When you buy agricultural land, you are restricted by the zoning laws in the area, just as you would be if you bought a residential home. Knowing the zoning laws in the area will help you decide if a property is right for your use.
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How do you know the zoning laws? Talk to a real estate professional or your state representative. Just because the land is zoned ‘A-1’ doesn’t mean it meets your needs. You need to dig a little deeper to make sure the
type of farming or activity you plan to conduct on your land is permitted.
Is it in a Flood Zone?
You’ll need to know if the land is in a flood zone for several reasons. One, your lender will definitely require you to purchase flood insurance, which is rather costly. Two, if you plan to build a home or any other structure on the property, you run the risk of flooding, damage, and loss.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your farm isn’t on a body of water so it won’t flood. There’s a lot more to it than that and only
FEMA can tell you if the property is in a flood zone or not.
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Is it Zoned for Your Livestock Needs?
Again, don’t assume because a property is zoned ‘A-1’ that you can do whatever type of farming you want. This doesn’t just limit the type of crops you can grow, but also the type of livestock you can have on the property. If you already know you want to farm chickens or pigs, make sure the land is zoned for that. You’d hate to find out after the fact that your chosen livestock is not allowed on the property.
Can You do the Activities You Want?
Are you planning on gardening, planting crops, or raising a beehive? These are things you’ll want to discuss with your realtor because again, they can be restricted on your property. Don’t focus only on if these items are allowed now, but is there any upcoming legislation regarding them? Many areas are limiting the ability to have chickens and bees on their agricultural land, for example. You should know if your area is one of those contemplating this change before
This doesn’t mean you cannot find a property that has the zoning you desire along with the ability to build a house. You can find farmland that allows you to build a home and farm crops or livestock on the land. Knowing which areas allow this and what types of farming activities they allow is crucial to your success, though.
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