Greenbelt : part two

What is the purpose of the Greenbelt Classification? 
The Greenbelt Classification allows our farmers and agri-business to continue in the business of growing agricultural products, including affordable food for our tables and renewable resource fiber for clothing, paper, construction, and bio-energy.  Agricultural land provides immense environmental benefits such as open spaces, clean water, clean air, wildlife, recreation, and shields land from development.   Ex:  In a county with a $20 per $1,000 millage rate, a Greenbelt agricultural use with a $50 per acre net income and a market value of $10,000 per acre would have an approximate market value tax liability of $200 per acre; i.e., the tax liability would be greater than the income and the business could not be maintained.

What about my house Can I get Greenbelt on it, too?  No, the house, barns, buildings, and yard (curtilage) are assessed at market value.  Florida Greenbelt applies only to the land.  Additionally, the homestead exemption limitations currently in effect can only be applied to the house and curtilage.

How do I get  a Greenbelt Agricultural Classification on my property? 
File form DR-482, Application and Return for Agricultural Classification of Lands, between January 1 and March 1, with the Property Appraiser in the county where the property is located.

I am a new owner; and, the previous owner had Greenbelt on the property; do I need to do anything to continue the Greenbelt Classification?  Yes.  The Greenbelt Classification does not transfer automatically to the new owner.  You must apply.
Are there other requirements in addition to filing the application?Yes.  Statutory requirements can be found in FS 193.461.  In short, the law requires the property be used primarily for bona fide agricultural purposes, defines bona-fide purposes as good faith commercial agricultural use, and then provides several factors which may be taken into consideration for determining whether the use is bona fide.  These factors include, paraphrased:  length of time in agricultural use, continuity of use, size of property, leases, indicated efforts,  and other occasionally applicable factors.  The key words are primarily and commercialYou must be growing and producing an agricultural product for sale at some point in time.  The property appraiser will review the application, inspect the property, and notify the applicant of approval or denial by July 1.  Some property appraisers use additional local guidelines and benchmarks.

How many acres of _______ do I need to qualify; how many head of ______ do I need to qualify? 
No simple answer
is available for this question.  The statute does not provide a minimum number of acres for the parcel or for the land uses, nor a number of livestock, nor a number of pine trees, nor a number of orchard trees, etc.  The statute provides only: “Size, as it relates to specific agricultural use; but a minimum acreage may not be required for agricultural assessment.”  Good judgment, common sense, economics, and industry standards must apply here.

Do I need any documentation that my property qualifies for the Greenbelt Agricultural Classification?  Yes.  When you apply or re-apply, supporting documentation should be provided and may be requested by the property appraiser, whether you are a new owner or the property already carries the Classification.  Provide all supporting documents available such as sales and expense data, forest management plans, contracts, leases, agreements, maps, aerial photos, forest stand maps, timber cruises, Tree Farm status, IRS forms, and pictures of  crops, livestock, timber, and all physical efforts made by you on the property.

I am a new owner and the property appraiser rejected my application, what do I do?  Or, I have owned the property for years; and the property appraiser suddenly denied my Greenbelt Agricultural Classification; what do I do?  First, meet with the property appraiser and attempt to solve the problem.  If you are not successful, you may appeal by filing a Petition to the Value Adjustment Board  DR-486 (available online or from the property appraiser’s office) within 30 days of the mailing of the Notice of Disapproval form (DR-490).  If the VAB appeal is not successful, your next appeal venue is to the circuit court.

Greenbelt in Florida: part one

What is Greenbelt ? 
Greenbelt is the common term used in many states for various types of preferential tax relief treatment for agricultural properties, including forestland.   In Florida, it is used for the statutorily provided Agricultural Classification, and is frequently also called an Agricultural Exemption.  It also has other names both in Florida and other states: Agricultural Assessment, Agricultural Appraisal, Classified Use, Preferential Assessment, Agricultural Covenant, and Conservation Use Covenant. 

How long has Greenbelt been available; and, is it available in every Florida county?  Why can’t I find any Greenbelt literature

Greenbelt has been available Statewide since the implementing statutes were adopted in 1959. The Greenbelt name won’t be found anywhere in the statutes since its more of a generic term that references exemption provisions.  Article VII, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution provides for classification and assessment of agricultural property based on use. Florida Statutes 193.441, 193.451, and 193.461 contain the provisions for Agricultural Classification (Greenbelt) and assessments, defining any assessment at less than the full value as a Classified Use assessment.

What is the benefitHow much exemption do I receive?It is not an exemption, but is a preferential and privileged assessment based on land use.  It provides far greater relief from tax liability than most exemptions.  For some agricultural land uses, the reduction in taxes for Greenbelt Classification versus market value may exceed 90%!

How can a Greenbelt appraisal be so much less than a market value?
The appraisal is based on what appraisers call an “income approach,” and has nothing to do with the market value of the property.   The actual agricultural use of the land and the soil fertility or capability are determined, such as Cropland, Soil Capability Class II.  A typical agricultural net income for each use and productivity is determined and capitalized to provide a per-acre value.  Ex:  A $30 net income per acre will yield an approximate taxable value of $300 per acre.


part 2 coming

Antibiotics to guide, sort of

Ten lessons on antibiotics

  1. Consult with your veterinarian about diagnosis. As a producer, know what diseases are prevalent at particular production stages or seasons and remember that some bacteria are only sensitive to certain antibiotics.
  2. Take the sheep’s temperature. Normal is 101 to 103° F. If there is no temperature, there’s no infection, so you shouldn’t use an antibiotic. Fever may precede other signs.
  3. Treat early. Organisms become more resistant after they are well established. An antibiotic will not remove scar tissue from lungs. Prevent the scar tissue by early and adequate treatment.
  4. Maintain drug dosage for two to five days. Identify lambs previously treated.
  5. Prevent problems. Don’t rely on drugs to replace good management.
  6. Check for management shortcomings as a cause of the problem before using drugs.
  7. Vary antibiotics. Bacteria do develop resistance.
  8. Take care of drugs. Refrigerate them, keep them out of the sun, and don’t freeze them. Read directions!
  9. Recognize the limitations of antibiotics. They won’t bring an abscess to a head and are ineffective in treating for diseases caused by a virus.
  10. Administer antibiotics correctly.
    • Remember that sick animals usually don’t eat. Mixing an antibiotic in feed may prevent further attacks but won’t help those too sick to eat.
    • If sick animals will drink, you can administer sulfa treatment by adding sulfa to the water.
    • Use an effective injection method. Intravenous (IV) injections result in a high drug level in the blood rapidly, but antibiotics injected intravenously also are eliminated more rapidly. Intramuscular (IM) or subcutaneous (SQ) injections require the least skill and last longer.
    • Remember that drenching requires a high drug dosage. Not all drugs are readily absorbed.

Lambs die?

Lamb starvation

Lamb starvation, the number one killer of lambs, often is associated with lack of shepherding. Contributing causes are:

  • The lamb doesn’t get started (gets no colostrum). Seventy-five percent of lambs that don’t get colostrum die for one reason or another.
  • The ewe won’t claim the lamb(another solution for this situation)
  • Mastitis.
  • The teat is too big or is too near the ground and the lamb doesn’t find it. Weak ewes that don’t get up enough will also cause this problem.
  • Sore mouth.
  • The ewe can’t feed two lambs (mastitis, too little feed, etc.).
  • Joint injury or illness.
  • Pneumonia, which often is associated with lambs that received no colostrum and thereby lack immune bodies. Sometimes the best solution is to inject 1 ml of antibiotic at few days after birth for multi lambs births.
  • Difficult parturition.
  • A “genetic will to die.” Actually, the majority of lambs die for no apparent reason. A genetically caused lack of vitality may well be the cause. i never understood this , this is just an observation. plenty of sun, feed and exercise seems to be the best remedy.
  • i have found that bottle feeding lambs will survive well but they must have received some colostrum

Thrush & Footrot


Footrot is a grievous disease that almost defies curing. For a small flock of grade ewes, selling out and starting over is the wisest decision.

Footrot is caused by two bacteria—Fusobacterium necrophorum and Bacteroides nodosus—that act synergistically. F. necrophorum is common in most manure; it is very hardy and can live for years in manure. It contributes to footrot in cattle and causes thrush in horses. B. nodosus apparently lives only in sheep hooves. It dies out in soil in two weeks. It grows very slowly, so the incubation period may be long. Foot abscesses may be caused by B. nodosus, but footrot requires the presence of both B. nodosus and F. necrophorum. Moist soil conditions contribute greatly to the cause and spread of footrot. in other words its impossible in Florida to avoid  this condition.

To control and treat footrot:

  • Trim the hoof wall to the quick in all sheep.
  • Soak affected hooves for five minutes in a foot bath containing 90% water and 10% formalin (37% formaldehyde) or 10% zinc sulfate. Zinc sulfate is as effective as formalin and is safer to use.
  • Isolate limpers and repeat one week later. Turn apparently cured sheep into an uncontaminated area. Doing so does create a problem, however, because some sheep thought to be clean actually still are infected. With time and moist conditions, they will reinfect other sheep.
  • Reexamine all sheep and remove any limpers you initially thought were clean. Force sheep to move through a 10% zinc sulfate solution daily for 30 days. This has become the most successful treatment scheme.
  • Sell persistent limpers as much as that hurts to do.
  • If you sell all sheep, wait three weeks before bringing in new sheep.
  • I have a nice cement bath at the entry f the sheep house that i regularly fill with  bleach and water, 20%. its worked wonders.