The new tax code change that now qualifies beekeeping as an agricultural use enterprise in Texas' open-space land appraisals sure had generated a lot of interest, says Chris Sansone, Texas AgriLife Extension Service entomologist, San Angelo.
Sansone says than in a recent update, Deborah Cartwright, director of the Property Tax Assistance Division from the state comptroller's office (http://www.window.state.tx.us/) announced that the Texas Legislature added beekeeping as another agricultural use for purposes of open-space land appraisal.
Tax Code Section 23.51(2) was amended to include the definition of agricultural use as "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 the land uses is not less than five or more than 20 acres."
"The second option states that the food or products must have commercial value, not commercial production," Sansone says. "While human food and products must be produced, the law does not require that they been sold commercially. Commercial production of agricultural products, such as livestock or crops, is not required for land to qualify for open-space land appraisal under current law. The other option requires that the land be used for raising or keeping bees for pollination."
Sansone says the Texas Comptroller's office recommended that each appraisal district consult their local Texas AgriLife Extension Service local office concerning the number of acres and hives needed to fulfill the requirement.
"A bee yard or apiary can be run on a pretty small scale," he says. "Bees forage over a large area, sometimes well over a mile depending on available resources. Central Texas is not the optimum for beekeeping because of the lack of a consistent pollen and nectar source, compared to the Houston/College Station."
Sansone says the website http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/pollination/managing-bees-pollination.html offers a good overview on managing bee populations.