The historic Ford Ranch is located near the geographical center of Texas, just west of Brady in McCulloch, Menard and Concho Counties.
The Ford Family purchased this massive holding in approximately 1842. G. Rollie White, who was born in 1875, leased the Ford Ranch for grazing, and two years later, in approximately 1902, he and his father purchased the Ford Ranch. G. Rollie White became a veteran cowman, civic leader, banker, horse breeder, and philanthropist. He was widely known throughout Central Texas and soon became known as "the Steer King of Texas". At one time, G. Rollie White was running approximately 35,000 steers, 85,000 sheep and 20,000 goats in McCulloch, Concho, Menard, Mason and Pecos Counties. One of his clever sayings was, "I have bought a lot of land in the Brady region. I never bought any too high, and never sold any high enough."
The property, now for the first time ever, has been placed on the market. The source of the above information is from an April 5, 1964 article in the San Angelo Standard Times and from conversations with Forrest Armke, longtime manager of the Ford Ranch.
Historically, the Ford Ranch has been operated as a 1,000 - 1,200 animal unit ranch. The ranch is fenced and crossfenced with both permanent net wire and barbed wire fencing, along with electric fencing, which was incorporated a number of years ago for rotational grazing purposes. Without question, it appears that rotational grazing has not only benefitted the excellent grass cover, but also enhanced the carrying capacity of the ranch.
The terrain on the Ford Ranch varies from lower fertile bottom lands to gently sloping and rolling hills and upland areas. Elevations throughout the ranch range from approximately 1,900 feet in the lower bottom lands to 2,100 feet on the elevated hills and uplands. The ranch has a good mixture of palatable native grasses, with the predominate grasses being Texas Winter Grass, Mesquite Grass, several varieties of Grama, Bluestem and a favorable mix of Forbs, Filaree, Wild Rye and Winter Weeds. Many years ago, approximately 1,200 acres were in cultivation. This land has now been re-seeded to established stands of improved grasses, such as Coastal Bermuda, Willman Love Grass, Tifton 85 Bermuda, Klein and WW-B Dahl Bluestem.
The Ford Ranch has a scattered to often times fairly dense canopy of brush and trees, principally being Live Oak, Shin Oak, Mesquite, some Cedar, along with Algerita, Plum, Pear, Ephedra and Lote Bush. Soils throughout the ranch are typically dark loam with limestone rock outcrops. Overall, the Ford Ranch has a great blend of fairly open country transitioning to areas with moderate to fairly dense cover, offering outstanding habitat for wildlife, but still maintaining quality grass cover for the extensive livestock ranching operation.
The Ford Ranch is considered to be very well watered, and with a small amount of additional pipeline, the ranch could be extremely well watered. The ranch is watered by two electric submersible wells and approximately 11 windmills. Generally, the windmills are 75 feet - 175 feet deep and all but one of the mills is of excellent quality. It is reported that this well has some iron and sulfur content. The two electric submersible wells are approximately 1,200 feet deep and also have some sulfur and iron content. All well water on the ranch is very suitable for livestock and wildlife consumption. Again, much of the well water is of exceptional quality.
There are a number of good earthen ponds located throughout the lower bottom land areas and many years ago, the Soil Conservation Service constructed six flood control dams across major drainages through the ranch. These dam sites were created to retain and slow flood waters along these major drainages. They are not designed to totally capture and hold flood waters, but rather retain and slow down the fast running flood waters in order to control erosion. These large dams, however, do hold sizeable amounts of water at times.
Access to the property is by paved highway frontage.
Structural improvements on the Ford Ranch are modest and consist of the manager's home, help house, metal barn, hunter's cabins and a cook house. These improvements are functional, but do not contribute any significant value to the ranch.
Commercial hunting is big business on the Ford Ranch. Hunters come from far and wide to hunt whitetail deer, turkey and quail, as well as free ranging axis deer. The ranch generally takes in 16 - 18 deer hunters each weekend for a total of 5-6 weekends during whitetail season. The ranch also caters to turkey hunters and quail hunters. The current longtime ranch manager stated that it is common for quail hunters to locate 15-20 coveys per day.
Hunting income from 2008 - 2011 averaged over $306,000 per year. As the ranch entered into the prolonged drought beginning in 2011, hunting income was reduced to approximately $275,000 per year, and is now increasing back to normal levels.
Serious big game hunters all over the world are familiar with a legendary whitetail known as The Brady Buck. This monster buck is reported to be the largest free ranging whitetail the Lone Star State has ever produced, and the deer was killed on the Ford Ranch. With 78 non-typical points, this bruiser held the record for the largest free range deer ever killed in the state for years, scoring an unbelievable 284 3/8ths B&C. After finding his sheds in 1891, the deer was killed in 1892. Genetics from the Brady Buck have made whitetail deer hunting on this ranch some of the best in Texas.
The Ford Ranch is located in a very desirable ranching area with the added bonus of tremendous hunting. The ranch has never been offered for sale during the over 100 years of the current ownership. In this area of Texas, a 50 section ranch, such as the Ford Ranch is considered to be of extremely large size. Without question, if you are searching for a large Central Texas cattle/hunting ranch, the Ford Ranch deserves your immediate attention. Properties of this magnitude are seldom offered for sale.
Price: Reduced from $60,000,000 to $52,500,000 or approximately $1,650 per acre
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