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pike doctor

GREEN ACRES = BAD FOR WILDLIFE??

13 posts in this topic

I don't claim to be an expert on this, but here goes.

I live in McLeod county, and I have noticed quite a few people around the area chopping down trees on their property. I told my uncle (a farmer) about this and asked him what was going on. According to him, the new GREEN ACRES taxes laws that were passed last year have a lot to do with this. Somehow if you have trees, swap and CRP land in the country (acreage) they came up with some new tax laws to in the state legislature to increase your property value. My uncle rents a neighbor's 160 acre farm. There is about 75 tillable acres. The rest is swap, CRP and trees. Let me tell you, it is prime wildlife habitat! This guy's market value went from 400k to over 820k in one year. He is about ready to swing from a rope because he doesn't know how he can afford the taxes.

But, if the land is considered tillable then the taxes aren't so bad. He has asked us to cut down some trees, he wants to plow the CRP, and he would love to drain the low ground. I have seen quite a few other guys chopping down there groves and other trees so they can farm the land.

Early in the legislative session I saw a bill proposed by Bruce Anderson of Buffalo to immediately repeal Green Acres, but the DFL majority squashed it in committee. In the mean time all of the new property tax statements went out and I am seeing lots of landowners do everything to clear-cut and tile their land.

This can't be good for wildlife. Hopefully somebody that knows more than me will chime in and talk about this. I just thought it was really poorly handled by the DFL majority, and while they are trying to "fix" the problem thousands of trees are being sawed down. Cryin shame if you ask me.

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Pike, not only bad for Wildlife, but it's also how the "Dust bowl" started from everyone clearing the wind breaks! They should be giving people a Tax break for being GREEN if they have trees! smile

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I agree with Leech, you should get a tax break to have your land where you can't use it for farming. It's good for everyone. Gov't hard at work once again huh?

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I'm pretty sure on most set-aside acres, you sign a contract with the Gov't that it's got to be "set-aside" and not farmed, but maintained for weeds and such, for X amount of years. I know there were alot of acres coming up on their term, I'm guessing those landowners that are cutting and plowing have opted to turn those acres back into production. Can't say I blame them, cash rents have gone up alot since they first signed it up, and I for one, would be hesitant to sign a contract with the Gov't the way they are " dish'n out the dollars" these days. (Sorry, we gave your pmt to GM). Any way you look at it, it's a bad deal for wildlife.

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Its bad for wildlife and its a sneaky way to gain tax revanue but lets be fair about valuing ones land if that land is no longer farm land why should it still be taxed as though it was. I would love to own 100 acres of land and have beautiful landscape and wildlife and have my land devalued so I don't have to pay the same tax than that guy that bought land and built on it and valued 120,000 for 1 acre in a spread out development.

The loop hole just was taken away at the expense of wildlife. Maybe donate that land to the state as a WMA and they wont have to pay the tax on it but you still have it in your back yard.

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You do make some valid points Curt. I still would say if they are maintaining it for wildlife, they should get some kind of tax break. I guess you're danged if you do and danged if you don't.

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Yeah, they should get some tax breaks for their efforts but how do we make it some what fair. I am sure lots of this land out there is probably being over valued and that's where a model of creating the value should be in place and this tax should be stayed until the tax model is figured out. And also give time to land owners to decide what they want to do.

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Here is a copy of a briefing I received a couple of weeks ago regarding Green Acres. These changes addressed many of the concerns of farm groups.

HF 392 went to Conference Committee, where it passed with some amendments. Last week the House passed the conference committee report 130-3, and the Senate passed it 59-5. The bill is now awaiting the Governor’s signature. HF 392 conforms state tax code with several changes made to the federal tax code and contains changes to Green Acres.

The following are some key points of the Green Acres amendments.

• All land currently enrolled in Green Acres will continue to get the same tax treatment it received for property taxes payable in 2009 until it is sold or the 2013 property tax assessment year, whichever is earlier. When this trigger is reached, “non-productive,” Class 2b, agland will no longer be eligible for Green Acres tax treatment but will need to be enrolled in a new Rural Preserves Property Tax (RPPT) program for landowners to receive essentially the same tax benefits as Green Acres but with different enrollment conditions.

• Land sold or otherwise transferred to a son or daughter will continue to be eligible for Green Acres tax treatment.

• Land enrolled in conservation programs such as Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) will continue to be eligible for Green Acres tax treatment.

• Land coming out of Green Acres will be subject to the three-year payback of deferred taxes.

• Class 2a agricultural land must also include any property that would otherwise be classified as 2b, including but not limited to sloughs, wooded wind shelters, acreage abutting ditches, ravines, rock piles and other similar land that is impractical for the assessor to value separately from the rest of the property or that is unlikely to be able to be sold separately from the rest of the property.

A new RPPT is established:

• There is a 10-acre minimum requirement to enroll land in RPPT.

• Land classified as 2b is eligible for enrollment in the RPPT program. Class 2b land is rural vacant land not used for agricultural purposes including land used for growing trees, basically the “non-productive” agricultural land.

• Land enrolled in RPPT must have an approved conservation management plan. The Board of Water Soil Resources (BWSR) will develop guidelines for plan development and approval. The County Soil and Water Conservation Districts will approve plans.

• The landowner must record a covenant on their land.

• Land must be enrolled for a minimum of ten years. Landowners must wait four years before applying to withdraw from the program. They must wait five years before they can withdraw from the program. Once land is withdrawn landowners must wait three years to reapply to reenter the program.

• Land coming out of RPPT is subject to three-year payback of deferred taxes.

• Land enrolled in RPPT is assessed at a range of values no greater then tillable agland.

• There is a 50% rule for land in RPPT, which basically means the acres of land enrolled in RPPT cannot exceed the number of class 2a acres enrolled in Green Acres.

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Does this make it easier for a home owner that has some acreage to enroll in a conservation program as long as you have a minimum of 10 acres classified as 2b for RPPT.

Anybody know if there is a percentage of land one must have, if there is a requirement, that cant be enrolled in a conservation program to be able to enroll the minimum 10 acres. I'm not sure if that came out coherent or not.

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The conservation programs are administered through the FSA office, with eligibility being set by the NRCS. I would check with them first. Here is what I found on the USDA FSA HSOforum...

For CRP:

Eligible Producers

To be eligible for CRP enrollment, a producer must have owned or operated the land for at least 12 months prior to close of the CRP sign-up period, unless:

The new owner acquired the land due to the previous owner's death;

The ownership change occurred due to foreclosure where the owner exercised a timely right or redemption in accordance with state law; or

The circumstances of the acquisition present adequate assurance to FSA that the new owner did not require the land for the purpose of placing it in CRP.

Eligible Land

To be eligible for placement in CRP, land must be either:

Cropland (including field margins) that is planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity 4 of the previous 6 crop years from 1996 to 2001, and which is physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity; or

Certain marginal pastureland that is suitable for use as a riparian buffer or for similar water quality purposes.

For CREP:

CREP is convenient for producers because it is based on the familiar, highly successful CRP model. Land must be owned or leased for at least one year prior to enrollment to be eligible, and must be physically and legally capable of being cropped in a normal manner.

Land must also meet cropping history and other eligibility requirements. Enrollment can be on a continuous basis, permitting farmers and ranchers to join the program at any time rather than waiting for specific sign-up periods.

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Thanks fishinchicks for the info you have given.

I'm glad the state is trying to fix the problem they caused.

Now from my understanding the state is trying to revert back to protect the bennies of conservation programs, witch is all in good, but the land owners homestead next to the conservation land that he owns goes up in value because if its not enrolled in the program but benefiting from said land. Sounds fair to me if I understand it correctly. Eventually I will understand it may take time but I will. grin

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Eventually I will understand it may take time but I will. grin

There are a lot of people writing legislation regarding conservation programs that don't have a clue what they are doing, or the impact of their decisions. shockedgrin

Our best resources in the rural areas are the SWCD, NRCS, and FSA offices. They are the ones who will know about all the programs, rules, or projects that are specific to your county. Without them, I don't think anyone would understand all the different stuff the government throws at us!

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Chicks, it takes an educated farmer like yourself to help non-farmers understand all the things the fedrl gubmint doesn't understand about farming. My grandpa/grandma were Wisconsin dairy farmers. I grew up on that farm and covered farming issues in the '90s for newspapers, but that all seems like a long time ago, and I'm no longer familiar with all the alphabet soup our government pretends is wisdom. CRP is about all I know anymore from the old days. confused

Thanks for your continued perspectives and insight. Keep on sluggin! smilesmile

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