Welcome to Colorful Colorado, famous for its ski slopes, 300 days of sunshine a year, and the mile-high city, Denver. With a huge variety in its geography, from the eastern plains to the Rocky Mountains to the western slopes, Colorado is a state that hosts a growing urban population together with a strong agricultural foundation. There are too many highlights to count about Colorado, but a few areas where Colorado stands out among other states are its beauty, its organic agriculture, and its economy.
Colorado is a beautiful state with something for every taste. From snow-capped peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park to the dizzying dropoff at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, to the breathtaking views at almost any mountain ranch, Colorado is a state that takes your breath away. Speaking of being short of breath, Colorado is the state with the highest mean elevation of any US state, so get ready to adjust to the altitude. The spectacular beauty, paired with a major international airport in Denver, make Colorado a year-round tourist destination.
Regarding agriculture, Colorado has more certified organic acres than any other state(1). This fits in well with the local culture in many of Colorado’s cities and towns, where growing numbers of people favor organic, sustainable, and fair-trade options. There is a strong demand for farmer’s markets, fresh, wholesome foods, and healthier lifestyles, contributing to Colorado’s status as the state with the lowest obesity rate in the nation(2).
Colorado’s economy has been extremely strong in recent years. US News and World Report ranked Colorado as having the #1 state economy in the U.S. in 2018 and 2019(3). The boom is related to many factors, including a highly educated, innovative workforce, thriving businesses in many industries, and oil. Agriculture is a major contributor to the state’s economy(4), with cattle bringing in the most money ($3.99 billion in 2017) and crops coming in second ($2.24 billion). The total impact of agriculture in the state is approximately $40 billion(5), making agriculture the second-greatest contributor to the state’s economy (after manufacturing).
If you’re looking to buy or sell farmland or ranch land in Colorado, contact American Land Brokers for help with listing your property or scheduling showings for properties you are interested in. We look forward to serving you!
If you’re looking to buy agricultural land in Colorado, the region you choose will affect what your property is best suited for and what crops you can produce with your land. Let’s take a look at the major regions of Colorado through the lens of agriculture.
Great Plains land covers the eastern two-fifths of Colorado. This land is relatively flat and extends from an elevation of 3,315 feet at the Eastern border of Yuma County, to the base of the foothills, where the elevation varies from approximately 4500 to 5500 feet, including the “mile-high” city of Denver at 5,280 feet.
Out of all the regions of Colorado, Eastern Colorado is the most productive, thanks to flat land, fertile soils, and strong yields in cattle, poultry, sheep, corn, wheat, hay, sunflowers, and sugar beets. Farms in this region tend to be larger and more profitable than elsewhere in Colorado. Weld County alone, with only 6% of the land in Colorado, brought in 34% of the net farm income in the state of Colorado, at $395 million (1). Yuma County brought in the highest average net income per farm, at 402% of the Colorado average (2).
Eastern Colorado is is further subdivided into three main sections: the High Plains, the Colorado Piedmont, and the Raton Basin.
- The High Plains counties, on the far Eastern edge of the state, are geographically similar to western Nebraska.
- The Colorado Piedmont is the area at the foot of the mountains, comprised of relatively flat, fertile ground.
- The Raton Basin, located in the southern counties of Las Animas and Huerfano, is more of a land of coal, oil, and mining than agriculture.
The Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains extend in a vertical band across the state from north to south, with more peaks above 14,000 feet than any other state. This land is renowned for its skiing, hiking, and rock climbing, but there is also a fair amount of agriculture going on in the mountains, from grazing to raising crops.
Since the mountain terrain varies, different counties will obviously differ in productivity, ranging from San Juan County, which reported no agricultural production, to the enormously fertile San Luis Valley, where flat terrain and the headwaters of the Rio Grande provide ample irrigation opportunities, leading to strong crop yields and farm profits in certain portions of Saguache, Rio Grande, Alamosa, and Conejos counties.
If grazing land is more your thing, don’t overlook the mountain ranches of Colorado. Not only are they breathtakingly beautiful, they also offer strong native grasses that help your cattle to put on weight quickly (3). In many of the mountain counties, hay is the principal crop, thanks to short growing seasons and cooler temperatures.
This region of Colorado is west of the Continental Divide and is known as the Colorado Plateau, sometimes also called the Western Slope. The weather patterns here lead to distinct climate conditions from what you find on the eastern side of the mountains, leading to excellent weather for orchards, vineyards, berries, and sweet corn. The most productive ground is concentrated in Mesa, Montrose, and Delta counties, where Palisade peaches, wineries, and berry farms abound.
The northernmost portion of Western Colorado is a distinct geographical region called the Wyoming Basin (which also extends northward into a large portion of western Wyoming). This basin offers relatively flat terrain and excellent grazing land for cattle. Most of Moffat county and much of Routt county are in this basin. Moffat county is characterized by having the largest farms and the highest farm income of the counties in Western Colorado.
Find Your Colorado Land With the Help of American Land Brokers
If you are looking for a certain kind of agricultural land in Colorado, count on the helpful, friendly folks at American Land Brokers for guidance in your property search. We look forward to assisting you!