including:

  • What kind of loan you need and/or qualify for
  • Factors to consider when financing, such as:
    • Your overall budget and how much money you can put down
    • Adding additional structures, such as barns, arenas, fencing, or round pens the property will require
  • The role of the lender in the purchasing process
    • Inquire about whether or not lenders in the area offer loan products specifically designed for horse properties
  • Understand property easements, access, and right of ways


3 chestnut horses peeking their head over the door of its stall at golden hour


Maintaining and Inspecting Horse Property


Your horse property is home to you, and it’s home to your horses, so it’s particularly important to maintain the land and do a thorough property inspection before purchasing. A good horse property agent will walk the land with you, looking for key traits like out buildings, round pens, stables, and water, as well as potential pitfalls like poisonous plants, gopher holes or prairie dog towns, and old fencing.

Once you own the land, it’s imperative to maintain it and to understand the costs of doing so. Casey emphasizes sourcing your horse’s hay. “It’s essential to keep hay local to avoid getting the horses sick.” Beyond that, you’ll need to maintain all outbuildings and fencing.

When it comes to grazing, here are some best practices for managing pastures:

Take an inventory of your pasture to learn about the species of grass, where it’s growing, water sources, and fencing.

Establish an area where horses can graze while the rest of the pasture recovers during wet or winter months.

Learn more about your county’s grazing requirement per animal per acre.

Rotate grazing to give sections a chance to regenerate.

Once animals have moved on from a grazing zone, mowing down the grasses in that area can help promote more productive and more nutritional new growth.

Test your soil and apply the appropriate fertilizer at the appropriate time.

Put together a master plan for your pastures to help avoid overgrazing.


Additional Considerations to Know Before Buying Equine Property


Owning horses and horse property requires extensive consideration. Some additional things to think about before purchasing horse property include:

  • The legal considerations of owning horse property, including its proximity to neighboring homes, land, or animals
  • The liability and insurance requirements for owning your equine land
  • Local laws and regulations related to horse ownership
  • Nearby professional support, including:
    • Large animal veterinarians in your area
    • Horse trainers
    • Property managers or live-in caretakers (if you have a large operation)
    • Farriers




Riding out from your own stable onto trails that wind through your land can be incredibly rewarding. Watching the sun sink beyond the red rims of Colorado’s canyons on horseback, taking the family on a trail ride up into the hills of Wyoming, or trailering your stock to the nearby show jumping competition – it really doesn’t get any better. Understanding what to look for when buying a horse property makes owning one all the better. The Hayden Outdoors agents that specialize in equestrian properties know these benefits as well as anyone, and they’re here to help you find your ideal equine property and understand the future of horse property ownership and management.

Casey wraps up by noting, “There are so many facets based on where people are on their journey with their horse.” Tracy adds, “But we come by our work naturally by way of being horse people ourselves.” Indeed, people who own horses, or want to, are Tracy’s and Casey’s people, and just like finding the perfect horse, they’re experienced in finding horse people the ideal horse property.

View our team of horse property agents today!

Rural Property Forest Fire Prevention & Protection Tips

The Threat of Forest Fires are a Very Real One For Rural Property Owners.

Whether it’s timberland, farmland, grassland or a cabin in the woods, protecting your property from the ravages of an out-of-control blaze is essential. The team at Hayden Outdoors represents land purchases across the country – many of which are in the forest, country or grassland areas. Our expert team will suggest fire prevention strategies, and use our experiences to communicate the best methods of keeping your buildings and livestock safe. 


Tips to Help Protect Your Rural Property and Home from Wildland Forest Fires


Make Sure You Have Adequate Fire Insurance Coverage on Your Home and Other Buildings on Your Property.

Regularly review this policy to make sure it covers all potential risks associated with wildfires. Take a moment to review this policy with an agent – ensuring that all the necessary coverages are in place to safeguard you from the potential risks that wildfires present.

Hayden Outdoors’ Evan Anderson offers insurance programs for landowners throughout the country, as a service to our clients. “Fire insurance can offer much more than coverage on buildings. We have policies through providers across the country that protect your investments beyond homes and personal property, including loss of income, loss of feed for livestock and loss of livestock itself.” Hayden Outdoors offers a full line of insurance for rural landowners, including fire protection, crop insurance, drought insurance and more.


Clear Away Dead Leaves, Limbs and Brush That May Accumulate Near Your Home or Other Structures on The Property.

This will reduce the amount of fuel available to a fire should it reach your property. Also consider cutting down or clearing away trees or lower limbs from within 50 feet of your primary home on the property.

Christopher Licata, a Hayden Outdoors agent and forester, sites some pretty interesting statistics on fire control.The Washington State DNR studies show that as much as 80 percent of homes lost to wildland fire may have been saved if brush around the homes were cleared and defensible space created around structures,” says Licata. California remains one of the most fire ridden states in the country. In a 2022 post-fire analysis by CALFIRE, homes with an effective D-Space had a 6 times better chance of remaining intact.” Landowners need to put in the effort now to protect their investments in the future.



Create a Buffer Zone Around the Perimeter of Your Home and Property  Improvements


Start by removing flammable vegetation and trees and replacing them with fire-resistant landscaping features such as mulch or stone pathways, gravel beds, or rock walls. Colorado State University’s Forest Service division has a nice diagram above called the “Home Ignition Zone” to show the effective range of fire control in relation to your home. Defensible Zones are broken into three zones in relation to how far the fuel resides near your home.

Licata coaches landowners when buying and maintaining their property in forested areas. It is important to think of your defensible space efforts in annual terms. The initial treatment is just that and keeping your property safe will be an ongoing project. You can do a lot of the work yourself. It is a great chance to get outdoors with your family, working on and learning about your property. You would be spending time together while protecting your home, so it is a win-win situation.”


Clear a Buffer Zone Along Your Property Boundary

Keep this path disced and clear of weeds throughout the spring thru the fall. Work with your neighbors to cooperate on fire mitigation efforts so that you are all working together to reduce risk.


Install Fire Resistant Roofing Material on Buildings That May be At-Risk From Burning Embers in a Wildfire.

This will give added protection against flying sparks and ash that can ignite nearby structures even when there is no direct flame contact.


Make Sure You Have Adequate Water Sources for Fighting Fires

Consider your property’s accessible water sources including nearby reservoirs filled with non-potable water like rainwater and large tanks that can store thousands of gallons of water. Wells on site, rivers or creeks onsite could also be used with a pump. Additionally, there are options for on-site water sources such as this ranch fire control tank!


Install a Sprinkler System Around Your Home and Other Structures

You can install a system that will automatically turn on in the event of a fire to help protect against flames, smoke, and ash. Research has shown sprinkler systems to be effective at structure protection during wildfire passage (Walksinshaw and Ault 2009).

Some landowners that live in the mountains place sprinklers around their home that tie into a main well or water source with a pump for emergency use. Ranchers often have trailers with water tanks and hose ready to drive to spot fires to assist in small fires. 


Have a Plan for Evacuating People & Animals From Your Property

Having an emergency plan can help save lives or a property if a wildfire occurs. Make sure everyone is familiar with the plan and designate an evacuation route away from any potential danger should you need to leave quickly. Stock trailers should always be empty and ready to roll in case animals need to be transported quickly.


Always Have Your Volunteer Fire Department Contact Info Accessible

Keep your local station’s phone number saved on your cell phone, posted in your home or barns in case you spot a fire nearby. Consult your local rural fire department on their suggestions to protect your property. Many times they will come out to tour your property and give you tips on how to reduce the risk associated with rural fires.


Install a Trail Camera, or Game Camera, with Cellular Technology.

These wireless tools offer three main benefits to landowners. Security, game management and risk detection. With solar battery supply and cellular technology, you can have videos and photos sent to your phone from your property instantly using these motion-sensored cameras. Hayden Outdoors agents usually install trail cameras on their listings for security of showings and for wildlife surveys. But having one for yourself can really provide many benefits. Pick up a Reveal Camera from our online store to protect your property today!

By following these tips, you can take proactive steps to ensure that your rural property or home are as safe as possible from the threat of forest fires. Remember, it’s always better to be prepared than sorry when it comes to protecting what matters most – your safety and your home!


What to Know Before Building a Gun Range on Your Property

For the past 35 years, Clay Owens has been among the top names in big game hunting in the U.S. He was an outfitter in Western Colorado, managing three of the largest operations in the state for 20 years. Today, he still actively guides hunts near Steamboat Springs, and in 2018, he applied his deep knowledge of rangelands and Midwest hunting properties to a different endeavor – recreational real estate agent for Hayden Outdoors. Neatly put, Clay knows a lot about building a gun range on your property.

As a guide on some of the country’s most notable hunting lands, Clay became an expert in setting up long-range shooting courses. Now he puts that knowledge to good use, helping his clients find property that can accommodate a personal gun range, and he’ll be quick to note that when you’re building a gun range on your property, there are several considerations you should keep in mind. It’s also important to note these considerations are general guidelines, and the specific requirements vary depending on your location. 

Clay stresses, “It’s crucial to consult with local authorities, legal professionals, and shooting range experts who can provide guidance based on your jurisdiction’s laws and regulations.” With that in mind, he also provided these key factors to consider when setting up a personal gun range.


Building a shooting range on your property to practice for hunting - Clay Owens guides Allen Treadwell on a predator hunt filmed for Life on the Land TV Show.

Building a shooting range on your property to practice for hunting – Hayden Outdoors agent Clay Owens guides Allen Treadwell on a predator hunt filmed for Life on the Land TV Show.

Assessing the Suitability of Your Property for a Gun Range


There are a variety of property considerations for home gun ranges, starting with size and a proper backdrop for the target area. 

“The biggest safety factor is your backdrop; it needs to be big enough to prevent ricochet and bullets from flying past the target, typically 20 – 60 feet high.” Clay explains this backdrop can be an established natural feature, such as a cliff wall, or something you build, like a large dirt bank. If you’re looking to buy land that’s well suited for a home gun range or build one on land you already own, Clay recommends utilizing heavy topography, such as canyons and hills, for a backdrop. The parcel should also be a minimum of 40 acres, although simple home handgun ranges require less acreage. If your goal is long-range shooting, the number goes up, with 500 acres being the minimum land you should look for to ensure success and safety. 

To put this into real world context, Clay is currently overseeing the build and installment of a long range at the Hayden Outdoors Ranch in Nebraska. About as complex and involved as a personal gun range can get, this impressive amenity will feature a five-stand shot range for sporting clays, a hand gun range with a cliff wall backdrop to prevent any escaped projectiles, and a 1,550-yard long range with steel plate targets every 100 yards. All of this is located in a canyon where shooters can practice out of the wind. 


Understanding Legal and Regulatory Requirements


Once you have established a workable piece of land for building a gun range on your property, it’s important to check in with relevant county officials to ensure you’re complying with any permitting, insurance requirements, private gun range laws, and noise ordinances. 

Clay suggests starting by visiting your county website to determine who the best person to talk to might be. Typically this is the county commissioner or sheriff’s office. And while it’s not necessary on private land, he also suggests putting up proper signage around the gun range so visitors know it’s an active shooting zone. 

“Generally speaking, most rural areas are not going to have any kind of regulation for that type of activity. The closer you get to an urban or neighborhood setting, the more you’ll need to take noise and compliance into account.” 


Safety Considerations for Your Home Gun Range


Again, Clay emphasizes the importance of implementing proper backdrops, bulletproof barriers, and safety berms to mitigate ricochet or stray bullets. It’s also key to establish clear safety protocols and range rules. “It’s important to let people know when you are having active fire on the range. For dude ranches, hunting properties, or family plots where people are doing other activities, put up a sign that designates the range is active.”

Dan Brunk, Marketing Director at Hayden Outdoors, sights in his rifle before his elk hunt.

Insurance and Liability


Clay points out that building a gun range on your property typically doesn’t require insurance riders, but it’s important to check with your insurance agent to make sure. “If you have gun range courses or start charging for use, then you’ll need to explore liability insurance and waivers.” 

Whether private or part of your property’s larger revenue generation activities, understanding the risks associated with operating a gun range is imperative to its success and the safety of its users. If you’re not sure what these risks might be, talk with a gun range expert to learn more or reach out to Evan Anderson, the Hayden Outdoors’ Insurance Representative. 


Private Gun Range Noise Management


If you’re lucky enough to shoot on a 1,500-acre gun range like the one Clay is building at the Hayden Outdoors Ranch, noise is most likely not an issue. The sound of shots fired will ultimately be swallowed up by the surrounding landscape or fade into the vastness of such immense acreage. But if you’re building a private gun range on less acreage and closer to neighbors, it’s important to understand – and mitigate – the impact of shooting range noise. 

Start by understanding the potential noise impact on neighbors, and communicating with them your intent for the range, your frequency and hours of use, and then address any concerns they might have. Taking a few minutes to talk with your neighbors now can save you countless angry phone calls and complaints later. Also research sound-dampening techniques and materials and acoustical barriers.


Environmental Impact


The environmental impact of a home gun range is something to consider from the very beginning of the process. It can influence the design of target retrieval roads and trails, and all ranges should consider soil contamination from lead but especially those built near natural water sources, such as streams and creeks flowing through the property. 

“In regards to lead, there are companies that will come and retrieve the lead out of banks and shooting ranges,” says Clay. “For folks who are really concerned about lead contamination, you can shoot copper bullets exclusively.” 

Additionally, be mindful of target retrieval roads and trails, making sure they don’t disrupt wildlife habitat such as bedding, roosting, and resting areas. This is particularly important if the land doubles as a hunting property

Dr. Peddicord of Environmental Range Protection has years of experience consulting private land owners and public entities on proper range environmental practices. “A fundamental objective is to keep bullets and shot off neighboring properties. For rifle/pistol ranges this requires appropriate space and terrain to place adequate backstops far enough from property boundaries that bullets ricocheted or flipped off the backstop will not reach the property boundary.” For shotgun clay target venues, recognize that shot deposits much farther downrange than often expected, especially when shooting downslope. As an initial generalization, recognize that shot may fall 300 yards and perhaps more from the shooting position, depending on terrain and site conditions.

 “It is important that shot and target debris do not reach adjoining property and that they do not fall into waters or wetlands on your property. If siting a range for a business or more frequent use, the most fundamental management consideration is periodic reclaiming and recycling of bullets and shot on ranges. Keep in mind this is much more efficient on moderately slopping un-forested areas without boulder fields where the necessary equipment can operate effectively.”

For further gun range consultation please reach out to Dr. Peddicord at http://environmentalrangeprotection.com.

Designing Your Home Gun Range


As discussed, your personal shooting range is going to be specific to your property and its allowances. Before you begin, determine the layout of the range (indoor or outdoor) and the appropriate shooting lanes and target distances. This is an excellent time to consult with a shooting range expert on best practices to ensure you get the most out of yours. 

It’s also important to think about orientation if you have the flexibility to do so. For example, a south-to-north range will maximize natural light on the targets while minimizing glare from natural light in the shooter’s eyes. 

Select appropriate materials for construction, targets, and safe backdrops. This will vary if you’re building an indoor or outdoor range. Earth berms, log walls, and railroad ties walls work well for outdoor backdrops as do swinging steel targets that can absorb a bullet’s velocity without shattering. They also allow the shooter to hear the hit, versus having to walk long distances to confirm impact. 


Equipment and Maintenance


The size and location of your home gun range will determine the equipment required to maintain it. Targets, shooting lanes, and shooting benches all require upkeep, so it’s important to keep this in mind when budgeting for your range. 

Setting up a maintenance schedule can help. Consider the work required to maintain the backdrop – be it a natural one or something you’ve built. Additionally, map out what you think will be required to keep your shooting range in proper working order, including trail maintenance, materials reviews, target replacements, etc. 

Clay points out, “If you’re having to construct a backdrop, you’re going to always need to add dirt. For active ranges, you’ll be replacing targets constantly.”

Safety Training and Education


Personal shooting ranges provide a lot of opportunity. There’s the thrill of shooting, the possibility to improve, and camaraderie of target practice with friends. But there’s also the benefit of learning about the sport in a safe environment, one that can promote responsible gun ownership and firearm handling. 

For those looking to incorporate gun safety training and education into their home gun range, Clay recommends a few things. First, the NRA offers an abundance of gun safety and gun education resources, especially for those who are new to the sport like young children and women – the fastest growing segment of gun owners. 

“I also always recommend people go to their local gun shop. Talk to them about training or people in the area who offer it locally. It’s a great way to learn the basics of gun safety as well as any local rules and regulations that might be relevant to your gun range.”




Adding a home gun range to your recreational property is a great way to increase the land’s versatility while also adding value. Clay concludes, “Adding a gun range to your property can absolutely increase its worth. It’ll enhance the value to a certain segment of buyers – people looking for hunting land with a range set up.”

To this point, he recommends getting in touch with a recreational real estate agent as soon as you decide you’re interested in a gun range property. Clay uses his expertise to identify and purchase legacy properties for his clients – the kind that speak to personal passions and generational family involvement. 

The avid outdoorsman drives the point home. “My family loves to go out and clink at different things. My wife, daughter, and son are all shooters. It becomes a fun competition with our kids, and it’s a lifelong activity for our family. There are a lot of people buying firearms for recreational shooting, now more than ever before.” 

Clay is quick to reiterate the need for encouraging responsible and safe firearm use, while also pointing out how building a gun range on your property offers an excellent opportunity to accomplish both. If you’re interested in learning more about selling property you feel is ideal for a home gun range, or you’re in the market to buy recreational land that can become the future home of one, talk with Clay Owens or a Hayden Outdoors real estate professional today. They’re the outdoor experts in the type of hunting or personal gun range property you’re looking for. 


Expert Recommendations for Buying Row Crop Farmland

A century farm is one that’s been in a family for over one hundred years. It’s an obvious enough fact, but one you probably wouldn’t come across unless you were talking to a farmer who owns one, like John Herrity.

To clarify, he’s not the sole owner of his family’s ground – he and his siblings all claim a stake – but his family has been working the soil since 1888. Today, John mostly focuses on real estate as a recreational and large-land real estate specialist at Hayden Outdoors. But he didn’t get there by way of the city. John knows row crop farming as well as anyone can, because he’s been a part of it since he was born – a generational learner of loving and working corn and soybeans in rotation as constant as calendar years. 

On a recent afternoon, John talked through some of the most important things to consider when buying row crop farmland providing a glimpse into the life-long expertise that sets Hayden Outdoors real estate agents apart from the rest. 


Wheat outlined by golden afternoon sunlight Expert Recommendations for Buying Row Crop Farmland

What is “Row Crop Farming?”


In its simplest terms, row crop farming, or row cropping, is production agriculture. Plants are grown in rows and then harvested by the farmer. John adds, “It has its benefits, like tractors being able to move through fields without harming the plants, allowing for easier cultivation, watering, and maintenance. Row crop farming also facilitates the optimal number of plants per acre of ground.” 


What are some of the best crops for row crop practices in the Midwest and/or as an investment?


The Midwest is row crop country. South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, and Iowa all offer premium farm land and growing conditions. Farmers can cultivate a variety of crops, including corn, soy, wheat, alfalfa, and organic vegetables. In the Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois, corn and soybeans rotate because corn typically takes a lot of nutrients out of the soil while soybeans allow the land to replenish. In some parts of the region, and with the right fertilizers, it’s corn on corn combined with some no till practices. 


How can farmers optimize yield and productivity in row crop farming?


The short answer is a few words – good crop rotation, herbicides, fertilizers, and watering. To elaborate on that, optimizing crop yield and productivity involves using a combination of sustainable farming practices such as precision agriculture, soil health management, and crop rotation. Farmers can collect and analyze data and then make informed decisions about when and where to modify practices resulting in more efficient resource use and increased crop yield. 


What should a buyer consider when looking at farmland in the Midwest for row crops?


It depends on what type of buyer it is. According to John, “There are generally two types of row crop buyers – producers and investors. Producers should look at the land for what they can grow. These days, the typical ag land buyer is very savvy. They know what they’re buying, the crops, numbers, and yields. Investors are interested in the income of the land and will want to invest in property that provides a viable return.” 


Harvesters working in the soybean harvest Expert Recommendations for Buying Row Crop Farmland


Why is soil health important in row crop farming?


Soil health is important in any kind of farming, but particularly in row crop farming. It directly affects crop health and yields and the sustainability of the land. There are a variety of things farmers can do to improve soil health such as cover crops, composting, reduced tillage, and using fertilizers. John points out, “It’s important for row crop farmers to work with an agronomist who can take soil samples and determine which nutrients need to be supplemented.” Corn and soy rotation is considered best practice to help preserve soil health. 


What is precision agriculture and what are the benefits in row crop farming?


Precision ag turns the field into a grid and farmers can take soil samples within that grid, pinpointing areas within the field that need less or different fertilizer. It reduces waste and input costs as well as minimizes environmental impact. “A lot is happening in the farm world that is making farming easier and more precise. There are GPS tractors that don’t require steering. In Brazil, they’re testing autonomous tractors. Pivot systems that have GPS functions are another technological breakthrough in farming. You can be sitting on your boat on the lake and water your fields from afar.”


What are some of the technologies used in sustainable agriculture for row crop farming?


There are a variety of row crop farming practices that prioritize environmental sustainability while optimizing crop yield, including reduced tillage, cover crops, composting, and organic farming. Reducing tillage can improve soil health and mitigate erosion while also increasing carbon sequestration. Cover crops aims to retain soil moisture, reduce weeds, and provide habitat for beneficial insects. Composting contributes to soil health and fertility, which reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers and organic farming eliminates the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. 


What are some of the best practice irrigation techniques being used in row crop farming to conserve water?


As water and irrigation become increasingly relevant issues throughout the U.S., finding ways to conserve has also become important to a farm’s sustainability. While there are a variety of new technologies out there, such as drop irrigation, soil moisture sensors, and remote monitoring systems, John notes the most effective water saving technologies are actually within the seed selection itself. “Seed companies are researching genetically modified seeds that require less water or rainfall. It starts with knowing your regional seed salesman. Seed companies help educate farmers on what works best for that region and grow zone. It’s key to establish a relationship with a local agronomist for precise soil testing and amendment requirements.” 


What future opportunities do you see coming up in row crops?


If you’re looking to get into row crop farming, it’s best to find a farmer who is looking to pass the farm along to a younger generation. Farming used to be very generational – changing hands from parents to children and so-on. But these days, some kids don’t want to take over the family farm. They think the life is too remote or too difficult. In some of these cases, farmers can find someone who is looking to get into row crop farming. Other times, older generations don’t want to burden the younger family members with the estate, so they’ll sell the farm. We are seeing farms being sold to investors or real estate investment trusts (REITs).”

There are also government programs that can subsidize farm ownership if your land is enrolled. Farm Credit Services provides great lending opportunities for both investors and producers, and the Farm Service Agency offers first-time farmer financing up to $600,000. 


In all, what makes the Midwest such great farm country?


In thinking about what makes the Midwest such optimal farm country – as it has been for hundreds of years – John replies, “Great climate, good rainfall. Farmers can increase their yields without additional irrigation. And of course, back in the day, pasture was important, too. Farmers found a good place to raise cattle, hogs, and families. And they settled and stayed.” Much like John’s family did in Elk Point, South Dakota in 1888. 

These days, farms must meet an ever-growing demand, and families don’t always settle in for generations like they once did. But row crop farmland remains a very valuable commodity, and finding the right real estate agent to help you buy or sell it is essential to success.

The land experts at Hayden Outdoors know soil types and how to put a value on them. They understand regional rainfall, how much water it takes to grow corn, and what type of irrigation a particular crop requires. They’re an effective go-between for investors and producers. These aren’t your typical real estate agent qualifications, but it is the type of skill set you’ll find in your Hayden Outdoors professional – someone who knows how to buy and sell row crop farmland because it isn’t just a job or a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. 

Making America Cowboy Again, Hayden Outdoors Announces their Gold Buckle Sponsorship of the Wrangler NFR

 WINDSOR, CO- Following their record breaking year in real estate sales, Hayden Outdoors Real Estate announces their “Gold Buckle Sponsorship” of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Set to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada December 1-10th, the top cowboys and cowgirls from across the country will compete not only for gold buckles but the pride of representing a lifestyle that goes back generations, to the very foundation of the United States of America. There is no better land brokerage to partner with the Wrangler NFR than Hayden Outdoors as they too know what it is to build a legacy on that same foundation. Hayden Outdoors is honored to be the only ranch and rural land brokerage represented at the “Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas” in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Dax Hayden, owner of Hayden Outdoors says, “The Wrangler NFR is the Super Bowl of rodeo, it doesn’t get better than this! To be able to represent our company there is truly an honor and testament to years of hard work and sacrifice for us. We are thrilled to partner with organizations such as the Wrangler NFR, Cowboy Channel and RFD-TV who so deeply align with our values and history as a company. We are grateful to organizations like these who have helped us grow, especially with our TV show “Life on the Land” which I am happy to say is now heading to season 4 premiering in January”.

Over 250,000 people are expected to grace the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center looking for goods and services tailored to the cowboy way of life. That’s over 80,000 more visitors than the year before. Some may say this growing interest in the cowboy heritage and rural lifestyle is influenced by shows like Yellowstone or, perhaps Americans are tired of being restricted by city limits, regardless of the reason the demand for land is at an all-time high. Clearly people are looking to move out of metropolitan quagmires and away from crowds. They want peace, they want quiet, and they want space, lots of space. It’s safe to say America may be turning cowboy again. So, if people are heading to the mecca of Cowboys and Cowgirls, the Wrangler NFR, to be immersed in this historic lifestyle, where do they go if they want to buy a piece of it? To the “Brand that Sells the Land”, of course, Hayden Outdoors. They are a brokerage built by the land, for the land and for those who love it. Hayden Outdoors’ Land Experts will be available daily between 9am-4pm at their booth (#1545) to visit with the folks who are ready to see what Hayden has to offer to those looking to buy or sell their land.

However, the opportunity to work with Hayden doesn’t just end with the buyer or seller. According to John Herrity, Hayden Outdoors’ Sale Manager, “With the exploding demand for our proprietary marketing services along with an increase in client requests to expand our footprint, we are interviewing experienced agents in all markets. If you have what it takes to ride for the brand, we encourage you to stop by our booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center and experience what “The Brand that Sells the Land” is all about. Or give us a call at 866-741-8323. We look forward to working with you.”

About Hayden Outdoors: Hayden Outdoors, LLC is a family owned and operated real estate brokerage established in 1976 that is based in Windsor, Colorado. With over $1.5 billion in annual real estate sales, Hayden Outdoors has grown to over 225 licensed brokers, agents and staff from coast to coast. Learn more by visiting www.haydenoutdoors.com.

Overcoming Common Obstacles When Selling Your Farm

Common Obstacles Selling Farm Land

Overcoming Common Obstacles People Face when Selling Farmland


In a recent chat with Hayden Outdoors Director of Sales John Herrity, the biggest challenges to selling farmland aren’t necessarily the land itself. Bountiful yields mean a healthy sale when it comes to selling farmland, right? Not necessarily.

Crop yields are really only one piece of the puzzle,” said John. “And they’re not necessarily the most important. Yields change from producer to producer. A savvy farmer will come in and look at the soil’s rating and compare it to what’s currently being produced to assess the viability of the land. You can have a great farm, but if the farmer doesn’t care for the land, then it won’t produce great yields. The next farmer could double production.”

So if crop yields aren’t the biggest obstacle to selling your farmland, what is? Well, it’s really all of the things we don’t think about when we think of farming. These are some very common setbacks when it comes time to put your acres up for sale.


Long-term leases and other agreements.

This is a biggie. If you decide to sell your farmland, but you have a long-term lease on the land, this can be problematic for buyers. People buying farmland are typically looking to work the land themselves. If you think you might be selling your farmland in the near future, avoid establishing any long-term leases. Alternatively, if you have a long-term lease on the land and feel it’s time to sell regardless, consider buying out the lease or reworking the terms.

Helpful Tip: Put all of your updated lease documents in one place and also make digital copies made by the real estate agent for potential buyers.


Farmland ownership models.

Sometimes a farm is a single-family entity. There’s one name on the title. If this is the case for your farmland, your sale will most likely be straightforward. If not, things could get a little sticky. Farms with multiple ownership stakes require a stakeholder consensus to sell. If everyone is on the same page, this will be easy to establish. If not, putting the land up for sale will need to wait until all owners agree to the sale terms. 

Helpful Tip: Meet with a trust attorney if you think that multiple entities could cause issues at the closing table.


Conservation Easements

Farms are big, expansive swaths of land that often require easements to allow for property access in otherwise inaccessible parts of the acreage. Easements are typically established with neighboring property owners or other entities, such as the Bureau of Land Management or the United States Forest Service. Buyers will want to clearly understand these easements, their permanence, and how they affect the use of the land. 

Helpful Tip: Our real estate agents are experienced with conservation easements, water and mineral rights, and more. Write down your questions and give one of our team members a call to go over your inquiries.


Liens and encroachments

If the farm is the rose, consider liens and encroachments the thorns. Liens are placed on property, buildings, or equipment that have outstanding debt until the debt is paid off. Encroachments are just that – any unauthorized intrusion onto the property, either above or below the land. This can be an old fence that wanders away from its property line, an aging tree that bows from one property onto another, or a neighbor’s rusty old tractor that he or she refuses to fetch from your land. It’s best to clear your farmland of all liens and encroachments as much as possible before you sell it.

Helpful Tip: It’s also wise to have your real estate professional work with the title company to pull an ownership and encumbrances report (O&E Report), which will show any liens or judgments against the property.


Of course, don’t let these challenges deter you if you feel you’ve tilled your last acre. The experienced real estate professionals at Hayden Outdoors have been doing this for a long time – 45 years to be exact. They know the ins and outs of large farmland sales. They’re happy to help and explain as they go, ensuring you get the most out of your sale, and your farm land in good hands. Contact Hayden Outdoors today to learn more about selling your farm. 

5 Things to Do Before Selling Your Farmland

Farm Land for Sale

Steps to Take Before Selling Farmland


Your farm might be a legacy property – a way of life that has been passed down from one generation to the next for centuries. It might be something you ventured into more recently. Either way, if it’s come time to sell your vast expanse of workable land, there are some key things you should consider before you do. Hayden Outdoors Director of Sales John Herrity has some tips on the important steps to take before selling your farmland. 

As a farm boy himself – John was raised on his family’s homesteaded farm in Elk Point, South Dakota before pursuing a career as a row crop farm appraiser, construction manager, fishing boat captain and real estate professional – his insight is particularly valuable.

 “Farmland sales can be complex. There are so many considerations that go into properly valuing farmland, including soil type and rating, percent tillable, the current ownership model and accurately mapping the property. It’s important that sellers and their real estate team be very diligent in doing the work up front before listing the land.”

1. Determine the Ownership Model

Establishing how many people or entities currently own the land is a great place to start when it comes time to sell. Is this a family farm property with one name on the title, or do multiple people have a stake in the land? If there are multiple owners, is everyone on the same page in wanting to sell? Is there a power of attorney for the owner or ownership group? The ownership model will determine how easy or more complicated the sale will be, including how sale profits will be divided. 


2. List all Debt, Liens, Easements & Encroachments

Owning the land free and clear is obviously the most straightforward way to sell it, however, farms are large, working entities that often require equipment loans and easements to keep them running. Talk with your real estate professional about any debt currently associated with the property, including liens on outbuildings or farm equipment. Easements are another important thing to consider. Because farms tend to be multiple acres in size, they often come with one or more easements to adjacent land that permit access for one property owner or another. Buyers will want a complete understanding of these easements before purchasing. Encroachments (features that wrongly extend onto your farm from a neighboring property, e.g. an old fence) can be another obstacle to selling farmland and, ideally, should be rectified before listing your property.


3. Map It Out

Let the Hayden Outdoors team create a land map that accurately shows every aspect of your property. Our agents and brokers are experts at MapRight, a dynamic land mapping software. These maps show property boundaries and easements, soil surveys, parcel data, GIS layers, buildings, fence lines, and more. A proper map is elemental for prospective buyers, and can also tell a farm’s history and story in a very visual way.


4. Establish the Soil Type Classification & Land Survey Comparables

While soil type and productivity is a pretty big and important piece of the farmland sale puzzle, it’s one that can also change from one producer to the next. This is the palette with which any future buyer will work to produce their own yield and establish their own style of farmland management. That’s why it’s important for your real estate professional to carefully consider your soil type. There are a variety of agencies, agriculture-based Universities, and websites that can help determine the value of your soil type by region. Once you and your real estate agent have established the value of your soil, they will help research comparables to give you a  look at similar sales in the area. Pricing the property based on price per soils ratings relative to nearby farms is a good starting point to valuation. If you have recent appraisals that were done by a certified appraisal, these also can help determine a listing price and marketable value for your farm.


5. Understand the Tax Implications or Penalties of Selling Your Farmland

When it comes time to sell your farmland, John suggests talking with a CPA  to discuss options with 1031 exchanges to see if this is a possibility for their sale.

 “I coach clients to get good advice from their accountant. Establish what the basis of the land is. If you inherited the farm and it’s been in the family forever, it will have a much different basis and tax implications than a farm that was bought in the last ten or twenty years.”

Selling your farmland might seem like a daunting task, logistically, legally and emotionally. But with the right guidance and proper resources, it can be a very freeing and lucrative endeavor. The real estate professionals at Hayden Outdoors know the ins and outs of selling farmland in a way that benefits the seller, the buyer and the land itself. The team has been doing it for 45 years, and like John, many of Hayden Outdoors’ team members are also farmers and ranchers themselves. They’re happy to help you navigate the complexities of selling your farm. Give them a call today to learn more. 

Planning on Buying Undeveloped Land? Here’s the Pros and Cons

Buying Undeveloped Land

Wide-open spaces might be the hottest commodity out there in today’s market. And it’s easy to see why. Standing on an untouched building site on acres of your own vacant land, with surrounding sunsets or forests or starry night skies, it’s easy to envision exactly what your dream home could be. Of course, there is plenty to consider before you make the big commitment to buy vacant land, and then potentially build on or otherwise develop that land. Let’s explore a few of the pros and cons of investing in undeveloped land. 


Undeveloped Land Explained

Think of vacant land or undeveloped land as a completely blank palette – it’s simply the land in its most untouched or natural state with no existing infrastructure. It’s never been used for farming or ranching. There are no roads leading in or out. Just the land. For years, many buyers disregarded raw land for investment purposes considering it too daunting a task. However, that mentality has shifted as real estate investing has become increasingly popular and many are leaving urban centers for more peaceful existences in rural areas. 



What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Vacant Land?

While the beauty and freedom of buying undeveloped land can be strong attractants, there are a variety of factors to consider to avoid unintended challenges and heartache if things don’t play out as planned. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.


The Pros of Buying Undeveloped Land

  • Quite often, vacant land is more affordable than developed properties.
  • Unlike the hottest properties in your favorite resort town, you typically won’t get into a bidding war with other buyers over undeveloped land; there’s simply less competition.
  • The return on investment (ROI) can be substantial with the right vision and tools to develop the land properly and profitably. 
  • Because it lacks infrastructure and utilities, property taxes on vacant land tend to be lower than developed parcels. 
  • Undeveloped land offers dreamers plenty of flexibility in what and how they want to build. 


The Cons of Buying Undeveloped Land

Like any major real estate transaction or investment, it’s important to weigh both sides of the coin. Here are some very important considerations that can complicate a undeveloped land purchase:

  • Assuming you’re not paying cash for the entirety of the property, and need to finance a portion of the purchase, vacant land loans can require a higher down payment and a detailed plan of how you intend to develop it. 
  • Zoning restrictions can create roadblocks for those looking to buy undeveloped land. Some land is zoned so that nothing can be built on it, while other parcels are zoned commercial or mixed-use, both of which will affect a large raw land purchase. 
  • Along these lines, conservation easements are another consideration. Often, these provide important protections for the land you’re looking to buy. However, they can also be incredibly restrictive if you plan to build, hunt on the land, or otherwise develop it. 


Financing Vacant Land

As mentioned above, financing undeveloped land can be a little more complicated than a simple home loan. That said, there are some powerful and comprehensive resources available for those interested in purchasing vacant land. If you’re considering buying undeveloped land for a specific purpose, make sure to explore these organizations:

  • Conterra – Conterra Ag Capital provides farm and ranch real estate secured loans to agricultural producers across the United States. For those looking for financial support to set up farming operations, extend current farming practices, or whether a particularly difficult agricultural cycle, Conterra offers managers throughout the country who can work directly with buyers. 
  • Outdoor Lending – In addition to agricultural land purchases, Outdoor Lending assists agents handling premier real estate deals obtain the best financing options for their clients. These purchases can include farm, ranch, hunting, resort, and recreational properties across the United States. 
  • Farm Credit – Farm Credit’s mission is to support rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. The organization is committed to the viability and vibrancy of the country’s rural communities through a steady flow of capital.


Scouting the Land

Perhaps the most important thing to do before you buy undeveloped land is to give your dream property a good, hard look. Work with your real estate professional to better understand the pros and cons, opportunities, and obstacles that undeveloped land might present. Doing so will help you understand what might be involved in making the investment viable, including:

  • Putting in roads
  • Establishing utilities such as propane or natural gas and electricity
  • Water availability, e.g. a well on-site or the need to tap into city or county water sources
  • How your future neighbors might feel about your development plans
  • Geological features to consider
  • How buildable the land is, including whether or not your actual building site presents any steep land surfaces, rock formations that might require augmentation or removal, wetlands, or other wild land conservation considerations 



Vacant or undeveloped land really is one of the last great possibilities of our time, offering potential buyers everything from an investment opportunity to the perfect place for your dream home. Talk with your land real estate professional today to learn more about vacant land available near you, and what it might take to buy and then build. 

Top 5 Considerations When Buying Waterfront Property

Waterfront Properties for sale

A Waterfront property can be an idyllic escape from the everyday with its picturesque sunsets, enticing shores, and opportunities for recreation. It can also present some additional considerations for property owners.


Top 5 most important steps to consider before buying an ocean, river, wetland, or lakefront property. 


1. Taking a thorough Property Inspection

It’s important to determine if the home or property you’re considering buying can withstand the water surrounding it. Waterfront properties are often located in wetland areas, flood zones, or along river banks that see rising water levels every spring. Make sure any structures are far enough from high water marks that they won’t experience seasonal water or flood damage. On structures, look for quality structural support, such as stilts/pilings, storm shutters, and a solid foundation. If the home has flooded previously, inspect that it was remediated properly so that there isn’t hidden mold in the walls or in the cabinetry. If on the ocean or lakefront, check the quality of the seawall, lake wall, or rip-rap edge.  Consider the garage or storage shed – is it big enough to house all of your recreational equipment, including boats, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and jet skis? If the property has a dock, is the dock a legal length and does it have a boat lift and cover? Something to consider is the maturity (size) of the sand dunes on oceanfront properties, which can help protect the property against storm surges. On riverfront properties, where is the high water mark in relation to structures? What is the recreational condition of the river for fishing and water sports?

Southeast Regional Manager and Florida Native Greg Liddle provides additional suggestion and mentions that “Homeowners should be aware of the depth of the water at their boat dock during low tide and winter months. While it might be plenty deep during their showing, some areas can become so shallow that homeowners can’t take their boat out during other parts of the year.”


2. What Insurance will I need for my Waterfront Property?

You will want to consider flood insurance for your waterfront property purchase. A combination of your flood insurance, homeowners insurance, and windstorm coverage in your homeowners insurance premium will ensure coverage for hurricanes. Check with local insurance agents who understand any unique aspects of the water and associated weather in your area, and the coverage that will ensure you’re protected in the case of water damage or natural disaster. Consider getting a quote before you buy the property so you can accurately calculate the overall cost of your purchase.

Waterfront Property for Sale

3. Hidden Cost of Buying a Waterfront Home.

Waterfront property is unique in the fact that homes and landowners typically don’t own the water itself (unless you’re purchasing a private pond or body of water contained entirely on your property). Federal, state, and local governments typically own and oversee the water, which often results in costs to lease the land bordering it. Work with your real estate professional to understand the cost associated with your property and if they offset property taxes.


4. Additional Responsibilities of Waterfront Property Ownership.

Waterfront properties often come with additional maintenance needs due to consistent exposure to salty air and moisture-filled climates. They can border pristine wetland habitats that can’t be disturbed. Lake, river, and ocean properties are often home to wildlife that should be considered and protected. All in all, before you purchase your dream waterfront property, ensure your real estate professional walks you through the specific responsibilities and community expectations of ownership.


5. Are Waterfront Properties a Good Investment?

While owning waterfront property can come with additional costs, maintenance, and challenges, but it also offers a variety of ways to maximize your ROI. Waterfront properties are often highly desirable rental properties. If you want to rent your property throughout the year, do some research on premium rental rates in your area (both short-term and long-term as permitted). Additionally, waterfront property can appreciate in value more quickly than other types of property given its limited availability. Waterfront Specialist, Courtney Liddle agree and adds “There is only so much waterfront land. They aren’t making any more of it. This is one of the reasons it is in such demand and so valuable.”


Waterfront Homes for Sale

Whether it’s a cabin overlooking a winding river, a house on a large lake, or oceanfront views, waterfront property offers a variety of inviting ownership possibilities. Learn more about waterfront property available near you, and connect with a real estate professional who understands the important considerations and questions to ask before purchasing your dream waterfront property.