Qualification Of Land Under Section 1-D-1 (Open-Space)
The Texas Constitution permits special agricultural appraisal only if land and its owner meet specific requirements defining farm and ranch use. Land will not qualify simply because it is rural or has some connection with agriculture. Casual uses do not constitute agriculture, for example a home vegetable garden. This is not considered an agricultural enterprise.
Section 23.51 of the Property Tax Code defines agricultural open space land as “…. being currently devoted principally to agricultural use to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area.”
Agricultural use includes but is not limited to the following activities: cultivating the soil, producing crops for human food, animal feed, planting seed, or for the production of fiber; floriculture, viticulture, and horticulture; raising or keeping livestock; raising or keeping exotic animals for the production of human food, fiber, leather, pelts, or other tangible products having a commercial value; and planting cover crops or leaving the land idle for the purpose of participating in any governmental program or normal crop or livestock rotation procedure. The term also includes the use of land to produce or harvest logs and posts for the use in constructing or repairing fences, pens, barns, or other agricultural improvements on adjacent qualified open-space land having the same owner and devoted to a different agricultural use.
The land must be currently devoted PRINCIPALLY to agricultural use
The land must be devoted to an agricultural use to a degree of intensity that is typical in an area but is not abusive to the land or the vegetation. Overgrazing and abuse of a tract of land not meeting the typically accepted land stewardship practices will lead to a review of the 1-d-1 classification and that classification may be removed at the discretion of the Chief Appraiser.
The land must have been used principally for agriculture or timber production for any five of the preceding seven years. Land within the boundaries of a city must have been devoted principally to agriculture use continuously for the preceding five years.
The owner must file a valid application form in a timely manner.
Current devotion to agricultural use
The term “currently devoted”, as applied here, means that the land must qualify on January 1. In the event that agricultural use is not evident on January 1, the Chief Appraiser should grant productivity valuation if the owner can show evidence that the land will be put into agricultural use and that agriculture will be the primary use for the majority of the calendar year.
Degree of Intensity
The degree of intensity will vary according to the type of agricultural enterprise and with the natural resources of an area. Kendall County has four major soil series and 19 soil types. The series and soil type play a significant role in determining an areas agricultural production capability. Such things as soil depth, soil texture, and soil structure all play an integral part in the amount of forage produced and therefore the amount of vegetation that should be utilized. Stewardship can be defined as the wise use of a natural resource. Stewardship of the land is a must for all agricultural operations. Land abuse is unacceptable and can result in the land losing the 1-d-1 classification.
It is important to contact and speak with the County Appraisal District to verify the requirements to maintain the ag exemption as certain aspects can vary from one county to the next.
*** Information Source: Kendall County Appraisal District