The Land Report

SPR 2012

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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T o the untrained eye, the first signs of trouble at Camp Cooley Ranch materialized in April 2008. That was the spring the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced that one of the thousands of cows on the iconic Central Texas ranch had tested positive for a deadly disease. Bovine malignant catarrhal fever is no ordinary virus. It's the sort of dreaded malady that experts only refer to by its abbreviation: BMCF. Why? Because bovine malignant catarrhal fever is as bad as it sounds. No known cure exists. Although BMCF causes no havoc to its host – in this case, a wildebeest in the ranch's exotic game preserve – it can be lethal to ungulates such as cattle and bison. And herd losses can be devastating. You think you've got a tough sell? Then put yourself in Australian Bernie Uechtritz's boots (R.M. Williams brand, of course). Start with a quarantined ranch. Add a bankrupt owner. Then throw in three dozen-plus warring creditors. Did we mention a little fracas called the Global Financial Crisis? That's pretty much it. Now get it sold in 45 days.

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