Pursuant to Florida Statute 193.461, “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. January 1st is the statutory assessment date, therefore, the property must be in use as bona fide agriculture on this date.
Agriculture Use Guidelines
Property must be fenced if used for livestock. Hay or pasture sod (i.e. Bahia) operations need not be fenced to qualify.
An apparent effort has been made to maintain and care sufficiently and adequately for this type of land (i.e. fertilizing, liming, tilling, mowing, etc.).
In regard to livestock in relation to the size of the parcel; one cow on one acre cannot be construed as a commercial agricultural operation; while 70 cattle on 100 acres could be. Obviously, the smaller the tract of land, the more concentrated the use. On tracts of 5 acres or less, it would take at least 4 head of cattle to verify a commercial operation.
Horse farms fall within this category and the rule of thumb, one horse to one acre, must be modified to fit the facts in each case. If property is used for horse breeding, there should be at least one registered stallion as well as several brood mares.
If property is used for horse boarding, there should be a written agreement between the parties involved. This agreement must include the terms for the lease of pasture land. Classification is not normally granted for horses in a stable only. There must be some agricultural land use involved. An occupational license is required for horse boarding. Raising of any livestock for your own use does not qualify. Pleasure horses alone do not qualify.
The commercial raising of goats or sheep qualifies for the Classification. On tracts of 5 acres or less, it would take at least 16 goats or sheep to verify a commercial operation.
If property is leased to others, the lease must be in effect as of January 1st and a copy of the lease must be on file in the Property Appraiser’s office. It is the responsibility of the property owner, not the lessee, to keep this office informed on the agriculture use of the land.
Trees must be planted prior to January 1st, or at the very least, the land must be prepared for citrus planting. Standard plantings are from 100 to 160 trees per acre. Anything less than 70 trees per acre could be considered a hobby and not a true commercial venture.
Agricultural values for citrus are based on type of fruit and effective age of grove. A Citrus Questionnaire, available in this office, must be submitted with the application.
This category is in reference to those agriculture products referred to as vegetables. Production of crops for your own use does not qualify.
Parcels should be of sufficient size so that the sale of the crop products produces enough income to sustain the entire operation. (Rule of Thumb: 5 to 10 acres).
Must be at least 20 acres of planted pines or predominantly natural stand of pines.
A Forest Management Plan, prepared by a professional forester, must be submitted with the application.
Ongoing activities, such as cutting of fire lanes, thinning of trees, under brushing, reforesting, burning, cruising (inventorying), and any other activity recommended by the Management Plan should be readily apparent to the agricultural field appraiser.
Nurseries should have a state agricultural certificate. Sales can be on a wholesale or retail level, but plants for sale must be grown on the premises.
Only land areas actually used for the nursery and service area shall be classified.
- Types of Nurseries:
- In Ground: ornamentals and woody ornamentals
- Above Ground: in containers
- Flower Farm: flowers only
Sugar cane, sod, swine, poultry, fish farms, aquaculture, ratite and fruit, other than citrus, will be handled on a case by case basis.
For a bee/honey operation you must be a registered Florida Beekeeper and have your own, or have access to, honey extracting equipment, hive building and repair facility, etc. Bee leases will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
All operations should be of sufficient size so that the income produced will sustain the entire operation.
All applications are field checked to verify the usage and to ensure correct assessments. Additional information will be requested from the property owner to determine the continuance of eligibility. This information is usually in the form of income and expense documents and will be requested on a regular basis. All financial documents will be kept confidential in this office.
Application for agricultural classification must be made every year between January 1st and March 1st.
The initial application is made on the long form (DR-482) available in the Property Appraiser’s office.
If the application is approved, you will receive notification before July 1st. If the application is denied, you will receive a certified letter before July 1st. The letter will explain the appeal process.
Any residence on the property causes one acre to be removed from the agriculture classification. This acre is assessed at the current market value and is referred to as a home site.
Agricultural classification is not an across-the-board exemption. The agriculturally classified value is determined through a formula that uses the potential income produced by the agricultural operation as a principal factor. This value per acre is different for each agriculture use and will usually result in a lower assessed value per acre than the market land value. The land must be used for a commercial agricultural operation or the agriculture classification will be denied. Only the acreage that is actually used for the agriculture operation can be classified. Intent to use is not considered.
Once an application is approved, you will receive an automatic renewal receipt at the beginning of each year. Please read this receipt carefully as it is, in effect, your application for that year. Even though the classification has been automatically renewed, the application can still be denied if the operation does not meet the proper criteria. When the property is sold, or when the name of the owner is changed in any way, the agricultural classification is automatically removed and a new application must be made.
It is the responsibility of the property owner to notify this office of any change in the status or use of the property with an agricultural classification.