One of Ohio’s greatest strengths is its agriculture. As a representative of the 31stSenate district, I have many constituents who form the backbone of this fundamental industry. Ohio owes much of its economy to its hardworking farmers. These folks understand the challenges of maintaining farms – some of which have been in their families for generations – while keeping up with economic shifts.
Recently, the farming community has been discussing the Commercial Agricultural Use Value program (CAUV), which is a formula that allows land used for commercial agriculture to be valued based on agricultural use of the land instead of its fair market value. This usually results in significantly lower real property taxes. CAUV value is calculated using soil type – each soil type has a “value per acre” association – and acreage.
This year, CAUV is a major topic of conversation for farming communities in Ohio. CAUV taxes have risen to what a lot of farmers consider unmanageable levels. I spoke with many farmers from my district who are worried about what the new rates would mean for their farms. In response, the Ohio Department of Taxation hosted a meeting of its Agricultural Advisory Committee on March 5, 2015. In a letter sent on March 23, the Department outlined its intent to administratively implement the Ohio Farm Bureau’s recommended improvements to the CAUV formula. These changes will go into effect this year, beginning with reappraisals and updates.
These administrative changes aim to help improve the accuracy of capitalization rates used in the CAUV formula, including woodland values, and will allow the use of more timely data when the formula is used so that rates respond to changes in the farm economy. The CAUV rates have served Ohio well over the past 40 years, but these improvements will go far to help modernize the program.
I understand the importance of making sure Ohio has the healthiest possible economic climate for our farmers, and I am encouraged by the changes that will be made in calculating CAUV rates. As the improvements are implemented and the review of the CAUV tax system continues, I am optimistic that as a state, we will work to ensure that Ohio’s agriculture continues to grow and thrive.