Farm & Ranch

Our Texas roots run deep. Our practice would not be complete without attorneys who work to meet the challenges inherent in the ownership, management, and stewardship of Texas farms and ranches.

Our clients include purchasers and sellers of many different types of rural properties. We see clients through every step in the process of bringing their vision into reality, including identifying legal compliance and regulatory issues to ensure that such issues are addressed before they become a problem.

Farm and ranch properties pose many unique issues, including water rights, trespassing, and oil and gas reserves. Water rights involve convoluted legal doctrines and are especially important to farmers and ranchers. These properties also may present adverse possession claims and trespass issues not common to other asset types. Being rich with minerals and oil and gas reserves, property in Texas often involves nuanced areas of law that, when handled correctly, can benefit farmers and ranchers and their families for generations to come.
We are particularly well-versed in the issues that face our State’s agricultural industry. In addition to numerous other agricultural trade groups that advise on legal and governmental relations issues, we represent the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Forestry Association, and Texas Nature Conservancy.

We also have prepared hunting leases covering thousands of acres in South and Central Texas, as well as the Indemnification and Hold Harmless Agreements that protect the rancher. Whatever vision our clients have for their land, we can guide them through the legal landscape to achieve their goals.

Areas of Service

  • Acquisition of farm or ranch land
  • Resolution of water issues and rights
  • Hunting leases
  • Pooling agreements
  • Pipeline easements
  • Division orders
  • Oil and gas leases
  • Mineral-related transactions
  • Residential and golf course development
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Zoning permits
  • Environmental surveys
  • Farm leases
  • Packing and shipping agreements
  • Contractor work agreements
  • Compliance with animal care and health regulations
  • Financing

  • Represented the buyer in the purchase of Cielo Vista Ranch, an 83,000-acre property in Colorado originally listed at $105 million. The transaction encompassed several legal considerations, including multi-tier financing, water rights, conservation, corporate formation and tax issues, and structuring the acquisition as a reverse like-kind exchange. The transaction is the largest ranch sale in the United States for 2017.
  • Jackson Walker represented the court-appointed receiver for the W.T. Waggoner Estate, culminating in the historic sale of the iconic W. T. Waggoner Ranch. The Waggoner Ranch is the largest ranch under one fence in the U.S., spanning more than 510,000 contiguous acres in six Texas counties. After being mired in contentious litigation for decades, Receiver Mike Baskerville retained Jackson Walker to pursue a resolution that would dispose of the ranch assets and dismiss the case from the court’s docket. Following a series of contested hearings on motions prepared by JW, included a motion to sell the ranch at the auction, the Waggoner heirs ultimately agreed to list the ranch at $725,000,000, representing the first time the Waggoner Ranch had been listed for sale in its 165 year history.
  • Negotiated the purchase of a 200,000 acre ranch located in Pecos and Brewster Counties, including the sale of the mineral rights and the transfer of the oil and gas lease rights, and the typical West Texas mineral ownership and ingress-egress issues.
  • Represented a purchaser of 20,000 acres in Brooks County, Texas, including verification of the agricultural exemption for this property and evaluation of the potential utilization of the wildlife habitat exemption for ad valorem tax purposes.
  • Handled for a client the purchasing of ranch property in Dimmit County, Texas, and negotiation of a comprehensive Surface Use Agreement between the new surface owner and the owners of severed mineral rights on the property. This matter also involved confirmation of ingress-egress to a public road and securing the appropriate endorsement guaranteeing access in our client’s Owner’s Title Policy.
  • Involved as counsel in the partition of a 19,000 acre ranch in Edwards County, Texas, and developing the testimony of appraisers and surveyors.
  • Represented landowners in Shackelford County to develop a “wind farm” comprising more than fifty electrical generating wind turbines.

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