Despite having just a 1 in 302.6 million chance of winning the record-high Mega Millions lottery, farmers and ranchers are dreaming big on what they could buy with the winnings.
The possibilities are nearly endless with the value now at $1.6 billion. A sprawling ranch. A fleet of new tractors. Several boat loads of soybeans. A few thousand cattle. You name it, you can probably buy it.
We’ve gathered up some ideas as to what producers could buy. The majority of lottery winners take the lump sum, valued at $904 million for a cash-out, and taxes still have to be taken out. That leaves between $489.8 million to $569.5 million depending on what state you live in, so we’ll just say you have $500 million to play with.
Here is what winning Mega Millions could buy you in agriculture:
58.2 Million Bushels of Soybeans
Soybeans have taken a hit in value this year after retaliatory tariffs were put in place by China. If a farmer had storage in place they might want to sit on some beans and wait for the market to rally again when the trade tension with China has eased. At 11 am CDT on Oct. 22, November futures for soybeans were trading at $8.59/bushel, which means a total of 58,207,217 bushels of beans could be bought. With that amount of beans it would account 1.2% of all soybean production with an estimated 4.69 billion bushels projected by USDA.
The World’s Largest Cattle Feeder, Plus Half the Cattle to Restock the Yards
This year the world’s largest cattle feeder, Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, was sold by JBS USA to Pinnacle Asset Management, L.P. The sale was for a reported $200 million and included 11 feedlots located across Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The feedlots have an estimated one-time capacity of 980,000 head, so with the remaining money a person could buy a few cattle to halfway restock the feedlots. After looking at auction reports from USDA across the country, there were 138 head of Medium-Large #1-2 heifers that sold in various Tennessee livestock markets for $124.93/cwt during the Oct. 20 report. At that price rate 490,000 heifers could be bought with approximately $15 million remaining to truck the cattle home. Hopefully you can hit the $620 million Powerball to pay for feed and any treatment costs.
200 Million Gallons of Milk
Dairy farmers have been struggling with another year of low milk prices and to help bring awareness to the problem the #10GallonChallenge was started. The social media campaign involves purchasing 10 gallon jugs of milk and then donating the milk to local food pantries. USDA calculates a gallon of milk costs $2.49 across the entire country, so that would mean you could buy 200,803,212 gallons of milk. That’s more than 20 million 10 gallon challenges worth of milk.
16,666 Acres of Almond Groves in California
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Almonds have been growing in popularity among growers in California with acreage rising 7% from 2016 to 2017. The high value cash crop should continue to have decent returns and land prices suggest that an average rate of $30,000/acre could purchase almond land in California. At that suggested rate your almond groves would be 16,666 acres in size. Hopefully you won’t need any help “milking” your almonds.
7,296 Used John Deere 9410 Combines
A recent find by Machinery Pete was the sale of a John Deere 9410 Maximizer with 2,520 engine hours in Spencerville, Ontario. The combine brought $89,000 CAD for the final sale price, which converted in U.S. dollars = $68,530 at a Canadian to U.S. dollar exchange rate of .77. That’s the highest auction price for that type of combine in six years. If you were to buy as many John Deere 9410 Combines as possible it would come to 7,296 machines with your lottery winnings. Could be the start of a pretty large custom harvesting fleet.
8 Million Shares in Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods, Inc., the largest publicly traded meat packer in the U.S., was on a boom at the end of 2017 following a meteoric rise since 2008. Stock prices for the company peaked at $83.56 on Dec. 5, 2017. Prices have since fallen to $62.05 per share of Tyson at 1 pm CDT on Oct. 22, but it is still a good investment with the world’s growing need for animal protein. A total of 8,058,017 shares in Tyson could be purchased at current values.
Hawaiian and Alaskan Island Ranches, Plus a Few Thousand Acres in Texas
There are plenty of multi-million dollar ranches for sale across the U.S., including T. Boone Pickens’ sprawling 64,809 acre Texas Panhandle property. We thought we’d save some money by not purchasing the oil tycoon’s $250 million ranch and opt for some smaller ranches in Texas, which would leave enough for a tropical island ranch in Hawaii and a slightly colder location in Alaska.
The 55,575 acre Molokai Ranch on the Hawaiian island of Molokai with an asking price of $260 million would top the purchase list. Then we’d line up the 500,000-acre Bering Pacific Ranches located on Alaska’s Aleutian Islands for only $19.9 million.
This would leave another $220 million for more ranch land so we’ll put a bid of $52 million on the 37,759 acre KC7 Ranch near Balmorhea, Texas. Add on the similarly priced KB Carter Ranch for $51 million puts 15,000 acres of east Texas property in the portfolio. The Northrup Pipe Creek Ranch for $49.95 million, the Sulphur Bluff Ranch for $43,940,500, the Circle J&B Ranch for $12.5 million and the Wagon Wheel Ranch for $8.8 million would help make up the rest of the ranch holdings in Texas.
Overall the newly formed Mega Millions Ranch would have 633,506 acres total in three states, with a total of 77,931 acres located on six separate Texas properties. There would still be about $2.2 million left to purchase something else. We’d recommend a plane to get between all those ranches, maybe this Cessna Grand Caravan EX could do the trick.
What would you spend your winnings on? Would you buy land, cattle, machinery or a new shop? Would you retire from farming and live off the interest? Let us know in the comments.