Ever feel like owning a 60,000-acre cattle ranch in central Montana’s Snowy Mountains? Well, cough up $45 million and it’s yours! The N Bar Ranch (www.nbarmontana.com), about 90 miles north of Billings, went on the market this week and, boy-oh-boy, what a spread…
The N Bar traces its roots to 1878, when Zeke and Henry Newman trailed 12,000 N Bar-branded cattle to Montana to provide meat for the Indian reservations. In the late 1880’s, Tom Cruse, who made his fortune in the gold fields around Helena, Montana, bought the remainder of Newmans’ herd and the N Bar brand. Over the next 25 years, Cruse built a cattle empire stretching over 100 miles. Anton Holter, businessman who made his fortune on the Montana frontier, led a group of prominent local investors who bought the N Bar Ranch from Cruse in 1913. Under the vision and stewardship of Jack Milburn the N Bar Ranch evolved into a modern, world-class cattle operation.
The ranch features a rich and diverse landscape of sprawling bottom meadows, meandering riparian corridors, rolling timber, and open range that provides the flexibility to support a traditional cow/calf or cow/calf and yearling operation. The carrying capacity is estimated at over 2,000 animal units.
At an elevation of 4,200 to 5,500 feet, the N Bar Ranch also offers extensive wildlife and fishery resources, attracting more than 1,900 Elk to its timbered draws. Antelope, deer, wild turkey, pheasant, and other upland birds browse the benches and inhabit the bottomlands, along with a variety of non-game animals, raptors, and songbird species. The N Bar Ranch also has miles of perennial streams and wild trout habitat, including the nearly 60-miles of Flatwillow Creek that descends from the Snowy Mountains that adjoin the ranch to the west.
The N Bar headquarters compound consists of simple white frame buildings that have been fully upgraded to provide modest, but comfortable, guest facilities. Four additional building compounds are strategically located throughout the ranch and ideally suited to serve as staff quarters. Recently completed improvements include the renovation of the sale barn, as well as installation of hundreds of miles of good-quality fencing and a 4,000-foot grass airstrip.
With respect to livestock, the N Bar Ranch has retained the best genetics of the N Bar-registered Angus lines and currently supports approximately 1,500 head of cattle. The ranch’s agricultural operations are fully self-contained, with its hay lands alone producing 3,000–4,000 tons of feed annually, which is sufficient to sustain the cattle operation and then some.
If any readers want to pool their money with me, maybe we can go into business… I’ve got 45 cents!