Investment Property in Alabama: Jim Main’s 30-Year Journey


I’m very grateful to my friend Jim Main, a former Alabama Supreme Court Justice, for joining me at my office in Montgomery and discussing investment property in Alabama. During our conversation, he generously shared his wisdom and experience concerning wildlife management and land management on his family farm. This is part one of our fascinating conversation, so stay tuned!


Buying Investment Property in Alabama

John: 30 years ago, we were searching for investment property in Alabama for you to purchase. What made you decide that you want to purchase land? And why did you want to buy land in Bullock County?

Jim: Yes. We bought the investment property in Alabama you helped us find in December of 1994. First of all, I wanted to diversify my assets. Real estate was something I didn’t really have other than my home. I didn’t want to have rental property because I’m not good at that fixing stuff.

Second, I spent much time on my grandfather’s farm as a youngster. Later, my Dad and brothers purchased farmland in Alabama. It was just logical that I should buy a farm, too.

The main reason was to diversify my resources for future retirement. However, I recently thought of something more important than the money aspect of owning land. As you retire while still in good health, you seek purpose and fulfillment.

My tenure as an Alabama Supreme Court Justice ended at 74, and with the mandatory retirement age, I was compelled to step down. I wasn’t ready to retire fully.

The farm has given me the outlet to start a new semi-career. I have been focused on how I can improve it, what I could add to it, and how to make it more fun for my children and grandchildren. For almost four years, I have been retired. I’ve been as busy as when I was working. But it’s a whole different thing because it’s not the pressure of a job that is your vocation.

Investing in the land turned out to be a smart move, with its value increasing fivefold over the last three decades. At this point in my life, the land holds great importance. It provides me with daily activities and keeps me focused on achieving the next step in its development.

John: When growing up, did your Dad buy investment property in Alabama? 

Jim: He did. He was a land investor.

John: I assume you learned about the land from him and your grandpa.

Jim: In hindsight, I wish I had paid closer attention. My father was a pharmacist who had a drugstore. He would get up at daylight many mornings to look at land for sale. Dad would laugh and joke that he looked at a thousand acres for everyone he bought. Acquiring acres of land was like a part-time job. I learned from him about farm lenders and select timber cutting to help make the down payment.

Timberland Investment property in Alabama may require land management and wildlife management to thrive.

Land Management

John: Your father was an astute, patient land buyer. That’s what it takes if you’re trying to buy land for a timber investment. You must be very picky and focused and try to make your money on the front end when you buy the investment property rather than when selling it.

You’ll come out well if you make a decent buy front end, even if the economy, land prices, and timber prices go up and down. You are buying the land for the long run.

You and Gale were kind enough to tour your property with my wife and me. I was so impressed with your accomplishments. You had done so much taking a piece of raw timberland and converting it to what we refer to as a “family farm.” You had added a couple of fishing lakes, a beautiful hunting lodge, a barn, expanded the road system, added wildlife plots for deer and turkey, and more.

Your land has been a work in progress since you bought it almost 30 years ago. You’ve been a great steward of land management. What have you learned through this land management, stewardship, and conservation process?

Jim: My journey has been a learning experience, especially in understanding the realities of an American farmer’s life. We planted fields for doves and green fields for deer, only to face the challenges of drought and unpredictable weather. Witnessing the impact of time and money being at the mercy of nature has given me an immense appreciation for farmers.

Land management is difficult. I’m thankful I’m not dependent on making a living from these crops. I certainly have a greater appreciation for farmers. We named our property Wildwood Farm. For the past 30 years, we have worked on projects to improve the place year by year. We figuratively had a blank sheet of paper.

Our property, Wildwood Farm, has been an ongoing project over the past 30 years, each year dedicated to improving it. We began with at least five hundred acres of pine timber that had been clear-cut.

We had a blank canvas to work with, and we embarked on unique initiatives, such as planting orchards with fruit trees, pecan trees, sawtooth oaks, and a scuppernong vineyard. It has been a 30-year education in land management.

John: Your son, Saxon, plants a beautiful garden each year.

Jim: Yes, we enjoy having a garden. When I retired, I decided we needed bees for pollination. I attended “bee school.” We’ve been in the honeybee business for the last three years or so.

Investing in Bees for Pollination

John: Have you harvested honey?

Jim: Yes, indeed. Our four bee hives yield around 50 gallons of honey per year.

John: Do you have a beekeeper man, or are “you the man”?

Jim: I’m the man with my son Saxon.

John: Do you have to put on a big hazmat-type suit?

Jim: Yes. However, the secret is to leave the bees alone. Except during the spring, you must open the box to see if they’re overcrowded. When they reach about 50,000, the queen bee will take half the hive and find another place to live. The remaining bees will find another queen cell. If you give them another box to work on, they might not leave.

July is a good time to remove the honey, ensuring they have plenty of time over the last part of the summer and fall to produce more honey. And, of course, the pollen becomes protein for the bees. We get to October and still have something flowering on the farm.

John: I know that’s been fun, rewarding, and a good learning experience. I am sure that your grandchildren enjoy the honey bee project.

Jim: The most significant lesson was when we first bought the land, a commercial beekeeper came to us and offered us four quarts of honey a year if we let him put two hives on our property.

For 15 to 20 years, we had persimmon, crabapple, and plum trees. The trees were so full of fruit the limbs were almost breaking off. Unfortunately, the beekeeper left the business, taking his hives with him. As a result, the trees bore only half the fruit for the next couple of years, making us realize the importance of pollination rather than just honey production.

That was a big lesson for me and my family in the importance of bees in land management.


As we conclude part one of my captivating interview with Jim Main, I am in awe of his 30-year journey in land management in Alabama. His dedication and vision have transformed a piece of land into a thriving investment property and a cherished family farm. Jim’s story is an inspiring example of foresight, dedication, and the rewards of wise real estate investments.

Stay tuned for part two, where Jim will share his strategies for wildlife management, including hogs, deer, ducks, and fish.

Take time this week to enjoy Alabama’s outdoors,

John Hall

Learn more about buying land in Alabama by reading “Prepare to Buy Land in Alabama.”

*Note outside links and websites referenced in this article are not endorsed by John Hall, the interviewee, or John Hall and Company employees. Links have been curated to provide more information about the subject and increase the likelihood that someone searching (SEO) for this type of information will find this article.

3 Types of Property: Finding Property Tailored to Your Lifestyle

By Clark Grey

Finding Property

When it comes to finding property, numerous considerations come to mind. In addition, different motivations drive the decision to buy property. The three most commonly requested property types are investment opportunities, recreational use, and rural living.

1. Investment Opportunities

Finding property in Alabama for investments such as timberlands.

Investing in land is a compelling reason to explore property ownership. Furthermore, residential and commercial development land presents limitless possibilities for investment. Whether for cropland, livestock-raising, or timberlands, land can provide both personal enjoyment and a source of income. Well-managed timber, for instance, can be a lucrative long-term investment, yielding returns over 25-30 years. We can find properties suitable for the type of investment you desire.

2. Outdoor Recreation

Find property for recreational use like hunting and fishing.

Many individuals purchase land to immerse themselves in outdoor recreational activities. Plus, the beauty of owning recreational land is the freedom to entertain family and friends. From ATV riding and fishing to camping, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, or simply finding solace and relaxation amidst nature, the options are endless. Your lifestyle and interests will shape how you make the most of your recreational property. John Hall and Company can help you find properties and connect you with our trusted partners. These are referral partners to develop the land you want. Finding the right property and buying land is the ultimate investment during uncertain times.

3. Rural Living 

Finding property for rural living, from large farms to mini-farms.

Rural living remains a tremendous motivator for land buyers. However, rural living may not suit everyone. Rural land offers the opportunity to acquire larger lots unavailable in urban areas or established suburbs. Owning acres of land allows you to grow a garden, create a mini-farm, and enjoy peace and privacy. We can find properties to give you a more secluded lifestyle away from noisy neighbors.

While there are numerous other factors to consider when purchasing property, these three are the most common criteria people seek.

  • What are your land-owning goals?
  • What do you envision your land doing for you?

I am here to assist you in assessing your land needs and finding the perfect property for you and your family. Don’t hesitate to contact me, Clark Gray, at 334.391.9249 for any questions or inquiries. Explore our other available properties here.

At John Hall and Company, we dedicate our time to helping you discover the property that best aligns with YOUR unique lifestyle and interests!

Find property for your favorite hunting activities.

Landowner Shares Memories and Legacy

Welcome to John Hall and Company’s “Legacy Lands Series.” Hoke Smith, landowner, Real Estate Broker, and Partner, shares his heartfelt memories and the land legacy passed down through generations. Join us as we explore the invaluable experiences and profound significance of rural property. Extending far beyond its monetary value are the recollections of wonderful days with family and friends.

Landowners Leave a Land Legacy

Growing up, I spent countless weekends throughout every season of the year in the woods. Or, playing on the water with friends and family. Now that I have gotten older and have a family of my own, I look back and realize how that time molded me. To include, all the lessons I learned, the memories I made, and the special relationships I created from that time. I write these words for individuals interested in becoming landowners. I want to share my personal experience of what rural property can provide and how the land’s worth is far more than the monetary value it produces.

Every season of the year provides unique opportunities for landowners. Below are some activities you, your family, and your friends can enjoy each season. The memories and lessons learned from these activities will outlive the time spent doing them. Your children, grandchildren, and friends will have lasting impressions of what rural property provided them.

Recollections of early morning hunts with dad.

Spring Turkey Hunting

Spring is my favorite season of the year. Winter is ending, and new life is sprouting everywhere! Spend a cool, crisp morning with a friend turkey hunting and listening to the woods wake up! Turkey hunting is like a chess match, and the feeling of success provides a satisfaction that is hard to beat!

Find a body of water, whether a pond, lake, or creek, to go fishing. Many fish species spawn in the spring and can be found and caught in the shallows. Some great memories of mine as a kid are wading the creeks with a fishing pole and exploring. It always seemed like fishing was what we went for, but we had more fun swimming, catching crawfish, and exploring! Wind down with an evening by a campfire, cooking out, laughing, and reminiscing about the day. Talk about planning the next day. And, sit listening to the Whippoorwills or Chuckwills Widow. Simply, enjoying quality time with others outdoors as a landowner.

Summer Quality Time with Family

In the summer there may be little game to hunt. However, spending weekends with friends and family outdoors has given me some of my best lessons and memories. This was also the time for property projects and maintenance. My father always seemed to make the process fun and rewarding. We could come up with a never-ending list of things we wanted to accomplish during the summer. This afforded us time during the fall-winter to focus on hunting rather than on maintenance.

Summer is for grabbing friends and going camping for the weekend!

We stay up late around the campfire. Then, in the morning work towards knocking out our project checklist! We didn’t know it then, but we were constantly learning lessons (usually the hard way). Lessons included, methods for completing tasks such as clearing roads and trails of debris and fixing deer stands. In the meantime, we were having a blast riding our 4-wheelers and dirt bikes. When the day got hot, we would head to the creek, river, or pond and relax the rest of the day away. Alabama is rich in terms of the abundance of rivers and streams it has. It was a summertime ritual that we would always load up floats, kayaks, fishing poles, etc., and find a creek or river to float and explore!

Fishing with dad and my daughter in the summer on the land. A great benefit for landowners is time with family outdoors.

Fall Memories with Friends

The kickoff to a new season! Fall is the time of the year when all the wild game seasons begin! As a landowner, there is so much to do outdoors this time of year, and I always welcome it with open arms!

Dove season provides an excellent way to get the family out in the field. It is a great opportunity to introduce kids and new hunters to hunting! It is typically a social atmosphere that can be an excellent opportunity to teach and learn firearm safety. Hopefully, if the doves are abundant, it is a target-rich environment to sharpen your shooting skills. Enjoy the post-hunt camaraderie sitting on the tailgate of a truck and listening to a college football game. Plus, cleaning the day’s harvest!

Fall is also the time of year when landowners get fields planted and stands prepared for deer season. This time can be a great family activity.  We have multiple people in the fields with different jobs to do to get the fields prepared and planted! In addition, spend some time walking through the woods looking for deer signs. Exploring the land can be very educational for you and others. Learning what wildlife eats. Understand the time of the year different vegetation and mast-producing plants become desirable to the wildlife animals. Plus, scope out what are good areas to spend time hunting particular game, etc. There is always more to learn through exploration of the outdoors and its wildlife. The more you know and understand about the land, the more interesting it becomes!

Winter Harvesting White-Tailed Deer

Holidays, hunting, camping, hiking, and more. Winter is the season that landowners have prepared for throughout the rest of the year. The planting and preparation throughout the previous seasons lead to the winter season. All this effort, in hopes of harvesting the most popular game animal in the country, the white-tailed deer.

Other winter activities provide enjoyable experiences and memories. My family likes to spend holidays at the farm! Close and distant family members take time off from their jobs to make the trip every year. We reconnect to hunt, cook, ride ATVs, and spend time with each other. It’s a place where we can separate from the outside world and enjoy time together.

Winter is also a time of the year to rekindle old friendships. The trip agenda may be hunting, but it can be so much more than that!

Landownership can be much more rewarding than its monetary benefits. It can provide a place to create joy, fellowship, learning experiences, memories, and more! The land is more than an asset. It’s a place where you can create a legacy and one of the things people will remember you by!

I was taught life lessons and had many fond memories of growing up in the woods, fields, and waterways of Alabama. I know it will be a place that will continue to provide that for my family, children, and friends.

My dad taught me landowners have responsiblities to steward the lands natural resources.

John Hall and Company Legacy Land Series

The seasons may change, but the opportunities for unforgettable experiences on rural property remain constant for landowners. From the joy of turkey hunting in the crisp spring mornings to the camaraderie of dove season in the vibrant fall, each season presents its own special moments. The lessons learned the laughter shared, and the memories created become the lasting legacy we pass down to our children, grandchildren, and friends.

Owning or leasing rural property is not just about projects and maintenance; it’s about building a haven where you can nurture connections, learn life lessons, and embark on endless adventures. It’s a place where families come together, where friends unite, and where bonds are forged amidst the beauty of nature. Whether it’s fishing in the serene ponds, exploring the abundant rivers, planting fields for deer season, or enjoying the winter hunt with loved ones, rural property offers a tapestry of experiences that surpasses any financial gain.

The land becomes a cherished chapter in the book of our lives, a place where memories are etched, and legacies are born. Hoke Smith’s journey through the woods, fields, and waterways of Alabama is a testament to the immeasurable value of land—a place where joy, fellowship, learning experiences, and precious memories thrive. Discover the endless possibilities and create your own landowners legacy on rural property.

Landownership provide recreational fishing and hunting opportunities to your friends.

Start Your Own Landowners Legacy

At John Hall and Company, we are here to help landowners start their journey. The goal is to find the perfect piece of land to call your own. Reach out to our dedicated team today and embark on a lifelong adventure that will be remembered for generations to come. Future landowners can learn more about the First Steps to Buying Land.

Read Pete Hall’s article, Creating a Land Legacy, about the importance of passing down your legacy through owning land.

#LegacyLands #RuralProperty #UnforgettableMemories #LandLegacy #JohnHallAndCompany #CreateYourLegacy

The John Hall and Company team help future landowners to find their perfect property.

#LegacyLands #RuralProperty #UnforgettableMemories #LandLegacy #JohnHallAndCompany #CreateYourLegacy


New! John Hall and Company Website

Welcome! We are glad that you have found our new John Hall and Company website. This website has been designed to assist you. Our team is here to help you find land for sale in Alabama and/or assist you to market your land in Alabama to the right buyers in Alabama and across the U.S.

The purpose of the John Hall and Company Website:

Firstly, we want you to easily find the information you need. We have a wide variety of land and commercial properties for you to look through. For more information or to schedule a showing, please feel free to contact us. We also have a large network across the state to help our clients find land for sale in Alabama. Our agents have excellent working relationships with other brokerages and agents. We can search our network of agents and data bases to find what our clients want.

Secondly, we want to share how we can help you. We have highlighted the services. In addition, we share the services our partners in land development have to offer our clients. The John Hall and Company team has created a library of helpful articles. These articles include insights into what people need to know when buying or selling land in Alabama. Plus, we have many more articles planned for this year.

Thirdly, we are offering a Free Broker’s Opinion of Value to individuals who are serious about selling their property and are ready to start the process of listing their land or estate. The John Hall and Company team is here to walk clients through each step of their journey to selling their property. We also have a top notch marketing team that makes sure your property gets the online and offline traffic to get it sold.

Finding Land For Sale in Alabama

Our team offers a “Key Consideration for Buying Property” checklist to guide you through the buying process that is available to download at your convenience. Next, set up a meeting with one of our Buyer Specialists to begin the educational process and help us find the property that you are looking for in Alabama.

Lastly, get to know John Hall and Company via our story page. Read through our agents bios to see who can best serve you in your hunt for property or your journey to sell the land or estate you own. Please, feel free to reach out to us individually or call the John Hall and Company office today (334) 270-8400.

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