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In the state of Texas, landowners that keep bees on their property can qualify for tax savings through a “Special Land Valuation” also commonly miscalled an “Ag Exemption” by many landowners and farmers. If you own 5-20 qualifying acres (not including the homestead) then you have an option to keep bees and save money! If you do not currently have an ag exemption / special land valuation, then you will need to prove 5 years of continuing agricultural use before you start seeing the reduction in taxes.
We sell bee hives, lessons, and everything in between, but for those landowners that may not want to get into beekeeping, we also lease our pollination hives to land owners for a reasonable fee. This is a great turnkey option where you leave the beekeeping to us while getting the tax savings.
Professional beekeepers can maintain the hives on your property and similar to cattle or other ag usage, the professionals use the land to broaden their business while the landowner is able to receive tax benefits. Beekeeping is often a less intrusive way to use your land than hay, cattle, or other ag as the hives take up very little space on the land and beekeepers maintain the health of the bees.
What benefits are there to the bees and beekeeper?
- The bees can be kept in smaller apiaries which. may increase access to natural forage and nutrition
- Risk management of having hives spread out in case of loss or natural disasters
- More locations to expand business (keep more bees)
What benefits are there to the landowner?
- Pollination of food crops, seed crops, and trees
- Save money on taxes with the 1-D-1 Open Space Agricultural Valuation
- Simpler agricultural usage – bees don’t require fences, expensive equipment, or your constant monitoring. You’ll have use of your land and the freedom to travel, etc.
- Less stress of maintaining hives, learning how to properly care for bees, or the liability for lost hives.
With hive management services, we handle the initial set-up of the apiary, place the hives in a suitable location, maintain the bees throughout the year, provide a lease and service agreement contract that can be used for supplemental paperwork when applying for the special land valuation with the County Appraisal District (CAD).
FAQs for Prime Bee Hive Management
Who do the bees belong to?
Most commonly, the professional beekeeper will use their bees to bring onto the landowners property. We do provide professional services for bees owned by the landowner when they already own the bees, we also sell bees if you’re looking to keep honey, grow your apiary, etc..
Who keeps the honey?
The beekeeper keeps the honey, the bees, and equipment. We do provide some honey to our landowner clients each year.
Where do you place the bees?
We work with you to find a suitable location. We must be able to drive to the hives in order to service the bees. The bees need to be kept in a dry and easily accessible part of the land. We prefer that you do not mow around the hives so selecting a location where you can allow your field or forest go fallow (grow wild) is best.
Why does it cost money to maintain the bees on my land?
The simple answer is that it’s work. It takes time, expertise, gas, as well as livestock – the cost associated with professional service offers some cost coverage for the beekeeper to offset the time spent traveling to various yards as well as time caring for the bees on the property.
Who files the Agricultural Valuation forms?
All tax forms are filed by the landowner. We are happy to help answer questions and point you in the right direction, however, forms must be filled out and filed by the landowner. If you’re building up to your Special Agricultural Valuation qualifications many counties appreciate you applying each year and being denied for an additional paper trail.
How do I find out if I qualify?
We always recommend checking with the county in regards to your specific property and any requests or requirements they may have, however, if you have between 5-20 qualifying acres (excluding your homestead) you should be eligible. The land must be actively used for agricultural purposes – so in this case, you’re bringing in bees.
How much will I save on my taxes?
This varies drastically by county, but in many counties your acreage is valued at over $10-70k per acre. With ag valuations, you’ll be taxed on a fraction of that. Whatever the county values your parcel with bees on it is what you’d be taxed on. This number ranges from a few hundred dollars per acre up to a couple thousand throughout the state.
Does it affect my other exemptions?
You can only qualify for one agricultural use at a time, however your homestead exemptions, over 65 exemptions, veterans, or other special exemptions would be unaffected.
Where in the law is 1-d-1 and bees covered?
There are a few places, actually.
1-d-1 Open Space Special Land Valuation is in the Texas Constitution Article 8 with the original intent of preserving land in Texas.
As a farming state, this evolved to promote agricultural uses in Texas. 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.”
Requirements vary by county so you’ll need to consult with your county requirements and regulations as well. Consult your tax attorney or real estate attorney with any questions – we’re just here to point you in the right direction!
What if I want to learn to keep bees myself?
Great! Keeping bees can be such a rewarding and fun experience. Getting to learn more about nature, the most amazing insect on the planet, and work on the land is awesome. We do have rates that include working the bees along side you when we come to your land so if this is something that interests you, please make that clear when you reach out. We do offer classes, bees, and much more to get you started.
How many hives are required? What is a hive?
Requirements vary by county and parcel, however, it’s typically between 5-15 hives for most properties.
A hive is most commonly defined as a colony with a queen. In most cases this means each “box of bees”, however, there are set ups where boxes have two colonies, etc. inside them so you’ll want to work with your county if you plan to use a unique apiary set up and make sure they understand what you’re doing (and that they’re okay with it)
When is the best time to get started?
Similar to the saying that “the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago”, getting started with your special land valuation is best done 5 years ago. If you’re looking to switch from an existing ag classification, then today’s a great day to get started!