Agricultural Assessments

Since 1971, NYS Agricultural District Law has provided reduced property tax bills for land in agricultural production by limiting the assessment of such land to its prescribed agricultural assessment value. Owners whose land satisfies the eligibility requirements may apply for an agricultural assessment.

Just owning rural land does not entitle a landowner to an agricultural exemption. See the Q & A section below for eligibility requirements, renewal information, etc.

View a copy of the Agricultural Assessment Application (RP-305) form.

View a copy of the Written Lease Affidavit for Rented Land (RP-305-c) form.

Look up Property Tax Information online through Delaware County’s Community Online Mapping website.

For more information on Agricultural Exemption Law, visit the NY State Office of Real Property’s website at http://tax.ny.gov/pit/property/.

__________________________________

Questions &Answers

What are the eligibility requirements?

Land generally must consist of seven or more acresused for the preceding two years for the production or sale of crops, livestock, or livestock products.

The annual gross sales of agricultural products generally must average $10,000 or more for the preceding two years. If an agricultural enterprise is less than seven acres, it may qualify if average annual gross sales equal $50,000 or more. (See rented land and exceptions to gross sales requirements.)

Land that supports a commercial horse boarding operation may qualify for an agricultural assessment if the following eligibility requirements are met:

  • at least seven acres of land supports the commercial horse boarding operation;
  • the operation boards at least ten horses regardless of ownership; and
  • the operation receives $10,000 or more in gross receipts annually in the preceding two years from fees generated through the boarding of horses and/or through the production for sale of crops, livestock, and livestock products. Land that supports operations whose primary on site function is horse racing is not eligible.
  • A startup operation may qualify based on its annual gross sales of agricultural products in the operation’s first or second year. Such annual sales must amount to at least $10,000 if the start-up operation has seven or more acres, or at least $50,000 if the start-up operation has less than seven acres in agricultural production.

Are there exceptions to the gross sales requirements?

Yes. Land rented for agricultural purposes may receive an agricultural assessment. If the rented land satisfies the basic eligibility requirements described above, it is eligible for agricultural assessment. In addition, if the rented land does not satisfy the average gross sales value requirement, but does satisfy the other requirements, it may still be eligible if it is farmed, under a written rental agreement of at least five years, with other farmland that satisfies all eligibility requirements. The applicant must substantiate the existence and the term of the rental agreement by providing the assessor with either a copy of the lease or an affidavit confirming that such an agreement exists (application RP-305-c). A start-up farm operation may include rented land.

Newly established farm operations of not less then seven acres that are solely for planting Christmas trees for sale , commercial orchards and vineyards may qualify the newly planted land, notwithstanding, the fact that crop production will not occur for four to five years after planting.

Does farmland automatically receive an agricultural exemption?

No. Landowners must file an application (form RP-305 or RP-305-r) with the assessor to receive an agricultural assessment for their parcels. Landowners must apply annually for an agricultural assessment, and the farmland must satisfy certain gross sales and acreage eligibility requirements .

What land can be included?

Agricultural assessment is limited to land used in agricultural production, defined to include cropland, pasture, orchards, vineyards, sugarbush, Christmas trees, support land, and land set aside or retired under Federal supply management or soil conservation programs. Up to 50 acres of farm woodland is eligible for an agricultural assessment per eligible tax parcel. Land and water used for aquacultural production are eligible, as is land under a structure within which crops, livestock or livestock products are produced. Land visibly associated with the owner's residence is ineligible.

What if a farm includes several parcels?

Since farm operations often encompass more than one parcel, eligibility is determined by combining separately assessed parcels that are farmed together as a single operation. However, a separate application for each separately assessed parcel must be made. A single operation is one distinct agricultural business enterprise.

When should I file my agricultural exemption?

Agricultural exemptions can be filed at any time of the year but are due for the current year of filing by March 1 with an annual renewal.  If you know you will be filing for an agricultural exemption on property in Delaware County , you will need to contact the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District office for a Soil Group worksheet.  Please have a copy of your current tax bill (for each parcel) available when you call.

What is a soil group worksheet?

A soil group worksheet is generated by the Soil and Water Conservation District using our GIS information. First a soils map is produced. The soils map is generated using a digital ortho photo with the tax parcel outlined and any agricultural, non agricultural and woodland identified. The soils for the agricultural land are calculated and totaled for each soil type. These totals are used to complete the soil group worksheet which the assessor uses to figure the exemption.

Does the District file the worksheet?

No . The District does not file these worksheets with the assessor.  That is up to the landowner or their agent.  The worksheets require a landowner signature and the signature of the preparer.  We sign them as the preparer and maintain a copy in our records.  The worksheets take approximately one hour to prepare. When the worksheet is completed you may pick it up at our office.  Payment is expected at the time of pick up.

How do I contact the District?

Appointment can be made by phone at 607-865-7161.  The office is located at 44 West St., Suite 1 , Walton , NY 13856 . Office hours are Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

What is the fee for the worksheet?

Currently, our fee is $10.00 per parcel, payable by cash or by check made out to “Delaware County SWCD.”

Are there any restrictions if I get an exemption?

If the land is in an Agricultural District there is a five-year commitment to agricultural uses each time the exemption is taken. If the land is not in an Agricultural District there is an eight year commitment each time the exemption is taken. If the land is converted to non-agricultural uses within the commitment period a payment for conversion can be assessed. This payment could be equal to five times the taxes saved in the most recent year that the land received an agricultural assessment. In addition, interest of 6 percent per year compounded annually will be added to the payment amount for each year that the land received an agricultural assessment, not exceeding five years. When only a portion of a parcel is converted, the assessor apportions the assessment and the agricultural assessment and determines the tax savings attributable to the converted portion. The payment for conversion of the portion of the parcel is then computed.

90 Day Notice - Whenever a conversion occurs, the landowner shall notify the assessor within 90 days. Failure to notify may result in a penalty of two times the payments owed to a maximum of $500.

Back to Programs