The agricultural land puzzle

Here’s a question that I’ve so far gotten multiple different (wildly different) answers to from real estate agents in the last couple of years:  If you purchase land that is zoned for agriculture here AND you use it for agricultural purposes (a little herb farm, for instance with maybe some free-range chickens to produce eggs thrown in), can you or can you not then put a small dwelling on it (a caravilla –trailer or manufactured home for those in the U.S.,– for instance)?  Answers have ranged from a flat no, to a yes because you can put up to two structures on it, to yes but it depends on how many dunams you purchased, to yes but it depends on the area you purchased your dunam(s).  I’ve noticed a striking correlation in responses to what that particular real estate agent had for sale at the time.  Hmmm.  Does anyone know where I turn to find the actual, real, official answer?

8 responses to “The agricultural land puzzle”

  1. Lynne says :

    My guess is that since Israel has so little land, especially for agriculture, building any type of structure would not be allowed.

  2. miki says :

    It’s a legal question, so you should ask a lawyer, one that specializes in property law.

  3. Larry007 says :

    Yael, I’m sure in the Negev region or in the North region, Golan heights there is no problem buying agricultural land cheap. You should check with a lawyer like miki said.

  4. Lynne says :

    Miki and Larry 007, good advice.

  5. israeliminx says :

    Right, I’m checking to see if I can find a lawyer who would know. Agricultural land is extremely cheap (in comparison to anything zoned for residential development) anywhere outside the central region, even in the lower Galil (Galilee for Americans), though the Golan and upper Galil interest me far more, as well as anywhere in Judea and Samaria. There is simply tons of it available, in comparison to land zoned residential. A couple of years ago I went and looked at some agricultural plots but the sticking point has always been would I be able to live on my little farm or not.

  6. Larry007 says :

    Check this out http://www.golan.org.il/klita/
    It’s about moving to Ramat HaGolan, maybe you can join a kibutz there and work in education in there, I’m sure they need good people. You’ll be able to take care of your cats and the kibutz has enough plots to cultivate everything you want.

  7. Hannah says :

    Instead of going it alone (too complicated) I would back what Larry says about joining a kibbutz or an eco farm like Hava and Adam in Modiin or Yesh Meain in the North. Also google ‘Permaculture Israel’ for more ideas.

    • israeliminx says :

      Kibbutzim are the new moshavim in terms of price now that they’ve privatized — very expensive but with more limitations about what you can do with ‘your’ property. I’ve looked into it via the ‘go north’ program and even with the reduced incentives prices were wildly outside of what I could afford. The Hava and Adam eco farm has a nice 5-month training program but I must say, after spending two years trying to put together an urban kibbutz and spending a good amount of time among existing ‘communal’ kibbutzim-semi-kibbutzim I am so so over the idea of communal living.

      One option would be to find an investment business partner. The deal with doing something like an herb farm is that a small scale farm can (after approximately five years of being deeply in the red) be profitable enough to support a family –and generally only a family. To make a large enough profit when you’ve got multiple investors means going truly large-scale. There are very few mid-range ventures that succeed rather than going under. I’ve looked at a number of business models over the years (20ish years) and learned a lot from some friends of my Ema’s who have a blueberry farm. The day of the “family farm” is long over — small scale farms can succeed if they are specialized (e.g., a blueberry/raspberry etc farm). Herb farms tend to be among the most profitable and the majority of the profits are not pulled in from the sale of the herbs but rather from the side-line of products you create and sell from the herbs you grow.

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