Agricultural Classifications

Agricultural Classifications

Guidelines for Agricultural Classification of Lands

Qualifying agricultural property is classified according to its type (pasture, row crops, citrus, timberland, etc.), and is assessed according to its agricultural use value rather than by its market value. While market-value assessments are based on the most probable price at which properties would sell according to their highest and most profitable use, properties receiving an agricultural classification are assessed based on the income potential of the property as farmed. Agricultural classification only applies to the land portion of your property, agricultural barns and accessory structures are assessed according to their market value.

When enacted in 1959, Florida’s goal for the Greenbelt laws was to conserve, protect, and encourage agricultural production in the state, keeping farming a viable and thriving part of Florida’s economy. Essentially, it gives farmers incentive to continue farming by shifting a portion of the tax burden to other classes of property, thereby helping to keep farming a profitable endeavor, particularly when the market value of a property is considerably higher than the agricultural value.

Agricultural Classification of Land Application

LAWS

§ 193.461, Florida Statutes sets for the criteria for determining which properties qualify for the Agricultural Classification

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Questions & Answers

Agricultural zoning of your property does not automatically entitle you to an agricultural classification for property tax purposes, as agricultural zoning and agricultural classification are not the same.
To be considered for an agricultural classification, you must file an application with the Property Appraiser’s office between January 1st and March 1st of the year in which the classification is first requested. An agricultural business plan (a formal statement of business goals, plans to reach them, and information about the organization) is required for properties under 10 acres.
An agricultural classification is not transferable. You must file a new application with the Property Appraiser’s office if the property is sold or transferred.
All property on which an agricultural classification application has been filed are field inspected to verify the use, and to ensure correct assessments. We will periodically request additional information from the property owner to determine the continuance of eligibility, such as income and expense documents. This office is required by law to keep all financial documents provided by the owner confidential.
If a property is leased, you must provide a copy of the lease with the application. The lease must have the name and address of both the lessor and lessee.
Any residence or other building on the property that has a non-agricultural use, together with a sufficient amount of land to support those non-agricultural use structures, is excluded from the agriculture classification.
If the application is approved, a notification will be sent on or before July 1st. If the application is denied, a certified letter will be mailed on or before July 1st. The letter will explain the appeal process.
Pursuant to section § 193.461, Florida Statutes: “No lands shall be classified as agricultural lands unless an application is filed on or before March 1st of each year. Only lands which are used primarily for bona fide agricultural purposes shall be classified agricultural.”

Bona fide agricultural purposes means good-faith commercial agricultural use of land. Good faith commercial agricultural use of property is defined as the pursuit of an agricultural activity for a reasonable profit, or at least the reasonable expectation of meeting investment costs and realizing a reasonable profit.

In determining whether the use of the land for agricultural purposes is bona fide, the following factors may be taken into consideration:

  • The length of time the land has been so utilized.
  • Whether the use has been continuous.
  • The purchase price paid.
  • Size, as it relates to the specific agricultural use, but in no event shall a minimum acreage be required for agricultural assessment.
  • Whether an indicated effort has been made to care sufficiently and adequately for the land in accordance with the accepted commercial agricultural practices, including, without limitation, fertilizing, liming, tilling, mowing, reforesting , and other accepted agricultural practices.
  • Whether such land is under lease and, if so, the effective length, terms, and conditions of the lease.
  • Such factors as may from time to time become applicable.

January 1st is the statutory assessment date. Therefore, there must be a bona fide commercial agricultural use of the land on this date or a reasonable effort must have been made, and continues to be made, to place the property in agricultural use at or near January 1st of the given tax year.