Vertical Farming, is this farming’s future?

“With the world’s population projected to reach 9.7 billion in the next 30 years, having a stable reliable food source is more important than ever before. With land suitable for farming running low, a new concept of growing food indoors has caught on in the past five years. It’s called vertical farming and the idea is to produce more crops on smaller areas of land, vertically.

The definition of vertical farming is simple. Instead of growing crops in a single layer across a large area of land, crops are grown in enclosed structures stacked on top of each other in an attempt to save space and produce food in challenging environments. It uses a mixture of LED lighting and natural light and won’t need soil. Instead, it is done hydroponically, or using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent, to reduce the weight and eliminate water run-off.”

Click below to read the rest of the article:

https://www.landthink.com/the-future-of-farming-vertical-farming/

written by: United Country Real Estate

 

Land – The Ultimate Investment During Uncertain Times

As Alabamians began returning to work, the reality of the new normal began to take shape. I, for one, was excited to get a haircut and to grab a meal from my favorite restaurant, but it quickly became clear that the new economy looks vastly different than what we are used to.

Safety measures are being enforced. Social distancing is in effect. Bars, restaurants, retail, and the service industries are limited to the number of customers allowed in their stores.  Don’t even think about going to Costco without a mask! Gone are the days of cubicle farms as the down-sizing of office space continues. Similar precautions are in place everywhere from the dentist to manufacturing plants.  And how long will it be this way? By all reasonable accounts a vaccine will not be created, tested, and available to the masses for a year to 18 months.

In fact the more we open the economy, we find there are more questions than answers. What will universities and schools look like next fall? Will the manufacturing and supply chains throughout the country bounce back quickly or will there be enough demand? Will the stock market continue to vacillate wildly on any given day? Is my portfolio sufficiently diversified? Is my 401K safe?

Tony Robbins, the great motivational speaker has an insightful quote that says, “The quality of your life is a direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably tolerate.”

So how do we respond? We focus on what we can control and find ways to help our fellow man. We make sacrifices both large and small to protect one another as we adapt to the new normal finding dependable resources in the process.

JOHN HALL & COMPANY’S DEDICATION

These tenants are not new to John Hall & Company. For 33 years we’ve built our business around them. And because we implemented a holistic marketing strategy before the epidemic hit we were well situated to flourish in the new normal. In fact, our clients have found that we have been able to provide the same level of customer service they have come to expect and depend on.

Fortunately, our team has not experienced a disruption in our productivity as land outperforms other investments. We continue to list land and market our customers’ property through a variety of digital marketing techniques including social media campaigns, email blasts, and Search Engine Optimization. We have been able to show land to potential purchasers through drone videos and interactive mapping software. For our sellers, we still go out and physically evaluate their land to provide an assessment of value. We provide comparable sales data and up-to-date market analysis, and then maximize their return by exposing the property to the right buyers. And despite the shut down of “non-essential” businesses, we still close transactions electronically and continue to connect our clients with services they need such as closing attorneys, surveyors, foresters, etc.

What many may not realize is that while the stock market continues to fluctuate and other commercial investments falter land values have remained strong. In fact, we have seen as much or more interest in recreational hunting and timber tracts than ever.

My father, who started John Hall & Company is 75 years old and has had a few health scares over the last three years. He personifies the category of those most vulnerable to the virus. While he took all the necessary precautions, isolated, and worked remotely the single biggest blessing we realized was the family farm. The farm provided a safe place for him to go and find purpose. He drove out there several times a week, strategized with a consulting forester about our timber cutting program, fixed up roads, worked on the fishing lake, and managed all those small projects we talk about doing but never quite get to. I can’t think of one other investment or asset that can provide a place of refuge, financial security, and purpose other than owning a piece of land.

If you have been thinking about buying land in Alabama there’s never been a more prudent time. Call us and let our company find an asset that will allow you to pass down your values and create a legacy to leave for future generations.

Pete Hall

Accredited Land Consultant

John Hall & Company

Invasive Plant Species – What To Look For

As a landowner, you spend countless hours working to reach the full potential of your property.  Many times, a tract of land can be overrun with invasive plant species in a surprisingly short amount of time. This can cause a detrimental effect on your timber value and the recreational/aesthetic aspects of your land. There are countless numbers of undesirable plant species that could be found on any one piece of property, but being able to identify and manage the more problematic types can be very beneficial.

The first species that comes to mind and that arguably has caused the most impact in Alabama would be Kudzu. During the spring, kudzu can grow nearly a foot a day and can cover anything from trees to buildings. It is vital to begin herbicide application during the early stages before taking over pine plantations or any other desirable areas.  Originally introduced as a favorable species for erosion control and forage for cattle and livestock, it is now commonly known as “mile a minute vine” that has invaded the southern landscape.

The second invasive species that has had a significant impact on the South is Cogongrass “imperata cylindrca”.  Like kudzu, this plant is highly invasive and has had adverse effects on our plant and animal communities. Identification is the first step in the proper control but can be tricky due to its similarities with non-harmful native species.  Its most commonly found along road-sides but this pesky plant is also known to completely take over pine plantations and can adversely affect cash crops such as corn and cotton. Many undesirable species are often controlled by fire, but cogongrass, naturally causes the plant to thrive in its environment. This causes increased fire intensity resulting in damage to existing timber.  Persistent herbicide application is the most effective way to manage along with early detection.

These are just 2 of the important undesirable plant species that can affect a tract of land. Other plants of note to consider when managing property or purchasing a piece of the property include Chinese Tallow Tree, Chinese Privot, Mimosa (silk tree), autumn olive, and even aquatic species. All of these can negatively affect wildlife and the investment potential of a tract of land. Detecting these undesirables early allows for cheaper eradication control and more time spend doing the things we enjoy in our great outdoors.

Robert Smith

(251) 564-1312 

[email protected]

How aesthetic appeal can improve your land values

There are many ways in which a landowner can get an idea of how much their property is worth. John Hall & Company along with other land brokers can give a landowner their opinion of value simply based on recent comparable sales in the area. There is also the route of hiring an appraisal company to provide you with the value of your property. The total value for a property can be broken down into sub-categories to come up with the total value. Many recreational and timber properties can be broken down to the “bare land” value, timber value, and value of amenities. In this article, I want to share my thoughts on the aesthetic appeal of a property and how it can affect the “bare land” value of your property.

The aesthetic appeal to a property can be the difference in the land selling at $900 an acre for the “bare land” or $1,300 per acre for the “bare land. It is nothing more than the aesthetic appeal but adds value to your property. The location of a property has a lot to do with the “bare land” value of a property but if the property is not maintained or provided some TLC you will not see the same return in value. The aesthetic appeal of land can consist of something as simple as mowing and trimming limbs along a road system. Think of it as vacuuming your home and mowing the yard. If you were trying to sell your house and you had not vacuumed your home or cut the grass in over a year, do you think the potential buyers who come to view the house would even make an offer or if they did do you think they would be willing to pay a premium price? A few other aesthetically pleasing but small costs that can improve the value of your bare land can be planting fruit trees or other mast-producing trees around food plots, having a gated entrance to the property, adding culverts to creek crossings, or adding rock to creek crossings to give it a hard bottom. To compare to residential real estate think of this as decorations and furniture to make the home look better.

When buyers are viewing properties, and see that a property needs a lot of upfront work they most of the time discount the price they are willing to pay. This is to adjust for the upfront costs they will need to apply to the property when purchased. The value of the “bare land” in negotiations, although many times not specifically stated, is typically the value that will fluctuate the most. Buyers are willing to pay more for a property that is maintained and accessible over properties that are not. Recreational buyers tend to be willing to pay more for the property than timber companies or individuals strictly interested in the timber. Therefore, in order to obtain the best value for your property, it may be beneficial to manage your property catered towards recreation. However, this does not mean the timber value is not important because it can be a large portion of the total value of the property.

A maintained property is an aesthetically pleasing property. It is in the best interest of the landowner to keep that in mind if they are looking to obtain the best value possible in a sale. Sometimes landowners do not live nearby, have the time, or have the ability to maintain their property, and in that instance, we suggest leasing the hunting rights out. A hunting lease can be structured so that your roads will be maintained, food plots will be planted, and the property will be accessible.

John Hall & Company would be pleased to assist you with your land needs and would be happy to provide our opinion of value. John Hall & Company has been in the business of selling land since 1987 and we would be love to talk land with you!

Hoke Smith IV 

334.322.2683

[email protected]

Key Considerations in the Land Buying Process

Key Considerations in the Land Buying Process

When beginning the process of buying recreational hunting land in Alabama there is a host of considerations to keep in mind. In fact, these key considerations are so numerous many are overlooked in the selection process.  While overwhelming these factors are vitally important not only in finding the right tract, but they will ultimately determine your enjoyment of the land, and your return when selling.

When representing buyers I provide my clients with a list of these factors to consider. But I also impress upon my buyers to clients pare down all of these options to the top 5 most important characteristics in order to aid in the selection process. What are the “must-haves” and the “non-negotiable?” Here is a list to consider when buying land…..

  • LOCATION
  • WATER SOURCES  
  • RECREATIONAL HUNTING PREFERENCES – WHAT TYPES OF HUNTING IS MOST IMPORTANT?
  • TIMBER – INVESTMENT RETURN VS RECREATIONAL RETURN
  • PRICE
  • EXIT STRATEGY
  • ACCESS
  • SURROUNDING LANDOWNERS AND GAME MANAGEMENT
  • FOOD SOURCES
  • SOIL TYPES
  • UTILITIES
  • COST OF MAINTAINING THE LAND  
  • FOOD PLOTS AND SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDING
  • ROADS AND UPKEEP
  • EQUIPMENT  
  • AMENITIES – LODGE, POLE BARN, ETC
  • TAXES
  • LAND CHARACTERISTICS
  • TOPOGRAPHY
  • WETLANDS
  • MINERAL RIGHTS
  • HUNTABLE ACREAGE
  • IS THERE AN EXISTING SURVEY
  • EASEMENTS
  • LAND USE HISTORY

In a series of upcoming articles, I am going to explore many of these. For today we are going to look solely at Location which rightfully so is at the top of the list.

Travel time – How far is the land you purchase from your residence or office, door to door? The travel time to your land will impact how often you go there. Distance from home will be a factor in how easy it is to manage the land. Will you need a land manager, a company to help with wildlife services, planting food plots, etc?

Location determines the price you pay as well as your exit strategy in terms of resale. Some counties have micro-markets where dirt values are higher in a certain pocket of a county. In Bullock County, such micro-markets exist because there are many large landowners of 500 to several thousand acres. It is also home to the field trials and many named quail plantations. You can be sure that your neighbor has the same game management goals you do. They are planting food plots, supplemental feeding the deer, managing to QDMA standards, harvesting doe to control overpopulation and for the most part are shooting mature bucks only. While you may pay a higher dirt value to purchase the land you can rest assured the land holds its value better than most areas.

Location determines the quality of the land you purchase and the types of hunting available to you. For instance, the Black Belt region and outlying counties provide the soils and food sources that are major factors in the size of your deer, mass and quality of your racks, and your herd’s population. Water sources i.e. rivers and creeks provide better timber and food sources, cover for deer, roosting areas for turkeys, and potential duck habitat.

Location can determine topography which also affects wildlife quality. For example in Autauga County if you are south of CR 14 the land is level to gently rolling. It’s close to the Alabama River and the wildlife is bigger and more abundant. North of CR 14 the land begins to become hillier and even steep. The soils change and there are not only fewer deer per square mile but the size and racks are inferior.

Proximity to larger metro areas – If you are within an hour from larger metro areas you have a larger buying pool when you decide to sell. An example of this is the triangle between Montgomery, Columbus, and Auburn. That being said Birmingham buyers are used to driving two hours plus to get to their land and we have many buyers from Georgia and Florida who seek out recreational hunting land in Alabama.

Distance to timber markets can make a big difference in the value of your timber. How far are you from these mills? What types of mills are they? Is there competition or is one major mill setting the price?

Location can also adversely affect your land value. Are you are close to a high-crime town, a landfill, or surrounded by small landowners? Are there hunting clubs with the “If it’s brown it’s down” mentality?

For more information or if you need a consultant to talk about buying or selling land in Alabama call Pete Hall at 334 312 7099.

Pete Hall

Accredited Land Consultant

John Hall & Company