The U.S. Department of Agriculture has defined a “small” farm or ranch as anything under 100 acres. As of the 2000 census, there were 228,987 farms and ranches in the state of Texas. Of this total, 48 percent, or 109,914, were considered “small” owners. The 2010 census is projected to show an increase, now estimated to be around 54 percent.
Not everyone who purchases rural land will become an agricultural producer. Some purchase for recreational purposes, like hunting, fishing and wildlife activities. Some are looking for a quiet, peaceful retreat. And some will try their hand as a “hobby farmer” or “eco-tourism entrepreneur.” No matter what the reason for purchasing rural land, there are two things that are almost always true. There are many new things to learn about rural living and no one wants to pay higher taxes or lose money, if they can avoid it.
Texas Farm Bureau realizes that there is only so much land to go around and the demands for food and fiber will continue to go nowhere but up. TFB has always been at the forefront of helping farmers, ranchers and rural property owners become both productive and good stewards of their land. However, we also realize that not everyone needs to make a living off their land. But you still have many of the same issues that we fight for every day…such as water, taxes, eminent domain, property rights, etc.
You will soon find out that “As goes the rural landowner, so goes the big city.” Most of what the city dweller receives in food, fiber and natural resources, comes from the “country.” The cities have the votes and they want what we have. As a rural landowner, you have to be ever vigilant and Texas Farm Bureau provides the latest information in this respect as well.
Whether you plan to raise crops, animals, wildlife…or just enjoy your land…there is a constant need for information and resources. New residents and old alike need some way to keep up with every issue that confronts them. This is how Farm Bureau began in the 1920s–answering questions and providing the best practices for farmers and ranchers trying to make a living. You could always ask a neighbor, consult with your feed dealer or experiment on your own. The government provided some help but there was no one source–or internet–to inform, before you made costly mistakes.
Today, there is so much information (and misinformation), that you don’t know where to turn. A Google search for “sick goat kid” will get 1,920,000 results. An inquiry about “agriculture (tax) valuations” can get 254 (number of counties in Texas) different answers,4,650,000 for the U.S. The Small Farm and Ranch section of the Texas Farm Bureau (www.texasfarmbureau.org) website attempts to lead our members and users to the most reliable resources, based on over 75 years of experience.
However, as fast as things change in technology, common sense new ideas and communication, we at Texas Farm Bureau welcome your input to our network. You may email new ideas for the SFARM section (email@example.com) or visit: