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Nj James

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since Feb 13, 2013
Central Texas
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Recent posts by Nj James

"Every estate gets an estate tax deduction for all property received by the deceased's spouse, as well as a $5 million standard exemption for all other property. Thus, many middle class Americans will owe no federal estate tax."

With respect, many properties here in my region that are considered legacy properties (and that is why I designated "large tracts" in my original post) that are valued on the newly inflated land prices easily surpass the $5 million exemption. The heirs are middle class americans that are land rich within their family but not necessariliy wealthy and cannot foot the bill when the patriarch/matriarch pass away. Then they have to section off pieces to sell to pay the tax man. There are avenues to avoid these outcomes, but they take careful planning and legal fees, both things that some multigenerational rural american families don't necessarily consider important until its too late. But I am not a real estate lawyer or CPA and not well versed in the exact language of the tax code, I am only speaking to the personal experiences my neighbors have shared with me.

And as one of Michael's posts referenced, Family forest farm acreage in western regions are set to have a dramatic increase in development, which will eventually, if not already, hyperinflate land values.

I would hope that someone who is well versed in the inheritance tax code and policies will create a thread about it and educate the rest of us on how to protect the legacy property. But none the less, it is an issue facing some legacy properties.
7 years ago
Another great read on this subject is "The Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv. He "diagnoses" the problem as "Nature Deficit Disorder." Great stuff.

IMO, there are several problems facing the legacy issue, and here in rural Texas; they include the Inheritance Tax where large tracts are forced to be subdivided and sold off to pay the taxes on the values of the inherited property. Money will always be the root of problems; multiple heirs typically will not want to share the land with each other and will feel "shorted" if one heir gets value out of the property and they don't. So they force the issue to have the property to be sold to get their share of the property. This is the situation I am involved in; 10 acres and a house left to my wife and her sister, luckily we are in a position to buy the sister's half, as she has demanded her "right to her money" in a property that she has never invested .10 cents in.

Unfortunately, land IS a commidity these days (to the world, bar permies). When land here in the Hill Country, which used to be deemed useless, was sold for cents on the dollar, is now selling for $10-50 thousand dollars/acre so that mcmansions and "gentleman's ranches" with gated roads can pave off the hilltops and set up camp, complete with a community pool. A person that wants to be close to nature and close to any kind of civilization, needs to carry a sack of money that hangs pretty close to the ground. The legacy heir, would have a hard time hanging on to a property when its value has skyrocketed and the "country side" they grew up with is now utterly unrecognizable.

My neighbor here on 15 acres has tried to have people come and farm share, he offers a room and utilities in his farm house as well a piece of the farms profit in exchange for farm labor, they do eggs meat poultry and rabbits, and vegetables. And as attractive as that sounds he has hard time keeping hands. The type of people attracted to the these types of positions are the wandering type looking for new locales and experience for their future farms. Nothing permanent. Someone who doesn't own the land, even if they are profiting from it, will never treat it or respect it like an owner would.

Also, there is a different mindset today, people are involved in CSA vegetable boxes and buying grassfed beef from the grocery store and feel like thats good enough, that they are doing their part. You are right, homesteading is not attractive, even to those 20% that live in rural areas. Its hard work, and its even harder work to produce enough to sell for a profit. Some do it, many others fail trying to produce enough to support the lifestyle, unfortunately.

But I do hope that its more than just a trend that will eventually faid away; city emigrants are moving rural to get closer to the land and control their own destiny in the shadow of big ag, pharma's, etc. City dwellers "path" to homesteading or rural America will be in the form of food safety, health (mental and physical), and societal (increase in city crime, consumer lifestyle, etc). I think these "paths" will lead them to either hemestead themselves or at least support a local homesteader. I believe that the homesteading lifestyle is not dimenishing. Just look at the increase in number of farmer markets popping up, and the number of city folk that are supporting these types of farmers/communities/individuals...I think (hope) the future is bright.

I am sorry for your current situation and the mental stress that it creates, so good luck my friend, and I truly hope that you find the outcome that will satisfy your concerns.

PS I'm sure there are a few permies here that would gladly be the legacy for your forest farm and would continue in line with your goals for many decades to come
7 years ago
That's awesome! It took me a minute to figure it out because my brain automatically goes in a differnet direction.

Paul, remember you said yourself, no politics on this site <End sarcasm>
7 years ago
Hi,
In smithville tx there is a place called Oak Hill Farm and Feed and then there is Oak Hill Dairy which supplies milk to most convenience stores in central Texas. So I would definitely stay away from the oak hill theme! Good luck!
7 years ago
I know this is an old thread but i just wanted to add to the already great information.

When I first started with chickens, a friend of mine gave me great advcie. "Once your flock is established, never introduce new adult chickens." The one time I didn't listen, the whole flock was nearly wipped out. So, we only bring day(s) old chicks and start them separate from the main flock (just like John mentioned), whenever we need to add to our flock. Not very scientific, but its field proven!
NJ
7 years ago
Thanks for the info Wyomiles. During my time at Texas A&M was the height of the cedar hate crimes, and was taught by very intelligent professors of the old school. They noted the benefit to certain wildlife and as well as their usefulness as windbrakes. So i was delighted to see this quote from a link through your provided link (that sounds confussing) as I like for my feelings about a topic to be founded in science...

"Cedars are extremely drought-tolerant, they only use water after significant rainfalls, and they have the ability to almost completely shut down when no water is available (Seiler, 2008). In July of 2008, Dr. Jim Heilman of Texas A&M University released research conclusions that show brushy species use only slightly more water than grassland, and that live oaks use more water than cedar. Further, removing cedar may be unwise because they are an important carbon sink, making them a potential ally in efforts to counter global warming. Heilman said “We’ve seen up to a six-fold increase [in carbon sequestration] with the encroachment of juniper. So, if we remove brush, we might have a marginal savings of water, but we’re losing a heck of a lot of carbon. Overall, Heilman said, the idea of brush removal to save water is a case of where “policy gets ahead of science” (Heilman, 2008)."

However, in Johnson City, TX there is a ranch called the Bamberger Ranch where we took a week long trip to for one of my rangeland classes. This 5,000+ acre ranch that had once been partially used as a quarry, was severly overgrazed and had no water to speak of. The new owner (1970's ish i believe) cleared every cedar tree off that property, and began noticing natural springs returning to the surface immediately. Creeks formed (not just seasonal or weather related, as we visited in June and fresh water was flowing out of the ground in 100 degree drought conditions). Native vegetation thrived, and the rangeland was repaired. This was an immediate result of the removal of the cedars, not a timely return based on quality land management. The was empty quarry pit, now stays near full year round, and was a popular after hours spot during our trip .

So I believe in taking a scientific approach, but as a former field researcher, i know that parameters for acquiring data are in the eye of the beholder; and that these real world case studies have their place too. I believe the ranch has a website, you should check it out.

I hope that you're not to quick to lable me a "hater"!!! I told you I love cedars, as fence posts (just being ignorant)!!!
7 years ago
Hi Ludi,
Great stuff! I'm really excited to see the projects going on right here in Central TX. Judging by your photos, you seem to be more SW where as I am E of I35. I've got heavy clay and no limestone. Anywho, i've had some thoughts while reading through your thread that i wanted to share. I am new to the Permaculture scene, i have been practicing this stuff for a couple years based off my Rangeland Ecology degree, but i had no idea of this whole community until just this last month! I'm very excited! We have a 10 acre homestead and lease another 65 acres for cattle, i hope to start my own thread this spring to share some photos with you (as I dont want to post any on your thread ).

1.) With the way water moves in our area, i feel that you shouldn't beat yourself up over the placing of your projects in relation to the water movement across your property. In the rocky loam that you inhabit, water infiltrates and moves laterally across the limestone bedrock in its attempt to replinish the aquifer. Good luck capturing that stuff! If you want to do anything to improve your water situation, I would start by removing every cedar tree from your property. Just check to make sure that you are not in Black Capped Verio or Golden Cheek Warbler (endangered species)territory as regulation is inplace to protect their nesting sites, which are constructed with mature cedar bark. These trees capture ~75% of the water that falls within their canopy's radius, have 30+ foot taproots, and consume an estimated 20+ gals of water per day each! They essentially suck the life out of everything in the vacinity. And they make excellent fence posts! PS Im in the same "manual labor boat" as you with no heavy machinery and these can easily be done by hand.

2.) Love the HK's! I plan to replicate your methods with the buckets, as we have had many native cedar elms die from the drought(s).

3.) Have you considered a moveable chicken coop? I constructed my own out of $5 tires from Harbor Freight, an old dog pen, and laying boxes made from scrap lumber and have had excellent success (I too am on a $1-2k annual budget for improvements). It is light enough for my wife to move. I have layers that i leave locked up until about 730 AM, and they all do their laying by then, they free range all day, and go back to their coop with a small cup of supplemental local organic grain (toot toot). They are good to avoid the coyotes and hawks as we only lost 2 all of last year. We have 15 layers of various breeds. The swale area seems like a good area to move them on, or even the abandoned asparagus garden. Its a great way to integrate them into your garden and it avoids the fixed coop model which quickly becomes a "moonscape." I really feel that my gardens (veg and flowers) have benefited since i integrated them in to the gardens.

Good luck and sorry for the long post, i've got a lot of ideas/thoughts rolling around up there
PS i am open to any information that you (or anybody really) have that contridicts my statements. Everyday is a learning a day and i want to make sure that i'm not creating rumors. Thanks all!
NJ
7 years ago

"meaning that while the trough was mobile, it could remain connected via regular hosepipe to the main. This means it would not need to store more than a 'buffer' of water, meaning that it could easily be rolled by hand (perhaps weighing a few hundred pounds instead of a few thousand). "



HI Phil,
You are on to something here. There is a model that draws circles around a water facility in an outward design (think of it looking like a bullseye) showing traffic damage as well grazing intensity the further you get away from the water. Idea is, at center of the bullseye is the water facility and the most intense grazing and traffic damage; furthest away is the least grazed/damaged. As cows have to drink often, they move to the water and usually will neglect areas furthest from the water even in strip grazing operations such as yours and the watering site can become degraded in a hurry. So with your latest model, i would recommend having multiple spigots along this linear windbrake and enough heavy hose on site to reach the middle of each paddock. I know it involves a bit more labor, logistics, investment, and points of maintenance...but your pastures will thank you for it. It will not discourage the areas around the outward perimeter, and the area nearest the wind row will not turn into a mud waller. Good luck and let me know what you decide on.
7 years ago