Important Financial Resources for First-time Farm Buyers

Iowa Farm Land

First-time Farmland Buyer Resources


There are plenty of things to consider when buying a farm for the first time. There’s the equipment, the livestock, the maintenance, but before you begin thinking about any of that, the first step is figuring out how to finance a farm. It can be a daunting task to take in all at once, but these financial resources can help you turn your dream of owning farmland into a reality.


Ag Lending

Getting qualified for a farm loan takes proper planning. Conterra Ag, or other agricultural specialty lenders, offer products that are tailored for the industry. They have the knowledge and background in the rural property sector. Another common resource for rural landowners and future farm buyers is the Farm Credit system. This network of financial farm resources focuses on rural communities, offering financial assistance and tools for buyers under the age of 35 who have 10 or fewer years of experience. Most Ag loans can be used to buy land, livestock, equipment and contribute to general farm improvements. 


Grant Opportunities for Farmland

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) supports sustainable agriculture research and education. To help enrich these initiatives, the USDA offers grants for farmland that focus on new farmers buying new farming equipment. As a first-time farm buyer, these grants can offer a big boost. Look to see if your farm qualifies for this type of financial assistance. 


Tax Benefits for Farming

The U.S. government offers tax benefits for people going into the farming business. The U.S. tax codes defines a farm as land that includes “stock, dairy, poultry, fruit, fur-bearing animal, truck farms, plantations, ranches, nurseries, ranges, greenhouses or other similar structures used primarily for the raising of agricultural or horticultural commodities, and orchards and woodlands.”

It’s important to understand if your property qualifies for farm tax benefits. If it does, you will need to provide proof of your farm business plan to demonstrate that it is a profitable enterprise. This includes a comprehensive profit and loss statement. Other things to consider and discuss with your CPA and real estate professional regarding your farmland purchase are: depreciation, deductible expenses, fuel tax credits, renewable energy tax credit, and agricultural research and development tax credit. 


Getting a Farm Started

Buying a farm for the first time is an exciting prospect, and one that comes with a variety of ways to make it a more affordable one. From first-time farm loans to farmland grants and farm tax benefits, the resources are vast and aimed at helping buyers make their farm profitable. To learn more about buying a farm or locating farmland for sale near you, contact the real estate experts at Hayden Outdoors. Our highly experienced team can help you navigate the ins and outs of securing your dream farm property. 


Still not sure where to start? Reaching out to a real estate professional who specializes in farmland transactions is a great first step!


Winter’s Here: Preparing Your Land for Winter

preparing your farm land winter

Early frosts, chilled air, the occasional freeze – these are just a few signs it’s time to start winterizing your farm or ranch property.


Preparing your property for the winter months is necessary to protect your land, livestock, facilities, and structures. Here are important steps to take for winter on your land. 


Recognize the first frost and know the difference between a frost and a freeze.

It’s always exciting to see the first frost, when light moisture in the air gives way to crystalized grasses, leaves, and branches. The picturesque weather event is also an important seasonal tell – colder weather is not far off, and the first actual hard freeze is probably right around the corner. A frost happens when the temperatures drop to between 36 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The significance of the frost on crops depends on how cold the weather gets and how long the cold weather lasts. A freeze is the result of temperatures dropping to 28 to 25 degrees. 


Winter Crops


Frosted crops can generate dust and build up residue within your machinery when it’s ready to harvest, increasing the risk of fire issues. Freezes can potentially kill crops, so timing your harvest is important. A corn killing freeze occurs when temperatures dip to 32F degrees for four hours or 28F degrees much quicker. If waiting for dry-out, this isn’t an issue, but for silage, watch the frost and get it cut when the corn is dry from frost. A killing freeze can still happen with temperatures above 32, especially in low and unprotected areas when there’s no wind. Utilizing a frost calculator, almanac or weather forecast apps can help you find you the right time to harvest your crops before that first freeze. 


Inspect machines and farm equipment, and get it ready to be stored – or used – this winter.

Fall is an ideal time to do some maintenance and fix any mechanical issues. If it’s time to put the tractor away for the season, detach your hoses so they don’t freeze and become brittle. If the tractor doubles as a plow or snowblower in the winter, this is the time to switch implements, put on chains and reference the lubrication schedule for your machine. 


PRO TIP: Contact your 4 Rivers Tractor Service Department and Schedule Your Maintenance Now!


Maintain your structures and prepare them for heavy snowfall.

Winter is a great time to work on barns and other structures throughout the property. Spend some time cleaning the barn and livestock shelter and stalls. Ensure proper heating, ventilation and humidity in your greenhouse if you have one. Your chickens will appreciate your deep cleaning and sanitizing their coop and making sure it’s ready for winter. Also winterize any farmhouses, bathhouses, or cabins, including clearing all pipes of water and turning off any main water lines that won’t be used. 


livestock winter farming

Take care of your livestock.

While these animals are suited to sustain harsh weather elements, it’s best for the health of your herds to ensure they have enough food and live-able conditions. Stock up on hay for bedding and any supplies you’ll need to take care of them. Animals need access to dry conditions – a combination of wet and cold can be deadly. Also, make sure they have plenty of food to carry them through the winter and water sources are prepared for freezing temperatures. Water tanks and electric waterers should be in good condition. 


Winter brings a peaceful time to the farm, but before you settle in and watch the snowfall, quality work to prepare your farm for winter will pay off in the spring. Performing these farm duties now will set you up for success and fewer headaches when the spring planting begins. Additionally, see our other resources on how to create a successful ranch management plan or supplementing power on your property with a small-scale wind turbine. 


How 4 Rivers Equipment Simplifies Building a Tractor Package for Your Farm


Whether it’s harvest season, snow plowing, grating your driveway, or simply moving dirt – or you’re in the market for a new ranch, farm or off-grid property and the equipment that comes with it – now is an excellent time to consider buying a new tractor.

Even better news: 4 Rivers Equipment just made it much easier. No need to go into the store (although that’s fun, too); 4 Rivers Equipment now offers buy online options. Customize a John Deere tractor package that’s unique to you, including adding attachments such as rear blades, rotary mowers, pallet forks and box scrapers. 


Haggle-free Pricing

Take advantage of the simple, affordable Colorado Package. Customize the best fit for you, then enjoy fall pricing and winter delivery. A variety of payment options are available. 


30 Days Worry-free

If you’re on the fence, so to speak, about buying a new tractor, not to worry. 4 Rivers Equipment offers a 30-day worry-free policy to ensure peace of mind. Spend that time testing, gardening and landscaping to make sure the tractor you purchased feels right for your land. 


10 Year Warranty

John Deere stands by its products. New tractors come with a FREE 10 year warranty or 1,000-hour engine and powertrain warranty. 


Front Range Ready

Once customized, you can come in and pick up your new tractor, or 4 Rivers Equipment can deliver it; they offer delivery from select locations and pick-up throughout the Front Range of Colorado and Wyoming. See the 4 Rivers Equipment locations below.



Tempted to buy that new tractor?

We don’t blame you. Spend some time window shopping online at 4 Rivers Equipment, or contact their sales team today to learn more about the customized package that’s right for you.

Farmland for Cash: Turn Your Unused Land into an Income Stream

Whether you’re a potential or existing landowner and assuming you don’t farm yourself, learning how to earn capital from your farmland by renting a portion or all of it can be valuable in the viability of your property. It’s important to understand some key steps, leasing rates for your local area, and how to protect yourself with a valid property or lease contract.


Establish an Arrangement that Works for You

While the details will vary and are specific to state rates and regulations, there are generally two ways to rent or lease your land: cash per acre (or cash upfront) or share in cost of profits and harvest. The choice should be based on how involved or uninvolved you want to be in the maintenance and harvesting of the land. Cash upfront typically requires less collaboration between you and the person leasing your land, while sharing in profits and harvests might mean you need to be more involved in work and decision making.


Determine the Right Rental Rate for Your Area

Given the fluctuating prices of crops, federal subsidies, and local and regional factors, this is an important step that requires some research. Consider multiple factors, not just the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, which is an average that can skew specific characteristics of your land.

There is the easy first step of simply talking with other farmers, ranchers and producers in the community who are doing the same thing. Also reach out to ag lenders, real estate agents who specialize in farmland leasing and sales, and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.



Additional Considerations include:

  • Any existing business plan for your land that maps rental income
  • Current land values
  • Your carrying costs
  • The previous harvest

The USDA provides a variety of tools to help determine baseline land rental rates, including the Cash Rents Survey, current agricultural land values, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and current USDA assistance programs.

Follow Insurance and Tax Rates and Regulations

Talk with your accountant and insurance agent about the implications of renting your land. Doing so might require additional or higher tax payments and added insurance coverage. Protect yourself and your property against liabilities.

Choose the Right Farmer

Just like renting an apartment or home, it’s important to vet potential farmers who want to rent or lease your land. Due to our pulse on the local Ag market, advertise your land through our team of agents, and interview multiple people. Make sure the person you choose shares your vision for the property, and check references if available to ensure you’re entrusting your property with someone who is knowledgeable, committed, and passionate.

Draw Up a Lease and Then Stick to It

Even if you’re leasing your land to your most trusted friend or family member, it’s extremely important to draw up a lease that outlines the rental or lease agreement, profit sharing, timeline, and any additional considerations, restrictions or qualifications. Then check in as needed to ensure both parties feel the partnership is valuable and beneficial.



How the Living Timber on Your “Cabin in the Woods” Property Can be a Money Maker

high mountain cabin in the woods

Peaceful cabin, fresh air, trees that go on for acres or miles. It’s easy to gaze out from your cabin in the woods at your forested land and see just that – a forest. But have you ever considered those trees as an investment?


Given the current skyrocketing demand for lumber, it might be time to. Lumber offers a unique way to diversify investment portfolios given that it is a sustainable, renewable resource, one we all need and use every day. The suggestion here is not to clear cut your land by any means.

Healthy forest harvesting can produce some additional income for your land, but only if it’s done sustainably. With local timber mills clambering for mature, healthy logs, there is a way to responsibly harvest trees that generates profit.


Talk to your local mill.

Pay a visit to your local lumber mills to see which woods are in the highest demand, and whether or not your timber fits the bill. Ask about what buyers are looking for and if there are any restrictions or standards your timber needs to meet in order to be profitable.


harvested logged timber on timberland property


Choose wisely.

Proper forest management and wildfire mitigation are important whether you plan to sell your logs or not. A big part of this is thinning the trees, which means selectively going in and cutting down trees of varying sizes to allow for future growth.

Pro Tip: Reach out to the United States Forest Service in your area to see if they offer grants for thinning. Sometimes they do, providing incentive and income to keep your land healthy. For undergrowth, fell trees that simply aren’t thriving and allow enough space between each tree for new saplings to take root. Additionally, as you look for larger timber, select trees that might interfere with your views in coming years, but again, ensure you don’t harvest too many. Healthy trees grow most effectively in concert with each other, with the larger stands offering shelter and seeds for smaller growth.


established trees in front of mountain view


Be patient.

If your land is home to stands of younger trees, it’s best to wait until you have enough mature trees to harvest, creating a balance between larger and smaller stands. This will most likely result in an ebb-and-flow revenue stream – something to keep in mind to help manage finances and expectations. Depending on the current size of your timberlands, it’s wise to plan for at least a few years between mature tree harvests.


younger trees and saplings in forested area


Living in forested land comes with the inherent value of being so closely intertwined with nature. It also offers opportunities to make your timberland profitable while simultaneously keeping it healthy and thriving.


If you want to learn more about owning large-acre timberland, including what you’ll need to do to properly maintain and monetize it (if that is your goal), the expert team at Hayden Outdoors has you covered. Connect with industry-leading expertise on the best way to find the best land for you.

Ranch Squared? Your Guide to Buying Land in a Community Ranch

Ranch living offers a lifestyle that more and more people crave in a world that is otherwise in constant motion – wide open land, winding creeks and rivers teeming with trout, panoramic vistas, lingering days and plenty of room to roam. While owning and managing a ranch by yourself might be more than you’re willing to take on, the idea of living in a ranch community is well worth considering.


Ranch communities are gaining popularity, offering land owners the best of ranching life without the pressures of managing the entire property alone. Common types of ranch communities include sporting clubs, communities of smaller ranches within a larger ranch, shared private access to resources and shared agriculture opportunities.



What are the benefits of a community ranch?


The pros column is full of reasons to consider buying community ranchland, including:
  • Shared ranch responsibilities such as land maintenance, cultivation and improvements
  • Shared costs among ranch community owners
  • Convenience with less isolation due to connectivity to others in your direct ranch community
  • Access to shared natural resources associated with the community ranch, such as rivers, streams, lakes, trails, mountains and more
  • Many ranch communities also offer world-class amenities like lodges, dining, guest cabins, and recreation opportunities



What should I consider when looking for the right community ranch?


There are many things to take into consideration when looking for community ranch real estate that fits your needs and expectations. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
  • How you want to use the property – many ranch communities offer a variety of land and recreational use amenities including guided fishing and big game hunting, skiing, livestock and equine opportunities.
  • How much land you want – Communities of ranches offer lots that can range in size from small acreage (two to three acres) to expansive ranch land (300+ acres). It’s important to assess how much land you feel is enough or too much.
  • Existing infrastructure – If you find a ranch community that interests you, work with your ranch real estate specialist to inquire about existing utilities, common areas and homeowners’ association fees and services.


Ranch communities are an excellent way to enjoy the extraordinary benefits of ranch living without the isolation or demands of day-to-day upkeep. The real estate professionals at Hayden Outdoors understand the unique aspects of community ranch ownership and are happy to guide you through the process of purchasing your dream ranch land.

Own the Hunting Property of Your Dreams — Small Steps You Can Take Today

Ask the avid hunters in your life where they harvested their trophy deer or elk and you might get this answer: “In the Nowhere Region of the Never-tell Mountains.” Prime public hunting land is often considered sacred to sportsmen and sportswomen and for good reason – there are plenty of other people out there exploring those spaces looking for the same thing.

But what if you owned your hunting property? You determine how many people can hunt on the land. You know the prime terrain where the animals graze, gather and rut. You get to discover other hunting opportunities, such as ducks, turkeys and pheasants. Sound like an unrealistic daydream? Actually, purchasing your own hunting property is possible, especially when you consider these small steps.


Step One: Put the dream down on paper.

Which is to say, outline your goals for the property. It’s important to articulate what you’re looking for in a hunting property. Deer? Elk? Fowl? Are there good water sources on the land? What about food sources and areas of protection from predators? Be realistic about how remote you want to be, current infrastructure available such as cabins, a well or areas for a hunting camp, habitat improvement opportunities and migration corridors.



Step Two: Adjust the dream accordingly.

Which is not to say you need to make drastic compromises to turn your hunting land purchase into a reality. But it is important to be realistic about the fact that your first hunting property might not be your ultimate dream property, and that’s okay. In fact, it can be an excellent way to help you invest and work toward an end goal of owning more acreage down the line. For now, have a good grasp on how much land you can afford and effectively manage.


Step Three: Calculate your down payment and financing.

You will need approximately 20% of the total property cost as a down payment, or $20,000 on a $100,000 piece of land (for example). While it might seem like a lot now, small monthly savings can add up quickly. If you don’t have enough cash on-hand for a down payment today, put together a savings plan. Once you have down payment funds secured, it’s important to calculate how much your monthly payment will be using a mortgage calculator so you don’t become over extended.



Step Four: Research. Research. Research. Location. Location. Location.

It’s worth mentioning each of these more than once because both are so elemental to making your dream a reality. Spend time learning about the area that interests you. Talk to local wildlife biologists. Read up on any recent diseases that have affected local deer, elk and bird populations. Google Earth and other mapping apps are excellent tools when it comes to getting a comprehensive bird’s-eye view of the land. Invest the time upfront to ensure your purchase meets your expectations.


Step Five: Find a real estate agent who specializes in hunting properties.

This is an important one if you want your purchase and experience with the land to be successful. Real estate agents who understand the nuances of rural property ownership know which questions to ask, both of you and of the seller.  A good and helpful agent will understand the region in which you hope to purchase hunting property and can help guide you to the ideal fit.



Step Six: Likewise, find a lender who specializes in rural property mortgages.

These specialists can help with the specifics of buying hunting property, including current mortgage rates and land classifications.


Step Seven: Consider land improvement and revenue opportunities.

You might want to limit your hunting land’s use to family and friends, or, you might be looking for ways to monetize it to help offset mortgage and maintenance costs. Consider farming, land lease opportunities or partnerships with local hunting outfitters. Small additions, fencing, small cabins and hunting blinds can also add value to your property.



Step Eight: Enjoy!

It goes without saying, but come hunting season, it’s time to get out, explore and enjoy your new hunting property purchase. Living so closely with the surrounding environment and wildlife can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The team at Hayden Outdoors can help you find the perfect piece of land zoned for hunting or bordering public lands with hunting access.



Off-grid 101: A Guide for Buying Your First Cabin Off the Grid

Living Off the Land and “Off the Grid”


Self-sustaining gardens. Star-filled night skies. Only the essentials in the best possible way. A quiet many of us haven’t heard in a long time – if at all. As the world becomes more and more connected and hectic, the idea of living unplugged and off the grid is gaining appeal, and the draws are more relevant than ever.

It can be an incredibly rewarding endeavour, especially if you’re prepared. And the best part? Living in a cabin off the grid doesn’t have to mean giving up some of your favorite creature comforts, like running water and flip-switch electricity (and dare we say – internet access, if you wish).

Consider these key points to help ensure your off-grid real estate purchase is successful, long-lasting and as rewarding as possible. 


Energy: How and Where You’ll Get It

When people think of living off the grid, one energy source in particular comes to mind – solar. And it’s a powerful one. It doesn’t take a huge swath of solar panels to provide enough energy to get a small to mid-size cabin through a summer day. But what about a gray mid-winter sky in northern Montana? Or a drizzly week in your dreamy Pacific Northwest coastal enclave? For most people, living off-grid still requires some form of back-up power for life’s basic necessities. Buyers should consider an alternative power source to ensure you’re not left stranded. The most common is a propane- or gas-powered generator. Wind power is another option if your property offers the means to support it. 

Back to propane, one or two tanks, depending on your property size, can be important. When buying off-grid cabin property, consult your realtor to make sure your parcel can safely support propane – and that a delivery truck can access your land at least once or twice a year depending on how much you anticipate using. Tip: Don’t wait until you’re down to your last drop of propane. Try to fill up proactively, ideally before high-use winter and shoulder season months.


Water: Vital to Off-grid Cabin Life

When people buy property off the grid, grocery store water dispensers and city taps are typically very, very far away. It’s important to understand what your water source will be. This varies from one region to the next. In rainy climates such as Alaska and parts of Oregon, some rely on rain capture mechanisms. In areas where natural water is prevalent, wells are more typical, but again, it’s imperative to know how deep your well is. If you need to drill down 100-plus feet to find a water source, your real estate purchase just became quite a bit more costly. However, tapping into a well just 20 feet beneath ground-level, or relying on filtered water from a nearby stream or lake, is easier. 

In addition to a well, you’ll need an electric pump, which takes us back to a reliable energy source. If possible, it’s worth installing a hand pump somewhere on the property. Should you ever completely lose power, this will come in handy.


Septic: If You Have Running Water, You Need a Septic System

While it’s not the sexiest aspect of off-grid living, a viable septic system is as important as running water if you have it. If you don’t, an eco-friendly outhouse is perfectly sufficient. But for those who appreciate the occasional hot shower or flush toilet as much as they love the solitude of their cabin off the grid, a proper septic system and durable drain field are essential.


Location. Location. Location.

Real estate’s favorite catch phrase takes on a whole new meaning when you’re talking about living miles away from anyone or any modern amenities. Here are some things to consider:



It can be the driving factor behind your off-grid cabin real estate purchase, but it’s important to understand how others are using the land around you. Do you border Forest Service or BLM land? Is motorized vehicle use allowed nearby? Will hunters be walking the woods come fall?



It’s all fun and games until it snows three feet and you’re stuck in, or stuck out, of your cabin. Make sure you understand what it will take to access your off-grid property year-round. 



Stocking up on basic medical supplies is a good idea. Have a well-tooled first aid kit handy. Additionally, understand nearby EMS access points, including ALERT landing zones. 



Yes, you’re buying to escape. But you might find that your neighbors, even if they’re acres or miles away, provide a unique and elemental support system. 


Rural Internet

Sure, off-the-grid doesn’t typically mean high-speed access to the world wide web. And that’s not what we’re talking about here. But for those who are looking to combine the magic of an off-grid cabin with remote work options, you can. Rural Wi-fi and satellite internet is beginning to provide possibilities to those farther afield. 


All the Good Stuff

Views. Running streams. Surrounding mountain ranges. Open meadows. Sweeping prairies. Rugged coastlines. Choose land with which you connect. When you’re reliant on it, those points of connection will mean so much more.


Food: Going All-in on Living Off-grid

Yes, you can completely live off the land. But if you’re relying on your property as your sole food source, you need to be diligent in understanding what that means. Prior to your off-grid cabin purchase, work with your real estate professional to understand which soil types you’re dealing with.

If you’re a hunter, become well-versed in your state’s hunter safety programs, hunting licensing and local meat processing (unless you plan on doing it yourself). The same rule applies to any local fishing licensing and catch-and-release regulations. Growing seasons are also worth some looking into. The Midwest and Southwest offer plenty of prime days throughout the year to grow a harvestable bounty. But if you’re living in more northern climes, or areas where crafty wildlife find endless ways through your garden fence, maybe consider a greenhouse.


Land Improvements: Yes, You Can Improve the Perfect Place

Living off the grid isn’t just a lifestyle; it’s a way of life. It’s a commitment to your property, and forming a partnership with the land around you. More than a townhome remodel or upgrade to a higher-end house, buying a cabin off the grid is a way to establish a connection to wild and uncommon natural spaces, and to reconnect with yourself.


Hayden Outdoors specializes in finding clients uniquely remote, off-grid cabins and vacant land in a variety of states, including:

Whether you’re just beginning to explore the idea of off-grid living, or you’re in the market for a remote cabin where you can completely unplug, Hayden Outdoor real estate agents are experts in walking you through the important considerations, and finding you the perfect property.

Steps for Creating a Successful Ranch Management Plan

sprawling utah ranch property with iconic red barn

The relationship between ranchland and its landowner is one of America’s oldest love stories, complete with romance, reward, heartache, hard work and unending commitment to living a life on the land. Ranch ownership offers plenty of allure, but before you purchase your own ranch property, it’s imperative to create a comprehensive ranch management plan to ensure healthy land, profitable seasons and longevity.


Follow these Ten Steps for a Holistic Approach to Properly Managing Your Ranch.


1. Establish the “Big Picture” or Mission Statement for Your Ranch

Start by specifically defining the Ranch’s land use and general purpose. Do you dream of raising commercial cattle? Or is your ranch intended for your family’s sustainable living only, offering a collective means of living off the land?

Before you purchase your dream ranch property, it’s important to clarify what you want to do with it. This guiding philosophy provides a road (or trail) map for ranch operations, management, marketing, upkeep and profitability. 


2. Qualify Your Key Resources

These can be the land itself. From pastures to quality soil and natural water sources – your livestock and other animals, and the people who manage the property.

It’s important to understand the unique aspects of your ranch and enhance them over time with special attention paid to natural resource management, proper equipment maintenance and providing a fun, engaging work environment for ranch managers.


3. Create a Management and Business Plan

Treating your ranch like a business is important to its long-term viability & sustainability.

Determine your goals and objectives. Establish key performance indicators you can track from season to season. Then revisit the plan frequently throughout the year. 


4. Develop a Pasture Management Plan

Understand your soils, water sources, forages and potential for erosion to ensure your pastures remain productive and your cattle are happy. 


5. And a Cattle Management Plan

Ranches are most productive when every element of them work in harmony – and this is certainly the case with cattle and the land.

Things to consider are which types of cows are best for your land, how you will keep them healthy and well nourished, and how they’ve been bred or if you will breed them. 


6. Make Sure Your Bookkeeping is Organized and Up-to-date

Toss the shoebox full of old receipts and invest in proper bookkeeping software. You’ll want to keep track of revenue streams, spending, employee wages, invoicing and profits and losses. Being diligent about your bookkeeping throughout the year is an important way to ensure you’re working toward your ranch’s mission statement and it will save you time, energy and headaches come tax season. It’s also worth noting that profitable ranches are much more likely to be passed down from one generation to the next, ensuring their legacy in your family’s history. 


7. Consider If and How You Want to Market Your Ranch

Is it family-owned and operated? Do you focus on raising organic cattle or does your ranch support speciality breeds? Establishing your ranch’s unique aspects and competitive advantages is elemental to a successful marketing plan. From there, consider how you want to communicate that message. These days, effective marketing can range from sponsorship opportunities at your local livestock auction to highly targeted social media advertising. 


8. Keep Personnel Management in Mind

Happy employees stick around. It’s important to create a fun and inviting work environment for your ranch management team. 


9. Continue to Observe and Adjust Accordingly

Ultimately, ranches are complex living entities at the cross-section of humans, animals and nature. It’s important to learn your ranch inside and out. Continually look for ways to improve soil and water sources. Stay up-to-date on emerging ranch and farm technologies and equipment. Tap into local scientists and land managers to better understand the environment around you. Then apply your learnings to your ranch management plan. 


10. Enjoy the Process!

Owning your own ranch can be a dream realized. It offers an incredible amount of freedom and responsibility, independence and teamwork and an undeniable connection to the land. 


The ranch property experts at Hayden Outdoors are an excellent resource in helping you find a ranch that meets your needs and aligns with your ranch management goals.

Land Lit: Great Books to Inspire the Landowner

Worthwhile Reads on Land Ownership


When you’re pondering a farm or ranch purchase, or making plans for a recently acquired piece of ground, land and its limitless possibilities dominate your thinking. As you contemplate all that land can represent – opportunity, individualism, escape – here’s a collection of great books that offer inspiration, and remind you of why you wanted to own land in the first place.


Hole in the Sky, by William Kittredge

Kittredge is one of the most acclaimed chroniclers of the modern American West. His memoir explores his upbringing in Oregon ranch country, and offers insight on the appeal of wide-open spaces, the value of land and its accompanying legacies, and the changing landscape of the contemporary frontier.





Heart Earthby Ivan Doig

Doig, who passed away in 2015, was a novelist and journalist who centered much of his work on his native Montana. In this memoir, Doig explores – in part, through a collection of wartime letters between his mother and uncle – the influence of the western landscape on his family, with settings ranging from remote stretches of Big Sky Country to the American Southwest.





A Thousand Deer, by Rick Bass

Subtitled Four Generations of Hunting and the Hill Country, this nonfiction work by Bass, also a novelist and writer of short stories, takes readers along for his family’s annual excursion to the “deer pasture,” the Texas Hill Country destination where the Basses have hunted for more than 75 years. The author shares insight on the lessons taught by hunting, and the value of maintaining connections to the wilderness.



The Meadowby James Galvin

This collection of vignettes by Galvin comprise a compelling narrative about a specific piece of the West: the ranchland along the Colorado-Wyoming state line. The author reaches back a century and tells the story of the area through its hardscrabble inhabitants. The landscapes and seasons serve as additional “characters,” bringing out the survival instincts required for life in the region.




Who Owns the West, by William Kittredge

In this short work Kittredge opines on the “second colonization” of the West, as it transitions from a mythical place of survival to a place often defined by tourism, recreation, and a modern interpretation of a love of the land and the hope for the future that it so often represents. Kittredge takes readers to locations as varied as Klamath Falls, Oregon, and his adopted home state of Montana, and populates his story with appearances by writers Raymond Carver and Richard Hugo, both of whom sought escape and reinvention in the American West.




Where Rivers Change Directionby Mark Spragg

A native of northwestern Wyoming, where he grew up on a guest ranch, Spragg shares the story of his childhood as part of a family dependent on the land and the mythology of the West for its livelihood. Spragg details winter solitude, an adolescence defined by physical labor, and the appeal of open spaces to an eclectic cross-section of urban tourists seeking a piece of a life that Westerners often take for granted.





A Quiet Place of Violenceby Allen Morris Jones

Subtitled Hunting and Ethics in the Missouri River Breaks, this work by Jones, a former editor of Big Sky Journal, offers a philosophical look at hunting, and explores the ways in which the sport brings humans closer to a rightful place in the natural order, to a place in which they become participants in the natural world, rather than mere observers.





In These Hillsby Ralph Beer

With contributions to magazines ranging from Big Sky Journal to Harper’s, Beer is perhaps the most under-acknowledged writer of non-fiction about the contemporary American West. In this collection of his finest magazine pieces, Beer draws heavily on his experiences working on his family’s Montana ranch, consistently illustrating the ways in which our identities can be defined by the land.




This House of Skyby Ivan Doig

In this memoir, Doig looks back on his childhood in 1940s Montana ranch country and delves into the ways in which ties to the land can shape one’s life. Through his story, Doig shares with readers the unique nature of family life on a ranch, and the nature of a childhood spent in wide open spaces.





Winter: Notes from Montanaby Rick Bass

In a book instantly comparable to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Bass’s journal chronicles a winter spent in Montana’s remote Yaak Valley, a destination with no electricity, few comforts, and even fewer residents. The author shares the challenges of acclimation and the necessary acquisition of frontier survival skills.





Owning it AllEssays, by William Kittredge

This collection of magazine pieces by Kittredge offers an education on the differences between the West’s mythology and its reality, and the ways in which the former has often overshadowed, if not outright harmed, the latter. Readers are left with an appreciation for a culture and landscape unburdened by the characteristics forced upon them by popular culture.