As a farmer in rural Ohio for over 30 years, I have a unique perspective on the state of the agriculture industry in Ohio. I try to bring that experience to discussions at the Ohio Statehouse about legislation that will support agriculture and bolster the farming community. Not only do our farmers contribute to overall safety and security by producing nutritious food, but agriculture remains one of Ohio’s biggest providers of jobs, employing approximately one out of every seven Ohioans.
It is because of those reasons that it’s vital the state encourages policies to benefit this ever-important industry, without which our families would suffer from food insecurities and a lack of fulfilling and healthy food. Recently, the legislature passed the biennial state operating budget, our funding plan for the next two years. In the budget, we made significant moves to modernize the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV), changing the formula to provide our farmers with property tax relief.
In recent years, farmers have been experiencing property values increasing by upwards of 300 percent with farm income at its second-lowest level since the 1920s. This exponential increase has had a very negative impact on the agriculture community, putting an unfair and inaccurate tax on the most important component of a farmer’s business, their land. Through the measures included in the budget bill, the CAUV will be calculated to reflect the current farm economy.
The CAUV formula will now use an equity rate that evaluates farm economy based on information disseminated from the United States Department of Agriculture. It will change the capitalization rate, thereby lowering property values and giving farmers more dispensation upon a true value of agricultural use. Most notably, this change will have a minimal impact on Ohio’s schools and local governments.
At the end of the day, the modernization of the formula used to determine property values and taxes for farmland is a rather technical fix to a great problem that the agriculture industry has been dealing with. This change will make a tremendous difference to the farming community, allowing Ohio’s farmers to be able to afford the land that has been in their families for generations and provide families with abundant food for years to come.