Panel votes to loosen ag land criteria
PIERRE — A proposal to loosen the criteria that determine if land is classified as agricultural for property tax purposes cleared a Senate committee Monday morning.
Senate Bill 7 moved to the full chamber with the 6-1 Taxation Committee vote.
Now, two of three criteria have to be met for property to be classified as agricultural:
• That the principal use of the land is for agriculture.
• That in at least of three of the five previous years, a gross income of at least 10 percent of the taxable value of the land was derived and that the income was at least $2,500.
• That the parcel is at least 20 unplatted acres or part of a management unit that is at least 80 acres.
Under the proposal, the principle use criteria would become mandatory and the income criteria would shift to either-or instead of both.
In other words, only the $2,500 or the gross income threshold would have to be met.
Property taxes are lower on ag land.
After the hearing, Sen. Jason Frerichs, D-Wilmot, said that most people getting into agriculture nowadays are small, local food producers, and the measure is aimed at helping them.
It’s not intended to benefit hobby farmers who, for instance, have a horse in the backyard or to allow developers to have land defined as agricultural, he said.
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