Uncle Bill’s Farm and Ranch in Socorro County, New Mexico, includes 37,941± acres of farming and grazing lands, along with 533.73 annual consumptive acre-feet of pre-1907 water rights. The 297± acres of farm, mostly cultivated ground (Mountain View Farm), are located in Las Nutrias off the Rio Grande River, and irrigation water is delivered via Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) ditches. The grazing range (Chupadera Ranch) lies 40 minutes to the southeast and is 54% deeded, 36% state lease, and 10% Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lease. Not including farm production, the ranch is rated to carry 580 cow-calf pairs, and it also boasts the extra attraction of quality hunting (Game Management Unit 18) for elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and oryx. The farm is leased by a dairy for $5,000 a month, and the ranch grazing is leased for $10,000 a month. Further, there is a $35,665 annual lease with White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) for fly-over and evacuation with additional payments if evacuation is requested.
The farm is planted in sorghum-sudangrass that is utilized for silage by a dairy milking four-thousand cows. The dairy farmer mentioned that the farm’s water right is interesting to him because he believes it could be extracted from wells if desired, not just delivered from the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) ditches, which could be advantageous. Dove, quail, pheasant, and turkey call the farm home. Waterfowl use the irrigation ditches and flyway heavily – including ducks, geese, and magnificent sandhill cranes. There is also an annual depredation elk hunt in the Rio Grande Bosque, and the farm is awarded tags.
Currently, the ranch is stocked with 400 pairs, and the rangeland is healthy. Five wells are on the property, and water is distributed to drinkers. The drinkers attract wildlife, are thick with dove, hold quail coveys, and anchor big-game-animal movement across the ranch. The owners have kept hunting to a minimum but can issue Landowner Tags for elk, deer, and oryx at their discretion. Oryx are visually stunning, and finding a good, reproducing population like this is rare. Free-ranging African oryx in the United States are unique to New Mexico and can be hunted year-round. Additionally, the ranch annually receives four pronghorn tags.