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Agricultural Classification

The Agricultural Classification, commonly referred to as the "green belt" assessment, while not an exemption, may result in lower property tax bills for qualified property owners. The agricultural use classification should not be confused with zoning. If your land is used for a bona fide commercially viable operation producing an agricultural product that is actively marketed, you may request an agricultural filing at the Property Appraiser's Office.

The agricultural classification is available for land that meets the requirements as set forth under applicable statutes, rules, and regulations.

Specifically, pursuant to Florida Statute 193.461 (3)(a) "Lands may not  be classified as agricultural lands unless a return is filed on or before March 1st of each year…”, and (3) (b)”Only lands that are used primarily for bona fide agricultural purpose shall be classified agricultural." "The term ’bona fide agricultural purposes’ means good faith commercial agricultural use of the land”. Florida Administrative Code (rules promulgated by the State of Florida, Department of Revenue Rule 12D-51.001 Classified Use Real Property Guidelines can be found at https://floridarevenue.com/property/Documents/FLag.pdf.  Note that this document is listed as out-of-date by the Department of Revenue, but they have not yet published an updated version.

The initial requirement to qualify for an agricultural classification, is that the lands to be considered for agricultural classification must be used primarily for bona fide commercial agricultural purposes on January 1st of the year of application. In addition, a completed agricultural classification application must be filed with the Property Appraiser's Office by the March 1st deadline. A completed application includes all appropriate documentation to support the application, including but not limited to leases, certifications, income and expense records, etc.

Listed below are some general guidelines for how this office reviews the applications and determines eligibility. These general guidelines should not be considered solely definitive; minimum and maximum limits below are guidelines. Each application is individually reviewed for a determination. In all cases, agricultural solely for personal use is not considered a bona fide commercial operation.

Citrus Land is typically a minimum of 5 acres in size and land must be planted according to generally accepted citrus farming schedules. Proper care and management must be evident. A description of the variety, plantings and trees per acre must be on file with the Property Appraiser's Office. Production of citrus solely for your own use does not qualify as a commercial operation.

Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP) – View the policy of the Sarasota County Property Appraisers Office regarding the assessment procedure for the appraisal of citrus groves and citrus lands under the Citrus Health Response Program as defined in Rule 5B-63.001 of the Florida Administrative Code.

Pasture Land should be a minimum of 10 acres in size or used in conjunction with other parcels of the same owner. Property must be fenced, and it should be evident that the land is maintained and cared for sufficiently (e.g., fertilizing, liming, mowing, etc.). The ratio of livestock to acreage and the soil capability are factors that are considered in granting the classification. For example, one cow on one acre is typically not a bona fide commercial operation, while 50 cows on 100 acres could be. Production of livestock solely for your own use does not qualify as a commercial operation. If the property is leased, it must first meet the size requirements on its own, and the lease and the agricultural use must be in place on January 1st. A copy of the lease must be on file with the Property Appraiser's office.

Timber Operations requires implementation of a management plan typically covering 10 acres of planted pine or 30 acres of predominately natural stand (this applies to both hard wood and mixed tracts). A copy of the management plan must be filed with the Property Appraiser's Office.

Apiaries: Please visit "What you need to know-Bees and Apiaries" regarding general information when applying for bee/apiary classification.

Aquaculture: Shrimp farms, tropical fish farms, and other miscellaneous aquaculture, raised in either natural or artificial conditions, for human or domestic animal consumption typically requires a one-acre minimum. Production of any of these solely for personal use does not qualify as a commercial operation.

Crop Land: Crops such as hay, wheat, corn, or other field crops should be a minimum of 10 acres in size. Other crops such as peppers, cabbage, vegetables, etc. should be a minimum of 5 acres in size. Production of crops and vegetables solely for your own use does not qualify as a commercial operation. If the property is leased, it must first meet size requirements on its own, and the lease and use must be in effect on January 1st. A copy of the lease must be on file with the Property Appraiser's Office.

Horses: There should be at least 4 breeding horses (of which 3 must be brood mares) or at least 4 boarding horses (leases for all boarding horses must be on file with the Property Appraiser's Office). The property must be fenced and a facility for breeding or boarding is required. The ratio of animals to acreage is a factor in granting this classification. Other documentation may be required. Typically, one grazing horse does not constitute a bona fide agricultural use.

Nursery Land: An above ground (e.g., potted, containers, hanging, etc.) or in ground (e.g., palm trees, oak trees, ornamentals or any marketable trees etc.) water source, or setup with irrigation is required. Only areas actually being used for the nursery and service area shall be considered for agricultural classification. Personal nurseries and gardens do not qualify for the agricultural classification. Wholesale nurseries must have a State of Florida Certificate of Nursery Registration on file with this office. Other documentation may be required for this classification.

Other classifications will be handled on a case-by-case basis (e.g., poultry, swine, rabbits etc.). Please feel free to contact this office with any questions you have regarding other classifications.

Other Information

The agricultural classification is a benefit to property owners that results in a value based upon agricultural use; this value is typically less than the parcel would be valued without the classification. Once granted, the parcel is valued pursuant to Section 193.461 (6) Florida Statutes.

When property receiving an agricultural classification contains a residence under the same ownership, the portion of the property consisting of the residence and curtilage must be assessed separately to be entitled to the "Save Our Homes" assessment limitation. More information can be found in Florida Statute 193.461 (3)(d). Curtilage is typically defined as the land area immediately around the residence and routinely is one acre or less.

Contact Information

Sarasota County Property Appraiser
Attn: Agriculture Department
2001 Adams Ln
Sarasota FL 34237

Phone: (941) 861-8200

Other questions?  Please visit our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about Agricultural Use page

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