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Mormon Church To Own Nearly 2% Of Florida

Posted by on Nov. 8, 2013 at 4:32 PM
  • 14 Replies


Mormon church-owned company buys huge swath of Florida land

Mormon Church increases its land stake in Florida

The Mormon church stands to own nearly 2 percent of Florida by completing a deal to buy most of the real estate of the St. Joe Co. for more than a half-billion dollars.

The megapurchase was announced jointly Thursday by a corporate representative of church, which owns the nearly 295,000-acre Deseret Ranches in Central Florida, and by the real-estate and timber business, which has built several communities along the Panhandle coast.

According to the announcement, a church entity, AgReserves Inc., will buy 382,834 acres – the majority of St. Joe's timberlands – in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties for $565 million.

Completion of the deal will leave the Utah-based church with 678,000 acres, an area larger than any other private holding in Florida, according to widely shared but unconfirmed rankings of top landowners.

AgReserves Inc., a taxpaying company of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will maintain timber and agricultural uses of the Panhandle acreage, according to the announcement.

"AgReserves has demonstrated its commitment to wise land stewardship and prudent resource management during more than 60 years of ranching and agricultural operations in east central Florida," said Paul Genho, chairman of AgReserves. "We will apply that same commitment and expertise to managing the property we are acquiring in Florida's panhandle."

Owned by the church for nearly 60 years, Deseret Ranches sprawls across Orange, Osceola and Brevard counties and is increasingly seen as critical to the Orlando region's water supply, road and rail network and future development.

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam praised the announced deal as long-term investment in the state's timber and cattle business.

"This transaction between two of Florida's largest and most committed land stewards is a meaningful reminder of the economic and ecological value of agriculture in our state," Putnam said.

Charles Pattison, president of the smart-planning group 1000 Friends of Florida, said there has been little pressure for development of the St. Joe timberlands, which are well away from the Panhandle coast.

But Pattison said no other metropolitan area in the state borders such a huge and potentially developable piece of property as Deseret Ranches, which covers a largely roadless and unpopulated area southeast of Orlando.

Last week, Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order that created the East Central Florida Corridor Task Force to plan for roads, development and environmental protection in an area dominated by Deseret Ranches.

"It is more important than ever that we work together to plan our future," said ranch manager Erik Jacobsen in response to the task force formation. "We look forward to collaborating with leaders from the state and Brevard, Orange and Osceola counties."

With 44,000 head of cattle, the ranch property also is one of the nation's largest producers of calves and manages thousands of acres of citrus groves, vegetable farms and timberlands.

Orlando, Orange County and state water authorities have been planning for years to accommodate growing populations by pumping water from Taylor Creek Reservoir within ranch boundaries.

A St. Joe Co. official said the sale will help the company, to be left with 184,000 acres after the sale, focus on its real-estate developmen

by on Nov. 8, 2013 at 4:32 PM
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Replies (1-10):
-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Nov. 9, 2013 at 1:10 AM
Corporate and church are 2 words that do not belong together
JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Nov. 9, 2013 at 1:34 PM

bump

Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM


Quoting -Celestial-:

Corporate and church are 2 words that do not belong together

Yep

Farmlady09
by Silver Member on Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:09 PM
4 moms liked this

I rather have them buying land than China (or China getting it in exchange for American debt).

Kate_Momof3
by Platinum Member on Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:13 PM
4 moms liked this

 I guess when you put it that way...

And seriously, folks, ask the Catholic Church how much of Boston and NYC it owns.

Quoting Farmlady09:

I rather have them buying land than China (or China getting it in exchange for American debt).

 

kcangel63
by Amanda on Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:20 PM
I would bet quite a bit.

I'd like to find out how much of our country is owned by churches. As well as which churches own how much.

Just an interesting but of info that I bet is out there somewhere.


Quoting Kate_Momof3:

 I guess when you put it that way...


And seriously, folks, ask the Catholic Church how much of Boston and NYC it owns.


Quoting Farmlady09:


I rather have them buying land than China (or China getting it in exchange for American debt).


 

kcangel63
by Amanda on Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:21 PM
1 mom liked this
Dang It! Interesting BIT of information...
Kate_Momof3
by Platinum Member on Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:24 PM
3 moms liked this

 I think the fact that it was a tax-paying entity of the Mormon Church that purchased the land makes the transaction a bit more palpable than, say, a major university using public land and resources for their benefit completely tax-free.

Yale *cough* *cough*

Quoting kcangel63:

I would bet quite a bit.

I'd like to find out how much of our country is owned by churches. As well as which churches own how much.

Just an interesting but of info that I bet is out there somewhere.


Quoting Kate_Momof3:

 I guess when you put it that way...


And seriously, folks, ask the Catholic Church how much of Boston and NYC it owns.


Quoting Farmlady09:


I rather have them buying land than China (or China getting it in exchange for American debt).


 

 

Jovaiel
by New Member on Nov. 10, 2013 at 4:34 AM
1 mom liked this

Sounds like a boon to Florida, providing much needed income and development and, possibly, creating much needed jobs. The Mormons have a reputation of being generally good, well-mannered, pro-family, independent people. I'm not sure why they chose Florida but if they have the means and want to do it, good for them and for Floridians.

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grandmab125
by Gold Member on Nov. 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM
1 mom liked this

 Oh dear, it's one step of many in an attempt by the Mormon Church to take over the US gov't.  After all, wasn't that a big fat lie the Obama campaign machine was pushing in order to get Romney beat....you know, the Mormon Church would actually be running the country if Romney won.

sarcasm

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