Land Area: 2.52 acres
Note regarding acres: There are 6,365.64± deeded acres and 640± acres with the BELF school lease. The lease expires in 2029.
The historic Duck Bar Ranch is located in the central heart of the Nebraska Sandhills approximately 35 miles southwest from Valentine, Nebraska, which is the county seat and principle town in Cherry County. The Nebraska Sandhills have not only a national but also an international long standing reputation as an established, consistent resource for raising reputation cattle. Cherry County shares top honors as being one of the most reputed counties in the Sandhills for raising fine beef cattle. It is larger in square miles than the state of Connecticut.
The Duck Bar Ranch was established in 1907 by a man by the name of L.C. Beel. During his tenure of ownership Mr. Beel amassed nearly 90,000 acres of Sandhills rangeland in central Cherry County, Nebraska for the exclusive purpose of raising grass fed beef cattle. The ranch was owned through three generations of Beel family before it was sold by John Beel, grandson of L.C. Beel, to the Willert Family in 2014. The Willert Family continues to own the ranch today.
The entire ranch is located in Cherry County, Nebraska (See Exhibit A for full legal description)
Taxes – Estimated $29,453.92
The Willert Duck Bar Ranch contains approximately 7,005.64 acres comprised of 6,365.64 deeded acres by county record and 640 acres by BELF record. The ranch has direct access to paved county road 16B (Kennedy Route), is all contiguous, and contains several sites of excellent sub irrigated meadow which is supported by Gordon Creek.
Gordon Creek is a live Sandhills spring fed creek that runs through the heart of the ranch from the southwest to the northeast. Because of Gordon Creek the meadow hay production is very good and consistent; as are static and pumping levels for stock water wells on the ranch.
The ranch has livestock water in the form of 22 windmills and 3 solar wells with 500 watt panels. The static water levels on the ranch are considered quite shallow and make for easy pumping for all the stock wells. There are 18 pastures for grazing and 8 fenced meadow pastures for haying/fall grazing. There is also one mile of newly installed underground pipeline that serves five stock tanks on the ranch. There has also been 13 new stock tanks installed, 5 new wells drilled, and 6 new, high efficiency automatic waters at the corral headquarters, all installed in the last four years on the ranch.
The ranch is a combination sub irrigated and rangeland resource with three homes with several recent improvements made to the outbuildings/corrals at the headquarters.
Main Home- Story and One Half – 1972 SQ FT
Guest Home – One Story – 779 SQ FT
Labor Home – One Story – 1236 SQ FT
Machine Shed – 40’X64’X15’ – Built New in 2015 – $45,000
Cattle Load Out and Corrals (Sucker Rod/Continuous Fencing) – Built New from 2016-2018 – $62,000
Car Port – 24’X24’ – Built New in 2017 – $8,000
Calving Pens and Vet Room (Insulated, water, heat) 16’X32’ – Built New 2015-2019 – $18,000
New Automatic Waterers- 6, Water Lines, Hydrants-4, Tire Tanks in Calving Lots – 2016 -2017 – $9,000
New Electrical Lines –Building Site, Shop, Calving Lots – 2015-2016 – $30,000
New Sewer Lines – Building Site – 2016-2017 – $2,000
Driveway Upgrade and Creek Crossing Upgrade – 2015-2017 – $10,000
This building site was main headquarters for the ranch when it was a 90,000 acre operation.
Other Ranch Improvements throughout the Ranch – 2015-2019
Three New Solar Wells – $30,000
New Underground Pipelines – high density black poly – 4,100’, 3 tire tanks, and 6 hydrants – $25,000
New Vehicle/Cattle Crossing on Gordon Creek – 2015 – $10,000
New Four Wire Fences and Box Corners throughout the Ranch – 2015- to Present – $100,000
This ranch is very well blocked with direct access to a maintained, paved county road and mail route.
It has excellent access and location to schools and markets in Valentine coupled with rarely equaled ease of management amenities.
Cherry County was named for Lt. Samuel A. Cherry, an Army officer in the U. S. Fifth Cavalry, who was stationed at Fort Niobrara and had been killed north of Fort Niobrara in 1881. Cherry County ranks as one of the largest counties the United States. The first settlement in this area can be traced back to 1878 when the U.S. government relocated approximately 5,000 Sioux Indians to the Rosebud Reservation to South Dakota. The government agreed to provide beef for the reservation and, as a result, large cattle herds developed in the northern Sandhills in what was then open range country at the time. The Army built Fort Niobrara just east of present day Valentine along the Niobrara River to provide protection for settlers and ranchers. Cherry County’s boundaries were established by the state’s Legislature in 1883. The county’s first courthouse was an abandoned military building brought to Valentine from Wisconsin.
Nebraska has the top three beef cow producing counties in the United States. Cherry County tops the list and is home for nearly 166,000 mother cows. Next in line is Custer County with over 100,000 mother cows, and third in line is Holt County at 99,000 cows. A fourth Nebraska County, Lincoln County supports over 69,000 cows.
The Willert Duck Bar Ranch is located in the central heart of the famed Nebraska Sandhills, known for one of the finest cattle producing regions in the United States. The Sandhills of Nebraska is the Nation’s largest undisturbed native grassland area. If covers approximately 13 million acres in 20 counties located in the north central part of the state. The grasses are vigorous and nutritious and have proven themselves as drought tolerant species centuries ago by supporting vast herds of Buffalo prior to the arrival of the white man.
The Sandhills of Nebraska also sits on top of the largest fresh water aquifer in the continental U.S. Known as the Ogallala or High Plains Aquifer, it supports fresh water bearing material where this ranch is located in the range of 400’-600’ in depth. Stock wells are generally considered shallow and abundant by comparison to other cattle producing regions in other states. Most of the stock wells on this ranch are 1-2 rods deep and can be pulled by hand to change leathers.
Irrigation Water Right
There is a small irrigation, very old, water right of approximately 80 acres located on the Gordon Creek not currently utilized by the current ownership, but has been utilized in past years.
Located just a few minutes away from this ranch is one of Nebraska’s best “fishing holes” in the state.
Merritt Reservoir supports some excellent fishing for Walleye, Crappie, and White Bass. It is located in the picturesque Snake River Valley 26 miles southwest from Valentine via Highway # 97. Merritt not only offers some of Nebraska’s best fishing, but is also known for great boating and camping in the summer seasons. Merritt is a deep lake supported by excellent Sandhill spring fed waters from the Snake River and Boardman Creek.
Hunting is also permitted in season at the Merritt Reservoir beginning the day after Labor Day. Sharp-tail and Prairie grouse are prime upland species in the area. Both Whitetail and Mule deer can be hunted along with wild turkey. There is also some excellent waterfowl hunting on the lake and on the Sandhills lakes in the area. The nearby Valentine National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 72,000 acres in the heart of the Nebraska Sandhills. The Refuge provides excellent habitat for all kinds of wildlife along with excellent fishing opportunities.
Additional Ranch Income
The ranch also provides an excellent opportunity for private hunting in season over the 6,000 acres and could be outfitted. The Guest Home on the ranch provides additional income from both hunters, fisherman, and tourists that may want to see one of the best parts the Sandhills of Nebraska. The home is currently listed on Airbnb with private bookings also available. The ranch has regularly generated $10,000+ in annual guest house revenue.
There is a permanent cell tower located on the ranch that also provides monthly income of $499.13 or $5,989.56 per year.
BELF School Land Lease
16-30-30 Cherry County, Nebraska
Lease # 109187-29
Expires December 31, 2029
2019 Rent – $14,920.36
One windmill on the section
NOTE: Gordon Creek runs through the section. BELF estimated stocking rate 64 pair for the summer season.
NOTE: Current ownership plans to renew the school lease in the fall of 2019.
The rainfall belt in the area and location of this ranch ranges from 17”-19” per year with the majority of it falling during the growing season. It is generally considered consistent and reliable to the extent that cattle sell downs because of drought are rare.
The ranch is within an hour drive from an excellent livestock market located in Valentine, Nebraska.
Reputation cattle pass through its gates annually in the form of special stock cow, bred heifer, yearling, and calf sales throughout the year. Buyers from several states are always on hand to create a consistent, top-end market for all classes of cattle. There are also excellent sale barns located at Bassett and Erickson, Nebraska as well as video auction markets available that are nationwide in scope.
The current ownership will convey all owned minerals.
The current ownership will cooperate with 1031 exchanges.
Approach to Management and Revenue
The Willert Duck Bar Ranch has been in an owner-operator posture with the Willert Family. As previously set forth, there have been substantial improvements made on this ranch under the Willert Family by the way of stock water, fence, corrals, calving facilities, building improvements, creek crossings, and road improvements. The Willert Family has demonstrated excellent ranch and grazing management since their ownership.
The ranch has eight fenced meadows for haying and fall grazing. In this analysis, five of the best producing and consistently hayed sub irrigated meadows were recognized; however, if desired, more hay could be and has been put up on the other three sub irrigated sites.
The ranch resource has been analyzed for estimated carrying capacity relative to time, use and balance under what would be a typical use in a landlord posture. What follows are the ranch estimates of deeded acres, current real estate taxes, meadow production; as well as estimates of land classes, carrying capacity, and AUMS of productivity under typical/average utilization.
The ranch has been evaluated for annual carrying capacity as well as an estimate of landlord revenue generation on a summer grazing basis utilizing cow-calf pairs and selling the landlord share of the meadow hay production. Supplemental ranch income via the cell tower and Guest Home rental was also considered in the analysis.
Main Ranch Meadows Hayed Annually with Four Year Owner Production History with NRCS Acres
South Meadow – 197.8 Acres – 187 Ton or .95 Ton/Acre Average – 2015-2018
Middle Meadow – 354.40 Acres -340 Ton or .96 Ton/Acre Average – 2015-2018
North Meadow – 154.9 Acres – 137 Ton or .88 Ton/Acre Average – 2015-2018
Runway Meadow – 43.3 Acres -68 Ton or 1.57 Ton/Acre Average – 2015-2018
East Meadow – 49.2 Acres -53 Ton or 1.08 Ton/Acre Average – 2015-2018
Total Estimated 800 Acres – 785 Ton – .98 Ton/Acre Average
Land Classification Summary
Estimated acres by County Record and NRCS Record
NOTE: Deeded land only excludes BELF School Land
Sub Irrigated Meadow – Hayed/Grazed 800 Acres
Sandhill Rangeland/Some Sub Irrigated – Grazed 5,355 Acres
Building Site & Lots 67 Acres
Road and Waste 144 Acres
Total Estimated Acres by County Record 6,366 Acres
Landlord Revenue Estimate-Deeded Land Only
800 Acres Sub Irrigated Meadow – Hayed 785 Ton @ 2.5 AUMS/Ton – 1963 AUMS
(800) Acres Sub Irrigated Aftermath Grazing @ .5 AUMS – 400 AUMS
5,355 Acres Rangeland Grazed @ .55 AUMS – 2,945 AUMS
6,366 Acres – 5,308 AUMS
5,308 AUMS/12 Months – 442 AUs or 14 Acres/AU Estimated
800 Acres hayed 785 Ton @ $90/Ton/2 – $35,325 or $44/Ac CE (includes aftermath)
2,945 AUMS/5 Months/1.5 BWE -393 Pair or 14 Acres/Pair
393 Pair @ $65/Pair/Month for 5 Months – $127,725 or $24/Ac CE
$163,050 Gross Income Ranch
$10,000 Gross Income Guest Home Rental
$5,990 Gross Income Permanent Cell Tower Rental
$179,040 Total Gross Income (Before Hunting Income)
$29,454 RE Taxes
$10,000 R & R
$ 5,000 Misc.
$134,586 Net Income, Say $135,000 Net to Landlord
Year Around Carrying Capacity Estimate-Deeded Land Only
5308/12 Mo – 442 AUs
Winter 1963 AUMS/4 Mo – 490 AUs
Fall/Spring/Summer 3,345/ 8 Mo – 418 AUs
354 Cows (cow/calf, retaining replacements, bulls)
6,366 Ac /442 AUs – 14 Ac/AU
6,366 AC / 354 Cow – 18 Ac/Cow
NOTE: BELF School Section Rated by BELF can add 64 Pair for the summer season – 64 Pair
64 X 1.5 BWE X 5 MOS – 480 additional AUMs
This is an excellent producing, reputation Sandhills Ranch that has been dramatically improved in nearly every way over the last four years by the present ownership. This is the second time this ranch has been for sale in 112 years.
Address: Valentine, NE 69201
Duck Bar Ranch - Valentine, NE 69201, USA
Duck Bar Ranch- Valentine, NE 69201, USA