would you buy/have you ever bought partially protected land?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cathy N., Mar 30, 2005.

  1. Cathy N.

    Cathy N. Well-Known Member

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    I asked this question on the country family forum (where I mostly hang out) but thought I'd get a greater multitude of counsel here. I want all the advice/cautions/questions to ask, etc., you can throw at me.

    We are looking at a 50 acre tract of land that is partially wetlands protected. (We just found out about the wetlands about 5 minutes ago, when the realtor called.) Normally I'd be inclined to stay away from land I can't totally control, but in this area it is going to be next to impossible to find a sizeable piece of land that does NOT have wetlands on it. This whole valley is one big bog, with drainage ditch after drainage ditch trying to drain enough land to farm. The realtor is going to check to find out just how much of the tract is under protection. I'm almost thinking that if the percentage is small enough, I might be willing to work with it. In just about every other way the land would be great for what we want to do with it. There is another 50 acre tract, that would be our second choice, but it might have wetlands, too.

    Edited to add: we live in eastern Ontario, about an hour south east of Ottawa.
     
  2. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how Canada differs from the US, but I wouldn't buy it unless it was a very small portion and then I'd still be leery.

    The ground is designated wetlands and that can't change. The law regarding wetlands CAN change. For example, say they decide that protecting the wetlands isn't good enough and that you need a 100 yard buffer zone around them. Bummer.

    Jena
     

  3. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You are not aware of the laws governing farm land in the USA right now????? Here in Minnesota, you need a permit to tile, grazing it is becoming impossible, no sodbusting, etc. No net wetlands loss. This is very serious. Your state will have similar. Seems folks on 10 acres get by ignoring this, but us farmers don't.

    --->Paul
     
  4. poppy

    poppy Guest

    If it is anything like US law, run, don't walk, run away from it. Any land with a wetland, conservation easement, or anything similar is a lousy deal. As Jenn noted, the rules on you wil only get worse. It will, and has gotten to the point in some places that all you can do is pay property tax on the land. Lots of banks here are wising up and will not loan money on ground with any of this stuff attached. They know it will not be marketable land in the future and they don't want stuck with it.
     
  5. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Any conservation nut will be able to argue that anything you do on any part of your land will affect that protected piece, even if it's five feet square. They'll tell you that your 20 chickens will cause runoff pollution. They'll tell you that you can't plant hostas near the house because they secrete something toxic to protozoa in the wetland. They'll tell you dust from your new roofing shingles is making the dragonflies verklempt.

    Don't get me wrong, I think conservation is important. I just won't risk my livelihood on it, if using that land is part of the plan. If you just want a piece of land to have a house, a dog, and some raised beds, go for it. But if you want to develop this as some sort of homestead or farm, make sure you think about its resale value as such to someone else who might have lots of cash but less patience with easements, etc.
     
  6. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    According to the Environ-mentalists, all of our 20+ acres are considered wetlands. After years of haggling and threatening to hire a big-name attorney, they consented to allow us to use about an acre of it, but they told us where that acre was located. So we built the house, drive way, etc where they said and they have not bothered us since. Now I'm sure they fly over it a lot and make sure we haven't made boardwalks through the swamps or tried to add other buildings elsewhere. We pretty much leave the other 19 acres to the wildlife. It makes a nice buffer between us and neighbors.

    If you decide to buy, document everything. Record the date, time, person's name, title, dept, etc. Better yet, get them to write it down on the agency letterhead and store it in a bank vault. Employees change and you will need it wrapped up all nice with a bow on it eventually.. We got permission from the state and local only to find out later we also needed something from the Army Corps of Engineers. It was always something else and someone else we should have dealt with. Anyway, things have stayed quiet for a few years now, knock on wood. Talk to all the neighbors, listen to their stories and suggestions. Do your homework and research. Start now. Good luck!
     
  7. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I am very aware of the environmental laws, both that are coming the future and the ones that exist. I figured the poster was probably more a homesteader/howeowner than farmer so I provided a more simplified example of what could happen.

    Usually those who are in farming are aware of the ramifications of protected lands and run like the wind when confronted with them.

    Jena
     
  8. Cathy N.

    Cathy N. Well-Known Member

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    It is sounding more and more like I really don't want this hassle!! :mad: We don't want a wildlife preserve, we want a small farm that will provide most of our own food and all the feed for our livestock. I don't mind wildlife (as long as my chickens are safe!), but I don't want some agent telling me what I can and can't do with my own land.

    My husband wonders if this wetlands easement is why the land is going so cheap (less than half of what other land is going for). He also wonders (and doubts) if we'll ever be able to buy any land that doesn't have some wetlands clause on it.
     
  9. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    You don't want to try another area without wetlands problems? Canada is a fairly big country...unless there are reasons you cannot move that is.
     
  10. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It'll be cheap because of the wetlands protection. You get the joy of paying tax on govt. land which is the worst insult about the whole thing. The laws and enforcement aren't terrible yet but as stated it'll only get worse. Not sure how the new nutrient management laws effect wetlands perhaps OMAF has something on it. I'd rather buy 5 acres I owned than rent 50 belonging to a bunch of ducks.
     
  11. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    hmm. our community is looking into doing some conservation easements, as a way of protecting their land from being turned into parking lots and mini malls, and protecting the viewscape along a scenic highway that is being built. i really enjoy hearing all the reasons why NOT to put in these easements, as it brings up things i would never have thought of myself.

    but what i really would like to know is- why do you all say it will only get worse? what will only get worse? government interfering in our lives? that's going to happen anyway, whether wetlands are protected or not. other than that, the only reason i can think of for feeling that way is just kind of a general pessimism, that things always get worse. if you feel that this protection is a threat to family farmers, there are far worse threats to your livelihood that conservation easements. what am i missing here? i really don't see why you think preservation of wild places is going to make your lives any more difficult. i can see why you might not want to buy one, but those easements are put in place by individual landowners, not from some outside governmental force.
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You are not aware of what is coming down on farming. Most of the things I see discussed on this forum reguarding livestock is illegal activity _already_, and the preposed laws make anything regarding livestock very expensive. It is a one-size fits all deal. Regulations will cost any individual $5000 or more. One will need 4000 hogs, 400 dairy, 1000 cattle just to pay for the regulations that are required.

    Case in point, I was just talking with a friend yesterday, he had a 1000 head cattle feeding lot that was designed in the early 1970s. It given government recognistion for being one of the better built setups in the whole state, it was state of the art for the environment.

    Quit cattle in the 80's sometime.

    In the late 90's he wanted to raise a small herd of horses in these buildings.

    He needed to reroute water run-off, he needed to add gutters to the barn roof, and was supposed to run 200 feet of tile _under_ the cement slab, as well as a long cement curb along the feeding platform. (He worked out a different plan without the tiling...) All for 10 head of horses? And he needs to be reviewed every 5 years to see if he is in comnpliance.

    For livestock disposal (dead critters) you pay $100 each or $1000 a year, and the state is working to shut down the couple of rendering plans that are still opwerating - then what?

    That is 'today'. In the future, laws are already set to require soil testing, subsoil water testing, manure testing, certification for applying manure, and so on.

    For crop farming, requirements for fertilizer application, fees, permits, and prescribed farming methods are all preposed. For example, requiring notill would hit me very hard - my $1000 corn planter does a good job, but would be worthless and I would need to buy a fairly new $15,000 corn planter. I will need to give up 20% of my crop land under some of the preposals......

    How would you like it if the government comes to your house, says hummm, you really don't need that extra bedroom on your house, we will nail the door shut, perhaps we will use it for govt stuff if we want, but you can't any more.You will still get to pay prop taxes on the whole house tho, and you need to maintain the roof & paint & all.

    _THAT_ is what the conservation easements are like around here. They really suck. And there is no getting away from it. A wetland is there & the govt now owns it, there is no discussion with the land owner on that.

    Not sure where you are coming from. But all these laws apply to everyone here too. The locals might not enforce them, and those of you with 5-10 acres might slip a lot of things by. But when they are done shredding farmers & forcing all agriculture to be large industrial complexes, then they will come after you too.

    Good luck with that.

    Oh, do I sound bitter???????

    ADM, Cargill, world trade - all of that doesn't bother me. I can farm around, with, or in spite of those. No problem. What will kill me & my profession is the tree huggers & the govt regulators. The part that really ticks me off is all the tree-huggers that say they are opposed to corporate farming and want to support family farming. And the brainless go pass laws that eliminate family farming through regulation, and force large-scale farming as the only type than can survive the regulations & restrictions.

    Yea, maybe I sould a little bitter. You pushed the right button.

    --->Paul

     
  13. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    I guess buying a large tract of land with some wetlands on it wouldn't bother me. Of course, lets say there was a 60 acre tract for sale that had 20 acres of wetlands on it....I would offer the landowner the going price for 40 acres...certainly wouldn't offer the going price for 60 acres of high ground!

    Depending on the kind of the wetland and where you live, a wetland can offer a nice buffer from neighbors and may attract numerous songbirds and migratory waterfowl.
     
  14. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    If the price is that much less and therefore allows you to have something you otherwise would not, be glad. Yes, you will have regulations and you will pay taxes and so on but you still will be the steward of that land. Make sure there is enough land(aside of the "wetland") for what you want to do, though.
     
  15. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    rambler- sorry your button got pushed, but thanks for bringing up some things to think about. it really sounds more like a problem of too many people trying to fit on too little land. think of it this way. if there were no people on that land, it would be clean. the more people, and roads, that are there, the more filth they create. even buidling a simple country road contaminates the ground water in areas that are nxt to wetlands. there goes your well. next thing you know it's a hazard to human life as well, again because of the filth, often weells contaminatd by too many septics on an area. then here come the government, trying to make people quit defecating in their water supply. i'm sorry you are having such problms in your area.

    CB- that is a definite consideration, and one of the main reasons i live as far out as possible. to me, it is the highest privelege to see so many wild things every day.
     
  16. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Marvella
    "those easements are put in place by individual landowners, not from some outside governmental force."

    In this case yes it was put on by the Ontario govt. and yes they will effectively regulate you clean off the land. No compensation either.

    Valent

    "you still will be the steward of that land"

    That's the problem you are not!
     
  17. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The other concern about a wetlands I'd have is biosecurity if you're raising animals. Wetlands attract wildlife, which is great if you just want pretty birds around. Not so great if you plan to raise your own livestock -- particularly any poultry. Also, mosquitos can be a real disease vector for horses (various encephelitises) and chickens (fowlpox). And iirc, there's a nasty disease spread by waterborn snails that horses get but I'm blanking on the name.

    Leva
     
  18. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    Being steward of the land is doing the best for the land you can do. Yes, you may have to deal with many opinions and some regulations but it is still yours. I know of so many "conservation easements"(wetland included) that have no negative restraints that a prudent steward of the land wouldnt be doing already.
     
  19. duke3522

    duke3522 Well-Known Member

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    Rambler’s post got me to wondering who is behind all of the agriculture regulation. Right now we have an administration that is not very environmentally friendly, and most state legislatures are not known to be tree huggers. But even here in Indiana it is difficult to run a few hogs these days.

    When I first met my DW her mother was making good money raising a few hogs, and when the price for hogs bottomed out she had to leave the business. At the time she told me the low prices were a play by the big outfits to drive all the little guys out and make everyone dependent on them for pork. Could all the regulation be the result of cooperation between the tree huggers, who want to tell us how to use our land, and the large agro-businesses who are out to run off all the little guys? Especially now, in a time of increasing energy prices.

    These large agro-businesses are dependent on fossil fuels to run their operations, and as oil prices increase the biggest threat to the big ag companies are small local suppliers who can now compete due to their low energy costs. So if you cannot beat your competition in the market, get your political friends to legislate them out of business. And the big Ag companies get the benefit of making friends in the environmental community who might be more willing to look the other way when it comes to the Ag companies environmental record.


    Duke