In Wyoming, land meeting the criteria for agricultural classification is assessed based on the land’s productive capabilities under normal conditions. Landowners must complete a sworn affidavit stating the land meets the legal requirements for such classification.
Annually, the Wyoming Department of Revenue (DOR) receives data about the market price of hay and the lease rate for grazing lands. Then, by weighing a five-year average of those prices and by utilizing income formula, they determine a range of values per acre for different soil types. Because hay and pasture prices have been so high while interest rates have been so low, 2014 productivity values have increased. In April of 2013, the DOR issued a 2014 estimated increase in irrigated land of 44% and an estimated average of 16% increase on pasture land. In an effort to make you aware of the forecasted increase, I included that information in the 2013 newsletter that was mailed with your assessment schedule. Though the 2014 final productivity values did increase, rising interest rates in 2013 prevented the values from going as high as was predicted. Nevertheless, as you plan for 2014 tax payments, you should be aware that the DOR issued value for irrigated land is increasing by 38% and pasture land is increasing an average of 12%.
I realize that although some producers sell hay and pasture and have, therefore, benefited from high sales prices, for most producers in Sublette County, these increases have the effect of penalizing those who are already faced with increased operating expenses, due to the need to purchase hay and pasture at the high rates. My concern over this issue led me to attend the Ag Land Committee Meeting, held in August in Cheyenne, so that I could hear what they had to say about the current method of valuing these lands. This committee includes representatives from the Wheat and Stock Growers Associations, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, and the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federations. These, your representatives, felt that the current method of arriving at productivity values for taxation, though high this year, is the most appropriate method. They felt that this method is generally pretty stable and that it is more beneficial to ag producers than any other method that has been presented. Also, please keep in mind that agricultural lands are consistently sold for far more than their productive value. Therefore, lands that qualify for productivity valuation, even with this year’s increase, still receive considerable tax advantages.
For more information about the method of determining ag land values, please visit the DOR website at http://revenue.wyo.gov/property-tax-division/property-tax-valuation-information.
View Agricultural Classification Affidavit.