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:
Local County AG RequirementsDownload

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. We begin taking orders for Spring bees by Sept 1 of the Fall BEFORE you need the bees, so order early!

Honey & So Much More!

Delicious Raw Honey straight from the Hive!

Howdy! We are 6 weeks past our grand opening day and still having so much fun out here I just had to share it with everyone! Typically, when you think about a beekeeping store, you probably think of HONEY first, right? That’s awesome, so let me tell you, YESSSsss we have lots of honeys, honeycomb, raw honey, local honey, creamed honey, honey from right here in Austin, we have honey from other Texas locations, too! We even have delicious honey all the way from Hawaii!  If you haven’t looked up the benefits of honey yet, straight from the beekeeper and the beehive, you are in for a sweet surprise. Raw honey is not only a great substitute for sugar in almost every recipe, it’s also got surprising benefits for allergy sufferers who want to begin eating small amounts of local honey each day to strengthen the immune system and build resistance to pollen allergies. Come by our farm store and taste all the different types of honey we have on hand and then take a quick tour into the apiary (that’s another word for bee yard) and watch the honey bees in action collecting nectar, pollen, and water from the local area and bringing it back to their colony.  We have a few colonies with viewing windows into the hives, so you can see the bees bringing resources back into the honeycomb. It’s great fun and educational for the whole family!

Honey is not the only thing we have in our beekeeping store, though, not by a long shot!  In fact, we want you to know that you don’t have to be a beekeeper to shop here.  We have something for everyone, including YOU!  There is more ‘bee bling’ here than you have ever seen in one place.  We have t-shirts, hats, jewelry, socks, baby clothes, dishes, towels, pictures, lamps, books, soaps, lotions, beeswax, candles, honey spoons, candies, cookies, energy bars, and so much more.

If you happen to be interested in becoming a beekeeper, we have the perfect education course to get you started and even a hands-on training opportunity to get you up close and personal with the honey bees.  Check out our schedule of classes at our education link or on our calendar for those details!

Now don’t worry, if you do happen to be a beekeeper, we have everything you need to keep bees in our equipment line as well.  Brood boxes, honey supers, frames, complete hives, bee suits, veils, gloves, tools, smokers, excluders, top bar hives, and more. Everything is assembled, painted and ready to use!  We also offer consulting with your beehives and help with getting your own apiary set up for AG exemptions, pollination, or just pure enjoyment.

Last, but not least, we have BEES, too. We sell packages, nucs, and full-strength colonies. We also sell BeeWeaver Queens.  You will want to PRE-ORDER the bees from our website and don’t wait too long, we always sell out!  To order bees please go to www.BeeWeaver.comor www.BeeFriendlyAustin.com.  Queens can be ordered to ship, but all other bees must be picked up in person in Austin TX or in Navasota TX.

If you come visit the bee farm on the FIRST SATURDAY of each month, we have our special Tour, Talk, & Taste event with ongoing tours with a master beekeeper, an opportunity to ask all those beekeeping questions, special tastings, and more!  This is the best day for a longer visit and we typically have several master beekeepers here to answer all your questions.  We even open early on First Saturdays, so come as early as 11:00am.  We run about 40 minutes sessions for the first 2 hours, so we just focus on you!  

As you can see, we have lots to see and experience here at Texas Honey Bee Farm, so please stop by soon and enjoy a visit with the beekeepers and the bees who bring you the best tasting honey in Central Texas!

Education with experts!

Expert Entomology and Bee Basics Class by Lauren Ward

We are excited to host BeeWeaver’s Beekeeping Manager, Lauren Ward for a class on Entomology and Honey Bee Basics. Ms. Ward is a licensed entomologist, has a masters in entomology, is a commercial beekeeper, and all around naturalist. Her instruction will lead you through the recent headlines about the decline of the vital insect population of the world to action you can take to support our 6 legged friends. One of our most loved insects, the honey bee, will take center stage. Lauren’s experience with her own bees, past employment as Lab Manager for the Texas A&M Bee Lab and Bee Biology online instructor, and in her current role of Beekeeping Manager at BeeWeaver Honey Farm brings a level of expertise to beekeeping that few have. She will help you with the building blocks you need to understand the biology of the hive, the role of beekeeping in supporting a healthy ecosystem and how each and every one of us can make a more bee, and thus insect, friendly environment. February 23rd, 10 am, $60 plus tax/fees. Buy your tickets here, space is limited.