Ranch owned by same family since late 1800s, near Merced, sells after listed for $22M

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A 7,217-acre ranch north of Merced that has been owned by the same family since the late-1800s has sold after being listed for $22 million.

A local dairy farmer bought the historic Kelsey Ranch in Snelling, California, and plans to continue running cattle on the land, according to listing agent Todd Renfrew of California Outdoor Properties. The ranch straddles both Mariposa and Merced counties.

“Among cattle ranches, the size and list price of the Kelsey Ranch is probably in the Top 10 in the state,” Renfrew said via e-mail. “Of our 125 active listings, we currently have three with higher list prices, so that puts Kelsey Ranch higher than 97% of active listings based on price.”

California Outdoor Properties did not disclose the selling price.

The ranch provides pasture land for grazing cows, 400-acres of irrigated crop land, the “trophy fishing waters” of the 120-acre Kelsey Reservoir, and multiple barns and outbuildings, according to California Outdoor Properties. Kelsey Ranch can run 500 cow/calf pairs year-round, and on a good year, up to 800 steers for a six-month season.

In addition to the reservoir, the ranch has pre-1914 water rights from the Merced River, several ponds, creeks and two domestic wells providing excellent water on the ranch.

“What makes a good ranch is the land and topography. But what makes a great ranch is the water,” Renfrew said. “This ranch has it all.”

The property contains mostly gentle to rolling terrain, with some steep topography. The elevation varies from 330 feet to 815 feet.

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