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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 80

Opinions of Counsel index

Agricultural exemption (acreage requirement) (portion of tract used for farming) - Agriculture and Markets Law, §§ 305, 306:

An agricultural value assessment may be available on land actually cultivated, as well as pasture land, and would also include land devoted to the support of productive agricultural lands which are completely integrated therein such as windbreaks, access roads, drainage ditches, hedgerows, etc. Uncultivated farmlands and lands devoted to forest or woodland production per se would not be eligible for an agricultural value assessment.

Our opinion has been requested concerning the Agricultural Districts Law (Article 25AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law), specifically as to whether an owner of a 200 acre tract of which only 100 acres are in agricultural production with a gross annual sales value of $10,000 may qualify for an agricultural value assessment on the entire 200 acre tract.

Article 25AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law requires that to be eligible for an agricultural value assessment on lands used in agricultural production, the applicant must own at least 10 acres of land, used in the preceding two years for the production for sale of eligible agricultural products, producing a gross sales value of $10,000 per year averaged over the two preceding years. Such land must also either be located within an established agricultural district or be subject to an individual eight-year commitment to continued agricultural production (Agriculture and Markets Law, §§ 305, 306).

The provisions of this law specifically provide that an agricultural value assessment is available on lands used in agricultural production. This includes land actually cultivated, as well as pasture land, and would also include land devoted to the support of productive agricultural lands and completely integrated therein, such as windbreaks, access roads, drainage ditches, hedgerows, etc. Wood or forest products are not eligible as agricultural products pursuant to the statute, and therefore any lands devoted to forest or woodland production per se would not be eligible for an agricultural value assessment. Likewise, uncultivated farmlands that have not been used in the preceding two years for the production of agricultural products are not eligible for an agricultural value assessment. Thus, to use the present factual situation, the landowner, upon demonstrating that the 100 acres actually used in agricultural production satisfy the requirements of this law, would qualify for an agricultural value assessment on the 100 acres. Whether or not he would qualify for an agricultural value assessment on all or a portion of the remaining 100 acres would depend upon whether such lands were necessary to or completely integrated in the agricultural operation.

March 19, 1975

NOTE:  Construes law prior to L.1978, c.241.

Updated: