estate disputes between neighbors. I do a
lot of drafting of settlement agreements
between disputing parties. I love doing
ranch sales in Colorado—it involves so many
different issues. And just a lot of incidental
sales of businesses, commercial properties.
Q: What do you like about ranch sales?
A: Well, there are—in Colorado at least—
water issues, and I know something about
water rights and how to protect a client who
is buying a ranch to make sure that the buyer
gets the water. The value of the ranch really
depends on the water.
Are they going to purchase the livestock,
and if they’re not going to purchase livestock,
what are they going to do with the ranch?
Many of our ranch buyers are wealthy, they
don’t need any livestock. They’d like to have
a few bison roaming around, you know, and
they’re only going to be on the ranch three
or four weeks a year, so they’ve got to get a
ranch manager to take care of it for them.
There’s the issue of the farm equipment.
There are frequently issues of forest permits
and federal grazing permits and sometimes
state of Colorado grazing permits. Of course,
one of the issues is title and minerals under the
property. Personnel are an issue, too. Can you
find a ranch manager? Are the cowboys going
to stay for this new owner or take off? I seldom
have one rancher buying a ranch from another
rancher. I most always have a novitiate buying
a ranch from a rancher: someone who doesn’t
know which end of a horse gets up first. I
usually provide some counseling there, if I think
it’s appropriate to do so, because I do know
something about owning a ranch.
A: I was raised on a ranch in western
Colorado. We had that ranch in the family
until 1996. My father passed away in 1980,
so for 16 years I was the ranch manager. I
was practicing law in Denver, I wasn’t over
there shoveling manure out of the barn, but
I had the checkbook. Fortunately, we had
good people—good foremen, good workers
at the ranch who stayed there for those
years—and we were able to save the ranch.
Q: Is it still a functioning ranch or is it
now a vacation home?
A: I’m glad you asked. I ended up in
1996 selling the ranch to the Nature
Conservancy. We put a conservation
easement on the ranch and the Nature
Conservancy owns it outright, and they keep
it for a northwest Colorado headquarters
and a demonstration project. They bring
Sweetbaum Sands, a proud Colorado law firm, representing clients in the areas of
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CONTINUING THE TRADITION…
2014 Colorado Super Lawyers and Rising Stars* Honorees
Standing L to R: Brad Ramming, Jon Sands, Carolyn Abrahams, Alan Sweetbaum, Geoff Anderson
Seated L to R: Katherine Kust*, Tom DeVine*, Sean Wells* Not pictured: Fred Lewis