Livestock for Small Acreage Landowners
Texas A , B-6091 , 2000

Machen, R.V., Lyons, R.K.

Rural areas in Texas are being rapidly developed and urbanized, especially in the central and southwest parts of the state. Many urban dwellers want to escape to the country to live a quiet, peaceful life or enjoy recreational opportunities on their own land. As a result, large tracts in rural areas are being divided into properties of 5 to 100 acres; many are fewer than 20 acres. New rural landowners almost always want to maintain or obtain an ad valorem tax exemption, which is most often granted for agricultural use of the land. They often decide to start livestock enterprises to meet tax exemption requirements. However, most taxing authorities require one to demonstrate that such an enterprise is economically viable. In other words, owning one animal as a family pet will not qualify property for the tax exemption. This publication identifies the three livestock enterprises best suited to small acreages and most likely to be profitable. These three enterprises require: -minimal facilities (both in construction, expense and space required); -minimal labor (both time and physical effort); and -minimal animal husbandry expertise. They also have readily accessible markets for excess production or unwanted animals. The most important concern of any landowner, big or small, is good stewardship of the land. The three livestock enterprises discussed here are the most environmentally compatible with small acreages. Livestock enterprises almost always depend, at least to some degree, on having forage for the animals to eat. As a livestock producer, forage is your primary product. No livestock enterprise can be economically viable for long if grazing destroys the forage growing on the land.