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New website makes finding, listing pasture leases easy

PastureScout press release Published on 25 April 2012

A new tool for livestock producers, an online network of pasture lease listings called PastureScout, was launched recently to help ranchers find pasture leases.

It’s pasture leasing made simple, a concept stemmed from the worst drought in the history of Texas and declining cow numbers.

The new website connects the rancher in need of grass to the landowner who has grass available for lease. PastureScout provides leasing information in one easily accessible place.

The continual decline in cow numbers is a major industry challenge that producers and ranchers must face, said Ryan Rhoades, co-founder of PastureScout.

Without grazing pasture, cattlemen have been forced to sell their cattle. When the drought does end, cattle prices will likely be high, making it difficult for those ranchers to get back in the business, he said.

Rhoades realized that in the past, the connection between ranchers in times of drought has been difficult to make.

“Somewhere in the country there is always a drought. At the same time, somewhere else in the country, there is too much rain,” said Rhoades. “Those two people have never been able to connect to each other.”

Keeping these issues in mind, PastureScout started with the idea of finding grazing pasture for cattle. But the website can also be used as a network to expand an operation or find grazing leases for other livestock such as goats, sheep, or horses, said Rhoades.

“It’s about helping people build relationships and build a network of people they can trust,” he said.

Another component of PastureScout provides land owners with the assurance that they will receive a fair price for their land.

Many land owners hesitate about posting land for lease, Rhoades said, because there is no commercial market for pasture leases, and it is hard to determine a price.

Rhoades’ solution for determining a fair price for a pasture lease was to add a bidding component to the website, much like eBay.

“That will be enticing for the land owner,” said Rhoades, “because they will know they can get a fair market value based on supply and demand instead of just a best guess.”

Pasture seekers can search for free and will have the option of purchasing a membership in order to bid on pasture listings.

Land owners also have the option of listing their lease as “classified,” which means the land will be leased at a set price. Pasture seekers can directly contact the pasture owner when the lease land is “classified.”

The founders of PastureScout want to make the website valuable to producers, offering pasture listings for ranchers that meet their specific livestock needs.

The value of the website depends on the number and quality of pasture listings, said Rhoades, and he urges land owners to join

Jen Livsey, co-founder of PastureScout, describes PastureScout as a user-friendly platform that helps cattlemen network and utilize one another’s resources.

“It has to do with the sustainability of the industry because it helps the people in the industry,” said Livsey, “How can people manage risk in the case of a drought or expand profitably?”

The need to connect producers across different geographic regions is great, said Livsey. “Producers have good networks in their region, but when it gets beyond that, information can be hard to come by,” she said.

The PastureScout team hopes that the website will also be a way to bridge the generation gap between ranchers that are ready to retire and young people eager to enter the industry.

At a time when buying land may be out of reach as a young adult, leasing pastures is a viable option, said Rhoades.

For more information about PastureScout and how to join, click here. Registration is now open for both pasture owners and pasture seekers.

To register, create a username and password as a pasture seeker or owner. Pasture listings will be available when there is an adequate number of pasture leases. After the listings are available, bidding will begin.  FG

—PastureScout press release