An Albemarle County, Va., estate has been sold for $2.97 million to a New York businessman in what real estate agents describe as one of the largest agricultural transactions ever made in the county. Included in the sale of the 1,000-acre Short Hills estate--located about 10 miles south of Charlottesville and four miles from Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello--were a Georgian-style mansion and a cattle farm with a purebred herd of Simmental cattle.

Short Hills, the largest cattle operation in the county, was bought by John Kluge, board chairman of Metromedia Inc., a New Jersey-based broadcasting firm that owns the Ice Capades and the Harlem Globetrotters. The seller was Ronald K. Banister, an Edmonton, Canada, businessman who owned the property for about 10 years.

The estate occupies part of a 9,350-acre land grant obtained in 1730 from King George I by John Carter, then secretary of the Virginia colony. The Short Hills portion was purchased in 1796 by William Short, a friend of Jefferson's who served as his secretary while Jefferson was minister to France.

Construction of the 18-room brick mansion began in 1948 and was completed a year later. Small houses and buildings used by tenant farmers stood on the property before the mansion was built.