New agricultural tax law changes Routt County landscape

1,380 rural property valuations due for review starting in December

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— Some of Routt County’s rural property owners who enjoy agricultural property tax status but aren’t farmers or ranchers themselves will see their 2012 property taxes go up when bills arrive in the mail early in 2013. But the farmers and ranchers who do raise livestock and harvest a crop don’t need to worry.

Routt County Assessor Gary Peterson confirmed this week that his staff will begin reviewing 1,380 rural property tax accounts in late December and continue the work into March as they bring property tax valuations here into conformation with Colorado House Bill 1146, which becomes law Jan. 1.

The new law was conceived to tighten up current law, which allows rural residents who live on acreage to avoid higher residential tax rates by contracting with farmers and ranchers to work a portion of their land.

“It’s my duty to put this law into effect,” Peterson said. “We have almost 1,400 accounts in the improved agricultural classification.”

Peterson said the new law would have the most impact on rural residents who previously have been able to claim ag tax status even though they are not involved actively in agriculture.

Historically, agricultural lands have been valued at lower ratios in Colorado for purposes of taxation. Over time, that consideration has been used by some rural residents who own modest homes and grand homes to reduce their tax obligation.

House Bill 1146, sponsored by 19 state representatives and eight state senators, was drafted with the intent to restore some fairness to that system, Peterson said.

Contracting with ranchers

Typically, the property owners who will feel the change in their bank accounts live on acreage, often within a rural subdivision, where arrangements are made to lease their collective property to a rancher for grazing purposes.

In some other cases, a farmer custom-cuts hay on the property. That practice also can be beneficial to ag operators, who either need the grazing pasture close to their home ranch or use the cash flow from custom-cutting hay to help pay for a tractor.

Beginning in 2012, the two acres underneath a dwelling in the circumstances described above will be valued at a residential rate for tax purposes.

A single sentence in the bill goes a long way toward explaining its implications: “Agricultural land shall not include two acres or less of land on which a residential improvement is located, unless the improvement (house) is integral to an agricultural operation conducted on such land.”

In this case, the term “integral” implies the people who live there actively farm the land themselves, Peterson said. However, the new law allows for the home to be occupied by an immediate family member of someone who actively is farming the land.

Although 2012 is not a regularly scheduled tax reappraisal year, Peterson’s staff will assign new values to those two acres surrounding a rural house where their review suggests the resident is not farming or ranching actively, which would mean the residence is not integral to an ag operation on the land.

Some property owners in luxury rural subdivisions where hay is cut, for example, could see increases in their property tax bill on the magnitude of $3,000 to $4,000, Peterson said. But at this stage of the game, that’s an educated guess, he said.

The tax hit to those same homeowners will be mitigated if they also enjoy extensive amenity buildings in their subdivision; with the signing of HB 1146, those property owners will no longer be taxed on a pro-rated share of amenity buildings in the overall development, Peterson explained.

Absentee owners a focus

As his staff works through the 1,380 tax records, Peterson said the land under single homes on 35-acre and larger parcels would be valued on a per-acre basis, meaning the two acres subject to higher tax rates would see a relatively modest increase in valuation, and hence, in taxes.

However, luxury homes built on expensive five- or seven-acre lots within a much larger ranch subdivision are likely to see the entire valuation — in some cases $1 million or more — assigned to the smaller parcel, resulting in much greater increases in valuation on the two acres the new law applies to.

Because he has seven appraisers on staff and must evaluate the 1,380 records within a span of several months, Peterson said he would expedite the process by directing them to search the property database to create a list of ag land with improvements where the owner’s home address is outside Routt County.

The assumption will be that the homes of those absentee or second-home owners whose permanent address is elsewhere are not integral to an agricultural operation.

Property owners may appeal new valuations and attempt to prove the homes are integral to ag.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

Your reasoning that ranchers "don't need to worry" is shockingly naive. Did you interview any ranchers before coming to that conclusion? What happens when those properties that were sold and built on as legal AG lands lose all incentive to contract out ag production?

How can losing the incentive to custom cut hay or lease pasture NOT harm local ranchers? In case you haven't noticed it is nearly impossible for anyone but folks with money from some other business to own ranchland around these parts, and even long-time ranchers must patch together leases of smaller parcels to cut hay on for shares, then run cows on.

Most of those parcels are owned by non-ranchers, they are the only ones who can afford to buy the land. And don't even think about young folks wanting to get involved in ranching, this law makes that even more difficult.

Great news, more taxes in the kitty and more ranchers out of business. Which will also mean ditches not cleared, water not freely running, and some of the nation's best hay and beef producing lands abandoned. Maybe they will all be converted into bike parks. Yippee.

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mtroach 2 years, 10 months ago

Maybe the county can refill it's coffers with these funds and improve the roads.

PS;Ban chadf for his self promotion on this community forum.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

The county will be paying MORE taxes, I suspect. The county is not a "rancher" under the new definition but contracts out haying on the Legacy Ranch... and no working rancher lives there.

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

1,380 properties @ $3,000 = $4.14 million in new taxes in Routt County alone. 64 counties in Colorado?

I'm really curious how a community reconciles certain contradictory positions? Discouraging property ownership through tax increases will mean less filled seats on airplanes so we need to increase taxes on property owners in order to fill those seats??? Hmmmmm?? Makes no sense.

If a property owner has to pay $4,000 more taxes isn't that 3 season passes he can't buy? So then ski corp needs 5 or so more airline seats filled just to stay even from the loss of EACH of those season passes, no??? If 1,380 property owners each buy 3 fewer season passes how many airline seats have to be filled JUST TO STAY EVEN ???

If the property owner spends $3,000 more in taxes isn't that $3,000 less he has to spend on a new bike or skis or snowmobile or car or solar panel or...?

Why do we think it clever taking money from its rightful owners, sending it through the leechfield of government, and taking the smaller (after government) amount out on the other side to subsidize airlines, land purchases or recreational improvements???

And how do out-of-town property owners harm the county?? They don't tie up our roads. They don't have kids in our schools. They are not in our parks, on our bike trails, etc. And when they do come into town they spend above average amounts of money. Let's discourage them with higher taxes!!!!! Seems like a really bright idea.

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ybul 2 years, 10 months ago

Maybe they will all be converted into bike parks. Yippee.--

Hey man, I have been moving cattle on mountain bike frequently recently. Takes less time than walking or saddling up the horse. Need some pics for bike town USA

If a property owner has to pay $4,000 more taxes isn't that 3 season passes he can't buy? --

You really think that most of those out of state property owners will feel the pinch from this. It might take away from the ranchette subdivisions which are already having problems. The cattle business is strong right now so maybe some of the subdividing will slow down and larger tracts of land will stay in ag..

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

Ybul, yea but can your Mtn. bike get you home if you lose your way? Or fall asleep at the wheel? Or spot cows for you? Just sayin...

I'm more worried about the contracts that won't happen, nobody will pay to get hay custom cut if they have to pay extra taxes already... so anyone who wants to lease/cut ag lands will have to pay more for the use of it (if they can get it), then will have to increase their prices as a result. This will also have a downward pressure on further real estate sales in a down market, and worse, change the rules on folks who already bought with ag zoning as part of their purchase. I could see holding our noses and making this law applicable on land transactions from Jan. 1 forward, but a retroactive law is hideously unfair.

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ybul 2 years, 10 months ago

No, just making a funny comment (not a biker really) after needing to resort cows because a gate was not shut properly. Did not have any help the second time either.

People will pay to get hay custom cut in the future and in reality with the cow market the way it is ranchers will probably be figuring out how to find more land to hay on shares. I see no problem with the changes.

Downward pressure on the 35 acre ranchette community, that market is done. On the bright side maybe there will not be as much of a need for tax money to be used for conservation easements. That is a goal of the community to keep the area open and rural and maybe this change in tax law will help that.

If the community wants to increase tourism they need to find a mandarin and Hindi language instructors and place people in developing countries to try and market to the Billion Chinese and Indians that are entering the middle class - who are not overburdened by debt as most in the US are.

I know a family in Glenwood who did this in Japan. Why not be the lead dog in this hunt - Market a 2 week vacation.

Back on topic - the increase in taxes are simply putting the ranchette owners on equal footing with the rest of property owners. IT IS FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED.

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

ybul, Alot of people ranch their 35 acres. These people shouldn't lose their AG status. Their are residence that have 35 acre or larger plots of land and they don't ues it as AG property but yet it's taxed that way. These folks need to have their taxes adjusted.. Unfortunetly are assessors office does all it's evaluating from inside a building. They use charts. They have let this non-verification of AG status go on for so many years that now they are going to lump everyone into groups instead fo doing any field work. Their looking for money not "law" enforcement.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

Ybul, my point is there will be no incentive for folks, who now own ag property but are not ranchers themselves, to want to get hay cut on it. This will make it harder to find for hay growers, and will also make it more expensive. This law eliminates all owner incentive to get hay cut or pasture their land. I think this is NOT fair to all concerned, it hits the little guy harder, takes more land out of ag use (likely forever), and changes the rules retroactively for folks who purchased ag land intending to contract out the work. This law "throws the baby out with the bathwater" in my opinion.

Spider, good point. I thought assessors HAD to do site visits?

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

Apparently not. If they had been doing site visits there wouldn't be so many AG properties. Now there are seven people and 1,380 properties to view. Alot of these properties are not accessible in the winter. With the recession lowering the values of our property the county is forced to lower the taxes. They need money so their going after the AG land.

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Basic economics says that $4,000 removed from a consumer renders that consumer unable to spend that $4,000 elsewhere. This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with his financial status because no consumer has an infinite supply of money. Every dollar drained from him is one less dollar available for an employees' Christmas bonus or pay-raise; a bonus or raise that might have afforded that "out of towners" employee a ski vacation in Steamboat, for example.

Brushing aside tax after tax after fee after fee with the smug dismissal "they can afford it" betrays how little we, as a society, understand basic economics. The more load there is on a truck, the slower it goes up the hill and the more energy is drained from it in the form of fuel. This is true no matter how powerful (or rich) the engine. The same is true for consumers. One would think the anemic state of this nations economy would illustrate that to one and all. We need to learn or re-learn the childhood lesson about the single small, seemingly inconsequential straw that broke the camels back.

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Spidermite, I really do not think they will lower taxes. Thats what's so insidious about the way these creatures play their games. Hide behing rising values all the way up, then decouple from that mil levy to avoid having to ride down like the taxpayers. It's criminal. Our taxes should go down THE EXACT SAME AMOUNT as our property value has! But don't hold your breath.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Sledneck, The change in a luxury subdivision could be as much as $4k. The average is going to be far less than that.

And why should someone with a million dollar lot in a luxury subdivision be able to point to ag over there in that big open space parcel and so gets ag exemption?

It made no sense from a public policy perspective to give tax breaks for luxury homes on ag properties as that encourages removing working ag to be replaced by luxury homes. Some of he luxury homeowners do not care about making money from ag, they just want to do enough to get their tax break. So the tax break for luxury homes did not help preserve a strong ag community.

These new rules go a long ways towards making the rules match the policy of not letting development potential cause higher property taxes that pushes out the ag usage.

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Do you think the mil levy is going to stay the same? Do you think our property taxes (on residential) are going to go down with values like they rose with the values????

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

Sled, you act like every wealthy person would spend money "for an employees' Christmas bonus or pay-raise; a bonus or raise that might have afforded that "out of towners" employee a ski vacation in Steamboat."

Those same wealthy second home owners may also spend that tax reduction in other ways that don't contribute to this country's, this state's, this county's, this city's economy. Wealth more often than not is passed down to children and family, it doesn't always get spent.

Don't be so naive. Try to look past being a pundit for what you call conservatism.

I am all for not increasing taxes. But this is not an increase, it is instead an elimination of a tax break. And it only applies to “two acres or less of land on which a residential improvement is located, unless the improvement (house) is integral to an agricultural operation conducted on such land.”

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Jeremy Johnston 2 years, 10 months ago

What is the definition of "actively farming"? An owner who may not be getting their hands dirty but has to line up someone to cut and bale hay, find buyers for the hay and coordinate rain dodging, delivery/pickup, is certainly an essential part of the ag operation. Simply providing the land on which agricultural will occur makes them involved. It seems savvy owners could find loopholes in this one.

sedgmo, not all incentive is eliminated. If they continue to contract, only the "two acres or less" residential footprint will be taxed at the higher rate. The more expensive the home, the more taxes. Just like everyone else. The little guy with a little house will be hit the least. If they no longer engage in any form of ag the whole property will be revalued.

Don't get me wrong, I think this law and it's imposing regulations and huge tax increases are bad for Routt county. Even a little hit will be too much for a lot of the little guys. It puts the burden of proof on the land owner, and it is a burden. In an economy where tourism is on uncertain footing ie having to subsidize airlines to keep them coming, we should be incentivizing, promoting and encouraging agriculture in all of it's many forms as well as second homes. As sledneck pointed out, the less money people spend on taxes the more they are free to spend downtown. It is true that some wealthy land owners dodge high taxes on luxury homes with questionable "ag status" but historically these parcels are agricultural and if there is agriculture going on there they should be protected. Unfortunately the current law benefits lawmakers by padding their coffers and is unlikely to change.

On the other hand it may create an incentive for owners to offer live on opportunities for young people willing to work the land.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Property owners that think they have incorrectly determined to not be actively farming can appeal to the county commissioners acting as the local tax equalization (?) board.

I doubt there will be hardly any residents that will protest the assessor's decisions.

When lots in Marabou are claimed as ag then those are the people that are going to be affected. Not some resident trying to scratch out some income from their property from ag that also has side jobs.

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

cobra, Your defination of an owner "actualy farming" sounds more like your describing a hay broker. Historically the entire valley was agricultural. Scott, I think their will be alot of residence protesting these tax evaluations especially if the assessors office doesn't do any field work.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

From assessor's statement to focus on out of valley mailing addresses, it sure looks to me that there will be a presumption that a local resident with enough acreage to be a viable farmer will be assumed to be ag. A local on a viable farm presumably just needs to clear ditches and so on which is going to prove very hard for assessor to claim doesn't qualify.

But these property owners that do nothing expect once a year have someone cut and remove the hay may have a harder time showing they do something.

Might be some protests from those in subdivisions that claim ag, but assessor would have to expect that and be ready to make their case for the subdivisions which they remove ag exemption.

That does not strike me as a formula for lots of protests.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott, I think you completely missed my point. Some local ranchers (and others who come here just to bale hay) ARE ALREADY trying to scratch out a living on historic ag lands-owned by others-which were sold AS ag lands but on which legal residential developments were permitted, planned and built. It is not common for ranchers in any part of the U.S. anymore to own all the lands they farm or ranch, it is simply too expensive. What I see happening here is a loss of lands to ag use, and consolidation/monopolization encouraged by reducing the supply of productive ag lands into fewer and fewer hands.

For the record, I don't own any land at all anymore, but it seems patently unfair to change the zoning AFTER something was purchased and built upon. Imagine if this was, say, commercial zoning and you were allowed to build a restaurant, so you create your financing and business plan based on the existing tax code etc. After you've built and are up and running, they decide you are a non-conforming commercial use in say, a residential neighborhood, so too bad, your tax rates are going to rise substantially.

Cobra, I think it is highly unlikely land owners will offer live-on opportunities for folks wanting to work their land. Caretaker and mother-in-law housing is subject to very strict zoning and planning requirements, and very few folks who can afford to buy ag land in the Yampa Valley will want to add low-income laborers as neighbors no matter what the circumstance. On many properties even adding a second non-connected building is prohibited.

And like Scott and Tom, you are presuming most ranchers OWN all the land they work, which simply isn't true.

I understand about the 2 acres, but would love to see something closer to actual tax changes... if someone has a $1million house on 35, legally zoned ag until now, and contracts out the haying, what are the current taxes, and what would the new tax bill be?

And there's no easy way to measure costs of hay not produced and sold or cows not raised, or fields abandoned.

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ybul 2 years, 10 months ago

I think that if their tax bill goes up they will be trying to figure out how to keep it down and or make more money from their land. For most people they will find a way of maintaining their ag exemption. It will probably create a days worth of work in doing so, but most will still be able to maintain it.

By the way, angry cows do not respect a bike like a horse either, a new bike town event bull fighting with a mountain bike.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Sedgemo, I think you miss what is happening. It does not change zoning on a rancher's land. The ag exemption is not regarding zoning about how the land can be used, but refers to an ag exemption from normal property taxes.

It does not change ag exemption on most of a ranch. It can remove the ag exemption for two acres around the rancher's house if the house is not integral to ag operations.

And if the rancher doesn't own the property then it won't have any effect because it is only about property taxes for the owner.

As for a potential effect, for a 5 acre Marabou lot that was purchased for $3M, the ag exemption means the land is value at about $2,000 for taxes and so the owner pays less than $10 a year in property taxes for the land. (They pay more overall because of the value of the improvements). Presumably, the assessor will assign the great bulk of the market value for the property to the 2 acres for the house and so they'll pay similar property taxes as if located in SB.

The effect on local ag by changing the property taxes on 5 acre Marabou properties is not going to be significant.

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott, The Marabou lots are zoned residential/acreage not AG. Same with Creek Ranch.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

The ag exemption is NOT ABOUT ZONING! The ag exemption is about valuation for property taxes.

Go to the county assessor website and loot at the Marabou subdivision as I did. You will see property type as ag and valued for taxes as around $2,000. So they pay less than $10 in property taxes on the land value, but they do pay around $700 for the improvements. (Which is apparently about to change since it looks like they'll no longer be assessed for the improvements (guessing the roads?) but will be assessed for a residential lot.

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

Shocking. Look at Creek Ranch subdivision. These subdivisions are similar. If I owned a lot in Creek Ranch I'd be pissed.

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Bill Dalzell 2 years, 10 months ago

Other than Scott almost all of you are misinformed and missing the point. I don't think many of you understand how abused the system is. Do you think its fair that residential properties are taxed so low, due to BS Ag status, and that the rest of us pay for their roads? Its not a law against farmers. Its meant to get rid of the abusers of the system. This should have been taken care of years ago. Some of you know it all's, should take a break from blogging, and look at tax records. I think most of you would be shocked to see how many abusers have Ag status. By the way the Assessor does not do all their taxing from charts. Do you think the pictures of the homes on their website are from charts?

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

Wealthy ranch owners who don't work the land are not going to be hurt by this. They were avoiding the normal taxes anyway with this Ag status. Real ranchers will be exempt from the new rule.

How will the richy riches survive? They'll have to pay what everyone else pays for property tax? Oh my! And they might not have subsidized flights into the valley to vacation at their second home mansions if the new tax doesn't pass? Oh my!

How will the Yampa Valley survive without these people throwing us poor folks their crumbs?

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

Well, the irony of the situation was that is was precisely because developments such as Creek Ranch and Marabou claimed Ag exemption that the law was seen as misguided and changed.

As for those property owners being upset, there is a rather obvious lesson there. When something is promoted as beneficial because of an absurd tax break then you have to be prepared for the tax break to go away. So when these properties were promoted as investments in SB area real estate with no carrying costs because of the minimal property taxes then a smart investor would have seen the flaw that the Ag exemption could go away especially since the ag exemption was not meant to reduce property taxes for luxury developments.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott, forgive my ingnorance, I know this issue from the "other" side only, but can see it will impact availability of ag use to non-owners of that land. Ag-exempted owners have had to recruit people to cut hay/graze cattle etc. to keep their legal exemption.

Are you saying for a 5 acre lot with a price tag over a million, the land taxes are only around $10? Guess I'd like to see a before/after to compare what the change is, not the total dollars.

Legal developments have sprung up all over this valley with the ag exemption in place... so it seems to me the exemption was intended to reduce property taxes for luxury developments, as an incentive to keep the bulk of their traditional ag lands still used for those purposes, regardless of ownership.

Billy D, I am not an "abuser" and reject your suggestion that most development roads are paid for by "us"... most I am aware of were paid for within the developments themselves, not through tax dollars. Infrastructure costs are accounted for in the price of the developed lots.

I think this law IS going to negatively impact ag lands, regardless of ownership, since it removes the incentive to contract the production from it. Nobody who bought a second home here on a few acres in a resort town is likely to invest in the massive amount of time, money, and machinery it takes to successfully bale hay, for example. It doesn't pay at all on small acreages... so the wealthy will pay more taxes, the contractors get squeezed out, and the formerly productive lands go to weeds. If these newly-gathered taxes could be directed towards ag in some way I would feel more hopeful, but they will probably end up paying for more chip seal roads to torture bikers.

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

Billy D, Not all AG is BS. The roads out in most of the AG areas are nothing to brag on. We only get minimal maintenance in the winter and we basically keep the roads open ourselves. If you will notice most of the pictures you speak of from the assessors office are decades old. Only new construction would have current photo's. They do their taxing from charts.

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Honeybunny,

What do children and family do with wealth that's passed down to them?

Name me some ways that people can spend money that "doesn't contribute to this country's, state's, county's or city's economy".

You're trying to tell me that the elimination of a tax break which results in a higher tax burden is not a tax increase; and YOU are calling ME naive?????? Thats funny.

The ONLY cure for poverty is wealth. Knowing that, is the wiser course to attack wealth or create more of it??? Similarly, the only cure for the economic illiteracy that plagues the american electorate is the study of basic economics.

And I never said I was a conservative.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

Sled,

Children and family spend wealth, they also hold on to it. The wealthy usually stay wealthy. I'm not against wealth. I understand they're is always going to be disparity between the rich and poor. But you must also realize there is an extreme income and wealth inequality in America. The wealthy are getting wealthier and the poor get poorer.

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=12485

CBO finds that, between 1979 and 2007, income grew by:

275 percent for the top 1 percent of households, 65 percent for the next 19 percent, Just under 40 percent for the next 60 percent, and 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-coates/poverty-amid-plenty-ameri_b_1066957.html

We are not creating new wealth it seems, but instead shifting the majority of it to less and less people. I think I can agree with your points, but is wealth creating more of it for more people?

People can spend $$ outside this country, it doesn't contribute to our economy. Ever hear of outsourcing overseas? I'm not saying the rich don't spend their money and stimulate the economy, they do, but not ALL of their wealth goes back into our economy.

Semantics. Tax break, tax increase, whatever. Sure, it's a tax increase that get's these fake ranches back to the level other property owners have to pay.

Being rich is the "American Dream." Yet it is a dream only a small percentage actually attain. It's this dream that enables the poor to let the rich hold on to their wealth, thinking someday they will be rich too.

We are luckier than most though. Our "poor" still drive cars and have things most do not in other countries. Our living standard is pretty high. But I believe the growing disparity between rich and poor is not a good thing for the "American Dream."

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

The Ag exemption was not a Routt County law, but a state law.

This is not about taxing the wealthy because they are wealthy. This is about removing a tax exemption meant to preserve Ag near urban areas. The original problem the Ag exemption was meant to deal with was that once development got near a rancher or farmer then the property would be assessed at fair market value which included development value. So now the ag owner got a big tax bill that the ag usage couldn't pay so the property ended up having to be sold for development. Thus, the ag exemption was created to allow ranchers to keep their property taxes at their previous ag level even as development encroached on their property. Thus, the intent of the Ag exemption was all about preserving ag and was not intended to encourage luxury developments.

But then it was being abused when the Ag exemption was used to promote developing of land near urban areas so that luxury homes could be built while paying Ag value for the land. That was the exact opposite of the intent of the ag exemption. Thus, it was easy for the state government to pass because neither party wants a tax exemption to promote development of ag properties. This is not about taxing the wealthy, but about fairly taxing rural developments and not giving tax breaks for the development of ag properties.

What impact this will have for cutting hay on residential properties is speculative. The homeowner insurance company would probably rather have the hay cut than allowed to build up.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700182814/Gap-widens-between-US-rich-poor-as-top-1-percent-controls-25-percent-of-wealth.html

In reality, though, the top 20 percent of Americans control 84 percent of the wealth while the bottom quintile controls just 0.1 percent. The net worth of the bottom 40 percent combined accounts for just 0.3 percent of the nation's wealth.

The gap is widening. Only 25 years ago, the top 1 percent of the nation controlled 12 percent of the nation's wealth. Today, they control close to 25, Vanity Fair recently reported. According to the CIA's World Factbook, only 38 of 136 countries have a less equitable distribution of wealth than America.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2005550/Americas-pay-gap-Inequality-rich-poor-worse-revolutionary-Egypt.html

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/06/20/gap-between-rich-poor-how-it-s-bankrupting-social-security.html

By the way, I'm for SS change, something has to be done.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

But honeybunny you are confusing this issue because this issue is not about wealth, but about fixing a tax exemption meant to preserve ag properties that had instead also given a tax exemption to 5-7 acre lots near urban areas.

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

It isn't an issue about if your wealthy or not. I'm still amazed how property owners in two similar subdivisions can have such a different tax burden. YVB, you could be correct about Mr Peterson.

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Honeybunny, I knew you would have to correct the children of wealthy thing. I also knew you would say: "People can spend money outside this country". Repeat that to yourself slowly 3 times...

Doesn't this mean people can remove their wealth from this country? Will they want to remove MORE or LESS of it if taxes go up? How does wealth leaving America help the poor in America? Will it mean more jobs in more factories or fewer jobs in fewer factories? Basic Economics.

And the poor are NOT getting poorer. Their expectations are becomming more and more unrealistic; especially in an increasingly homogenous world.

According to IRS stats, most people in the "poor" category move up out of that category on a regular basis. Likewise, many in the "high income" category don't stay there forever. Just because the CATEGORY looks static does not mean the INDIVIDUALS within it are static!

The ability to move up into better income brackets is a prime characteristic of capitalism; something ironically under attack currently by those who need this upward mobility the most.

Secondly, calling someone "poor" doesn't make them poor any more than calling me a "jet airplane" gives me the ability to fly. Poor people in America have cell phones, cars, microwaves, computers. Most of the world would love to be "poor" in America. Throughout the ages starvation has gone hand-in-hand with poverty. Why, if America is so "poor" and our "poor children" are "going to bed hungry" are we seeing an obesity epidemic????? Only in America can we be "poor" while being rich enough to eat ourselves to death.

And what do you expect to happen to living standards in a nation who's southern border is being overrun by people willing to work for 10%; to a nation who's debt interest alone consumes a large portion of its GDP; to a work force that stays in school till they're 35 getting a degree in "trans-gender basket weaving"? Does anyone truthfully expect them to get a job alongside Pedro that pays enough to ski 100 days/ year?

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Bill Dalzell 2 years, 10 months ago

Not all Ag is BS. That I totally agree with. Developments pay for their infrastructure within said development. Many heavily traveled roads to get to said developments are paid by us and do not collect tax dollars to pay for those roads. It goes beyond the Catamounts. I think you would be surprised how many people get Ag status, some of which is just passed on from prior owners, when there hasn't been Ag use on said land for many years.

I also know for a fact that the Assessor sends people in the field. You may not agree with their ratio of time in the field, but why lie about it. I have personally looked at many tax records and there are a ton of people getting shady ag status. This has been going on for years.

Spidemite "We only get minimal maintenance in the winter and we basically keep the roads open ourselves." Yes and no. It costs a lot to maintain roads, and goes beyond how often they plow. Are you getting Ag status? Maybe you have some bias.

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Jeremy Johnston 2 years, 10 months ago

I suggest everyone here read the bill

http://statebillinfo.com/bills/bills/11/1146_enr.pdf

Whether you are for or against this revaluation the fact is it is happening.

Definition of "actively farming": a person who "EITHER REGULARLY CONDUCTS, SUPERVISES, OR ADMINISTERS MATERIAL ASPECTS OF THE AGRICULTURAL OPERATION OR IS THE SPOUSE OR A PARENT, GRANDPARENT, SIBLING, OR CHILD OF THE INDIVIDUAL." It seems it will only affect those owners who enjoy an unfair tax break and have no intentions of engaging in agriculture. It also should give rural owners more of an incentive to keep their ditches clear and put up hay every year. Additionally the bill grants ag status to lands "regardless of the uses for which such land is zoned, that was used the previous two years and presently is used as a farm or ranch". The bill also stipulates that land "that is in the process of being restored through conservation practices" will not see an increase, incentivizing conservation projects.

Really what is the point of ag status (besides the tax benefit) if restrictive HOA covenants prohibit real ag.

I know this post is somewhat contradictory to my earlier comments but taken for what it is (the law) this bill seems fairly well intentioned. Unless you are cheating the system, then I can see some reason for consternation.

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Jeremy Johnston 2 years, 10 months ago

The options are simple, use the land for agriculture, or pay more taxes like everyone else.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

Sled,

Did you even read what I wrote? You are just repeating what I said. We agree on some of these issues, no argument needed.

I didn't change my statement about children and wealth. We agree that American's are not poor compared to others in this world.

Read the Huffington Post article, it's interesting. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-coates/poverty-amid-plenty-ameri_b_1066957.html

Some people will have more and some will have less. There is only so much money to be had in the system (unless your the Fed Reserve). I understand and accept that. But, I think it's better for the economy to have more people have moderate wealth then to have a small few be ultra wealthy.

I don't believe govt. spends wisely and don't believe in increased taxes. What I do believe is that if we all have to share the burden, the people with less shouldn't have to bare more than the people with more.

I don't know all the answers. But I do know that an all or nothing statement like only wealth can create more wealth, or only wealth can cure poverty is not thinking the issue through.

Like W. Buffett said, the rich invest because there is money to be made and possible taxes have never discouraged them.

Scott W., I was replying to Sled's post, not directly to the above article.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

I know this is not directly related to the above article, but it is some interesting reading.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/06/20/gap-between-rich-poor-how-it-s-bankrupting-social-security.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/with-executive-pay-rich-pull-away-from-rest-of-america/2011/06/13/AGKG9jaH_story.html

"The answer is that the ethos changed. By and large CEOs stopped thinking, as Dean’s 1970s CEO Kenneth Douglas did, that a human being only needed so much and after a certain point enough was enough. If industry X was doing it, then industry Y wanted to do it, too. Greed spread, and soon enough an entire economy arose devoted to goosing the greed, providing goods for the people making all this money—the ever-more luxurious private jets, the Maybach cars (that’s an ultra-fancy Mercedes for those for whom a regular old Mercedes is too plebeian), the restaurants where you can drop $1,000 on dinner, and so on."

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

Sled,

I'm not republican, democrat, conservative or liberal, maybe libertarian to some degree (the definition of liberal I could live with, the liberal politics I can not) I'm for reason and common sense. I can see the validity in different view points. What I don't agree with is an unwavering need to hold fast to one side of an argument or political view. That's what is called being a pundit, for what ever side you claim as your own.

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

Billy D, I'm not surprised how many propertys have AG status passed on from prior owners. That's how it works when you purchase an AG property. I know the assessor sends some people into the field. That's how they get photos.They should be in the field investigating those "people getting shady ag status". Your right it has been going on for years. The assessor hasn't done anything about it. It costs alot to maintain all the roads. What are you suggesting I show bias towards?

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

"There is only so much money to be had"?????? No wonder you are upset, Honeybunny! If I believed that I'd be upset too. I have good news for you. Wealth is not money and wealth is not a zero sum game. Wealth is available in infinite supply because, unlike money, it is a relative term.

The idea that someone like Bill gates or Steve Jobs or Henry Ford should have gotten out of the way when they had earned "enough" is wrong. We would have suffered more in their absence. And if anyone had provided a better product, the market would have seen to it that they were elevated accordingly!

My goodness! What's wrong with yachts and jets and Mercedes Benz's? If my brother builds yachts for a living (i wish) that's one less person on welfare and one less person building bombs, no?

One of our biggest problems is our ignorance of economics. And, while the agitators in DC enjoy the class warfare today, it does society no more good than the witch hunts of old. Playing on peoples fear and greed and ignorance is an ever-present reality that must be guarded against. The Hitlers of the world are always ready to step up.

I watched an interview with an OWS person last night. She actually said that people in North Korea were better off than is South Korea because the north was socialist and the people were "taken care of". Ten years ago that would have made me mad. Instead, last night when I heard that I cried.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

Why do you assume I'm upset Sled? I'm just trying to have a reasonable discussion about the issue. Maybe you should stand back and take a breath. Stop crying at the T.V.

Maybe the general economy is a not a zero sum game, but money is (again except if you are the Fed. Reserve) and so is income.

"One thing we need to say is that -- as the CBO Report indicates -- both the rich and the poor are still with us. The poor have not gone away, and their conditions of life remain seriously impaired when compared to those enjoyed by the rich. Another thing we need to say - following Eugene Robinson -- is that there are poor Americans primarily because there are also rich Americans. The rich and the poor in contemporary America are not separate categories of people, unconnected and dissimilar. Instead the two categories are organically linked: linked because the rich and the poor are ultimately just people sharing a common country and economy; and linked because in a world of scarce resources, the excessive claims of the privileged deny full access to those resources by the less privileged. In a very real sense, the pursuit of rising incomes in contemporary America IS a zero-sum game -- if the man in the big office takes a big salary hike, that hike leaves less in the salary pool for those working in the smaller offices behind -- and like all games, this one only works if everyone follows the rules. Right now, the rules in America's zero-sum income game are heavily stacked in favor of the excessively wealthy and against the excessively poor; and because they are, they are rules that we need to change."

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

"Instead, last night when I heard that I cried."

Seriously? You are so wound up that you cry at the ignorance of some supporter of a populist movement? You don't laugh?

I find that sort of comment just as funny as the TEA Party supporter that wanted to get government out of her Medicaid.

This is the United States where we love democracy and pretending that ignorant members of the public have something important to say. At least OWS have been mostly been willing to be mad at the financial system that continually rewards the inside players regardless of their performance without claiming they have a solution.

John Corzine can take risks with MF Global betting on European currencies and when wrong cause it to go bankrupt as he walks with $12M.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

You're right Sled, wealth is not money. Thanks for the knowledge. I learn things everyday. I was using the terms incorrectly. Currency/Money is what I should be referring to.

http://mises.org/daily/4507

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes, I really did. A nation that has people that utterly ignorant of history, world affairs and economics walking into voting booths is doomed.

I would personally be ready to kill Corzine if I was a shareholder but I am not. It's nobodys business but the shareholders.

What amazes me is that a weasel like that got put in charge of MF Golbal after what he did to New Jersey. If the shareholders were stupid enough to put him in charge after a record like that they got what they bargained for.

Come to think of it THATS what I'm saying about the woman who likes North Korea. America is the next MF Global.

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Honeybunny, I did not mean to sound like that whole rant was directed at you. It wasn't. It was my assesment of the overall sitch-e-a-shen.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 10 months ago

Two words, Philosopher Kings. If the majority is ignorant, then voting by majority is not the answer. We agree on that Sled.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

That is the great dilemma of democracy - how can a largely ignorant voting population be expected to make wise decisions?

Quick answer is that in the short term it cannot and a dictatorship or oligarchy are far better making at making most short term decisions. The real strength of a democracy is that the voters can recognize mistakes and vote in new people while the alternative forms of government would continue on the wrong path until a true revolution forces a change in power. Look at how long Great Britain kept ignoring Churchill before Germany's invasion of Poland made it clear that war could not be avoided.

The strength of democracy is not that voters make the right decisions, but that they can correct bad mistakes via the ballot box instead of requiring a revolution.

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mtroach 2 years, 10 months ago

Yvb, please explain further how this will lead to both less open space and higher real estateprices and stock prices.

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JusWondering 2 years, 10 months ago

So, going a step further. Two of my neighbors are being taxed differently based on what the Assessor's website shows. I know that both these part-time resident owners have 800 and 1,500 ft vacation homes (hunting cabins with electricity, water & sewer) plus out buildings that have been there since the early 80's (Google Maps even show the buildings). But one of them is being taxed as Ag Vacant. Because it is remote with limited access through private property I can guarantee you that an Assessor hasn't been there for over 30 years! These are both sitting on 40 acre lots.

The other 40 acre owner has a tax burden three times theirs based on tax payments. P.S. Neither of these two long time owners have ever used these properties for Ag; even through a sub-lease... they are forest and former lettuce field properties that border National Forest with larger ranches surrounding them. Perfect hunting base camps.

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sledneck 2 years, 10 months ago

Honeybunny, Saw an interview of Robert Frank this morning. He has a new book out called "The High-Beta Rich". I think you would find it very educational. He is one of the worlds leading authorities on the rich, how they get rich, how they stay rich...or don't, etc. And I don't think he wants anybody to feel sorry for them. Check it out.


Yeah YVB, I'm curious too. How is raising the carrying cost of land gonna make it more valuable?

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

JW, I think the ag exemption includes some forms of forest management, for trees certainly and possibly for game, I dunno.

Scott, thanks for the info, I stand by my concerns about loss of hay grounds to the indifferent. On your Marabou example was that lot undeveloped or did it include a residence?

And can't resist (pot and kettle) your own words are speculative here.

"What impact this will have for cutting hay on residential properties is speculative. The homeowner insurance company would probably rather have the hay cut than allowed to build up."

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housepoor 2 years, 10 months ago

It does for trees if you enter into a forest management agreement with the state forest service. Look at the lots off of river road with the big houses on <10 ac they pay a guy to hay the undeveloped 2 acres in return for $1000's in tax savings. I don't blame them it is completely legal. Now under this law the 2 acres they hay will still be ag, the 2 acres under their house will be taxed like the rest of the population. Seems fair?

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JusWondering 2 years, 10 months ago

Sedge, I am not debating the value of Ag status for forestry. I am debating the idea that our Assessor's Office cannot even effectively enforce existing rules. Two very similar properties; One Ag Vacant just because it is not easy to get to. It is not Ag Vacant. It is Ag With Residence and has been for 30 years. What makes them think that they will be able to administer a new rule effectively.

From the article: "...search the property database to create a list of ag land with improvements". One of these properties will be affected and one will not. The Assessor has not updated its classification of the properties in 30 years.

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greenwash 2 years, 10 months ago

Its about time....35 acre ranchettes are nothing but "Rural Sprall"...35 acres hardly makes you a rancher.Enough is enough!!

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

Justwondering, You are so correct. Now they are going to try to remedy this situation, after thirty years, starting late December. During the Winter. 1,380 rural properties will be reviewed from their office! Maybe they should start this review in March. They will be able to view these propertys. It just makes sense. Greenwash, Your wrong. It's how you use your land that determines AG status. A person could have 35 acres and run it as a ranch. Another could have 112 acres and never bother to maintain, harvest or graze their property. No AG there!

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greenwash 2 years, 10 months ago

The price of hay needs to go up ....substantially....$5.00 bales for the past 25 years ....whats wrong with this picture?

How many cows can you reasonably graze on 35 acres or 5 for that matter?Same with horses how many can you reasonably graze ? year round ? 6 months?Gimme a break.

Besides hay , what else is growing and making money on 35 acres or 5 acres in Routt County?

Nada , Nothing , Zilch !

Actually I correct myself MMJ is the only crop making money in Routt County.

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Jeremy Johnston 2 years, 10 months ago

The really sad part of this..in retrospect and as a young person interested in making my living here in agriculture... is that real estate speculation ie. the ranchette market, sub division, luxury homes, has severely over valuated the land. Even parcels with poor ag value are priced out of the range of would be farmers. Now that almost every 35 acres has a large home, it puts valuable fertile plots out of reach and proper production. Everyone wants to live in the country but they don't necessarily want the country lifestyle.

It seems we have split the pie into so many pieces that no one piece can be sustaining. Without intensive methods and constant attention 35 acres can't produce enough to make a living, and as long as the trucks keep rolling on over the pass they don't need to. This conundrum makes it not so worth while to keep ag alive. Which is probably why there is a lot of "shady" ag designation.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 10 months ago

JustWondering, Well, the assessor does their best to follow state laws on assigning valuation to properties. These sort of errors for obscure properties are unlikely to ever be caught by a field inspection, but by someone telling them of the error.

As for your particular situation, assessor's office does accept information from the public regarding errors in their database. They do work with the building dept to use building permits to update their database so that Ag Vacant that has a residence was possibly done without a building permit.

sedgemo, My Marabou example was for a vacant property. Looks maybe like this doesn't affect Ag vacant. Most of Marabou looks to be vacant so I don't know if there are any Ag with Residence there.

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

Greenwash, Hay is selling in feed stores for $7.50 a bale. Livestock isn't limited to cows and horses. It also includes mules,asses,goats,sheep, buffalo,cattalo and swine. Thirty five acres could support alot of swine!

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JusWondering 2 years, 10 months ago

Scott, I do disagree. Field inspectors do peform "uninvited" field inspections which seem to be designed to catch exactly this kind of issue. Did I put up a new pole barn that does not require a permit? Did I tear down an old homestead shed replacing it with a larger one? Did I build a new ag building not requiring a permit? All of these are the purpose of these inspections... it seems that 30 years is more than enough time to have caught a residence and other improvements without me having to tell them how to do their job. Besides, I have no dog in this fight. Our assessment won't theoretically change since the vast majority of our property is used for ag purposes including grazing and hay.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

Thanks YVB and Cobra, you said what I was trying to say, only more eloquently.

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greenwash 2 years, 10 months ago

Spidermite - $7.50 a bale retail would mean $3.75 or less in the field ...Whats wrong with this picture?The price of hay hasnt really gone up in years in Colorado.By the way if you are buying hay at a feed store you are not a rancher .

Swine year round in Routt County I think you are delirious.

Buffalo on 35 acres how many ? guess ? One pair mabye ? I suppose you were joking?

35 acres does not make a ranch.....

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spidermite 2 years, 10 months ago

greenwash, Did I say anything about "swine year around in Routt County"? Did I say I was a rancher? I'm not the one that is delirious.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

GW, the number of acres don't determine ranching, nor the actual owners. It is the USE of the land, no matter the size, that is in question.

FWIW hay is highly valued this year since most of it is being purchased by out-of-state drought survivors. I suppose they aren't ranching since they are buying hay from someplace they don't own or ranch themselves?

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Jeremy Johnston 2 years, 10 months ago

Greenwash- "How many cows can you reasonably graze on 35 acres or 5 for that matter?Same with horses how many can you reasonably graze ? year round ? 6 months?Gimme a break."

Using intensive mob stock methods and giving beefs only pasture that is in full vegetative growth state, 150 head on average will eat 1/2 acre per day. Pasture will regrow to a graziable height in 30-40 days. With daily fence/paddock/stock moves and a good graziers eye, 35 acres will reasonably grow these 150 beefs. With a little vertical integration it will also support 1000 laying hens, 1000 meat chickens, 50 hogs, several dairy cows, rabbits, a one acre market garden, and three generations of humans for six months. If you have another 70 acres to hay, you're year round.

"Besides hay , what else is growing and making money on 35 acres or 5 acres in Routt County?"

Maybe your question should be "What else could be growing?" Maybe these taxes should be used to create a more vibrant local food infrastructure ie. usda inspected poultry processor, grain mill, marketing, grants for local food producers to help with acquisition of land and equipment.

The market is there- 13,000 locals and 100,000, tourists gotta eat something, and the majority of it COULD be produced here in the valley. The problem is not a lot of people want to be farmers. First off the land is too expensive to ever hope of making ag profitable, and second poop stinks, dirt gets under your fingernails, and it's a pain in the neck.

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greenwash 2 years, 10 months ago

Cobra you are kidding right ? Otherwise , what planet are you from?

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

Green, same planet as you. Welcome to the new ag.

This makes me wonder how the numbers would crunch for Haymaker Golf Course... which was formerly productive hay ground. Purchased for (?), remodeled for (?), course design for (?), add in (?) for the clubhouse, parking lot, CDOT turn lane, utilities, restaurant, shop, staff etc., subtract (lots!) of water from other uses, add in cost of fertilizer, herbicides and careful mowing, then divide by (?) users in (?) months a year, to return (?) profit or loss.

In Cobra's scenario the same acreage could produce (?) in a sustainable fashion, feeding people, livestock and soil in perpetuity.

Which makes more sense for future generations?

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Jeremy Johnston 2 years, 10 months ago

As of '02 Colorado was losing 140,000 acres of farm and ranch land to growth every year.

The average income per acre of farm/ranch land in Routt County is around $37 dollars per acre per year. Colorado? $100 The national average? $150. Farms using organic bio-intensive methods? $1000 Farms using vertically integrated organic bio-intensive methods as described above? $8000/acre/year.

Pretty obvious not all our classified land is being used well or at all.

And no green, not joking. I am from a sustainable planet. I was surprised too, but I have seen it. There are farms all over the country that do it.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

YVB, still reading... don't see many numbers in your post so you didn't say how they would compare. I was around and aware in CO in 1973 (and earlier) but then as now, had no say in much of anything.

Cobra, do you think Haymaker returns $8k annual per acre? Pre-tax, of course. I have no idea what it costs to golf there, my brother golfs in AZ for outrageous greens fees. Not against golfing, just wonder about the numbers vs. ag.

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Jeremy Johnston 2 years, 10 months ago

Probably more. Maybe as much as double that. Just a rough guess. Kind of an ironic name... Haymaker.

There's been a big push in the last few years to save what's left of Colorado's proud ag heritage. Unfortunately money talks and BS walks.

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Bill Dalzell 2 years, 10 months ago

YVB, Just curious why you think they have undone SB 35. It is my understanding SB 35's intent was to allow ranchers to split land to allow additional residences on their ranches for family members and such. It is also my understanding that the new law is mostly aimed at the homeowners scamming the system. A lot of the support came from communities like Aspen, Vail and Telluride. It was the Goldie Hawn's and such that were not paying taxes on multi million dollar estates. I have not heard of any true ranchers who feel they will be effected. Like I said, a ton of people with no ranching intersests ever are even getting tax breaks. A house cleaning has been needed for years, regardless of the new House Bill.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

BillyD, there ARE ranchers being affected, and most especially the smaller operations. What you mean to say (I think) is ranchers who OWN all the land they ranch will not be affected. Most ranchers do NOT own all the land they work, which is where this conversation began.

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greenwash 2 years, 10 months ago

Cobra I appreciate your zest for Sustainable Ag here in Routt County but with less than 60 frost free days and the cost per acre of land , I just dont see it happening economically here.

It can be done i suppose but highly doubtful it can be done on a large scale here in Routt County .

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Bill Dalzell 2 years, 10 months ago

Sedgemo are you a rancher? just curious, if you are I appreciate your opinion and it adds merit. I do find it interesting that there does not seem to be a lot of public outcry by the ranching community, at least publicly. I realize that most ranchers don't own all there land, but also feel very strongly the system is broken and needs to be fixed. What's up with the random CAPitilization btw?

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

I am self-employed in ag, sorry about the caps. I agree the system is broken but began this comment by reminding Tom Ross there are ranchers being affected, contrary to what he wrote.

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ybul 2 years, 10 months ago

I really doubt that it is going to effect any ranch operations. If you can not figure out how to ensure that your landowners comply with the rules maybe you need to ponder how to make it work for them. I can figure it out.

Potatoes, Onions and Beets plus others do well in this climate. They could return a good value on the land. The key is in vertical integration and people who want to work as most really do not want to put in the effort or get dirt under their nails. Though the key is some sort of scale so that people can make a living. It is hard on 35 acres in the valley but not impossible.

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housepoor 2 years, 10 months ago

YVB I thought you were about the free market? If a rancher can't survive ranching without entitlements then he shouldn't ranch right? You would think a free market capitalist would figure out that MARKET has determined that most Routt County land is more valuable for other uses(recreationtrophy homegolfhorseshobby farms) than growing hay. The market in Moffat County is more suitable for ag production although the energy industry might put an end to that.

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Jeremy Johnston 2 years, 10 months ago

Once again, money talks bs walks. pun intended. There is a difference between what is most profitable and what is right.

For multiple reasons Colorado's prairies and high mountain meadows really are some of the best land in the world on which to summer live stock and play an important role in this country's food supply. Any new law that makes it tougher for rancher's to put that grass under that stock will ultimately be reflected in the supermarket and felt in your wallet.

The Value of the land is relative. Does it have more value as a food producing parcel or as a private getaway? We know in which scenario it is more expensive. Right now the market is locked. No one wants to sell for half of their investment. Very few people are spending (and are less likely to with higher taxes looming) in the rec/hobby/luxury categories and are more likely to spend on basic needs like food and clothing.

The true effects of this action are yet to be seen. It may make some idle land more available as owners look to save their status, others may may raise lease prices to cover the new costs. Either way the rancher's costs and thus food prices will be up next year.

Greenwash, I will take possible and concede improbable. Though if current economic and ecologic trends continue it may be necessary.

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sedgemo 2 years, 10 months ago

BRAVO YVB! We are famous for hay in this, valley, and have been so my entire long life. I'm not thinking it was a good trade to sell off ag lands for party barns and mega mansions, which sit empty over 9 months a year but still require electricity and heat for non occupants. I suppose the answer is they pay property taxes, but I still feel this sort of "progress" is a one way ride to urbanity. We gain, we lose, but mostly we lose any sense of "community" in the "unity" sense of the word.

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