Bently buys ranch in East Valley |

Bently buys ranch in East Valley

by Linda Hiller

Don Bently has purchased the 2,340-acre Carson Valley Ranch and said he plans to put the sagebrush-covered property into alfalfa production.

The purchase price for the East Valley property was $7 million, Bently said Tuesday.

Bently is founder and owner of Bently Nevada and Bently Agrowdynamics. The purchase was made last week through his Bently Family Limited Partnership.

The acreage he purchased was once part of the original Dangberg Ranch and should be easily returned to farming through Bently Agrowdynamics’ modern irrigation methods, Bently said.

“It is ideal for growing alfalfa,” he said Tuesday. “It is good, fertile land – one of the best filtration basins in the Valley.”

Bently purchased the Carson Valley Ranch – approximately 60 parcels – from Sterling Pacific Assets. Eleven hundred acres of that land had previously been approved through the master plan as a receiving area which could have been transferred to development, according to Douglas County assistant planner Pete Wysocki.

The master plan had identified around 1,000 properties for homes that could be put in there, he said, and the other 1,100 acres of the Carson Valley Ranch were zoned forest and range.

Six months ago, Sterling Pacific Assets applied for a master plan amendment to relocate some of the land zoned as receiving area from the west side of the ranch to the east side, along with the addition of 59 acres to the receiving area portion, and that was approved, Wysocki said. Bently inherits that new zoning with last week’s purchase.

– Only hay … no homes. Bently’s plan is to convert the property to alfalfa production.

Portions of that land had once been flood-irrigated, but with poor results, Bently said.

“That used to be swamp land, but it’s dried out since I let water out of that (Dangberg) reservoir,” Bently said.

Bently has already acquired thousands of acres of swamp land and other previously unfarmed property, converting it to agricultural production by employing modern irrigation technology.

The choice of alfalfa production for the new property is based on the fact that it grows well in the Carson Valley, Bently said.

“Alfalfa is one of the few things to grow here successfully,” he said. “We made four cuttings this year – we really got lucky.”

Bently Agrowdynamics sells hay to Smith Valley and California, and to dairy farms, and although alfalfa production does make money, it will not be making a profit for some time, Bently said.

“It takes a while to get to that point,” he said. “But we plan to.”

Last week’s purchase is unrelated to a proposed land swap with the Bureau of Land Management, Bently said. The proposed trade is 32,000 acres of public land, much of it in the Pine Nut area, for 17,400 acres of Bently land in Nevada and California. No action has been taken on the proposed swap.

– It may be fenced. Bently said he will wait for the land, which closed escrow Friday, to be surveyed before he moves forward with the preparation for planting. He said rudimentary fencing would likely be put around the property at that point.

The recent purchase brings Bently Agrowdynamics’ total agricultural production to approximately 6,000 acres of the company’s more than 35,000-acre holdings. Composting and cattle production comprise much of the other land use.

Bently said he has no immediate plans to acquire more land.

“I’m finished with buying land for now,” he said.