Selling New Mexico Ranches

Ranching in New Mexico can involve many issues that Centerfire can help you with!

If you are thinking of buying or selling a New Mexico farm or ranch, work with one of our knowledgeable ranch brokers who can guide you through all aspects of the sale.

Our experience and reputation are unsurpassed in New Mexico. From our 35 years of experience selling farms and ranches, plus personal experience from having been raised on ranches and owning ranches in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, we know what it takes when you’re buying or selling a ranch.

Learn more about the strategies we will use to sell your New Mexico Ranch

We know the territory, we know what to look for and how to work with all the people involved. We are committed to our clients and will work hard to negotiate the best price for you. We’d be happy to visit with you about the purchase or sale of property at your convenience.

Work with professionals who have the expertise you need to simplify your transaction – give us a call at 505.865.7800 or cell direct at 505.916.9219, locally , or send an email!


When buying or selling a ranch in New Mexico, we work hand-in-hand with many agencies around the state to get the job done.  Our expertise includes working with:


A conservation easement is an agreement between a landowner and an eligible conservation organization that restricts certain future activities on the land and allows the landowner to maintain the private ownership of the property while permanently prohibiting certain types of development.  The restrictions can vary among easements, but all serve to protect the conservation values of the land.

NM House Bill 990 provides economic incentives for private land conservation by enhancing associated tax benefits.  This law follows Colorado’s innovative strategy of offering landowners a State income tax credit in exchange for a conservation easement on their property .  Conservation easements are mixed creatures of both State and Federal law.  From a State law perspective, local law determines the  requirements for the creation of the easements.

Federal and State law must be consulted to establish whether a conservation easement grantor may claim a Federal income tax deduction and a State Income tax credit.  The tax advantages  in House bill 990 provide incentives for landowners to place conservation easements on their land.  The tax credits are flexible and may be sold to buyers who pay more state taxes than others.

If you are considering whether or not to place a conservation easement on your Ranch property in New Mexico, call Centerfire Realty for more information.


A livestock brand is the means by which the ownership of the livestock is determined. Cattle, horses, and sheep are branded .  In 1598, the first hot iron brand was introduced into New Mexico by Don Juan de Onate. He trailed 7,000 head of branded cattle from the Mexican state of Chihuahua all the way to Santa Fe, NM.  Now, over 400 years later, New Mexico remains a hot brand state.  Our brand database contains some 30,000 designs. Check out “search for a brand” at the New Mexico Livestock Board website at .

In New Mexico, a brand must first be recorded with the NM Livestock Board before it can be used on an animal.  The brand registration certificate confers on the person to whom it is issued the right to use the recorded brand on an animal until the registration expires, is transferred, or is forfeited. A brand may be registered by filing an application with the Livestock Board for $75 and must be re-recorded every 3 years.  Ownership of a brand is a property right and may be sold and transferred.

Before you move or transport livestock from one district to another within the state, or beyond the limits of the state, cattle must be inspected  by a NM Cattle Inspector.


Elk–New Mexico is fast becoming one of the best places in America to hunt Elk!  Many Archery Elk hunts take place in southwestern New Mexico, home to the world-famous Gila Wilderness, the largest primitive and road-less area in the United States. Here many trophy bulls are produced and the Elk herds thrive!   Muzzleloader hunts take place in the Gila and Cibola National Forests, and on surrounding ranch properties in Mid-October through late November.

The New Mexico Game and Fish Dept has established  a system of effective elk harvesting through sport hunting  that is beneficial  to the economy of the state  as well as appropriate biologically  for the management of elk and their habitats. Qualified landowners who sign elk agreements with the department each year  are issued elk landowner authorizations in April and can barter, sell, or trade them.

Hunters wishing to purchase a private land elk license must first obtain Authorization Information from one of the participating landowners. The hunter can then take this information into a NM Game and Fish office (Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Raton, or Roswell) to purchase their license. If they wish to purchase the license by mail, they can download a PLUS license request form from, under Hunting.

Centerfire supports the efforts of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation through several large gifts and participation in various events around the country.  Centerfire was instrumental in the sale of the Double H Ranch between Datil and Magdalena, New Mexico, several years ago. The buyer, Mr. Bob Torstensen, graciously donated the ranch to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation upon his death.

Oryx, Persian Ibex, and Bison–These are three exotic species that were introduced into New Mexico over 25 years ago and they have done exceptionally well here. The Oryx are on the White Sands Missile Range and the Ibex are in the Florida Mountains of Southern New Mexico.  The Bison are on a large private ranch. Tags for both Oryx and Ibex are issued on a drawing basis. Deadlines are in February for Oryx and mid-April for Ibex.  Landowner permits can be obtained for oryx as well.  Habitats for Oryx and Bison are in gently rolling country, but the Ibex live in the extremely rough and jagged Florida Mountains.

Mule and Coues Deer–The Southwest is home to the best Mule Deer hunting in the country.  Whether hunting the Rocky Mountain Mule Deer of northern New Mexico in the sage-covered bottoms, open hillsides, and pine-covered mountain tops or the Desert Mule Deer of Old Mexico on the cactus-covered desert floor, you will pursue one of North America’s most sought-after trophies! The southwestern mountains are one of the only places you will find the Coues deer. They inhabit some of the most remote and rugged  country around.

Bighorn Sheep–New Mexico has built a reputation for the reintroduction of Rocky Mountain and Desert Sheep into the many mountainous areas throughout the state.  These herds have grown to huntable sizes and produce many large trophy Rams. Licenses can be drawn or obtained from landowners.

Pronghorn Antelope–New Mexico’s open grasslands are home to large herds of Pronghorn Antelope.  New Mexico is ranked as one of the top five places to harvest that trophy Antelope!

Mountain Lion and Black Bear–The mountains of New Mexico are home to North America’s best hunter, the Mountain Lion. Lion hunts take place in mountains all over the state, behind a seasoned pack of hounds! These mountains are also home to trophy Black Bears and can be done on horseback, 4 x 4 pickups, and ATV’s during October and November for bears and October through March for Mountain Lions.


Forty-eight percent of the eleven western states—-a landmass 361 million acres in area—is owned by the American people and managed by the federal government.  Of this total, the United States Forest Serviceand the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)  together manage about 320 million acres. Eighty-one percent are grazed by privately-owned livestock. There are about 23,600 public land ranchers representing about 6% of all livestock producers west of the Mississippi River.

Livestock grazing permits are issued on public lands on the basis of an annual fee paid per animal unit month (AUM), defined as the amount of forage required to sustain a cow and calf for one month.

In New Mexico, the BLM manages over 900,000 acres of grazing land and the USFS manages over 7,500,000 acres in the National Forests in New Mexico.  In addition, the New Mexico State Land Office leases 8,700,000 acres to ranchers for livestock grazing.  Many ranches include both federal and state grazing permits.


Renewable energy has really come into it’s own in New Mexico and is an important economic consideration for folks buying ranches in New Mexico.

Wind Energy – Several wind farms are springing up through out New Mexico.  Contrary to popular belief, you don’t just need lots of wind, you need transmission lines to transport the energy that is produced by the huge wind turbines.    Centerfire Realty is working with several wind companies to help landowners lease some of their rangeland to create another  income stream for themselves.

Solar Energy – Wow!  Everyone knows New Mexico is sunny!  In fact, according to studies, NM is ranked with Arizona and Nevada as having the greatest amounts of continuous solar radiation (300+ days per year) in the US.  Centerfire Realty  has brokers  who have established  relationships with several Solar companies who are looking for landowners interested in learning more about how they can profit from this opportunity.  Please Call Centerfire if you would like to learn more.

Biomass – Like other forms of renewable energy, such as wind or solar, biomass resources produce less emissions than their fossil fuel counterparts.  Biomass is organic matter that can be processed into energy for heat, liquid fuels, or power generation.   Sources include wood, plants, agricultural residues, animal waste, and organic components of municipal and industrial wastes.

Many biomass firms are looking to purchase land in New Mexico .  If you have an interest in learning more, please call Centerfire Realty, 505-865-7800.


The New Mexico Constitution and Water Code provide that all water belongs to the public.  A water right is the right to use the public’s water.  For purposes of real estate conveyances, a water right is an interest in real property that may be—but is not always—appurtenant to real property.  An artificial diversion—a well, headgate, or impoundment—from the stream is required.   Permitted water rights are granted by the State Engineer.  Adjudicated water rights result from water rights adjudications, quiet title, and abandonment actions.

If water rights are appurtenant to real property, they are automatically conveyed when the property is conveyed unless specifically reserved.  However, only agricultural water rights and “water rights necessary for the enjoyment of the property” are appurtenant.  Water rights may be separately conveyed by warranty, special warranty, or quitclaim deed.  In addition, a Change of Ownership of Water Right shall be filed with the State Engineer then recorded in the county where the water rights are located.

Water rights can be sold but the value depends on several factors including the water right’s current validity, the approved or established purpose(s) of use, water quantity, water quality, location and market demand. In addition, you must apply to the State Engineer for permits to drill a domestic well on your property.

At Centerfire Realty, we have lots of experience working with the State Engineer, the Water Bank, and others buying and selling water rights.  Please call Max Kiehne at 505-865-7800 with any questions.