By: Justin Bryan
There is no question that the demographics of rural land ownership continues to change. Where we were once largely an agrarian society with each of us having some ties to a farm or ranch, it is no longer the case as more of us completely live an urban life. Yet the desire to own a farm or especially a beautiful ranch, is still very much in the minds of most of us.
For many new ranch owners, they desire the property but prefer to avoid the ownership of their own livestock herd and/or coping with grazing leases. It’s not that they don’t understand the value of livestock, they just choose not to oversee the issues involved with livestock. Instead their goals tend to revolve around increasing the abundance and health of native vegetation, being able to view a diversity of wildlife, and reinvigorating riparian/stream and fishery ecosystems. In other words, their primary use of the land is managing it for wild things.
Historically in Texas, appraisal districts and appraised land operating with a livestock business qualify for a tax rate lower than other properties. These are known as 1-d-1 appraisals. A 1-d-1 valuation rate was not in place for those ranch owners who possessed little interest in livestock yet valued and actively invested time, money and labor into the enhancement of rangelands, forests, deserts, wetlands, wildlife, and fisheries.
Understanding that the demographics of rural land ownership in Texas was and is changing, and more importantly to support the continued landowner efforts to ecologically care for these properties, the Texas voters approved Proposition 11 in 1995. This amended 1-d-1 of the Texas Constitution thus: “to permit productivity appraisal for land used to manage wildlife.” This was followed by House Bill 1358, “adding wildlife management as an agricultural use that qualifies the land for agricultural (productivity) appraisal.” At that point, if the primary use of the land is managing for wildlife, the land could potentially qualify for the 1-d-1 valuation rate. The passage of Proposition 11 opened the doors for landowners to maintain the 1-d-1 valuation rate by actively managing for wildlife and without the responsibility of livestock.
REQUIREMENTS TO QUALIFY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT USE
- The land must have been qualified and appraised as 1-d-1 agricultural land in the year prior to conversion to wildlife management use.
- Land must be used to generate a sustaining breeding, migrating or wintering population of indigenous wild animals.
- The indigenous wildlife populations must be produced for human use.
APPLICATION TO QUALIFY FOR WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT USE
- The landowner must submit a wildlife management plan to the chief tax appraiser in the county between January 1 and April 30 of the tax year.
- The landowner must perform 3 of the 7 management practices each year.
- Habitat Control (Management)
- Erosion Control
- Predator Control (Management)
- Providing Supplemental Supplies of Water
- Providing Supplemental Supplies of Food
- Providing Shelter
- Making Census Counts to Determine Population
For more detailed information or assistance with the agricultural tax valuation for wildlife use, feel free to contact us at Hall and Hall Farm and Ranch Management Services: Justin Bryan ([email protected]).
Additional information regarding the wildlife valuation can be found at: http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/proptax/pdf/96-354.pdf or http://forages.tamu.edu/PDF/Wildlife%20Management%20as%20Agricultural%20Use%20for%20Property%20Tax%20Valuation%20in%20Texas.pdf