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Agricultural District


Information for Placement of Farmland in an Agricultural District

WHO MAY FILE? Any owner of land used for agricultural production may file an application to have the land placed in an agricultural district.

WHERE TO FILE?
The completed application must be filed with the auditor of the county where the land is located. The applicant will be notified of action taker by the county auditor within 30 days of the filing of the application if the land is not within a municipal corporation or an annexation petition has not been filed. If the land for which an application has been made lies within a municipal corporation limit or if an annexation petition that includes the land has been filed with the Board of County Commissioners under Section 709.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, a copy of the application must also be filed with the Clerk of the legislative body of the municipal corporation. The legislative body is required to conduct a public hearing on the application within 30 days after the application has been filed with the Clerk. Within 30 days of the hearing, the legislative body may approve the application, modify and approve the application as modified, or reject the application.

WHEN TO FILE AND RENEWAL?
The original application may be filed at any time for placement of land in an agricultural district for a five-year period. If at the end of five years, the owner decides to keep some or all of his or her land in a district, he or she shall submit a renewal application and must meet the same land requirements and use the same application process as the original application. The renewal application may be filed at any time after the first Monday in January and prior to the first Monday in March of the year during which an agricultural district terminates, for a period of time ending on the first Monday in April of the fifth year following the renewal application.

WHAT IS "LAND USED FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION?"
In accordance with Section 929.01(A) of the Revised Code, land is devoted to "agricultural production" when it is used for commercial aquaculture, apiculture, animal husbandry, poultry husbandry; the production for a commercial purpose of field crops, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, timber, nursery stock, ornamental shrubs, ornamental trees; flowers or sod; the growth of timber for a noncommercial purpose if the land on which the timber is grown is contiguous to or part of a parcel of land under common ownership that is otherwise devoted exclusively to agricultural use; or any combination of such husbandry, production, or growth; and includes the processing, drying, storage and marketing of agricultural products when those activities are conducted in conjunction with such husbandry, production, or growth.

"Agricultural production" includes conservation practices provided that the tracts, lots, or parcels of the land or portions thereof that are used for conservation practices comprise not more than twenty-five percent of tracts, lots, or parcels of land that are otherwise devoted exclusively to agricultural use and for which an application is filed.

"Conservation practices" are practices used to abate soil erosion as required in the management of the farming operation, and include, but are not limited to, the installation, construction, development, planting, or use of grass waterways, terraces, diversions, filter strips, field borders, windbreaks, riparian buffers, wetlands, ponds, and cover crops for that purpose.

WHAT DOES "TRACTS. LOTS, OR PARCELS OF LAND" MEAN?
Tracts, lots, or parcels mean distinct portions of pieces of land (not necessarily contiguous) where the title is held by one owner, as listed on the tax list and duplicate of the county, is in agricultural production and conforms with the requirements of either 1, 2, or 3 below.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS?

  1. The land for which the application is made must have been used exclusively for agricultural production or devoted to and qualified for payments or other compensation under a land retirement or conservation program under an agreement with a federal agency for the three consecutive calendar years prior to the year in which application is made. Evidence must be shown on the application. If the land contains timber which is not being grown for commercial purposes the land on which the timber is growing must be contiguous to or part of a parcel under common ownership that is otherwise devoted exclusively to agricultural use.
  2. If the total amount of land for which application is made is less than 10 acres, there is an additional requirement that the applicant submit evidence with his application that the activities conducted on the land have produced an average yearly gross income of at least twenty-five hundred dollars over the three years immediately preceding the year in which application is made or that the land will produce an anticipated annual gross income of that amount.
  3. Evidence of annual gross income may be satisfied by attaching to the application form a short statement stating the number of animals by species and anticipated market value, number of acres of crops to be grown, their expected yield and price per bushel or similar specific information.

IS THERE A PENALTY FOR EARLY WITHDRAWAL?
Land removed from this program before the 5-year enrollment period is subject to penalty, per Section 929.02(D) of the Ohio Revised Code. See County Auditor's Office for details on how the amount of the withdrawal penalty is determined.

APPEAL OF APPLICATION
The applicant may appeal the denial of the application to the court of common pleas of the county in which the application was filed within thirty days of the receipt of the notice denying the application. When the land lies within a municipality the applicant may also appeal a decision to modify or reject an application to the court of common pleas of the county in which the application was filed within thirty days of the receipt of the notice of modification or rejection. In addition, the applicant may withdraw an application modified by a legislative body if he or she disapproves of the modifications.