Oneida County Farmland Protection
Agricultural Value Assessment
Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is an Agricultural Land Value Assessment?
It's a property tax reduction based on the productivity of a farm's soils as well as other financial information about the farm. (Note: The Ag Value Assessment reduces taxes only on qualifying farmland, not on structures; for information on tax benefits for farm structures see the Farm Building Exemption Brochure)
2. Who qualifies for an Ag Value Assessment?
Farmers who own at least 7 acres of land dedicated to agricultural production and have a minimum of $10,000 gross sales. Non-farmers who rent their land to farmers can also qualify for the program. If you're renting your land to a farmer, you must have a signed rental agreement with the farmer to qualify for the program.
3. What is a "farm"?
For the purposes of the Ag Value Assessment program, a farm is defined as an agricultural operation that grosses at least $10,000 per year from the sale of agricultural products for at least 2 years. Start up operations may also qualify. Please call the OCSWCD office at (315) 736-3334 or speak to your assessor with questions about eligibility.
4. Do I have to be in an Agricultural District to qualify for the Agricultural Assessment?
No! Agricultural Assessment and Agricultural Districts are two separate programs. You must meet the criteria for land use and gross sales to qualify for the agricultural assessment.
5. Do I really have to go to Utica to get maps and then come to the SWCD office?
No! OCSWCD has the tax parcel and soil maps in their office so all you need to do is call them a (315) 736-3334 and provide your name, address, phone number, tax parcel ID number(s) and acreage for each parcel.
6. Does the OCSWCD have to come to my property and map my soils>
No. Soils have been mapped by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service's Soil Scientists and OCSWCD has the soil maps for each parcel on file.
7. Does the OCSWCD do all of the paperwork for the Ag Value Assessment?
No. Using the information you provide, OCSWCD will prepare the Soil Group Worksheet that is required for Ag Value Assessment. If you decide to apply, you'll also need to obtain a form RP-305 from your town's assessor (or download it here) and fill out the financial data about your property. If you're renting your property to a farmer, you'll need the signed rental agreement as well as the financial information. Make an appointment with your town assessor to file the completed paperwork.
8. Is forestland eligible?
If your farmland otherwise qualifies, up to 50 acres of the woodlot/woodland are eligible for inclusion in the ag assessment. Anything above 50 acres is categorized as Excess Farm Woodland. Lots that are entirely wooded are not eligible for the ag assessment but may be eligible for DEC's Forestry Tax Law (480A) program.
9. What's the timeframe for the Soil Group Worksheet for ag assessment?
Starting in December, OCSWCD will take the information from landowners. In January, they will recieve updated soil group values from New York State, and will finish the worksheets. In most towns, the "taxable date" is March 1st. Get your paperwork on file well before that date in order to have the ag assessment reflected on your next tax bill.
10. Where can I get more information about Ag Value Assessments and Agricultural Districts?
Visit the Oneida County Farmland Protection page here, or contact the Oneida County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) office at (315) 736-3334.
(Thanks to Jo-Anne Humphreys, Oneida County Soil & Water Conservation District - OCSWCD)