Priced for hay, not houses

South Dakota State Roundup

Published March 1, 2007  | March 2007 issue

Property tax relief may be coming to farmers, particularly those near larger cities seeing big increases in land prices.

Under a proposal being considered (as of early February) by the South Dakota Legislature, property taxes on farmland would be established according to the land's value in agricultural production rather than on market value. The matter is one of the top legislative priorities for the South Dakota Farm Bureau, according to its Web site.

This method is already used in a number of states, including several in the district. The method has a dramatic effect on a farmer's tax bill, because agricultural and market value of the same piece of land can differ by three- to fivefold, possibly more depending on location. (For more information on the program's effect in other states, see the article "Wide open spaces").

Ronald A. Wirtz