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Volume 1 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 3

Opinions of Counsel index

Farm exemption (agricultural use) - Real Property Tax Law, § 483:

The “started pullet operation” (the raising of chicks from one-day old to egg-producing age) is an “agricultural use” since the operation is an essential step in the production of eggs, and the structures and buildings essential to such use qualify for exemption.

Section 483 of the Real Property Tax Law provides a five-year exemption for any increase in value to a farm caused by reason of the construction or reconstruction of certain structures and buildings essential to the operation of lands actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use. The structures or buildings must be essential to the operation of lands which have been actively devoted to bona fide agricultural and horticultural production for a period of not less than two consecutive years prior to the date of application.

A question has been raised as to whether a “started pullet operation” (the raising of chicks from one-day old to egg producing age) is an “agricultural use” under section 483 of the Real Property Tax Law.

“Agriculture” has been defined as follows:

“The art or science of cultivating the ground, including harvesting of crops and rearing and management of livestock. In its more common and appropriate sense, it has been said, the word ‘agriculture’ is used to signify that species of cultivation which is intended to raise grain and other field crops for man and beast; it has been said to signify especially cultivation with the plow and in large areas to raise food for man and beast.” (3 C.J.S., Agriculture § 1 (1936).)

Assuming that the remaining requirements of section 483 are satisfied, chicken coops used to house mature, egg-laying chickens are exempt pursuant to section 483. Commercial egg production comes within the meaning of “the management of livestock * * * to raise food for man”. According to our information, the started pullet operation is a traditional and essential step in this production. Accordingly, it is our opinion that the started pullet operation is an agricultural use and the structures and buildings essential to such use qualify for exemption.

May 28, 1970

Updated: