Disney World: The Greatest Land Story Of All Time

The story of how Disney World’s land was bought is as fascinating as any of Walt’s fairy tales. Who would have guessed that buying the land for such a wholesome place like Disney World would be such a wild ride? This is the story of one of the most successful transitional land sales in American history and what we can learn from it today.

In the 1960s, Walt Disney was looking for a place to build a second Disney park. Disneyland in California was a success, but Disney didn’t like the businesses that cropped up around his theme park. He wanted more control over the surrounding land for his next park.

disney world

Disney had a laundry list of requirements for the new land. Not only did it need to be plentiful and affordable, the land also needed to have pleasant weather year round so guests could enjoy the park 365 days a year. It also had to be near a major city with strong infrastructure and highways.

He looked at land in California and New York, but the properties were too small or the land was too expensive. Finally, Disney found exactly what he needed near Bay Lake in Orlando, Florida.

Florida had everything Disney was looking for in a location. The landowners at the time were happy to sell their swamp land, which they thought had little to no value. So, Disney and his associates bought the land through shell corporations with names like M. T. Lott (you can’t make this stuff up!).

The reason Disney used shell companies was that he knew the prices would skyrocket as soon as he was revealed as the buyer. If land sellers knew a millionaire wanted their land for a project that would be even bigger than Disneyland, they could set their prices as high as they wanted.

disney world castle landAs more and more land was bought under shell companies, locals became suspicious. They didn’t believe someone named M.T. Lott was actually buying up the land. Rumors swirled about who could be buying up this land. Some people believed it was NASA buying land to support the nearby Kennedy Space Center. Other names floating around were Ford, the Rockefellers, Howard Hughes, and of course, Disney.

Disney successfully bought 27,000 acres of land for cheap via his shell corporations. He might have been able to buy every single acre like that had he not slipped up in an press conference when editor Emily Bavar asked him point-blank if he was the one buying up the land. Disney was so caught off guard by the question that it was clear he was the buyer. As soon as it was revealed who was buying the land, prices shot up. Some land even skyrocketed up to $80,000 an acre!

When the Florida government found out who was buying all the land, they gave Disney the right to make decisions about zoning. This pleased Disney, who didn’t like to answer a lot of outsider questions. The Disney team transitioned the land by adding dirt to the swamp land, making it easier to build and walk on.

Today, Disney World takes up twice as much land as all of Manhattan. A sizeable amount of that is undeveloped. As per Disney’s request, around a third of the land is protected wetlands.

The Orange County Appraisers office has appraised Disney World’s property value to be over 1.3 billion dollars.

There are so many amazing lessons we can take today from this transitional land story. Here are just a few:

  • Transitional land can be extremely profitable.
  • Even land that some consider ‘low-value’ can become profitable when put to its highest and best use.
  • When selling land, it can pay off to do a little digging to find out who your client is!
  • Have a clear list of what you need out of a property.
  • The perfect land for you might not be in the first place you look.
  • Prepare yourself for tough questions ahead of time if you have to do a press conference.

Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction. In the case of the transitional land sale that turned into Disney World, we hope this wild story reminds you to always dream big. If you are interested in learning more about transitional land real estate transactions, check out our newly updated Transitional Land Real Estate LANDU course by checking our Upcoming Courses page.

About the Author: Laura Barker is a Marketing Assistant Intern for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

Land – The Original American Dream

Land has always been a staple of the American dream. From the Homestead Act of 1862 to the ongoing battle for Amazon’s second headquarters, Americans have held the desire to own and prosper from their own land close to their hearts. While owning private property today is different in many ways than land ownership in the 1800s, many of the same benefits still remain. Owning private property comes with a lot of hidden benefits that are good for you now and for years to come.

Before we dive into the benefits of private land ownership, let’s distinguish what exactly separates private property from public. Private property is land that is owned by individuals or corporations. The owner of a private property has the right of use, lease, and occupation over the land.

Public properties, on the other hand, are owned by public authorities. This land does not belong to any one person. That means the use and occupation of public land is decided on by committees and political groups instead of individuals. Owning private property makes it much simpler to decide what to do with the land. Let’s take a look at some other benefits of private land ownership.

Your Land, Your Choice

The most obvious (and biggest) benefit to owning private property is the freedom to do what you want with your land.  Of course, you still have to follow local and federal law, but how you use the land is largely up to you. This is a huge benefit if you’ve been eyeing some land as a potential transitional property. While sales can be extremely profitable, attempting them with public land can be difficult and can take years. Since public land doesn’t belong to one person, there will be lots of debates, meetings, and compromises over the best use of the land. There will be so many voices that yours might get lost.

Supply and Demand

Land is a limited resource. You can’t just create more land. That’s why land real estate in areas like California and New York are so expensive. There is only so much land to go around, and everyone wants some. Even when the market is bad, people will still need land to grow crops, raise livestock, and build homes.

In the current economy, you might not even be thinking about putting your private property on the market. Especially since owning property now can be seen as insurance against the next economic depression. Plus, keeping your land in good condition ensures that future generations will have a limited resource to profit on in tough times.

Long Term Increase

Historically, some investments in land have had better returns than the broad equity markets. Farmland investments averaged 10-13% total returns over the past two decades. It is also an excellent way to diversify your stock portfolio. Farmland values do not always mimic the market, so if other stocks plunge in value, you won’t lose all your money. People who invest all their money in a certain market or stock tend to risk losing it all when the market turns.

Tax Benefits of Private Property

Depending on the type of land you own, you could be entitled to certain tax benefits. For example, with vacant land, you can elect to add your expenses to your land’s cost bases. This will significantly decrease your taxable gain.

Here’s a great example of this theory in action from Inman.com:

Jean purchases a vacant lot for $10,000 in 2009. During 2009-2013 she elects to add $5,000 in carrying costs to the lot’s cost basis. In 2013, her adjusted basis in the lot is $15,000. She sells the lot for $20,000. Her taxable gain is only $5,000 ($20,000 sales price – $15,000 adjusted basis = $5,000).

Although private land ownership comes with tons of benefits, it has been on a slow decline for years. This is a result of many factors. Some people are wary of investing in land real estate after the housing crash of the early 2000s. Huge companies like Google gobbling up thousands of acres of land also doesn’t help. We hope this article inspires you to take advantage of the many benefits private land ownership has to offer. If you are interested in owning your own piece of land, make sure to Find A Land Consultant to assist with your purchase. Land transactions require the specialized expertise of an agent with education and experience in the field.

About the Author: Laura Barker is a Marketing Assistant Intern for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

Pond Management: Why is My Pond Filling Up?

I hear this question all the time when it comes to pond management and it’s a good question: Why is my pond filling up? Actually, your pond is designed to fill up. I used to work for a coal mining company and we would construct sediment ponds. They were designed to collect run off from the mine site and allow the sediments to settle out of the water before discharge into a stream or creek. Recently, I was fishing in a large pond, about 20 acres in size. The pond had a concrete dam which was about 30 feet high on the exposed side. You could actually take your fishing pole and touch the bottom of the pond just about the dam. This pond had 50 years to fill up!

When creeks are running at high velocity after a rain event, the fast moving water carries soil particles in suspension. The following picture shows fast moving water in a creek channel filled with soil particles.

The faster the water velocity, the larger particle size the water can move.
As the water enters a pond or impoundment, the water velocity slows down allowing the soil particles to settle out and they simply drift to the bottom. The following picture shows a distinct difference in the water color. The water entering the pond is full of soil particles (including red clay).

This is nothing to be alarmed about… the pond is just doing it’s job. The only thing you can do when it comes to pond management to alleviate the problem is build a series of smaller ponds (detention ponds), this allows the water entering the last and largest pond to be practically free of soil particles. Enjoy your pond… and get out and fish!!

Kent Morris, ALC, is a Registered Forester and Associate Broker who has experience in fields such as timber appraisals, harvesting, thinnings, and timber sales. He writes articles about these fields and more in his blog Land Blog…Get The Dirt!

How To Start Your Own Vineyard

Who hasn’t secretly (or not so secretly) dreamed of opening their own vineyard? The idea of walking through rows and rows of plump purple grapes sounds heavenly. Plus, all the free wine you can drink! Pour yourself a glass of merlot or chardonnay and let’s learn all about starting your own vineyard.

What Do You Want Out Of The Vineyard?

Before you start looking into grapes, ask yourself what you want out of the land. Would your vineyard be more for personal use, or would you like to make enough wine to sell to local stores and restaurants? Do you want to just grow grapes or produce your own wine on site? These questions can help you figure out how much land you’ll need and how much you can expect to spend.

Pick The Grapes

There are dozens of types of grapes, each with their own unique aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and climate where they grow best. Here are a few popular types of grapes and what they are best for:

  • Riesling grape. These grapes do best in cool climates. Vineyard owners love the flowery, sweet scent these grapes give off.
  • Cabernet Franc grape. This is a popular black grape around the globe. It can be used to make its own wine, or to be blended into other wines for a more complex flavor pallet.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon grape. This is one of the world’s most used red grapes. This late-budding grape is able to avoid most frost. It can do well in many climates with the taste varying based off of the climate. For example, in cooler climates, you can expect more crisp flavors like mint and cedar, while the grape takes on a sweeter, jam-like flavor in warmer climates.
  • Chardonnay grape: This grape produces a mild flavor and is easy to grow, making it a fan favorite among growers. It can thrive in many types of soil, but does best in chalk or clay.

How Much Can You Spend On Your Own Vineyard?

If you want to open a vineyard just for fun or are planning on growing grapes in your backyard, this step might not be as important for you. If you are planning on making money off of your grapes, this is important. It’s hard to give a general estimate of how much you can expect to spend, because there are dozens of factors that are different for every single vineyard owner. Here are just a few of the many things to consider while making your budget:

  • timing of the first harvest
  • when you can expect to see an ROI
  • labor costs
  • irrigation needs
  • machinery needs
    • fruit crusher, distilling, sanitizing, siphoning, bottling equipment, etc.
  • shipping costs
  • overhead to run the business and marketing costs

According to a study from Sierra Nevada Foothills, the average twenty-acre property can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here’s a comprehensive budgeting plan for those of you interesting in opening a vineyard of fifty acres or more.

Prepare The Land

When choosing the property for your vineyard, be sure to pick a plot that is on a slope. Grapes do well on slopes because of drainage. You’ll also want to make sure the property has plenty of access to sunlight, because too much shadow can be deadly for budding vines.

You’ll also want to do a soil test. The soil should have a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, but no higher than 7. Vineyard vines are unique because they struggle to produce grapes in soil that is rich in nutrients. Because of this, you’ll also need soil that has quality drainage.

One Last Piece Of Advice

Patience is the name of the game when it comes to owning a vineyard. It can take at least two years for a vineyard to produce fruit, and turning a profit on wine can take even longer. Similar to green energy or timber, vineyards require a lot of money up front and can take many years to start making money.

Owning a vineyard doesn’t have to remain a daydream. If you start setting aside money and grow grapes on a property where you can maximize profits, you can make the American dream of owning your own vineyard into a reality.

If you want to learn about the art of buying and selling vineyards, check out these great RLI articles from the Summer 2017 Terra Firma magazine written by expert Accredited Land Consultant Flo Sayre. And if you are looking for a qualified agent to help you buy or sell vineyard land, be sure to use our Find a Land Consultant tool.

Laura Barker is a Marketing Assistant Intern for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

Wind Farms and Solar Panels: The (Near) Future of Green Energy and Land Real Estate

Many people talk about “green energy,” such as wind farms and solar panels, like it’s as futuristic as flying cars. What these people don’t realize is that wind and solar energy is already taking the world of energy by storm. Companies like Disney and Google are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on wind farms and solar panels. Farmers are also turning to green energy sources to cut back on their energy bills and make extra money off of their land. Let’s take a look at how the land industry is being shaped by green energy.

Even the biggest fans of green energy will admit that wind farms look kind of creepy; like an alien colony landed on Earth. While they can be strange looking, their ability to convert wind into energy is impressive. The average 10-kilowatt wind turbine produces around 16,000 kilowatts annually. In comparison, the average U.S. household consumes about 10,000 kilowatts of electricity each year.

Not only can you power your house (and then some) with a single wind turbine, you can also get a pretty sweet tax break. The federal renewable electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for the electricity generated by your wind turbine that is sold to an unrelated person. This tax credit flies under the radar because so few individuals own wind turbines on their land. In 2016, wind farms produced a tiny amount of American energy (only around 5.6 percent), but if more people knew about this tax break, those numbers might skyrocket.

Another benefit to having a wind turbine on your property is kissing energy bills goodbye. Once the wind turbine has been paid for and installed, you can use the energy it generates instead of buying it. Imagine never paying an energy bill for the rest of your life!

While wind turbines have yet to reach their full potential, solar panels have become the stars of the green energy scene. Did you know Disney is planning to build a solar farm? It will lower the theme parks greenhouse gas emissions by 57,000 metric tons, the equivalent of taking over 9,000 cars off the road. China has invested $86.5 billion in solar. Even small farmers are getting into it. In 2017, nearly a quarter of all California farms generated onsite solar energy

Solar panels can be a great way to cut down on costs long term. Many people balk at the high prices of installing solar panels, but over time they make money. Every kilowatt your panels produce will offset whatever you would normally have had to buy from an outside company.

So, should you invest in wind turbines or solar panels for your land? While green energy is great, it’s not always the best option for everyone. Here are some things to consider:

  • Is your state supportive of green energy? Some states are pushing green energy by offering huge tax breaks and rewarding bigger companies for using solar energy. For example, in Illinois, the Future Energy Jobs Act requires Illinois utilities to get at least 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. If you live in Illinois, you could make serious money selling green energy to companies.
  • Will green energy make more money than your current crops? While the values of crops and livestock fluctuate, the value of green energy is strong and there is a growing demand for it. However, if solar panels and wind turbines would make less money than your current land use, it might not be worth it.
  • Do you have the money for the down payment? Wind turbines and solar panels will save you money in the long term, but they do cost a fair amount to install.

Wind turbines and solar panels are the future of the energy business, and that future is not as far away as you might think. Green energy has a lot to offer landowners, from tax credits to additional income. As the cost of installing green energy sources becomes more and more affordable, we will see the full range of benefits green energy has to offer the land industry.

About the author: Laura Barker is a Marketing Assistant Intern for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.

In What Ways Do Soil Types Affect Land Use?

Soil deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Few people talk about how much soil types affect land use The right kind of soil can help a land owner grow great crops or build houses that last a long time. The wrong kind of soil can result in stunted crops or houses being swept away during floods. While soil types might not seem important at first glance, they just might be the factor that makes or breaks your land property.

Because of the unique chemical make-ups of each soil type, the practices used on a plot of land must be matched to the land’s soil type. Each soil type is unique and has its own benefits and drawbacks. Some are best suited for crops, while others are better for buildings houses and barns on.

If you are new to soil types, here’s a quick Soil 101 on the different soil types you could find on your land real estate:

  1. Clay. Clay soil has excellent water storage. Thanks to this, it holds onto plant nutrients and is great for roses, leafy vegetables, peas, and tomatoes.
  2. Chalky. This low moisture soil is typically found over limestone beds and chalk deposits. This soil type is not ideal for planting crops, as it can result in stunted or yellow plants. However, finding this soil type on your land doesn’t mean you can’t use it at all. Adding acid-rich materials (such as peat or manure) can help balance out the more destructive elements of this soil type.
  3. Loamy. Loamy soil is a combination of sand, silt, and clay. It’s a favorite among farmers, thanks to its high calcium and PH levels. You can grow just about anything in this soil type.
  4. Peaty. Dark brown or black in color, this soil type has a high water content that is great for crops that require a lot of moisture. However, it does dry up quickly in the summer, so Southern farmers might want to be careful with this soil type.
  5. Saline soil. You’ll probably find this soil type if you are living in an extremely dry region. Its high salt content makes it a poor choice for growing most crops.
  6. Sandy. This free-draining soil dries out faster than any other soil type on this list. Any nutrients that crops may need can be washed through the soil during wet weather.
  7. Silty. Silty land has small particles and is smooth to the touch. It has great moisture retention, but drains poorly. Similar to peaty soil, this soil type can be great for crops that need a lot of water, but crops that don’t will likely drown.

With all these soil types, how on earth is anyone supposed to know what soil type is right for their land?

There are three options for finding out what soil type your land has. One is to get a soil map. You can go to the USDA’s Natural Resources and Conservation Services (NRCS) page. They have soil maps and data for more than ninety-five percent of the nation’s counties. All you have to do is click on the link and zoom into your zip code (like you would in Google Maps) or type in your address. Click on the ‘Soil Survey Area’ tab on the left-hand side and you will be given a record of what types of land are in your area.

You can also ask local soil experts who are familiar with the soil types in your area. Soil experts, also referred to as extension agents, can help you figure out what type of soil you have on your land and what sort of improvements can be done to your soil. This personalized help is great for land owners who have multiple soil types on their land property.

Soil testing gives you an exact breakdown of what is in your soil. In the fall 2015 edition of Terra Firma, Kirk Goble, ALC, explains the benefits of soil testing on page twenty nine.

“The soil test lab report provides valuable information on the makeup of the soil, its pH (acidity or alkalinity), and cation exchange capacity (CEC),” says Goble. “CEC is a determination of the ability of the soil components (primarily clay and humus) to allow for the absorption and transport of soil nutrients from the soil to the plant roots. It is essentially a measure of the soil’s ability to hold nutrients and feed the plants.”

After testing, you’ll be given advice on what crops are best suited for your soil type and recommendations on how to improve your land. “Fertilizer recommendations are based on the results of a proper soil test,” says Goble.

Soil types are incredibly important to land real estate and are far too often overlooked. Soil types affect land use more than most people think. With all these tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to figure out the soil types on your land and use them to your advantage.

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

Investing in Land Real Estate for Retirement: What You Need To Know

Choosing how to save for retirement can be a decision that takes years. After all, that’s the money that you’ll be living on during your golden years. Most people stick to 401ks and stocks, but what many people don’t know is that you can invest in land real estate to save for retirement. Investing in land real estate can be a great way to save money long-term, but with any investment, you need to know what type of land to invest in, what sort of returns you can expect, and what to avoid when investing in land real estate.

There are many benefits to investing in land real estate. One benefit is that if you invest in land in different areas, you will be protected if certain properties are hit by natural disasters or the value of one type of land real estate drops. Geographic and commodity diversity can keep your money safe even in a rocky market. Another benefit is that land real estate (farmland in particular) sometimes have higher returns than stocks do. Most stocks can be expected to produce a six to seven percent return over time), while farmland has produced a steady 11.5 percent annual return over the past twenty five years.

If you are looking for a low-maintenance investment, vacant land is a great option. It is cheaper to buy than developed land, and you don’t need to spend money doing repairs or renovations. While this is an excellent investment to make in the long-term, you will have to be patient. This investment will take time to make money. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the market to make sure you’ll be able to sell it at the best possible price. Consider looking into vacant land properties in areas that are seeing an increase in population or jobs. This land will is likely to become more desirable over time, and you’ll be able to sell it at a higher price than what you bought it for originally.

When investing or buying vacant land, you should always know who you are buying from.Be careful of people who have only owned the land for a short amount of time and seem very eager to get the land off their hands. Vacant land takes times to accumulate value, so it’s suspicious if people only own it for a short amount of time. The owners might know something about the land that makes it less valuable. This is a perfect example of why it is so important to find an agent with the expertise and experience needed to conduct land real estate transactions – like an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC).

Timberland or forestland are also excellent long-term investments. The returns for timberland real estate tend to move counter cyclically to other markets.  Because of this, it will add portfolio diversification, lowering the risk of losing money. Timber is also a hearty crop that can provide you with returns for many years.

You should invest in timber or forest land only if you are planning to retire ten or more years down the road. You’ll have to spend money to plant trees and won’t get returns as they grow, but once the trees reach maturity, they will provide steady returns.

Although investing in land real estate to save for retirement is an excellent option, there are some key factors to look out for. Keep the following in mind while you look at different properties:

-You need to know the land inside out. You need to know everything about the land you are investing in. This means zoning, mineral rights, any environmental hazards on the land, usage restrictions, access easements, taxes on the property, and the likelihood of natural disasters in the area. If you think you are asking too many questions, you are not. Even small issues can end up costing you a lot in the long term. For example, you could have an incredible property with full mineral rights, but if the soil drainage is poor, the value of the land could drop so dramatically that any other positive factors wouldn’t matter at all. Finding an ALC near you can help ensure that you see the whole picture when it comes to investing in a piece of land.

-You need to be crystal clear on the taxes. This was mentioned in the previous bullet point, but it’s so important we added it again. Some properties have taxes that are so high that the taxes eat up any returns you make on the land. Speak with your land agent about this and make sure you understand what your costs will be before investing in a property.

-Are there wetlands on the property? Thanks to Waters of the US (WOTUS) and other laws, if you have wetlands on your property, huge parts of your land might not be useable. This could cause the value of your land to drop dramatically.

Investing in land real estate can be a great way to save up for retirement. Land real estate is a valuable and limited community that, historically, continually grows in value. If you do your research and spread your investments out over a few different types of land, you could have a successful start to saving and creating a well-balanced, diversified portfolio for your retirement.

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

What’s All The Buzz About Bees and Land Real Estate?

Bees in America have been dropping like flies. Since the late 1990s, beekeepers, farmers, and scientists have noticed a steady decline in the bee population across the country. Before 2006, the usual number of bees that beekeepers lost due to frost or disease was 5-10 percent. After 2006, beekeepers saw that number rise to between a 30 to 36 percent decline in their hives. Panic really set in when a US report stated that American beekeepers lost 44.1 percent of their hives between March 2015 and April 2016.

So, what does this have to do with the land real estate market? Losing bees could have devastating effects on our farms, economy, and day-to-day life. As food pollinators, bees play a huge part in almost everything we eat and everything that our food (cows, pigs, turkeys, etc.) eats. Without them, landowners would lose the most efficient and cost-effective pollinators on Earth, driving the cost of farming and food way up. Farmers would have to invest in expensive pollination technology. If they couldn’t afford the technology, farmers would be severely limited in what crops they could grow since bees pollinate thirty percent of the world’s crops.

The loss of bees could also be disastrous for land values. Crops, livestock, and wildlife will drop in numbers and value without the bees around to pollinate the plants and food sources of the land. Since the value of land real estate relies heavily on the profitability of the land and its natural resources, a drop in bee population could mean a huge drop in land values.

No one knows the main reason bee populations are dropping, but there are several factors scientists believe are hurting our winged friends. A growing number of varroa mites, tiny crab-like parasites, have been feeding off of drone bees and can kill off entire hives. These mites are tiny and hard to spot, which lets them destroy hives from the inside out without anyone noticing until it is too late. Another possible reason is neonicotinoids, a powerful insecticide that slowly weakens bees.

People have been scrambling to find ways to help the honeybees. Almond growers in California are trying to breed more blue orchard bees (B.O.B.s). The blue orchard bees are known for being excellent pollinators. They are more efficient than regular honey bees; a few hundred female blue orchard bees can do the same amount of work as 10,000 regular honey bees.

Although introducing a new breed of bee sounds like a great idea, there are a few drawbacks to the blue orchard bee. For one, they do not produce honey. Another is that they have sluggish reproduction rates (bee keepers have only been able to increase their B.O.B.s a factor of three to eight every year, a tiny fraction of how quickly honey bees can be increased), so getting enough for the current American demand for bees might be tough. The cost of raising B.O.B.s is also still uncertain.

Technology also offers hope for the bees. Robo-bees may sound like something from a sci-fi moive, but in Japan, they are already a reality. Japanese scientists have created a remote-controlled drone the size of a dragonfly. These robo-bees are able to pollinate lilies and are currently being retooled to pollinate other crops. U.S. scientists say a similar product in is the works right here in our own country.

These robo-bees also have their drawbacks. They would be significantly more expensive than raising honeybees, and the risk of malfunctioning could leave fields without pollination for days or even weeks on end.

While the rest of the world is trying to figure out a cure for this epidemic, there are things you can do to help the bees:

Grow flowers that attract bees.  Lavender, white clover, and thyme can all help attract bees to your farm.

-Build a hive or sponsor one. Vice President Mike Pence had a beehive in his backyard and encourages others to do the same. Don’t like the idea of bees buzzing around where you go barefoot? You can also support a hive through websites like the Honeybee Conservancy  to help give bees a safe place to thrive.

-Make your land real estate bee-friendly. Besides planting bee-friendly flowers, you can also invest in pesticides that don’t harm bees.

The decline in bee population is a serious threat to everyone. However, with a raised awareness, people are starting to understand how important bees are to our food and land real estate. Because of this, there is hope that the bee population across America will be able to grow again.

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

How To Have a Great Hunt in February

 

By the end of January, most people have put away their guns and declared the hunting season over. February is one of the slower months for hunting. However, if you still have an itch to hunt, there are plenty of hunting opportunities for you in February. Here are some tips to help you have a great hunting season even after January is over.

1: Don’t Count Out Small Game

Deer season might be over, but there are still plenty of clever critters that will make for an exciting hunt. In many states, hunting small animals like rabbits and squirrels is legal throughout February. If you haven’t hunted squirrels before, it might not sound as exciting as hunting an elk or a wild boar. However, since the winter and the earlier hunting season have already claimed some of the weaker ones, the remaining squirrels will be cunning and make for a rewarding hunt. Rabbits are also a challenging hunt. They are one of the more popular small games to hunt, and it’s easy to see why. They have an excellent sense of smell and long-distance vision that only the most skilled hunters can know how to trick. If you are looking for a hunt that will challenge your brain as well as your hunting skills, small game could be your new favorite prey.

2: Some Animals Can Be Hunted Year-Round

While this does vary state by state, most states allow year-round hunting of animals that are considered pests or could harm the ecosystem of the land. Wild pigs and coyotes are some of the more popular animals to hunt year-round. Coyotes are highly intelligent and adaptable animals that have gotten a passionate following over the years in the hunting community.

Also, wild pigs can be hunted year-round in twelve states (California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin). These husky creatures have an unpredictable temper, so only go after them if you are an experienced and thrill-seeking hunter.

3: Check Your Calendar

Depending on where you live, you might have more time to hunt big game than you think. Alabama allows deer hunting until February 10th, thanks to the varying rutting seasons around the state. Hunting seasons can shrink or grow based off population, rutting season, and the needs of the land.

4: Hunt Smarter, Not Harder

Every hunting season has its ups and downs. Hunting in February is no different. Fewer hunters means less competition for you. The barren land and fallen leaves mean you will have an excellent view of your prey. The catch? They can see you just as clearly. This is the time of year to break out your best camo.

Another drawback for hunting in February is that most of the prime hunt has already been harvested. January hunters have taken out the biggest game, and Mother Nature has taken the animals not fit enough to survive the harsh winter season. You might have missed the biggest animals of the season, but there are still lots of animals out there ready to give you a memorable day in the great outdoors.

Hunting in February is for hunters who like a challenge. Even though you might not catch the buck of your dreams, there is still plenty of great hunting to be had.

About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and had been with RLI since October 2017.

What Does the Decline in Hunting Mean for Recreational Land Real Estate?

There’s nothing quite like hunting; the rush of adrenaline when you hit your target, teaching little ones how to spot a deer, and spending time in the great outdoors. Hunting also has surprising benefits for the environment. Hunting licenses and fees are the main source of income for wildlife agencies, and hunting can prevent overpopulation.

However, there has been a significant decrease in hunting over the years. Over the last five years, the number of hunters has decreased by 15 percent. What does this mean for recreational real estate and the future of hunting?

One of the biggest reasons for the decline in hunting is our country’s changing landscape. With the human population growing every day, prime land real estate started going towards building homes and stores instead of hunting grounds. Many old hunting spots that families have loved for generations have closed and been replaced by a mall.

 

http://longilbert.com/blog-and-updates/2017/4/14/what-is-the-cost-of-a-hunting-license

Another reason that less people are hunting is the cost. The rising price of ammunition, licenses, and permits are driving away hunters who can’t afford the price hike. As you can see from this chart from longilbert.com, the cost of hunting licenses is massive for non-residents. $250 license fees are pricing some people out of the sport. Even local license costs are skyrocketing. The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission has proposed a fee increase that will raise resident license prices from $7 to a whopping $27. That’s a 26 percent increase!

Millennials haven’t been picking up the sport as much as other generations have. The biggest deterrent is that they don’t have anyone to teach them. “You don’t just get up and go hunting one day- your father or father-type figure has to have hunted,” says Mark Damian Duda, an executive director of the research firm Responsive Management. Hunting is a sport which requires a lot of teaching and expertise. With a growing number of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers hanging up their hunting vests, Millennials are left without anyone to introduce them to the sport.

There are a lot of downsides to the decrease in hunting. The group that suffers most from the lack of hunting is, surprisingly, the environment. Hunting can prevent over-population, which can wreck an ecosystem and leave animals starving as they compete for food. Hunting fees and licenses are the main source of income for many wildlife preserves and recreational land real estate. This income pays the employees, maintains the grounds, and funds projects to help the wildlife. Without this income, many parks are struggling to pay their bills.

Does the decreasing number of hunters mean the end for the sport? Not at all. There is still a very active hunting community and positive trends that show hunting increases in certain states. The same study that showed overall hunters decreasing also showed a 9 percent increase in hunting participation from 2006 to 2011. The number of paid hunting license holders has actually increased in certain states. In Texas, the number has jumped from 1,060,455 license holders in 2015 to 1,148,765 in 2017.

The local food movement has also helped the hunting community. With a focus on shopping local and knowing where your food comes from, this movement has introduced people to hunting as a fun and sustainable way to get your dinner.

Recreational land real estate is still going. In last year’s RLI survey, sales of recreational land actually increased. Recreational and residential land real estate sales accounted for 50 percent. While interest in the sport may waver, prices per acre of land real estate remain high. The average price for hunting land real estate in the Midwest is $2,975 per acre.

While hunting is experiencing a dip in popularity, there are still many loyal fans of hunting who want to bring it back into popularity. There have been efforts by local governments to make hunting affordable and accessible again. Ryan Zinke, the United States Secretary of Interior issued orders to overturn a ban of lead ammunition and issued an order to increase hunters’ access to public land. In the community, many youth groups are teaching young people about hunting and nature. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched the Youth Hunting Program of Florida to teach young people how to hunt safety.

Hunting is going through some changes. Most of them are positive. A new movement and generation are learning about the benefits of hunting and how it can help the environment. Local government are now realizing the effects of price hikes on hunting and are taking steps to change it. With a new focus on sustainability and teaching the next generation, hunting is sure to remain a classic American pastime.