Ranch & Country Businesses
The dream of finding that special place in the country remains a wide-spread trend of the 21st Century, and executives and professionals from the corporate world continue to look to select rural communities for recreational and retirement opportunities. The “virtual office” provides opportunities for business professionals to live wherever they choose to live while remaining actively engaged in their urban-based businesses.
At the same time, more and more rural property owners and buyers of rural property are looking for ways to create a rural business that is supportive of the rural lifestyle that has been their dream.
Even if the rural business is not to be the primary income source for the owner, such a business still has many advantages: it creates tax deductions for the owner that would otherwise not be enjoyed by the owner. Under current tax laws, tax deductions for a primary residence are only available upon sale of the property, and at that point only serve to eliminate capitals tax up to a maximum of $250,000 for single owners and $500,000 for married couples. However, under certain circumstances, a piece of ranch or farm acreage that is producing income can give the owner numerous deductions for depreciation, interest payments, operating expenses and more. Any owner must consult with a tax professional to determine what potential deductions may apply for their own personal situation, and whether it will be of greater benefit to treat the property as a personal residence or to treat all or some part of it as a business. The point here is not to advise potential buyers and owners of the specifics of tax advantages but rather to suggest that such advantages may exist, and to encourage further investigation.
In the event one determines that a rural property business is an advisable pursuit, a wide variety of options exist:
Cattle ranching has long been the back bone of California and carries with it one of this nation’s most revered traditions. While pasture land prices have soared, still the world wide demand for beef is strong, and continues to grow as emerging nations develop broader middle classes with appetites for beef.
No rural business incites more passion and dedication than horse breeding, horse training, horse sanctuary and rescue. Another popular approach to rural business for horse lovers is the dude ranch. Dude ranches provide non-horse owners the opportunity to experience the joy of sitting horseback while experiencing nature.
Alpaca ranches have emerged as a leading choice for creating a lucrative rural lifestyle. These adorable creatures decorate the hillsides with charm, and provide the wool for the finest sweaters, scarves, blankets and other products.
Agricultural crops suitability varies from region to region, and is also dependent on soil types, water availability and other factors. Leading crop production for California is hay, vegetable row crops, wine grapes, strawberries, cut flowers, nuts, fruits of all kinds including citrus and avocados, and dairy.
Some individuals who have purchased land in the wine grapes appellations of California have managed to create small but specialized grapes crops, and have even secured a vineyard designation from the vintners who buy their grapes.
Olive trees, representing one of the most ancient agricultural efforts, are well suited to land with minimal water resources. There are thousands of varieties. Olives are prized as a food and the oil has both nutritional and medicinal uses.
Adventurous rural land owners seeking a unique rural business may want to explore some more innovative agricultural avenues. The Kenaf plant is an alternative to wood that can be used for making paper and paper products. Alternative wood sources can help protect and preserve the forests and contribute to the effort to reduce global warming. The crop is hearty and thrives well.
Lavender is another trendy crop that serves to beautifully decorate the land, while yielding a high demand flower that is used in a wide array of products. Growing lavender is also a superb endeavor for bee keepers. Bees love lavender, and in turn, they make a highly prized, pungent and flavorful honey.
The pomegranate grows well in California’s interior valleys that have hot summers and mild winters. Contemporary promotions of the health benefits of pomegranate juice are making this fruit the latest rage.
Finally, goods and services that enhance rural living represent a new wave of rural business, and thanks to the extensive reach of internet marketing, such goods and services can be promoted to world wide markets.
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We would love to hear of your personal success stories in your rural business endeavors. Email to info@RanchAndCountry.com or mail to PO Box 821, Santa Ynez, CA 93460, att: editor.
May you enjoy success and fulfillment in the year to come –
Ranch & Country Staff