Farm Exemptions

Farm Exemption
Farm buildings and improvements located on agricultural lands are exempt from taxation provided they are used as part of a farm plant. A residence is exempt if it is situated on a farm and is occupied or used by an individual who is a farmer. It need not be owned by the farmer.

The term farm means a single tract or contiguous tracts of agricultural land containing a minimum of 20 acres which are normally used for farming or ranching. The term farmer means an individual who normally devotes the major portion of the individual's time to the activities of producing unmanufactured products of the soil, poultry, livestock or dairy products. The farmer and spouse, if married, must have received more than fifty percent of their combined annual net income from farming activities in any one year of the three preceding calendar years, whether one or both are farmers. The term also includes an individual who is a retired farmer or beginning farmer.

A retired farmer is an individual who quit farming because of illness or age and has not merely changed occupations. The local assessment officials have the responsibility to determine whether a farmer retired because of illness or age. A beginning farmer is an individual who: 1) began occupancy and operation of a farm within the three preceding calendar years; 2) normally devotes the major portion of tine to farming activities and; 3) had no farm income or loss in at least one of the prior three years. A residence occupied by the surviving spouse of a farmer is not exempt unless the surviving spouse is a farmer and the residence is located on a farm.

However, a residence occupied by the surviving spouse of a retired farmer continues to be exempt provided the surviving spouse also qualified as a farmer at the time of retirement. A residence located on a tract of agricultural land containing 10 acres or more, occupied by a farmer who also farms other noncontiguous land, qualifies for the exemption even through the particular tract of land upon which the residence is located does not produce 50 percent or more of the farmer's net income. A residence is exempt if it is situated on a farm and remains occupied by the retired farmer who owned and occupied it as a farmer at the time of retirement.