A decade ago, the partners in the Pequop Conservancy started to aggregate and develop Nevada’s Independence Valley and North Pequop Mountains.
“Their first parcel was about 25,000 acres acquired under a bankruptcy situation—and there were a couple of other large parcels to be had,” said Todd Renfrew, listing broker/owner of Outdoor Properties of Nevada. “The partners believed it had potential.”
The partners knew water was the key to unlocking the land’s potential. At the time, no one had found irrigation water in the valley.
Before closing escrow on the first property, located near Wells, Nevada, the partners invested heavily in locating irrigation water. The search was successful. A highly productive aquifer lay near the surface.
“Water is life,” Renfrew said, noting the partners drilled wells to 500 feet, but currently are pumping from 150 feet.
And with access to plentiful, life-giving water, the Pequop Conservancy developed the Independence Valley Farm & Ranch, amassing 47,737± deeded acres with an adjoining 100,000+ acre Bureau of Land Management grazing allotment.
“Over time, partners conducted nine or 10 transactions, eventually buying out most of the stakeholders in the valley,” Renfrew said.
Their vision resulted in a verdant farm and ranch that produces high-quality hay for export to the Pacific Rim and supports a 1,250-head cow-calf operation.
“If you want to see the ‘before and after’ just look over the fence,” Renfrew said. “Over the fence is the before. According to the partners, there was nothing in the valley when they bought it—nothing but sagebrush.”
The property’s expansive vistas showcase high mountain basins and a sea of undulating wheat grass. The well-managed land provides exceptional wildlife habitat supporting elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope as well as waterfowl during seasonal migration.
“The farm and ranch has been operated with a conservation mindset, but there are no recorded conservation easements,” Renfrew said. “The partners allow multiple use as far as mining, geothermal and oil.”
The potential offered by the income-generating natural resources including wildlife, geothermal, gold and oil make the Independence Valley Farm & Ranch a one-of-a-kind, portfolio-enhancing property.
“The natural resources on this property are significant,” Renfrew said. “There’s a lot of growth and development potential with the oil and gas, geothermal and gold.”
Nevada is the nation’s number one producer of gold, and the Independence Valley Farm and Ranch borders one of the largest gold deposits in North America, Newmont Mining’s Long Canyon Project.
In addition, the property contains warm springs indicating geothermal activity as well geologic formations pointing to the presence of oil and gas.
Plentiful, diverse habitat means abundant, diverse wildlife including Rocky Mountain elk, Rocky Mountain mule deer, pronghorn antelope and migratory waterfowl. In addition, moose and a grizzly bear have been spotted on the property.
“The largest elk the partners have seen come off the property were 7x9s that measured far over 400 inches,” Renfrew said. According to the partners, it’s not uncommon to see several hundred elk on any given day.
Several hundred pronghorn antelope normally call the ranch home. During November, the property is on the mule deer’s migration route. It’s not unusual to see several thousand deer pass through the property in the spring and fall.
Spring and fall also bring huge flocks of waterfowl en route to their summer and winter homes.
“Fall is prime time to be a recreational enthusiast out here—and spring is certainly not bad,” Renfrew said.
From the outset, the partners located and developed water.
“The partners knew that putting water to beneficial use was key,” Renfrew said. “Today there is more than 8,000 acre feet of water in the basin.”
The partners drilled more than 30 wells. Some of them were irrigation wells and some were stock wells designed to provide livestock water. Over time, the stock wells have been converted from windmills and submersible pumps to solar-powered pumps. The irrigation wells are high-volume. Some of these produce more than 2,300 gallons per minute and can supply up to four center pivots at one time.
In addition, the partners installed more than 50,000 feet of underground water mainlines as well as 60,000 feet of underground powerlines.
With an eye on export and premium domestic markets, the ranch produces non-hormone treated, all-natural Angus beef from a third-party lessee who runs a herd of 1,250 mother cows. (The carrying capacity for a seasonal operation could be considerably higher.)
In addition to the deeded acreage, the ranch has an adjacent, 100,000+ acre Bureau of Land Management 12-month grazing allotment. The allotment, which is currently leased to a third party, amplifies opportunities for the livestock enterprise.
The installation of 14 center pivots supplied by numerous high-volume irrigation wells transformed the high desert valley into a productive hay farm.
“The partners’ lessee produces non-GMO hay for the dairy market and for export to the Pacific Rim,” Renfrew said.
Low-cost electricity to power the irrigation wells and the ranch’s location give it several advantages.
“A local co-op provides electricity to the irrigation pumps for under a nickel a kilowatt, which is very cost effective,” Renfrew said.
In addition, the property has easy highway access for hay buyers and transporters.
“The location allows the hay to be delivered to the ports of Long Beach and Oakland for a relatively low cost,” Renfrew said.
The Independence Valley Farm and Ranch offers seclusion and access. The property is located near the intersection of I-80 and Highway 93, which optimizes automobile travel as well as commodity transport.
The property is about 12 miles from the Wells Municipal Airport, which can accommodate private jets and turbo props. International flights are available at the Elko Regional Airport, which is less than an hour’s drive, and the Salt Lake City Airport. The property has a private airstrip as well.
Independence Valley Farm and Ranch’s infrastructure includes but is not limited to: five homes, ranging from 1,500 square feet to 3,000 square feet, with adjacent residential garages; two large heated repair shops; three large hay barns each with a 1,000-bale capacity; five cattle working corrals; two commercial livestock handling/shipping facilities and the historic ranch headquarters.
The ranch, which was homesteaded in the 1880s by James A. Ralph, included the Independence Valley and Pequop Mountains and was originally known as the “JAR Ranch.” The Ralphs’ cabin where they raised their seven children is still intact and located at “Ralphs Warm Springs.”
“It’s an understatement to say Independence Valley Farm and Ranch has it all—agricultural productivity, recreational opportunities, abundant water and significant potential to develop energy and minerals,” Renfrew said.
The property is being offered at appraised value with a complete and comprehensive valuation available to qualified buyers for review.
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