By Caroline Kirby
Beekeeping and leasing land to beekeepers is the growing trend for many vacant landowners and farmers. Whether you’re looking to pollinate your crops or you just have a piece of land that you’re not using, leasing to beekeepers may be a productive and sustainable option that even has some tax benefits to boot.
How does leasing land to beekeepers work?
In the last decade, beekeeping has qualified as an Agricultural Exemption that can save landowners a lot of money in property taxes. The great thing about qualifying for this special valuation is you don’t even have to be the one doing the work – you just need to lease your land to a beekeeper or a commercial beekeeping operation if you have the space.
There are many websites and online forums where you can match with beekeeping operations in your area. So, why do it?
Why should I lease my land to beekeepers?
Bees are a vital part of the environment and food supply chain in North America and across the globe, as they pollinate our crops.
Over the years, commercial bee colonies have collapsed at an alarming rate due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has been linked to the use of pesticides on crops. Beekeepers need healthy forage land to be able to rebuild colonies after crop pollination.
When you lease your land for beekeeping, you’re helping beekeepers grow their business, making your land productive, helping farmers pollinate crops, and even contributing to supporting our global ecosystem.
What do beekeepers need on their leased land?
The most important thing beekeepers need to do their job is space. While bees can be found in urban, suburban, and rural areas, there are some specific types of land which are more suitable for bees and beekeeping than others.
Factors that may influence the productivity of land for beekeeping includes:
• Forage: Bees need diverse and abundant food sources. You’ll want an area with plenty of flowers in bloom.
• Water: : Your land should have a proper water source nearby so that the bees don’t spend too much energy flying far. Bees love small ponds or creeks but are notorious for being drawn to “dirty” water sources like hot tubs or swimming pools.
• Climate: While American honeybees have done well in adapting to their climate, the weather in your area will impact when flowers and plants bloom and if these tiny creatures can survive winter.
• Nearby beekeeping: Honeybees are known to rob other colonies, which can devastate and deplete resources as well as spread disease. Do some research to ensure that any neighboring colonies are adequately spaced out.
Each of these factors can impact how the bees live and produce. Open meadowland near wetland is the ideal location for beekeeping, while an area surrounded by forests and trees isn’t as effective and can hinder honey production and the ability to pollinate.
North Dakota, Montana, and California are the top three honey-producing states and are often associated with more productive beekeeping. Browse through Land Hub’s current listings to purchase property for beekeeping in one of these states, or put your own land up for sale!
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