Our blog will help keep you informed about news and information related to the farm, ranch and rural real estate markets. If you share our desire for wide open spaces and investment in the land, we hope you will subscribe, read and discuss the stories we find and develop here. More than just an investment, ranch, farm and rural real estate evokes a type of lifestyle that was born over a century ago and still provides a certain romance and passion for those who embrace the pioneering spirit from those days gone by.

Texas Farm & Ranch Wildlife Management: Qualified and Appraised Land

By: Justin Bryan

There is no question that the demographics of rural land ownership continues to change. Where we were once largely an agrarian society with each of us having some ties to a farm or ranch, it is no longer the case as more of us completely live an urban life. Yet the desire to own a farm or especially a beautiful ranch, is still very much in the minds of most of us.

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For many new ranch owners, they desire the property but prefer to avoid the ownership of their own livestock herd and/or coping with grazing leases. It’s not that they don’t understand the value of livestock, they just choose not to oversee the issues involved with livestock. Instead their goals tend to revolve around increasing the abundance and health of native vegetation, being able to view a diversity of wildlife, and reinvigorating riparian/stream and fishery ecosystems. In other words, their primary use of the land is managing it for wild things.

LAND VALUATION

Historically in Texas, appraisal districts and appraised land operating with a livestock business qualify for a tax rate lower than other properties. These are known as 1-d-1 appraisals. A 1-d-1 valuation rate was not in place for those ranch owners who possessed little interest in livestock yet valued and actively invested time, money and labor into the enhancement of rangelands, forests, deserts, wetlands, wildlife, and fisheries.

Understanding that the demographics of rural land ownership in Texas was and is changing, and more importantly to support the continued landowner efforts to ecologically care for these properties, the Texas voters approved Proposition 11 in 1995. This amended 1-d-1 of the Texas Constitution thus: “to permit productivity appraisal for land used to manage wildlife.”  This was followed by House Bill 1358, “adding wildlife management as an agricultural use that qualifies the land for agricultural (productivity) appraisal.” At that point, if the primary use of the land is managing for wildlife, the land could potentially qualify for the 1-d-1 valuation rate. The passage of Proposition 11 opened the doors for landowners to maintain the 1-d-1 valuation rate by actively managing for wildlife and without the responsibility of livestock.

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REQUIREMENTS TO QUALIFY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT USE  

  1. The land must have been qualified and appraised as 1-d-1 agricultural land in the year prior to conversion to wildlife management use.
  2. Land must be used to generate a sustaining breeding, migrating or wintering population of indigenous wild animals.
  3. The indigenous wildlife populations must be produced for human use.

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APPLICATION TO QUALIFY FOR WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT USE

  1. The landowner must submit a wildlife management plan to the chief tax appraiser in the county between January 1 and April 30 of the tax year.
  2. The landowner must perform 3 of the 7 management practices each year.
    1. Habitat Control (Management)
    2. Erosion Control
    3. Predator Control (Management)
    4. Providing Supplemental Supplies of Water
    5. Providing Supplemental Supplies of Food
    6. Providing Shelter
    7. Making Census Counts to Determine Population

For more detailed information or assistance with the agricultural tax valuation for wildlife use, feel free to contact us at Hall and Hall Farm and Ranch Management Services: Justin Bryan ([email protected]).

Additional information regarding the wildlife valuation can be found at: http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/proptax/pdf/96-354.pdf or http://forages.tamu.edu/PDF/Wildlife%20Management%20as%20Agricultural%20Use%20for%20Property%20Tax%20Valuation%20in%20Texas.pdf

 

A Day with Holland & Holland in Montana

Article & Photos by: Tim Murphy

Arguably, the finest shotguns in the world are made in England.  And one can also argue that Holland & Holland stands alone in this arena.  These “bespoke” guns are made in the same fashion as they were originally when the company was founded in 1835-one at a time.  These are not just weapons, they are a form of functional art collected and coveted by buyers who often hand them down through generations.  And with a price tag in excess of $100K, inheritance is meaningful.

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Every step of the unmaking process involves a master craftsman each of whom has their own specialty.  Barrels are forged and fitted to receivers. Stocks are selected from brilliant burled walnut, cut, fitted, finished with checkering cut by hand.  Engravers spend weeks etching receivers with elegant scrolling, articulate scenes and gold in-lay.  In some cases, the cost of engraving can exceed the cost of the gun depending on the level of time and detail involved.  After being crafted for over a year, the parts all come into final form with a luster and high-tolerance fit that only hundreds of hours of meticulous crafting by hand can produce. The weapons are finally sent to the small handful of showrooms located in London, Moscow, New York City and Dallas.

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Recently, David Cruz from the New York Gunroom and English born Keith Lupton flew to Montana for the final phase of the highly customized process; the fitting.  Once purchased, each gun is precisely fitted to the shooter.  This process is generally performed by Keith Lupton whom is one of the best shooting instructors in the world.  A private sporting clays course was arranged, and Keith went to work on our small group checking eye dominance, length of pull, stock cast and other fundamentals before going into live fire on the clay birds.  Our small group consisted of veteran and novice shooters and after two half-day sessions, and sound advice from Keith, our groups proficientsy leveled off and the clay birds were breaking with greater consistency.  Keith’s mastery continued as he was able to stand next to a shooter with a hand on the barrel controlling the swing of the gun and allowing the shooter to break on troubled shots.  A feat that could only be mastered by shooting tens if not hundreds of thousands of rounds.  Truly amazing.

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An array of guns were provided by Holland & Holland for our shoot and it was an incredible privilege to have been allowed to handle and shoot the worlds finest shotguns.

 

 

York Lodge at Delta Marsh: Top Duck Hunting Property in Canada

The 50,000-acre Delta Marsh is an extensive open marsh located along the south shore of Lake Manitoba 60 miles west of Winnipeg that provides critical breeding and staging habitat for numerous migratory bird species. In waterfowl circles, Delta Marsh is among the most storied hunting destinations in North America and renown for its large concentrations of canvasback ducks which stage in the marsh each fall.

Beginning this month, waterfowl hunters from around the world make a pilgrimage to Delta Marsh in search of “cans”  and other sought after diving and puddle ducks such as redheads, bluebills, ringnecks, mallards, pintails, and teal.   Much of the marsh is managed by the Province of Manitoba as part of the Delta Marsh Wildlife Management Area, although there are scattered private holdings within the marsh.

Hall and Hall is honored to offer for the sale the largest of these private tracts referred to as York Lodge at Delta Marsh, which consists of 3,600+/- acres and 8+/- of shoreline along Lake Manitoba.  Combining marsh, open water, and beachfront, this diverse property was originally purchased in the 1920s by James Ford Bell, founder of General Mills, who was drawn to Delta Marsh because of its epic canvasback hunting.  A series of water controlled management areas have been developed within the property and can be managed to attract an impressive number of dabbling ducks, while points, channels, and open water bays offer classic diver hunting.  The property’s forested lake shore separates Delta Marsh from Lake Manitoba and provides excellent whitetail hunting.

New Wilderness Areas and Idaho Ranches For Sale

By: Trent Jones

This month marks the first anniversary of President Obama’s signing legislation designating three adjacent federal wilderness areas in central Idaho.  The Hemingway-Boulder Wilderness (106 sq. miles) and the White Clouds Wilderness (142 sq. miles) will be managed by the Forest Service as part of the existing Sawtooth National Recreation Area, while the 183 sq. mile Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness covers both national forest and BLM lands on the edge of the White Clouds mountain range.  Each agency will continue to manage its portion of the wilderness.  As federal wilderness areas, no motorized or mechanized uses are allowed, although under the new law livestock grazing on wilderness lands will be allowed to continue.

Two of Hall and Hall’s listings are located immediately adjacent to these new wilderness areas. Robinson Bar Ranch lies on the north end of the White Clouds Wilderness at the confluence of Warm Springs Creek and the Salmon River.  A foot trail leading from the ranch upstream along Warm Springs Creek leads hikers and horseback riders into the wilderness and connects with a larger backcountry trail network that traverses the White Clouds range.

Robinson Bar Ranch

Robinson Bar Ranch

Lost Peaks Ranch and its BLM grazing permit are located on the east side of Jerry Peak adjacent to the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness.  The ranch lies at the mouth of a valley that leads directly onto Jerry Peak and into the wilderness area.  Lightly used and offering lots of solitude, Jerry Peak and the surrounding area are home to some of central Idaho’s most prolific big game herds.

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Lost Peaks Ranch

Montana Hunting Ranches For Sale

By: Keith Lenard

Trophy bulls are bugling in the crisp mountain air with a dusting of snow in the high country and low elevation trees just starting to turn color. This year, autumn arrived early in Montana, ushered in by moist cool air and the first snap agitates the herd in anticipation of the rut, set to arrive any minute. As I take in the lowering slant of autumnal light and that impossible blue western sky outlining craggy white peaks and deep green forests of fir and, larch and pine, I think of all the fantastic elk hunting that is to be had throughout our expansive inventory of Montana ranches for sale that include working ranches and recreational retreats.

The Big Blackfoot River Ranch

The Big Blackfoot River Ranch

Near Missoula are numerous A-grade hunting ranches, chock full of wildlife. The Big Blackfoot River Ranch, with over a mile of Blackfoot River frontage, beckons not only for its fabulous fall fishing, but also the tens of thousands of acres of adjacent public land, crowded with elk, deer, moose and bear.

The Clark Fork River Ranch

The Clark Fork River Ranch

The Clark Fork Ranch, a sleeper 30 minutes form Missoula graces the bank of the Clark Fork River with nearly four miles of frontage, public land access and robust populations of elk and deer. Further afield, in the Paradise Valley, the “secret sauce” of Strawberry Creek Ranch offers a new owner virtually exclusive access to vast tracts of public lands, not to mention the incredibly rich wildlife habitat located directly on the ranch. This hard-to-find arrangement of National Forest borders in an area otherwise very difficult to reach is one of the sweet spots our ranch brokers strive to locate for our clients.

Hall and Hall’s commitment to providing total services from financing and appraisals to land management and brokerage means that a new owner won’t have to go it alone. If a client wants to create outstanding elk habitat, we can help with that. Enhance the fishery? Yes. Develop a rotational grazing program and increase irrigation efficiency? Check. Find the ranch of your dreams? Absolutely. The autumn is here and it’s time to search.

Historic Kansas Ranch Heads to Auction October 5th

Yaggy Plantation, a 1,260+/- acre property only minutes from Hutchinson, KS will be auctioned to the public on October 5, 2016 in five tracts and combinations. The property offers a unique mixture of irrigated farmland, a mile plus of Arkansas River frontage, a historic homestead with two residences, dryland acreage and hunting cover. It has been in the same family for 130 years. For more information, contact John Wildin of Hall and Hall at 620-662-0411 or visit http://hallhall.com/ranches-for-sale/properties/yaggy-plantation.

“Back in early 1900’s Yaggy Plantation was a very large and successful apple farm with roughly 50,000 apple trees,” said Wildin.  “Also, according to historical documents, it had more than 1,000,000 catalpa trees that were harvested for fence posts and railroad ties. The plentiful crop diversity is due to the water under this land being plentiful and shallow.”

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There are two large historic homes situated on a tree-lined drive with expansive lawns. Both two-story houses have front and back porches, numerous bedrooms, brick fireplaces and hardwood floors, all in a beautiful setting amongst mature trees. The north home (c.1905) was faithfully refurbished in 2005. The south home (c.1892) was ordered as a prefabricated house from Sears & Roebuck and delivered to the site by train.

Yaggy Plantation is all contiguous land, without any public roads through the property. It is roughly two miles wide and one mile deep. Well over a mile of the south boundary lies along the north bank of the Arkansas River, the sixth longest river in the U.S. Hardwood and softwood trees are scattered throughout the land intermittently in rows and large stands along the river. A huge grove of catalpa trees provides the most secure sanctuary for the many varied wildlife species found here, including mature whitetail bucks. In between the various tree groves and rows are fields of native grass that have been until recently enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program. These are perfect fawning areas bounded by tree lines. The towering cottonwood trees along the river provide massive canopies for nearly the entire length of the riverbank.

“Keep in mind all of this land is contiguous, and yet is not impacted by public access anywhere through the property,” Wildin added.  “This truly is the premier wildlife sanctuary in the Midwest with whitetail deer, large flocks of wild turkey, ring-necked pheasants and the bobwhite quail.”

The north end of this land is the historically productive cropland, of which nearly 350 acres are pivot irrigated to produce prolific yields of corn, soybeans, milo and wheat. The sellers have permits for an additional 226+/- acres of pivot irrigation.

“The phrase ‘unique land offering’ is probably the most over-used description in the real estate world,” said Scott Shuman of Hall and Hall Auctions.  “But the 1,260± acre Yaggy Plantation defines exactly what that phrase is meant to describe. Just three miles from Hutchinson and only fifty-five miles from the Wichita airport, this is one of the most unique land offerings to come along in a long time.”