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Old 10-12-2009, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,490 posts, read 38,410,774 times
Reputation: 23086

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Horses do serve a purpose for quite a few people - heck, one of the largest livestock handling operations in the country (either first or second largest, depending on the inventory any given week) is right here where we are and they work the cattle with horses rather than ATV's because it makes for better meat.

As for the OP's concern, couple of things come to mind. You don't need to get the state government involved (though it's not a bad idea) in promoting buying in the small towns that allow small holdings in town. Get your town and county to promote itself that way, heck, get together a bunch of volunteers and do it yourself! It's amazing what you can do that way - I've been part of a Morgan Horse publication that has subscriberss all over the country and overseas for about the last 9 years and it's been put together with volunteer labor and most of us haven't even met in the flesh, it's all done over the internet. You could see if you could get the farmers in your state who are in a similar situation to share talents and come up with a promotion to encourage people to do just that. You'd be surprised what talents come out of the woodwork from people you never knew had them when you get something like this proposed, especially if you take it statewide. In the meantime, you could work on getting the legislature on board.

Another is to use promotional materials already created by others about the realities of living in the country. A couple of examples are this piece by Granite Hills Design (a horsewoman who created it after similar discussions on an equine list we're both on - it's designed for California but it gives an idea of what I'm talking about) and this one (http://www.co.ottawa.mi.us/CoGov/Depts/Planning/pdf/AgDisclaimer.pdf - broken link) by the Ottawa County, Michigan Planning Department (note that it has a scratch & sniff with manure smell just so folks will know what they're getting into). Both use humor to get the point across, and both are used by realtors to START educating people who are looking to move to the country about what's involved. Perhaps you could do something as simple as come up with a similar brochure targeted to your state and distribute it to realtors who handle country land?

The other thing that came to mind is that, for those people who, as someone said, don't know what to do with those other acres, if you were already leasing it from the person who sold it to them, offer to lease it from them. It might not be ideal now that it has a house on it, but it's still acreage and perhaps you could work a deal where you keep the fences up and pay something reasonable and take care of the land for them and everybody would win. I know, here (but, of course, we still have our ag exemptions), people do that all the time - in fact, when we bought our place, the cows that were being run on it were owned by someone who leased the property, kept the fences up, and grew and harvested hay on about 10 acres on shares with the property owner, all for a pittance because it kept the taxes down. THERE is where you should be putting your legislative efforts, into convincing your state to reinstate the ag exemption (silly people for removing it, being pound foolish and penny wise!).
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:46 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,802 times
Reputation: 1506
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrtechno View Post
Don't get me wrong here, because I too hate to see good agricultural land swallowed up by residential (or commercial) areas. Hey, I like to eat. But remember, this generally wouldn't be happening if the owners of the farms wouldn't be selling their properties to people for other purposes.
Hey RRTechno, I realize I owe you a slight apology. I know you were only misinformed on this issue and are not really the anti-farmer person I sort of alluded too. I don't blame you for any of these misdeeds, it just gets old working 24/7/365 and losing 40K per month when others on unemployment keep having more and more money thrown at them.

I went off on a rant because everyone says we are doing this and that wrong, but yet 99% of the population is eating from our hard work. I know you appreciate that, and for that I apologize, but I stand by what I said in my posts so I won't delete them. Farmers are under insurmountable odds right now with a anticipated 25% of dairy farms predicted to go under due to taxes and low milk prices.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:57 AM
 
Location: North Cackelacky....in the hills.
19,556 posts, read 19,544,697 times
Reputation: 2499
If you(a farmer) could expand the size of your farm, how would this help your situation?

With expansion wouldn't everything else go up accordingly?

If you(the farmer) are working so hard now how will getting bigger help?

It seems this is a mindset that is prevalent in business...if you get bigger you will be more successful...of course it seems most big companies are in dire straits right now.

And as has been posted above,why can't the farmers simply go ask the new landowners about leasing the property that is being unused?
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:08 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,686,634 times
Reputation: 8170
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
Horses do serve a purpose for quite a few people - heck, one of the largest livestock handling operations in the country (either first or second largest, depending on the inventory any given week) is right here where we are and they work the cattle with horses rather than ATV's because it makes for better meat.

As for the OP's concern, couple of things come to mind. You don't need to get the state government involved (though it's not a bad idea) in promoting buying in the small towns that allow small holdings in town. Get your town and county to promote itself that way, heck, get together a bunch of volunteers and do it yourself! It's amazing what you can do that way - I've been part of a Morgan Horse publication that has subscriberss all over the country and overseas for about the last 9 years and it's been put together with volunteer labor and most of us haven't even met in the flesh, it's all done over the internet. You could see if you could get the farmers in your state who are in a similar situation to share talents and come up with a promotion to encourage people to do just that. You'd be surprised what talents come out of the woodwork from people you never knew had them when you get something like this proposed, especially if you take it statewide. In the meantime, you could work on getting the legislature on board.

Another is to use promotional materials already created by others about the realities of living in the country. A couple of examples are this piece by Granite Hills Design (a horsewoman who created it after similar discussions on an equine list we're both on - it's designed for California but it gives an idea of what I'm talking about) and this one (http://www.co.ottawa.mi.us/CoGov/Depts/Planning/pdf/AgDisclaimer.pdf - broken link) by the Ottawa County, Michigan Planning Department (note that it has a scratch & sniff with manure smell just so folks will know what they're getting into). Both use humor to get the point across, and both are used by realtors to START educating people who are looking to move to the country about what's involved. Perhaps you could do something as simple as come up with a similar brochure targeted to your state and distribute it to realtors who handle country land?

The other thing that came to mind is that, for those people who, as someone said, don't know what to do with those other acres, if you were already leasing it from the person who sold it to them, offer to lease it from them. It might not be ideal now that it has a house on it, but it's still acreage and perhaps you could work a deal where you keep the fences up and pay something reasonable and take care of the land for them and everybody would win. I know, here (but, of course, we still have our ag exemptions), people do that all the time - in fact, when we bought our place, the cows that were being run on it were owned by someone who leased the property, kept the fences up, and grew and harvested hay on about 10 acres on shares with the property owner, all for a pittance because it kept the taxes down. THERE is where you should be putting your legislative efforts, into convincing your state to reinstate the ag exemption (silly people for removing it, being pound foolish and penny wise!).

regarding your last paragraph------in my example, people are buying 40 acres of tillable land all in one tract. Once you put a house in the middle of it,windbreaks, a driveway , what is left is a bunch of big " garden areas" that farmers say aren't worth pulling their machinery into due to the small size and shape.

For pasture land------I don't know a farmer in our area who will jump at the chance to rent a pasture that has no fence ( kinda an oxymoron) even if he gets it for free.

My solution for my area( zoned A-40) would be to allow 5 acre tracts to be sold by varianceces granted .

EXAMPLE-------a farmer has a hillside on the far corner of his land that is too small to go thru the hassle of farming it or pasturing it.

A person might desire that to build a house and clear a couple acres for a garden or to pasture it for a few animals.

No prime agriculture lost.
One man's junk is another man's treasure.

Unfortunately, my thinking is in the minority and thus the majority rule.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,490 posts, read 38,410,774 times
Reputation: 23086
Who said anything about it not having fences? I specifically mentioned "keeping the fences up" meaning maintaining the fences that are already there (and half of that is done, by custom, by the adjoining landowner who also benefits from the fenceline, so the work and cost is halved right there).
Of course, you could cut a deal where you put in the fencing if you had the ability and manpower while the landowner paid for materials, but that's just one option - the point was to be creative and work with the situation that's already there while trying at the same time to prevent it from becoming any worse through promotional efforts. Sort of a one-two punch.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:16 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,686,634 times
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--" Who said anything about it not having fences?--"

I don't know many 40 acre pastures that are already fenced to accomodate a future house being built in the center of it.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,490 posts, read 38,410,774 times
Reputation: 23086
Hmmm. Different things in different areas, then - I know quite a few. (But, then, I see a lot of them in the course of my business.) Bought one, even. Well, sort of - 55 acres, 10 acres fenced at the front for hay, 40 acres at the back fenced and cross-fenced into two 20 acre pastures with a big gate between them for pasture rotation, 5 acres between the two for the house/barns/homestead.

Before we bought it and put our own horses/cows/chickens on it, all but the 5 acres was leased to the people I mentioned above, which kept the ag exemption, kept the fences in shape, and got hay for both parties. Not an unusual arrangement in this part of the world; guess it IS unusual in yours.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:21 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,686,634 times
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horses------our state passed a Green Acres law just a few years ago.

What it did was allow farmers to pay taxes on agriculture land values rather than taxes on what the land could sell for if it was bought and used for non-ag purposes ( housing developement for instance )

City people had complained because they stated farmers were able to get exemptions on land that wasn't used for agriculture ( hunting land) They had a valid complaint .

The law got re-written to say only the land used for agriculture could get tax breaks.
They defined agriculture as fields that grew crops, low meadows if hay was baled, pastures if there was a fence and livestock being pastured.

Horses were deemed non-livestock and thus horse pastures would lose their previous tax break.

A few people vehemently objected at the open meetings------people who were all "decked out" in fake western clothes, only raised horses, and had good paying jobs off the " horse ranch"

Heck, I believe one of em was even a realtor.

They got no sympathy from the other real farmers at that meeting or from the county commissioners and county appraisers conducting those informational meetings.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:29 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,686,634 times
Reputation: 8170
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
Hmmm. Different things in different areas, then - I know quite a few. (But, then, I see a lot of them in the course of my business.) Bought one, even. Well, sort of - 55 acres, 10 acres fenced at the front for hay, 40 acres at the back fenced and cross-fenced into two 20 acre pastures with a big gate between them for pasture rotation, 5 acres between the two for the house/barns/homestead.

Before we bought it and put our own horses/cows/chickens on it, all but the 5 acres was leased to the people I mentioned above, which kept the ag exemption, kept the fences in shape, and got hay for both parties. Not an unusual arrangement in this part of the world; guess it IS unusual in yours.
apples to oranges

Your example has no relativity to the concerns being brought up by Broken Tap ( and later by myself)

In your example, very little changed for the previous renter after you bought it.

In Broken Tap ( and my example ) a whole lot changed in regards to the renter after the land was sold.

In your example, that parcel was already " butchered up" into small fields/pastures.

In our example, the person buying it did the " butchering" up of the property.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,490 posts, read 38,410,774 times
Reputation: 23086
Here in Texas, we have several kinds of ag.

Very roughly (I can get a link to the statute if you want, as I had to read it recently to successfully defend our own ag valuation):

One kind is where the land agriculturally supports the farmer/rancher entirely - no outside income needed.

Another is where the land supports itself, but not necessarily the farmer/rancher - outside income is allowed.

A variation on the second is "open land ag", where the intent is to preserve open land and keep it from being developed. You have to have the first kind - the kind where the land supports itself agriculturally, and that takes five years to get - in order to convert to this kind, where there are requirements that you have a plan to preserve the land for native wildlife, and there are requirements for that plan. You can still have cattle, horses, etc., on it, as long as they do not interfere with the wildlife management purpose.

Whether or not horses count as livestock for ag purposes varies. If you are breeding, yes, they do. Geldings do count in some counties and not in others (the county ag appraisal district determines this) - the ones where they do tend to be the counties with real working ranches where the horses are used, gelding, mare, or stallion, not only for breeding purposes but as working ranch horses. In other words, the "real" ranchers, to use your particular prejudice, are the ones supporting horses counting as livestock for ag purposes, because they use them to get the ranching done. Go figure.
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