Agricultural or Wildlife Exemption: Which Option is Right for Your Needs?
Landowners in Texas have a variety of ways to take advantage of favorable 1-d-1 open spaces land appraisal. Two of the more popular options are agricultural (“ag”) and wildlife management exemptions. Both options help property owners stay on their property, but there are a few important similarities and differences that should be mentioned.
- Both are legitimate land uses requiring active management.
- Property tax rates under both ag and wildlife appraiser are identical, with taxes paid usually around $1-$2 per acre each year.
- County appraisal districts (CADs) administer agriculture and wildlife appraisals and CADS often require proof of eligibility at regular intervals.
- Income generation is a possibility with either form of valuation – livestock and/or crops may be sold and wildlife land may be leased for hunting/camping/nature tourism.
Agriculture Exemption Wildlife Exemption
- Landowners must produce food or fiber to the level of intensity that is typical for the area. Appraisal districts determine livestock stocking rates and crop production minimums.
- For properties with livestock, fencing and water troughs need to be maintained.
- Ag uses may involve significant expenditures including fencing, supplemental feeding, veterinary services, livestock purchase, equipment, etc.
- If the land does not have a form of 1-d-1 open spaces appraisal, landowners must devote the land to ag production for five years before applying.
- Landowners may have livestock or produce some type of crop on their property, but they are not required to do so.
- With wildlife management, there are no fencing requirements. Land may have no fence, a standard livestock fence, or a high fence.
- Budget to implement wildlife practices can be as low as a few hundred dollars per year.
- Property must have an agricultural valuation first before it can be converted to wildlife. With few exceptions, land cannot convert directly from market valuation to wildlife.
- Without livestock grazing, native grasses and wildflowers flourish, improving property aesthetics, wildlife values, and property enjoyment.
If you have any questions about which exemption better fits your needs, please do not hesitate to give us a call. Our biologists and property tax consultants are here to help.