The agriculture classification is available to land that meets the requirements set forth under applicable statutes, rules and regulations.
Specifically, pursuant to Florida Statute 193.461 (3)(a) “No lands shall be classified as agricultural lands unless a return is filed on or before March 1st of the year in which you are applying, and (3)(b) …. only lands which are used primarily for bona fide commercial agricultural purposes shall be classified agricultural.” A “bona fide commercial agricultural purpose” is defined as the pursuit of an agriculture activity for a reasonable profit or at least upon a reasonable expectation of meeting investment cost and realizing a reasonable profit. The profit or reasonable expectation thereof must be viewed from the standpoint of the fee owner and measured in light of their investment.
When property receiving an agricultural classification contains a residence. the portion of the property consisting of the residence and curtilage must be assessed separately to be entitled to the “Save Our Homes” assessment limitation. Curtilage is typically defined as the land area around the residence.
In order to start the process of acquiring an agricultural classification, the lands to be considered for agriculture classification must be used primarily for bona fide commercial agricultural purposes on January 1st of the year in which you applying. In addition, a completed agriculture classification application packet must be filed with the Property Appraiser’s office by the March 1st deadline. A completed application packet includes the 2-page application and all appropriate documentation to support the agricultural use of the land, including but not limited to leases, receipts, certifications, management plans, etc.
Pasture Land: Property must be fenced, and it should be evident that the land is maintained and cared for sufficiently (e.g. fertilizing, liming, mowing, etc.). The ratio of livestock to acreage and the soil capability are factors that are considered in granting the classification. For example, 1 cow on 1 acre is typically not a bona fide commercial operation, while 50 cows on 100 acres would be. Production of livestock solely for your own use, does not qualify as a commercial operation. If the property is leased, the lease and the agriculture use must be in place prior to January 1st of the year in which you are applying. A copy of the lease must be on file with our office.
Timber Operations: All timber parcels require the implementation of a forest management plan. A copy of the management plan must be filed as supporting documentation at the time the application for agriculture classification is filed. It must be evident that the management plan filed with this office is being followed by the land owner; otherwise, it will be subject to the removal of the agriculture classification.
Crop Land: Production of crops and vegetables for sale commercially will qualify. Production solely for your own personal use (family garden) does not qualify as a commercial operation. If the property is leased, the lease and use must be in effect prior to January 1st of the year in which you are applying. A copy of the lease must be filed as supporting documentation at the time the application for agriculture classification is filed.
Horses: There should be at least 4 breeding horses (of which 3 must be brood mares) or at least 4 boarding horses (leases for all boarding must be filed as supporting documentation at the time the application for agriculture classification is filed). The property must be fenced and a facility for breeding or boarding is required. The ratio of animals to acreage is a factor in granting this classification. Other documentation may be required. Typically, pleasure horses specifically for your own personal use does not constitute a bona fide commercial operation.
Apiaries: A bee yard or site where honeybee hives or honeybee products are located must have an extraction house. Typically, there are 2 general purposes for bee keeping: honeybee products and pollination. Although not mandatory, it is preferred that your apiary be registered with the State of Florida. Additional documentation may be required.
Nursery Land: An above-ground (for potted containers, hanging, etc.) or in-ground (for palm trees, oak trees, ornamentals or any marketable trees ,etc.) water source or irrigation setup is required. Only areas actually being used for the nursery and service area shall be entitled to agriculture classification. Wholesale nurseries must have a state agricultural certification. Other documentation may be required for this classification.
Citrus Land: Lands must be planted according to generally accepted schedules. Proper care and management must be evident. A description of the variety, plantings and trees per acre must be on file with our office. Production of citrus solely for your own use does not qualify as a commercial operation.
Other Uses: These will be handled on a case by case basis (e.g. poultry, swine, rabbits, aquaculture, etc.). Please contact this office with any questions you may have with these uses.
This classification was added to the Florida Statutes to assist commercial farmers in maintaining their farming operations without the burdensome expense of normal property taxes. It is a benefit to property owners that results in a taxable value based upon agricultural use; this value is typically far less than what the value of the parcel would be without the classification. Once granted, the parcel is valued pursuant to Section 193.461 (6)(a) Florida Statutes. See statute for more information on agricultural valuation.
By January 1: Production must be started.
By March 1: File application.
By July 1: You will be notified of any denial.