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Ranch Life: Then vs. Now

Posted by United Country on January 9, 2018
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Ranch life has been around since the late 1600’s when Spanish settlers introduced livestock to their ranges in Mexico.  In fact, the word “ranch” is derived from the Spanish word “rancho,” which is the home of the ranchero. Since then, a lot has changed in everyday ranching operations.

It wasn’t until the early to mid-1700’s that ranching was formally introduced. This is when herding cattle and horses spread into the southwestern part of the United States. By the 1800’s, ranching dominated the economic impact in the western half of the United States. Traditional ranching also shifted during that time and ranchers became the constant food supply for both humans and livestock. So, many farmers migrated to the west with the ranchers and operations were diversified into both farming and ranching operations.

After the Homestead Act of 1862 when more farmers traveled out west, barbed wire was invented in 1874 to help prevent cattle and sheep from eating crops.  Prior to road development and the creation of barbed wire and enhanced fences, herding livestock was a big challenge.

Fast forward to recent times and the biggest challenge (and advantage) for ranchers and farmers is constantly changing technology. Herding, although not easy, is a lot less difficult. Technology can be used to help with things like record keeping and real-time tracking of cattle. Technology also makes it easier to trace inventory, manage breeding and health records and even track sales and purchases. Ranchers can also use GIS technology to map out their land management plan. Prior to these advanced programs, like CattleMax, tracking these things took many hours and sometimes, many days to do.

Today, the traditional ranch has evolved from large livestock operations to the development of many ranch offsets like the Dude Ranch, ranchettes and vacation opportunities. Ranchers and farmers strive to be innovative and open minded to change in order to maintain and increase their profit margins in ways never imagined before.

If you’re looking to life the ranch life, United Country Real Estate is your source for ranch land sales from coast-to-coast. Many of our agents, brokers and auctioneers who specialize in ranch land own and operate their own ranch and are ready to help you find what you’re looking for. Visit to find one of our experts near you.



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