Rural System's

The Rural Wealth Group

See USFS State and Private Forestry Estate Planning Resources
and such assistance in your state.

Also see the Stewardship Program.

Also see the Sustaining Family Forests Initiative

Starting use of available apps may be very helpful (e.g.,

The Group works on the premises of sustained profitability for rural land owners, their friends and guests, their communities, and the natural resources upon which all depend. Basic is the premise (to be tested) is that more money can be made from reducing risks, reducing taxes, reducing payment on loans, reducing sickness and trauma, and increasing gains from diverse investments and current subsidies than can be made from the soil. The flow of funds is tallied in the annual record of total gains and losses.

There are many difficulties of achieving consistent good performance in investments. You have to understand the many intersecting forces in order to stay in business, balance long-term investment principles with technical knowledge and block out confusing "noise." It is essential to try to see the big picture, particularly forces related to social and demographic shifts. There is a lot to take in - which would explain why so many of rural citizens do not become involved in investments or delegate the task to other people. Rural System provides a mid-level wealth management subsystem, reducing the costs and high risks of various informal and financial advice services. It protects participants in Rural System from the financial storms that swept through the state … and world. Without Rural System's Wealth Management Group investment services, it is next to impossible for a rural land owner to become and remain profitable in the world of financial investment.

We do not provide a page from a cookie-cutter computer program. Advice is personal, unique, and tailor-made … with major options for the hard decisions. All of our advice is not conventionally palatable. We work from a well-grounded, evolving, improving model that may in some years merely park money in an investment account. Otherwise it is responding to personal age of the ownership, planning horizons, growth of resources and productivity. We do not start from zero and allow pooling of funds in our own cluster's mutual funds.

We know that the market is cyclical but the periods and amplitudes are unknown. In the long run, it usually moves up. We watch carefully but include in our models the typical causes of the notable changes in both the period and amplitudes. We incorporate not only market movements, but whether volatility and riskiness of staying in the market matches a landowner's changing financial needs. We are continually adding variables, performing tweaks and adjustments. Rural, state, national and world economies are interconnected as in ecosystems and we know about and can model these. Politically dominant corporations and sociological and demographic shifts are changes that are incorporated and studied using our models.

We work with a small staff, integrated with the entire system. For the typical land owner, more interested in crops, livestock, and soil, we sift through many personal finance columns, blogs, magazines, and business television programs for advice. Advice is often confusing and contradictory. The clear knowledge: we can conservatively make 6-10% growth on an investment, more than forest growth and most small cropland production.

Finding someone competent enough to advise landowners is very hard for small investor. Getting piece-meal advice is dangerous. We have found that it is difficult to get the average land owner to imagine the scope and scale of what we are describing and what we are preparing as part of the income stream for them and their stable rural land resources of the future.

The group provides investment and other financial advice through The Trevey and other means. It goes along with messages of increased crop and product yields, increased net financial returns on production, and increased diversification. It provides financial analyses for the entire Rural System enterprise but shares the mechanism for this with communities and individual land owners, especially those of the Rural System Tracts. It provides specialized analyses for the employees of The Land Force and sells related services to other people and affiliates within the communities. Its emphasis is on the entire financial portfolio of each land owner ... the land and its potential, but also its real estate value, other investments, and capital resources as a total investment package, an elaboration of the modern "economy of the firm."

An early business plan is available and it continues to be revised .

The Group understands diversity, both in ecological systems as well as financial systems.

It has novel concepts of risk, as the reasonable certainty space, especially those related to rural resources.

It deals actively with production functions as ecological succession or transition and yield curves.

It uses related ecological concepts of cyclic behavior and complex interactions.

It confronts the silliness of "sustainability" texts as grounds for meaningful analyses and action.

It advances concepts of the long planning horizon, 150 years sliding forward one year each year. The rationalle of planting a tree as a 150-year investment in land volume must be faced realistically. It also present for decision makers useful comparisons with current present-discounting analyses several alternatives, including those with conventional planning horizons, typically for 10 years. It builds into presentations of decision alternatives the concept of feedforward. New opportunities will likely emerge in Cuba and India. Advances need to be attempted in Mexico and several places in Africa (e.g., Senegal, Malawi, and for relief in the Sudan).

Rural System is largely opposed to agricultural and other subsidies, but it operates to secure those available to achieve base equality in business or financial competition. It studies the law to avoid the costs of litigation and to protect land owners from financial losses. It recognizes that annual gains from "pasture products" or from "forestry" are not generally separated at tax time and that the entire financial system of the ownership --- investments, other holding, and those of the rural ownership are managed as a single package for decision making. It is this total system and its profitability that determines good land use, whether the farm must be sold or whether it becomes a valuable entity within an inheritable estate.

There are many changing laws and regulations related to taxes and few farmers or forest owners (or local tax-form advisors) can follow them or follow them well. (see for example the IRS 2007 Farmer’s Tax Guide IRS Pub 225).

To increase crop production by 10% by years of genetic work, fertilization, herbicide use, and cultural practices … and then to lose 10% of the net annual financial gain because of excessive taxes paid because of ignorance of the current law is not wise by any standard.

Rural land is reverting to early succession (fallow fields, shrub growth, undesirable tree species, erosion) as people leave it for the cities. Some is bought and added to the operations of the large farmland owners (with the externalities and disadvantages of "monoculture"). The financially unprofitable farm creates major hardships for the elderly land owner, the family heritage, the community. Residential areas expand onto these lost farms, thus increasing urban costs of services and depleted natural scenic values. School populations and their financing experience upheavals. The premise of much of Rural System work is that if sound financial arrangements can be made for the rural land owner, significantly more of them will be residents, not move to cities, or will employ The Land Force to manage their ownerships well for them and their children and friends. Rural land can stay rural land, be profitable, and provide ownership as well as many social values such as those of groundwater recharge, watershed protection, and wildlife and visual qualities of the landscape. The production of healthy food grown locally at lowest possible energy costs remains an essential consideration.

The difficulties and extent of financial analyses are almost beyond comprehension. "Stabilizing profits", a premise of Rural System is much more easily said than done. The impossibility of stabilizing a natural resource system in the environment of unstable federal, state, and local tax laws, subsidies, globalization effects, and changing land values (related to developments, impacts, etc.) is the new realization. Controlling these, or exerting some control is not seen as among the initial tasks of Rural System. Gaining knowledge-control over them will add significantly to the potential profitability of any rural ownership. Computer simulation can suggest the most likely scenarios for decision makers. It is likely that financially profitable seminars, electronic messages, and publication series can be conducted or issued by Rural System (its think tank) to present and explain these simulations and their broad meanings to communities and to society in general.

October, 2006: "Participants at a recent conference on the coming peak and permanent decline of global oil production learned how they must use less energy, save and share resources and grow food in their communities."

Rural System proposes to participate by

  1. Use our concepts of energy budgeting
  2. Improve overall rural ownership profitability and wealth, thus deduce some ill-advised demands
  3. Provide extra funds and efficiencies and labor for local structural improvements
  4. Grow food cost effectively using our GIS knowledge base.

See Forestry Index unit on forest taxation.

The farmer's tax issues and needs for private assistance seem to be suggested by an email note from Cooperative Extension (December 15, 2007):
We recently received several copies of the Farmer's Tax Guide, IRS publication 225, for use in preparing 2007 returns. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis at our office (Suite 1G) and at the Commissioner of the Revenue's office (Suite 1A), in the Montgomery County Government Center, 755 Roanoke Street. These guides are for individuals who have agriculture lands or are actively engaged in an agriculture enterprise.

If you have questions related to specific agricultural tax issues, there are 6 district Farm Business Management Agents around the state that may be able to assist you. Please call your local Extension office for your specific district's agent's contact information. However, please note that all of these agents serve multiple counties (18 in the Southwest District), so it may take some time for them to get back with you - please plan accordingly.

First Correspondence: to Debbie Plumbo, Tampa FL., 08 Jul 2007


I enjoyed our brief visit. You told me of your concern, early on, about not invading the relationship that you perceived between your son and Anne, his teacher. . . .

After our talk last week I prepared a description of a unit of Rural System that suggests what I was thinking as you told me of your interests and new orientation and employment potentials. (../aRuralSystem/wealthGroup.html ) I tend to "leap in" hoping there may be an idea or so that will be attractive and not old-hat.

I'm convinced from my TVA work and conversations with older land owners and managers (not conservation agency personnel) that the answers to improved land management are locked into "profits," and Rural System is the way toward them - longterm management, value added efforts, diversification, expert worker group, computer optimization,centralized services, profit-oriented, use of computer mapping with large database, etc. The realtors, for a related example, have a school for environmentally attuned salespeople. Is there not a place for creating and marketing an environmental, especially rural, securities company program (serving and linked financially with Rural System for marketing, advertising on a e-catalog, customer base, etc. . . .

More bold than I ought to be, I can imagine a securities-related company opening a rural division with more than banking and inheritance estate issues... but with land-trust issues and intensive cautious, longterm, sound land management that can increase land value for almost any owner by 5 to 25 percent. Your company or affiliate could actually own Rural System for financial advantage, good P-R, directed philanthropy, and advantages from a select customer/client base as well as for the rest of us.

Index Insurance Has Potential To Help Manage Climate Risks And Reduce Poverty
July 24th, 2009

Climate has always presented a challenge to farmers, herders, fishermen and others whose livelihoods are closely linked to their environment, particularly those in poor areas of the world. A type of insurance, called index insurance, now offers significant opportunities as a climate-risk management tool in developing countries, according to a new publication launched June 24 during a workshop at the Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF) in Geneva.

Green investments a legal responsibility, say UN and top asset managers
July 24th, 2009

‘Green’ investments are no longer just a luxury, but are now a legal responsibility, according to a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and a powerful group of asset managers controlling some $2 trillion in assets. The 120-page publication released today argues that if investment consultants and others do not incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into their services, they face "a very real risk that they will be sued for negligence."

Farm insurance may help poor confront climate riskJ
uly 24th, 2009 A new form of insurance that covers risks such as droughts or floods could help small farmers in developing countries cope with worsening impacts of global warming, a U.N. backed report said on Wednesday.

Under "index insurance", payouts are linked to a yardstick such as a shortfall of rains in the maize growing season in Malawi or the height of the Mekong River near rice paddies in Vietnam that risk flooding.

Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above .

Rural System
Robert H. Giles, Jr.
October 14, 2006