By Sandy Bahe, ALC
Managing Broker, Accredited Land Brokers, LLC
When it comes to raising cattle, Oklahoma has always been among some of the top places for cattlemen. But why in recent years have more and more cattle ranchers relocated? Here are the top reasons why ranchers are looking for ranch land and abandoning places like California and Arizona.
Why Cattlemen are Buying Ranches in Oklahoma
According to the Oklahoma Beef Council, there are presently more than 700,000 cattle farms and ranches in the U.S., which produce around 19% of the world’s beef. While states like California, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, and Texas have traditionally been popular places for ranching (they do have lots of space after all), in the last few years, more and more cattlemen are moving their herds to Oklahoma.
Here are some of the top factors we’ve seen for this move.
New regulations in other states:
States like California, Oregon, and Colorado have all passed or are in the process of implementing new regulations that affect how cattle farms would be able to produce, slaughter, and even transport their product. For some ranching operations, the price to restructure their facilities and reengineer manufacturing protocols is much greater than moving the operation entirely.
Cost of caring for cattle:
This point is pretty straightforward — in traditional Northern, (long winters) ranching states like North Dakota and Indiana, caring for a cow can cost around $900 per cow per year. Consider the average cattle herd is around 40 cows. Now, look at the cost in Oklahoma, which falls around $250-300 per cow.
Cost of land is more economical:
On average, land in Oklahoma runs around $9,000-$11,000 per cow, which is much lower than places like California, Texas, or Arizona.
The ongoing drought in the West:
For years, California and other western ranching states have suffered dried-up pasturelands, evaporating water troughs, and depleting aquifers. According to one long-time Arizona rancher, rainfall used to be around 16-18 inches per year, and recently they’ve only gotten 3-5 inches. This can have a dreadful and drastic impact on cattle ranching operations. Rather than continue to deal with the negative impacts of their current environment, many ranchers are selling off their herds or moving them to Oklahoma.
Established communities and resources:
Oklahoma has long-running established farming communities and the highly developed infrastructure to support them. There are numerous organizations across the state that can help inform, advocate for, and establish your cattle ranching operation.
As you can see, there are a healthy mix of reasons why cattlemen are moving towards the Great Plains. If you have cattle and are looking to expand or start a ranch, now is the time to look for the right property.
Find the Best Oklahoma Cattle Ranch
Whether you’re looking for a change, escaping poor environmental conditions, or need to optimize your operation, Oklahoma could be the perfect place to move your cattle. www.worldclassranches.com has tons of resources and property listings across Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas for cattle ranches and more. Take a look through the property listings, or take advantage of this influx of ranchers to Oklahoma and list your own property with Accredited Land Brokers Team. They know ranching!
Sandy Bahe – Managing Broker, World Class Ranch’s
Ranch Agent of the Year for 2019 and 2020.
Accredited Land Brokers Team
eXp Realty – International
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