Features

53,000-acre ranch in south San Benito County sold

Central Valley farmer Scott Raven purchased the Ashurst Ranch which extends into Fresno County.
Ashurst Ranch. Photo courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield marketing brochure.
Ashurst Ranch. Photo courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield marketing brochure.

San Benito County’s 53,000-acre Ashurst Ranch has been sold to farmer Scott Raven. The ranch is made up of just under 28,000 acres of private land and over 30,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land.  John Ashurst, a pioneering California cattleman, founded the ranch in the early 1900s to supply beef to New Idria Mercury mine workers.

A press release from real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, which represented the seller, Rancho Mountain Properties, said the ranch is primarily located in San Benito County but extends into Fresno County The sale included 5,000 head of cattle, an extensive water system and nine oil wells.

Raven, president of Scott Raven Farming Co. based in Selma, is a longtime Central Valley farmer.

The purchase price was not disclosed but the news release says Ashurst Ranch was the single largest land property for sale in California when it was listed in July 2019 with an asking price of $17.5 million. 

Per San Benito County Recorder’s calculation the property sold for just over $12.1 million. This calculation is done by dividing the tax amount by $0.55 then multiplying that figure by 500. 

Matt Davis with Cushman & Wakefield said in the press release, “Most recently, the ranch provided fertile winter grazing for about 5,000 head of cattle and under the stewardship of Mr. Raven, Ashurst Ranch is sure to be an integral part of California’s cattle industry for generations to come.”

Raven intends to improve on the fencing and water systems as well as bring nine existing oil wells back into production, according to the release. 

The property is located at 15970 New Idria Road in Paicines, approximately 60 miles south of Hollister. The 53,154 acre ranching operation consists of 27,944 acres across 118 parcels with 30,210 acres of Bureau of Land Management grazing leases. There are two houses on the property, two mobile homes, two sets of corrals, loading pens and a dirt airstrip.

“Productive farm and ranch land has historically been an excellent hedge against inflation and with the price increases that have occurred in the global commodities markets, we are seeing growing interest in investment quality agricultural assets,” Davis said.

Raven told BenitoLink that he intends to make improvements to the property’s land, water and oil wells 

“It is a very unique ranch” Raven said there are a lot of opportunities for the ranch including the “ability to run a lot of cattle.”

 

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Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces.Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker.She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.