Friday, August 5, 2011

Ranch As Investment: Be Prepared to Work

Among the fantasies that keep many of us going on dreary days, owning a vast ranch out West would surely rank up there, along with living on a beach or gazing out over your vineyard at night.
Ranch life taps into the American desire for space, freedom and a connection with the land. Lately, owning a ranch, and selling the products raised on it, has emerged as an alternative investment class for those with deep pockets and a time horizon that stretches as far as the eye can see.
With prices for some prized ranches down as much as 30 percent and returns holding steady around 3 percent a year, ranch land is looking more attractive as an investment. But the returns are only part of the equation.
James Manley, founder of Atlantic-Pacific Capital, a boutique investment bank in Greenwich, Conn., said he never forgot his dream of being a rancher, even though he made his fortune in finance. “When I was a kid, probably 12 of the shows on TV were Westerns,” he said.
Manley said it took him 42 years, but after looking at 500 ranches, he found 6,000 acres in Montana in 2007 that fulfilled all his requirements, including having a river running through the property and not having poisonous snakes on the land. It is now the Ranch at Rock Creek, a high-end resort that is also a working cattle ranch.\

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