Prospects of Cattle Ranching in New Mexico
When one thinks of New Mexico, cattle ranches are probably not the first thought that pops in their head. New Mexico’s economy is much more centered around oil and gas; the largest natural gas field is even in the state, and it produces a fair amount of all of the United States’ natural gas.
New Mexico may not be the home of the Dallas Cowboys or as synonymous with the cattle industry as Nebraska and Oklahoma. But, with its status as one of the least populous states in the nation, there is still plenty of available space for those interested in cattle ranching in New Mexico. There may even be cattle ranches already available for sale.
Not all land in New Mexico is conducive for livestock or agriculture. Southern New Mexico is covered largely by the Chihuahuan Desert, and other areas are similarly too arid and dry for grass (and in turn, the cows) to grow. The eastern half of the state is similarly largely semi-arid and not the best for cattle.
The sweet spot for land for livestock is a long sliver in the middle of the state and portions of the western side. Counties in these areas include Catron, Lincoln, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, and some of their neighbors. These counties vary widely in population size, but they all feature a less-harsh climate than the most arid parts and may have acres of land available for new ranchers and those wanting to purchase existing property for New Mexico cattle ranches.
Proximity to Markets
With Farmers Markets increasing in number across the United States, there is a growing interest in eating and shopping from local vendors. Albuquerque and Santa Fe are both easy to get to from potential ranches, and there are many other places to sell goods locally too. This is a great way to establish a brand for owners of New Mexico cattle ranches who are interested in not just selling beef to a bigger provider but actually creating their own business from it.
Santa Fe’s Farmers’ Market has been active for decades and is open most days of the week. Albuquerque has many farmers markets that operate across the city at different dates and times. And outside of those two cities, there are dozens of others that may be more convenient to the ranch. Because of the lack of many large grocery stores, local farmers and ranchers provide an important service, and this can be a profitable partnership.
Other Ranch Features
New Mexico cattle ranches can have much more features on the property. Thanks to the diverse wildlife in the state, land in certain parts will contain fertile hunting grounds for anything from waterfowl to elk. The geographical features of each ranch will vary greatly as well. Hills are common — along with forests, and, sometimes, running streams and rivers as well.
When searching for ranch property for livestock, there are probably many different states thought of before New Mexico. But, this does not mean that New Mexico cattle ranches are not available. The variety of geography allows for suitable conditions in certain parts well protected from temperature and weather extremes.