Agricultural Property Information

We have some useful information about Agricultural Property. Select any of the links below to get more information.

What is Agricultural Property?

Pursuant to Florida Statutes 193.461 (3) (a), “No lands shall be classified as agriculture lands unless an application is filed on or before March 1st each year.” Only lands used for Bona fide agricultural purposes shall be classified agricultural. “Bona fide agricultural purposes” means good faith commercial use of the land. 12D-5.001 Agriculture Classification, Definition is the pursuit of an agriculture activity, for a reasonable profit. January 1st is the statutory assessment date; therefore, in order for property to be considered for agricultural classification, it must be in use as of January 1st each year.

These guidelines, while specific are still “guidelines.” The granting or denying of all or part of a particular application for Agricultural Classification is a decision made after analyzing the entirety of the relevant facts and circumstances utilizing Florida Statute 193.461 and applicable case law. The following list may not include all the guidelines. No final decision will be made on an application for agricultural application until all information relating to the application is submitted and reviewed, the property has been inspected, and final analysis of the factors set forth in Florida Statue 193.461 has been performed in relation to the specific facts, and circumstances disclosed by such information and inspection. January 1st is the statutory assessment date and a reasonable effort must be made to obtain, or maintain, Agricultural Classification. Under no circumstances shall an agricultural classification be granted prior to completion of this final analysis, made by the Highlands County Property Appraiser's office.

Appraisals will be done on a case by case basis, and all final decisions pertaining to Agricultural Classification will be made by the Highlands County Property Appraisers office.

It is the responsibility of the landowner to make sure that the intended agricultural use complies with all state, county and municipal codes, ordinances and deed restrictions.

How to Apply for Agricultural Classification of Lands

The Application for Agricultural Classification of Lands is available below. You may fill it out then print it and mail it to the Highlands County Property Appraiser's Office or you may print it out, complete it by hand and then mail it in. The application is also available at our office where it can be completed.

The Guidelines for Agriculture Classification of Lands are available below for review. Please take a moment to look these over as they can assist you with questions you may have about applying for Agriculture Classification.

CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION

The following are guidelines Only and are applied on a case by case basis.

Hay

Five Contiguous Acre Minimum

Property used exclusively for production and harvesting of hay should be large enough to sustain commercial hay production. Hayfields shall be intensely managed for maximum forage production and be planted with grasses, which are suitable for hay production. Sales receipts for hay must be submitted as well as documentation of fertilization and herbicide expenses. Commercial hayfields must be fertilized and baled a minimum of 2 times per year.

Timber

Five Contiguous Acre Minimum

Timber operations require a timber management plan and must be a large enough parcel to be considered for agricultural classification. Proper care and management must be evident that an effort has been made to care sufficiently and adequately for the land in accordance with accepted commercial agricultural practices, including, without limitation, fertilizing, liming, tilling, mowing, replanting, and any other accepted agricultural practices.

Row Crops

Five Contiguous Acre Minimum

The term "Row Crops" is used in reference to those agricultural products referred to as vegetables. If property is leased, the lease must be in effect on or before January 1st of year applying for agricultural classification. Expenses of caretaking cost must accompany the application. Proper care and management must be evident that an effort has been made to care sufficiently and adequately for the land in accordance with accepted commercial agricultural practices, including, without limitation, fertilizing, liming, tilling, mowing, replanting, and any other accepted agricultural practices.

Citrus

One Acre Minimum @ 100 Trees per Acre

Land must be planted or a contract on new trees prior to January 1st of application year. If you are planting a new citrus grove a copy of your citrus tree contract with proof of deposit must accompany your application. Expenses of caretaking cost must accompany the application. Proper care and management must be evident that an effort has been made to care sufficiently and adequately for the land and trees in accordance with accepted commercial agricultural practices, including, without limitation, fertilizing, liming, tilling, mowing, replanting, and any other accepted agricultural practices.

Nursery / Tree Farms

One Acre Minimum

Nurseries shall have state agricultural certificates and will be on the wholesale level only. Only areas that are used for production shall be classified agricultural. Tree farms shall have nursery stock on contract on or before January 1st of each year and property shall be prepared for planting of nursery stock. Nurseries and Tree Farms must have proper care and management. It must be evident that an effort has been made to care sufficiently and adequately for the land in accordance with accepted commercial agricultural practices including, without limitation, fertilizing, liming, tilling, mowing, replanting, and any other accepted agricultural practices.

Horse Breeding/Boarding

Five Contiguous Acre Minimum

Brood mares should be in production, and a copy of sales of foals, or stud fees paid, must accompany your application. Horses for pleasure will not qualify for agricultural classification. If property is used for boarding/lease, a copy of your boarding/lease agreement must accompany your application, and shall be in effect on or before January 1st of each year and profit and loss statement to determine if this is a commercial operation. Proper care and management must be evident that an effort has been made to care sufficiently and adequately for the land in accordance with accepted commercial agricultural practices, including, without limitation, fertilizing, liming, tilling, mowing, replanting, and any other accepted agricultural practices.

Livestock / Land Leases

Five Contiguous Acre Minimum

If property is leased, the lease must be in effect on or prior to January 1st of year applying for agricultural classification. A current copy of lease must accompany the application indicating terms, and not limited to length of time property is leased for, and the price paid per acre, month, or year of the lease. Copy of Profit and Loss statement must accompany your application. Proper care and management must be evident that an effort has been made to care sufficiently and adequately for the land in accordance with accepted commercial agricultural practices, including, without limitation, fertilizing, liming, tilling, mowing, replanting, and any other accepted agricultural practices. The number of livestock that are on the property and the carrying capacity of the property will determine if parcel is a commercial operation.

Production of livestock for personal use, and or pets will not qualify.

Miscellaneous Agriculture

Apiaries, fish hatcheries, exotic fruits, and all other miscellaneous agriculture will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Only that part of a parcel that is being used or in production can be classified agriculture.