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.
§ 193.461, Florida Statutes sets for the criteria for determining which properties qualify for the Agricultural Classification
Questions & Answers
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.