Save on Property Taxes Using Bees for Ag Valuation

BEES DON’T NEED FENCES!

And that’s just one advantage of using beekeeping for AG valuation instead of raising cattle on your 5-20 acre parcel. Or maybe you want cute little goats, like I did, until my husband told me to “google: GOAT ON CAR”! Not my car, no thanks! Now we keep bees and we can help you get started with an amazing hobby or part-time business!

STATE LAW CHANGED IN 2012:

Texas Tax Code: Chapter 23, Subchapter D. Appraisal of Agricultural Land Sec. 23.51 – (2) “Agricultural use” includes but is not limited to the following activities: ….”The term also includes the use of land to raise or keep bees for pollination or for the production of human food or other tangible products having a commercial value, provided that the land used is not less than 5 or more than 20 acres.”

5-20 ACRES OF LAND

Amount of land required and you must not live in a subdivision that has restrictions against bees or AG usage. You may be able to buy or lease bee colonies to keep on your land and lower your property taxes. AG use is required for 5 of the last 7 years in order to begin receiving the lower valuation. That means you utilize the land in beekeeping for 5 years in a row and the 6th year your taxes will go down if you meet all the requirements for your county. Each county appraisal district sets their own rules for eligibility, so be sure to talk with your county appraisal district and to stay current with rules year to year.

Frame Inspections

WHAT ABOUT MY HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION?

If you live on the land and have your house and homestead there, you will need to set aside approximately 1 acre of the land for your house/homestead. The remainder of land (minimum of 5 acres) will be to start the new AG valuation. Keep in mind as you are working AG, you won’t qualify for the homestead exemption on those extra acres, so your taxes will be higher until you achieve AG. No ‘double-dipping’ with your exemptions. Either take a homestead exemption or be working on AG, not both at once on the same acreage.

HOW MUCH WILL I SAVE?

The Ag valuation savings number is different for everyone depending on what county you are in and how many acres you have and your land values, of course. BUT, if you have HIGH property taxes now, you will likely be VERY pleased with the new valuation. Counties we have worked with seem to be using “orchard values” on the property once it goes into AG, which means thousands of dollars in tax savings for you. For instance, I have seen properties in Travis County go from a regular tax value of $40,000-$70,000 per acre down to an AG value of $2,000 per acre!!! Would you rather pay property tax on $40,000 or on $2,000? EXACTLY! 🙂

Bee Consult

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO KEEP BEES!

There are several options to help with this concern. You can read some books, take some classes, or join a beekeeping club. Hire a beekeeper to manage your bee colonies for you and advise you on what to buy. Or lease bees from a beekeeper and let that beekeeper manage the bees. It all depends on the location of your land, availability of bees, and the amount of time and money you have to spend. The owners at Texas Honey Bee Farm are here to help you! We are the one-stop-shop to get you off to the best start. We offer classes and consulting, and we sell bees and equipment.

Queen and Worker Bees

HOW MANY HIVES ARE REQUIRED?

Each county sets its own minimum standards, but typically you will need 6 hives for the first 5 acres plus 1 more hive for every 1.5 – 2 additional acres. For example, Travis County and Williamson County both require adding another hive for each additional 2 acres, whereas Hays County requires another hive for every additional 1.5 acres. Download pdf below:

WHAT IS A HIVE? HOW MANY BOXES IS THAT?

A bee colony is the family of bees living together in one set of boxes. The colony includes the Queen, Drones, and Worker bees. This could be 10,000 – 60,000 total bees. Equipment or hive boxes are the boxes that you will provide to each colony for living, colony growth, and honey storage. Even though a bee colony starts out with one box, it may grow to need many. Therefore a hive is one colony of bees AND the box or boxes they live in and store food in. In a typical Langstroth hive, the boxes are stacked one upon the other, regardless of how high they get stacked. It is still just one colony or one hive of bees.

Bee Equipment

WHERE TO BUY BEES & EQUIPMENT

At Texas Honey Bee Farm an expert beekeeper will help assess your needs, plan your site management, go over your county’s minimum requirements and assist you with the selection of bees and equipment. We provide estimates, invoices for tax documentation, advice, and support at the level you need along the way. Our experts offer management service contracts by the visit or by the year. Keep in mind that orders for spring bee colonies begin in the fall of the previous year, so order early. AG valuation applications are due by April 30th and bees are not available year round.

Les Crowder Workshop May 30-31, 2015 – Keeping Bees Naturally

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World renowned Top Bar Guru Les Crowder is coming to Austin for a workshop on May 30th and 31st.

Both workshop days are 10am-4pm with a one hour lunch break.
Location is Bee Friendly Austin Apiary – 9874 Wier Loop Circle; Austin, Tx 78736

Saturday’s workshop will be geared more towards first and second year beekeepers with topics such as beginning beekeeping, natural and chemical free hive control, honey extraction and more.

Sunday’s workshop will include more advanced topics such as management for honey production vs management for hive increase, queen raising, beeswax rendering and uses, pollination with top bar hives, and more.

Workshop will be at the Bee Friendly Austin Classroom and Apiary in SW Austin and will have limited seating available.  Each day includes a hands on portion in the Bee Yard with live beehives, you must dress appropriately!  Please bring, rent, buy, or borrow a bee suit you are comfortable using.  You may attend 1 day or both days.  Early registration discount if you register by May 3, 2015.

CLICK HERE to register!

*Refunds will incur cancellation fees as follows:
Requests prior to May 3rd – $10 cancellation fee
Requests between May 4- May 10 – $20 cancellation fee
Requests between May 11- May 17 – $30 cancellation fee
Requests between May 18- May 24 – $40 cancellation fee
Requests between May 25- May 28 – $50 cancellation fee

Liability Disclaimer: By purchasing you are agreeing to sign a participant waiver. The waiver will apply to all participants you register. If the parent or guardian is not present at the lesson, please print the waiver, obtain the signature of the guardian, and bring it to the session.

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