With latest purchase, Texans own 35,934 acres
GRANGEVILLE – The recent purchase of a 17,947-acre ranch on the Doumecq Plains southwest of Grangeville likely makes the two Texas billionaire brothers who bought it the second-largest landowners in Idaho County.
Farris C. Wilks, 60, and Dan H. Wilks, 56, of Cisco, Texas, bought the Delos Robbins Ranch in December. In January 2011, the brothers bought the 17,987-acre Hitchcock Ranch in the same area.
With a total of 35,934 acres, that ranks the brothers just behind Western Pacific Timber Company in total county holdings, Idaho County Assessor James Zehner said. Western Pacific owns about 38,000 acres in the Upper Lochsa region of Idaho County.
Attempts to reach the Wilks brothers to inquire about their plans for the properties were unsuccessful.
No other counties in north central Idaho have recorded land purchases from the Wilks brothers, but the Idaho County acquisitions add to their real estate holdings in Montana, Texas, and Kansas.
The Billings Gazette recently reported that the Wilks brothers have accumulated more than 276,000 acres in seven counties in the eastern half of Montana.
According to Forbes magazine, the Wilks brothers maintain their extensive land holdings for farming, ranching, and wildlife management.
Linda Arnzen of the Idaho County assessor’s office said the Wilkses’ property is categorized mainly for agriculture and timber uses. The assessed value of the Hitchcock Ranch, with those exemptions, Arnzen said, is $826,330. Taxes on the ranch for 2012 were $8,183.
The assessed value of the Robbins Ranch, with the agriculture and timber exemptions, is $1,159,518. Taxes for 2012 were $10,658.
Idaho is a non-disclosure state, Arnzen said, meaning people are not required to report the buying or selling prices when a piece of property changes hands. Arnzen said she did not know what the Wilkses paid for the land.
Forbes reported that the brothers, who built their fortune from a family masonry business, are worth more than $1.4 billion each.
The brothers followed in their father’s footsteps, a factory worker who took up masonry throughout Texas and Oklahoma.
Later, the brothers founded Frac Tech, a hydraulic fracturing and oil field services firm. The brothers sold the company to a group of investors from Singapore in May for $3.5 billion, according to Forbes.
The brothers remain “farm boys at heart,” Forbes reported, and their recent philanthropic efforts have benefited their hometown’s fire department and a pregnancy and family resources center.
Farris Wilks also is the pastor of a church in Cisco, Forbes reported.
(By Kathy Hedberg, The Lewiston Tribune)