Bass Fishing Management – Land Link Issue #8

As most of us are hunkered down with the Corona stay at home orders there are some of us lucky enough to be able to spend our time doing what we enjoy and that is being outdoors in the country and for me and my family we have been spending lots of family time fishing. We have fished some very neat clear flowing creeks and streams for some super fun smallmouth bass. Some of the fish caught on these streams have been pretty nice and are a lot of fun to catch. We of course release these sport fish. Being in the land brokerage business for over 35 years I have sold many farms with some nice ponds/lakes on them and the owners always invite me to fish. Many of the ponds are owned by absentee landowners and they always ask how the fishing was.
Taylor was out in a pond last evening and he said they caught a lot of fish but they were all the same size. I started thinking what a great landlink blog. We have a nice fairly large 15+/- acre lake in N MO which has brought so much fun and enjoyment to our family and I started going through my files and I must have forgotten how much management and care it takes to have a perfectly balanced lake. First of all what is the difference between a pond and a lake. Really there is no set rule. Many people consider the size but again no set rule. Some have said that with a pond sunlight can reach the bottom of the pond and enable grass growth but again no rule. I guess it is the same answer as what is the difference between a farm and a ranch. Lots of people consider the size but in Texas I have seen many 30+/- acre places called ranches so I guess it is totally up to the owner to decide; pond or lake.
There are going to have to be several Land Link blogs with all I have uncovered with pond and lake management but for right now why are we catching so many fish the exact same size? Most of the ponds in Missouri have been stocked with a combination of largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish.  There is a difference in stocking rates in the state because of differences in soil fertility. The maximum stocking rate provided by the conservation department is 100 largemouth bass, 500 bluegill and 100 channel catfish per surface acre of water.  Natural reproduction is adequate to replenish those fish removed by fishing (except catfish) providing the pond is properly managed.
 At our farm lake which is a great example of fish mismanagement  we did a fish survey on the lake which amounted to boating around the lake with electric shock being sent into the water and temporarily shocking the fish netting them and then counting the different numbers and species to come up with our fish survey. The following is the recommendations by the Conservation Dept for our lake which I think is very typical of most lakes and would be a good recommendation for others with lakes: “With this excessive vegetation it makes it hard for the larger bass to find food.  The result is a lot of small, hungry bass. There also needs to be harvest of a lot of those bass under 12 inches long.  Whenever your friends or family fish the lake, keep bass 12 inches and under, up to your daily limit of 6.  Do not keep bass between 12 and 15 inches long – release these right away. These larger fish are needed to eat the small bass, bluegill and crappie and return the pond to a balanced situation where fish of all sizes are present. Continue to keep bass under 12 inches until you notice that two or more of ten bass you catch are over 12 inches.  Removing 300-400 bass this year would not be too many!  In other words, invite people over to fish your pond!  Again, even with heavy fishing pressure, you may not notice results for 3 or 4 years.” In other words a lake needs to be fished hard and many fish need to be culled. So get ready for the fish fry and see if you can get your lake in property balance. More pond management will follow in future Land Link blogs. There is so much to be learned and nature is so incredible. It is truly the wonder of it all.
I have also attached a copy of a fish survey for those interested.

Thank you,

Drennan Bailey

Who would of thought? – Land Link Issue #7

Well readers I am or we are all still locked up and it is impossible not to look at what the stock market is doing or how we are all going to fare when we are released from our homes. The one thing that I have thought about is that this is really the third time that I have experienced this economic disaster. There was the farm depression in the 1980’s the 2008 economic disaster and now the Coronavirus. The one that made the biggest impact of my life so far would have to be the 1980’s and the farm depression which many believed to be as bad as the Great Depression for farmers. I had just bought a 500 acre farm for $500 per acre with a FMHA loan and everyone kept telling me how smart and rich I was going to be. Who in the world would have thought that we would have embargoes and in a year’s time the land would be appraised at less than $100 per acre. I was flat out broke with a wife and two kids and another on the way. There were so many great people who lost farms and families broke up. It was hard as the disaster was isolated to the farm economy. We would take trips to the city and everyone was living in their newly made up work McMansions. The city people were going gangbusters and they could not nor would not relate to the problems on the farm. The government tried to save as many as possible with their CRP, PIK and loan programs but for the most part the money and programs were quickly hijacked by the people in the city with their flush money and they bought the land and capitalized on the government aid. Today we have everyone involved and it is still too early to see where the money ends up. As in the 80’s there were families that suffered and lost everything. Many people thought that this is what happened in a true open economy. The little get eaten by the big but I wonder if this is really true. Today we have the government handing money over to everyone. In a way it is nice if that is the word that we are all in this together and hopefully there will be no one profiting on someone else’s misery. The 80s were hard years and I wonder if the same people who thought that this was a normal economical event to get rid of the mismanaged or non competitive farmers and replace them with better managers would believe that we should do the same now. People think differently when they also have skin in the game. When someone you know gets sick or loses their job it should make you think twice. There were good farmers who deserved to keep farming but lost it all because we were not all in the game.

Thank you,

Drennan Bailey

Post Cards.. So tacky! – Land Link Issue #4

Hello everyone and thank you for reading our latest Land Link. This is kind of a follow up on our last blog of why this is a perfect time to be either selling or buying land. I am constantly amazed by how many postcards I get from what seems like every real estate company telling us how they are the perfect company to sell your land. First of all it is not that hard to become a licensed real estate agent in the state of Missouri and it is not hard to get a list of land owners either by county or area of state. While times are good everyone has a member of the family or family friend that has a license and this is what makes them think that they are now qualified  to sell what many times is your biggest investment and that is your land. When it is good as it has been the last several years and land prices sometimes rise monthly you can see how easy it is to put out a for sale sign and a buyer will come along. It is like an old appraiser told me that as long as land prices continue to rise you will have auctions because sellers don’t want to miss out on the highs. When we are in times as now when there are many yellow flags you will find sellers going more and more to real estate professionals because they don’t want the lows. The key word I used is professional and that is a real estate agent that knows the markets and the land and many times has many connections to make a deal go through. They will be there from start to finish. I have many surgeons and health professionals in my family and I know and I couldn’t imagine any of them sending out a postcard or advertising for business. They are well trained and professional and make their living doing what they know and by referrals of success. Hiring a person to sell and market your prized or most valuable asset should be considered the same way. Interview and ask questions. Get a professional who knows land, knows how to price land, knows how to market, knows the business and most of all that you trust and that will fight for you to get every dollar that the farm can get not just to talk you into taking an offer because they need to make their house payment but to get a contract that works for you the seller. I would never think I am the best at selling a home; I just don’t know the market, the regulations, the codes or the people to network with. I do however feel that I, as are some of my friends in the land business, know this land business better than most and will work for you in getting all you can get when you sell. Think about it and as in the medical field get a second opinion when you list or have questions.

COVID19 VS LAND SALES Land Link Issue #3

Hope everyone is getting along and is well. I have been asked many times since this Coronavirus and the lockdown began what I think about the land market. Is this a good time to be looking to buy a property or perhaps to sell? There is always a market and there is always land for sale. They may not be making anymore but there is always land that has to be sold.

My answer: it is a great time to either sell or to buy. Land prices are not at the peak of around 2013 but they are definitely high. As most of you that follow me know I have been in the land business for over 40 years and I have seen it all. The one thing is that with the government offering or printing all the money that they will need to make all the payments that they have promised that inflation will come back with a vengeance. This of course will make the dollar very cheap and land prices will go up. With low interest rates this will enable many more buyers to be in the land market. Land and especially farm land has always been one of the prized assets to be in control of during these troubled times as well as gold and fine art. The one thing I caution is that the key is good producing land whether it be in good agricultural, pasture or timber land. These are the prized sectors in the commodity markets which are considered inflation hedges. I would even go so far as to put even recreational land as long as it has good clean water available. Everyone by now knows my love and appreciation of good clean running water which I believe is an asset class all of its own. Yes, we know that land brings all sorts of other qualities such as hunting, fishing and recreational activities but for the investor this is a good time to look into the future of land purchase. One thing I have learned in buying and selling land is that anything that goes up can come back down twice as fast. On the selling side there are lots of interested buyers especially with just about zero interest rates, springtime and people are looking for a safe place to possibly button down the hatches. Go for it and pay down some debt on other land or just get out of debt and relax. The one thing I cannot stress and in my next Land Link is to search out and find a realtor that knows the land business. Don’t just go with your best friend’s sibling. These are critical times and you need a professional who knows land! Check it out in the next Lank Link and be safe out there it is a crazy world. Thank you