Four Star Ranch is a 3,200-acre farming/ranching operation in Uintah County, Utah. It has evolved from its early beginnings in 1972, when David Yeaman purchased 1123 acres of undeveloped land around the Pelican Lake area in Uintah County, Utah, and developed the property into the irrigated farmland which now constitutes Four Star Ranch. In developing the raw ground into farmland, he introduced the first pivot sprinkler system in the Uintah Basin. The farm now operates 29 pivots on the property, along with some wheel lines. Since 1972, Four Star Ranch has been actively engaged in agricultural development as well as some recent residential and commercial development projects.
Since its initial land purchase in 1972, Four Star Ranch, Inc., has acquired additional tracts of land as they became available and now owns and operates approximately 3700 acres of farmland around Pelican Lake. In 2008, Pelican Lake was named a “world-class fishery” by the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, as well as several other commercial and governmental agencies. The Lake is owned and operated as an irrigation reservoir by Ouray Park Irrigation Company (OPIC), which also owns and operates two other reservoirs, Brough and Cottonwood, all of which supply the irrigation water for the farm’s operation. The irrigation company water rights are derived primarily from winter storage rights from the Uintah and Whiterocks Rivers, which flow from the Uintah mountains to the north.
When Yeaman first commenced developing the land and water in 1972, the water delivery system consisted primarily of open canals. During the last 47 years, the canals have been nearly completely replaced with a series of pipelines connecting the reservoirs with the rivers and each other. The result has been a dramatic savings in water as well as the ability to deliver the water from Brough and Cottonwood reservoirs under pressure. Four Star receives approximately half its water from Pelican Lake and the other half from the other two reservoirs.
For the past fifteen years, the Uintah Water Conservancy District has been working on the Green River Pumping Project (GRPP), which commenced in 2012 providing additional water for the area served by OPIC and another irrigation water company through a system of water exchanges. The project is capable of providing over 8,500 acre-feet of water from the Green River. Four Star is the largest single subscriber to the water from this project (subscribing to 1,170 acre-feet) and believes that this will be a big boon to the agricultural production of the area as well as the Uintah Basin as a whole. (For more information on the water production, development, etc., refer to the "WATER" link above.)
On March 14, 2013, The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article about Vernal, Utah, stating that it is the fifth fastest growing "micropolitan" area in the nation. (see: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55993616-90/vernal-growth-oil-percent.html.csp ) The article demonstrates the tremendous growth the Uintah Basin has been experiencing due primarily to the boom in oil and gas development over the past ten years. Much of this development is to the south of Four Star’s property and accessed by Highway 88. This activity has spawned a huge increase in traffic on Highway 88 (also called the "Seep Bridge Road") passing Four Star’s property and continuing south for 46 miles. Consequently, an increased interest in residential and commercial development in the area, including Four Star’s property, has resulted. In 2014, Uintah County completed 46 miles of the Seep Bridge Road all the way to the Grand County line. It is contemplated that Highway 88 will eventually connect with I-70, From the Grand County line, there remains only about 17 miles of highway left to complete the connection with I.-70.
In 2009, Four Star leased and then sold a prime piece of commercial property for a card lock gas station/truck stop. This has been a very successful venture. Driven primarily by oilfield activity, housing has been a problem in the Uintah Basin, driving rental properties to unprecedented levels. The oil boom has also created other business opportunities such as the marketing of water and gravel. Four Star has developed its well water by installing water tank storage in excess of 100,000 gallons for oil field use and culinary use. It also has permitted two gravel pits on its properties which have been leased for oilfield and road construction.