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Cigarette maker Marlboro sells 18,000 acre ranch in Montana

New buyers at Crazy Mountain Ranch in Marlboro, MT said they had no plans for residential development on the nearly 18,000-acre cow-calf farm. (Progressive Farmer photo by Jim Patrico)

Earlier this week, DTN put the spotlight on farmland when we discussed the outlook for cash rents in 2022 and ways farmers can tip the negotiations in their favor to control the impact on their funds. in our “Keep the Good Times Rolling Series”. You can read this story here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

While we believe the cash rent talks this fall will be an important part of farmers’ ability to prepare for profitability, another important land sale caught our attention this week. Cigarette maker Marlboro Altria Group Inc. (through its better-known subsidiary Philip Morris USA) has sold its 18,000-acre cow-calf farm and ranch near Clyde Park, MT.

The Crazy Mountain Ranch in Marlboro was often used for corporate events as well as a prize in annual competitions for loyal customers. Who wouldn’t want an all-expenses-paid trip to a beautiful Montana ranch with an old western town with 20 buildings including a lounge, hotel, and spa? One of the largest properties in the area, locals generally viewed the dude ranch “as an original but generally benign and light operation on the landscape that has been hit quite hard by COVID-19,” according to a Montana Free Press article. exploring the future of the Crazy Mountains. (You can read this fascinating story here: https://montanafreepress.org/….)

The buyer is a subsidiary of the private investment and asset management firm Cross Harbor Capital Partners, and its reputation is a bit more complicated. The private equity firm bought the Yellowstone Club out of bankruptcy in 2009, and in six years converted it into a residential development where properties sell for between $ 2,500 and $ 3,000 per square foot. Cross Harbor also has two other luxury communities in the area, and with the Marlboro Ranch in an unzoned part of the county, a similar development is causing concern. The investment firm has also been involved in several controversial land swap projects with the US Forest Service, according to the Montana Land Source. (You can read it here: https://mtlandsource.com/….)