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Simplot Co. Buys ZX Ranch, One of Largest U.S. Cattle Operation

January 2, 1994 GMT

PAISLEY, Ore. (AP) _ An Oregon ranch believed to be one of the largest cattle operations in the nation has been sold to J.R. Simplot Co., an agricultural, food-processing and fertilizer company based in Boise, Idaho.

The Paisley-based ZX Ranch covers 73,000 acres of land, and has permits for grazing livestock on another 1.3 million acres of federal or private land.

Simplot officials declined to reveal the price for the ranch, purchased last week from Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

Tom Basabe, president of Simplot’s agriculture group, said the company will continue cattle operations at the ranch, which produces about 10,000 head of calves annually.

Basabe also said farming will also continue on irrigated lands, with alfalfa the main crop.

Capital Press, an agricultural weekly based in Salem, Ore., said the ranch is the biggest cattle operation in a contiguous area in the United States.

Simplot employs about 9,000 people in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Annual sales of the family-held company average about $1.8 billion.