A good long Conservation Easement Story

binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
So we all know the everglades headwater project is underway,and a lot of BIG landowners stand to make a bunch of money by placing conservation easements on their property.

It's a pretty sweet deal if you own a lot of land, where the Gov't comes in...pays you a bunch of money not to develop your land for 30 yrs...they pay to have a conservation easement..they may also pay to help develop a wetland marsh etc...and you keep FULL rights to the property,you can still farm as you please,come and go as you please...run a lease on it as you please...etc..etc.

BUT, hidden clauses,and lawyer talk can put a damper on the above weather you realize it or not. Some farmers outwest will attest to the pitfalls with doing business with the Gov't,and how they can make oyur life miserable.

So, with that being said, an uncle of mine has some fine cattle..I think they call them manangu or some kind of cross of black angus. He shows out at the Denver Cattle show each yr,and has some Heffers go for 25k plus a head due to their genes,looks, etc...something I know very little about.

So I meet a Fl ranch owner who wants to do business with him...we come over to a big party on the ranch, ride around on the ranch,get the full montey on the ranch....have a nice diner on the ranch..etc,etc.

I know a little about this ranch prior to the dog and pony show they took us on while were on at the ranch....so I ask, can I have a party on the ranch? They ask"what do you mean?" I say, well I understand your applying for a conservation easement on your property,and your really trying to persuade your fellow ranchers to do the same, so I was wondering if I could have a bunch of my airboat buddies come out,park on the shoreline,build some camp fires and have a cook out?...they looked at me like I had 3 heads......now keep in mind we have some **** which if they buy it for their show cattle could make them a bunch of money.....meanwhile my uncle could give a ratz *** if he does business with them or not because he thinks conservation easements are a bunch of BS himself.

So I ask would that be OK....SHE said NO....we can't do that.

So later in the night, I get with her away from everyone else,and explain to her my feelings about conservation easemants,and how I feel they are detrimental to the citizens of Florida,and she says,"well atleast were not going to develop our land!...I say, does that mean it's ok for you to get public money to buy your land,all along your family gets to enjoy all the benefits,and I can't even pull up to your conservation easement without trespassing?...Now keep in mind, we hold that night the cards because we have something they want....so she says, well let me get back to you since we don't know much about what we can and what we can't do...........i don't stop there, I ask, we'll if that's the case,how could you represent yourself to other land owners as if this is a good thing for farmers,and the people of Florida? ...at that point I knew where we were,and the conversation was over.

My uncle in law decided this ranch was not a ranch he wanted to do business with even though they were very interested in his line of Manago(sp) cows or however u spell it....either way, it was refreshing to vent to someone who in reality is clueless,but is taking direction from her superiors all in the name of $$$$$$$$$$$....but yet will go on record like they're like any other hard working,blue collar ranch just looking to make an honest living.......

I don't begrudge any hard working person who becomes successfull in this world and makes it a better place. But, some of these ranches are dupping the people out of their hard earned money in the name of some BS conservation easement. If the public's gonna buy the land,then the public should be able to enjoy the land...no if's and or butt's...no matter how nice they are!

Replies

  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
    Unfortunately Rich, all the big ranches think this way. They are all business and all about the money. There are no altruistic motive among a single one of them. If they can't maximize a profit and keep control of their lands, tey don't want the hassle of dealing with the public. Sweatheart deals like conservation easements have been a way of life for Florida's ranchers for so long that they come to expect it. Look at Latt Maxxy, Lykes, Lightsey, Duda... the list goes on. None of them could afford to keep their lands without these deals because the property taxes alone would eat up their profitts. It's truly a sad state of affairs and one I don't see changing any time soon given the current trends in green-minded thinking. I feel your pain brother.
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 10,753 AG
    There's state park land you can't do that on either, been there done that.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    it was so disenchanting to even try to swallow the BS the were trying to serve....i really feel for my kids,and other alike.I had a real good run at things....lots of good times,with not much jurasdiction.Like i've said all along IMO,louisiana might still be the place to be...hello they even pay for nutria tails per tail, where our sorryarse state makes you pay for a limited season license for a nuisance animal(python)
  • gator4evergator4ever Posts: 2,566 Captain
    benillishtr dont get me started. What about the USSC deal? USSC continues to harvest sugar that is at an all time high on the world market. And we the tax payers are paying a fortune for the so called Everglades restoration project.

    I think the cattle breed you were referring to is MaineAnjou?

    http://www.cattle.com/articles/title/Maine+Anjou+Cattle.aspx
    "sometimes it's OK just to kill a little time" my grandpa 1972
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    gator4ever wrote: »
    benillishtr dont get me started. What about the USSC deal? USSC continues to harvest sugar that is at an all time high on the world market. And we the tax payers are paying a fortune for the so called Everglades restoration project.

    I think the cattle breed you were referring to is MaineAnjou?

    http://www.cattle.com/articles/title/Maine+Anjou+Cattle.aspx

    Besides my tongue,i was never good at french,but yeah,that's the breed......PS,we've got 1KK acres from SR60 south that are not open,and currently owned by the State
  • FLGobstopperFLGobstopper Posts: 42 Greenhorn
    It's a pretty sweet deal if you own a lot of land, where the Gov't comes in...pays you a bunch of money not to develop your land for 30 yrs...they pay to have a conservation easement..they may also pay to help develop a wetland marsh etc...and you keep FULL rights to the property,you can still farm as you please,come and go as you please...run a lease on it as you please...etc..etc.

    ...I say, does that mean it's ok for you to get public money to buy your land,all along your family gets to enjoy all the benefits,and I can't even pull up to your conservation easement without trespassing?...

    Are you sure that's how a conservation easement works? I've looked into them and I've heard nothing about the state paying a landowner for the conservation easement. Where did you find your information? Is it different in South Florida than North Florida? All I've found is tax breaks for landowners where they were allowed to basically write off a portion of it to lower there taxes if they don't develop the property. So it's my understanding that the only benefit to the landowner being able to write off a portion of the property on their taxes over so many years. Most of ranches and farms already operate under ag-exemptions anyway and pay a lower rate of taxes in Florida so it's not like they're making or saving a ton of money by signing up for a Conservation Easement. I own 300 acres and have looked at the CE but the lower rate isn't a good enough incentive for me to sign up for it. If there is some other sources out there to look at let me know, maybe I missed something.
  • huntsfloridahuntsflorida Posts: 378 Deckhand
    So we all know the everglades headwater project is underway,and a lot of BIG landowners stand to make a bunch of money by placing conservation easements on their property.

    It's a pretty sweet deal if you own a lot of land, where the Gov't comes in...pays you a bunch of money not to develop your land for 30 yrs...they pay to have a conservation easement..they may also pay to help develop a wetland marsh etc...and you keep FULL rights to the property,you can still farm as you please,come and go as you please...run a lease on it as you please...etc..etc.

    BUT, hidden clauses,and lawyer talk can put a damper on the above weather you realize it or not. Some farmers outwest will attest to the pitfalls with doing business with the Gov't,and how they can make oyur life miserable.


    If you knew all the facts behind the program it's not such a sweet deal for the landowner or the state. I personally know several large landowners who have decided against the program because of the BS involved with dealing with the state. I know it sounds great on the surface, but once you get into it..not so much.

    The program was designed to stop development. The state is not buying the land just an easement on the land. Big difference. The reason they went with the easement route is the landowners (most of them) won't sell their land. They are only paying a percentage of the appraised value of the property. There are different prices paid for different types of land as well as the length of the term of the easement. The prices they are now offering for the easements are not worth it except in certain areas like the C139 basin due to water restrictions placed on the landowners by water management.
    Capt. Mark Clemons
    Everglades Adventures Inc.
    Alligators Inc.
    Alligators International LLC.
    www.huntsflorida.com
    South Florida's Finest Hunting Safari's for over 25 years for:
    Osceola Turkey, Alligator and Whitetail on over
    75,000 acres of South Florida's most private pristine ranches.

    Alligator Processing in State Certified and Inspected Facility.
    Follow our clients results on Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/EvergladesAdventures
  • monkeybusinessjrmonkeybusinessjr Posts: 380 Deckhand
    The definition of a hard working blue collar ranch must be one that does't make any money. Sounds like a bankrupt ranch to me. Ranching and farming is a business just like any other business.

    Think of Florida 100 years ago. Now think of Florida 100 years from now. These easements are the only way the State can keep itself from being paved over. Some allow for public access. Some are sale lease backs. Just depends on the situation.

    Land is either owned by the Government or privately owned. It's always been that way. Nothing has changed. That land you used to run around on, hunt on, party on, shoot on, etc 40 years ago was private property and you were trespassing. It's just that there weren't enough people around back then to care.

    This will give you some perspective: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_density and we are on our way to #5.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    if a ranch can't make money nowadays with cattle at an all time high,and farm land at a premium for farming purposes...sugar and corn prices doing pretty good, then they need a consultant to tighten up the operation. Up north farmers are rakin in the dough,re investing in equipment and payin off debt...how do I know this, my Uncle sits on a bank board that keeps tabs on farming as they are their biggest receivers of loans.

    I'm very glad to hear some farmers are holding out...hopefully they all do

    BTW, the easements that have been bought in the past have been bought on land which has been previously been deemed wetlands,which last time I checked was not developable(not all of it,but a lot of it).....3/4 appraisal price per acre for 30 yrs then 100%ownership is turned back over sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

    Here's some old reading you can catch up on

    http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2003/proposed-purchase-of-conservation-easement-creates-new-definition-of-conservation-for-fisheating-creek-area

    http://southeast.construction.com/southeast_construction_news/2010/0720_Everglades.asp

    http://southeast.construction.com/southeast_construction_news/2010/0720_Everglades.asp

    Lykes Brothers acquired the land around Fisheating Creek early in the 20th century and used it as largely unimproved cattle range. The company owned 67% of the land in Glades County.[3][18] For many years Lykes Brothers allowed public access to fisheating Creek and the land around the Creek, including a waterfront park, campground, and canoe concession at Palmdale and 76,000 acres (310 km2) open to hunting in a Game Management Area leased to the state of Florida.[3][18][12]

    Lykes Brothers began closing public access to its land along Fisheating Creek in the 1980s, apparently in response to increased vandalism and poaching. Lykes Brothers did not renew the state's lease on the Wildlife Management Area in 1987, instead leasing the land to a private company that charged fees for hunting rights on the land. In 1989 Lykes closed the waterside park, campground, and canoe concession, and erected fences and gates to block access to land formerly open to the public. Lykes also placed logs and other obstructions in Fisheating Creek to block access by boats.[3][18][12]

    In March 1989 residents of Glades County broke open a gate that Lykes Brothers had placed on an old road to block access to Fisheating Creek. The Glades County Commission then ordered the gate and nearby fence to be bulldozed, claiming that the land in question belonged to the county. Lykes Brothers then sued the county.[3][18] The legal fight soon settled on the question of whether or not Fisheating Creek was a navigable waterway. If the stream was navigable, then its bed, up to the high water mark, belonged to Florida. A court decided in 1998 that the stream was navigable, and therefore belonged to the state. Lykes Brothers prepared to appeal the decision, but a settlement to end litigation was agreed to by Florida and Lykes Brothers.[3][18][12]

    As part of the settlement Florida paid $46.4 million to Lykes Brothers to purchase 18,272 acres (73.94 km2) along the stream, which became the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The state also bought a conservation easement on another 41,523 acres (168.04 km2) of Lykes Brothers land. The settlement also calls on the state to maintain a navigation channel in Fisheating Creek from Lake Okeechobee to the U. S. Route 27 bridge at Palmdale. Motor vehicles and jet-powered watercraft are prohibited from the WMA, and airboats are banned from parts of Cowbone Marsh. Hunting is limited in the WMA.[18][12][19]
  • huntsfloridahuntsflorida Posts: 378 Deckhand
    BTW, the easements that have been bought in the past have been bought on land which has been previously been deemed wetlands,which last time I checked was not developable(not all of it,but a lot of it).....3/4 appraisal price per acre for 30 yrs then 100%ownership is turned back over sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

    It's not 3/4 of the price.

    The landowner has to agree on the term of the easement. There are several terms available. The term effects the price per acre.

    The WRP conservation easements have been purchased on farm lands, groves, pastures etc. not just wetlands.

    The main interest in the program is to revert lands placed in the program back to natural wetlands.

    The reason Lykes placed the gates across the creek was due to poachers accessing from the creek.

    Lykes lost the suit because the state was able to prove the creek was navigable by indians for trade. The state then had to pay Lykes for the land along the creek up to the high water mark.

    The WRP purchase had nothing to do with the settlement.
    Capt. Mark Clemons
    Everglades Adventures Inc.
    Alligators Inc.
    Alligators International LLC.
    www.huntsflorida.com
    South Florida's Finest Hunting Safari's for over 25 years for:
    Osceola Turkey, Alligator and Whitetail on over
    75,000 acres of South Florida's most private pristine ranches.

    Alligator Processing in State Certified and Inspected Facility.
    Follow our clients results on Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/EvergladesAdventures
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 3,498 Captain
    I was on the FWF Board during Fisheating Creek negotiations. Fascinating.

    Crank up Conservation Public Land Purchase.Make history,change history.

    Do it in the name of our National Forest,Big Cypress,CARL,P 2000 heritage.Go ahead hunters,let's go!

    If not,this is the future.

    Gonna put that dang dog hunt tract next to the lease in with the Tennis Shoe Lady.....,.she likes me,I'll have still hunt priviledge for sure.
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
Sign In or Register to comment.