After several meetings with Lorain County Farm Bureau members, County Auditor Craig Snodgrass will be making some major changes in how his office applies Ohio’s Current Agricultural Use Value program.
CAUV allows farmland devoted exclusively to commercial agriculture to be valued based on its value in agriculture, rather than the full market value, resulting in a lower tax bill for farmers and property owners.
At issue was a “residual” designation, which is given to uncultivated land that could potentially be cultivated. Land given that designation is given a higher tax rate than typical CAUV designations.
The changes mean that land previously classified as residual, such as areas with structures, waterways and fence lines, will now receive CAUV crop designations. Farmers and landowners will experience lower tax values for much more of their property used for crop production, pastureland and woods.
The auditor’s adjustments are being attributed in large part to a letter that was sent from the Lorain County Farm Bureau board to over 2,000 CAUV landowners in the county, creating a “Call to Action” to inquire with the auditor’s office about how CAUV acreage and values were being made. Local Farm Bureau members also credit the help of CAUV experts with Ohio Farm Bureau, who provided information that was used to start the conversation last fall with the county auditor’s office and the County Auditors’ Association of Ohio.
“Once again, the grassroots structure of Ohio Farm Bureau proves its value,” said Jack Irvin, vice president of public policy with Ohio’s largest farm organization. “When you have a group of individuals who show up to make their collective voices heard, it makes a difference.”
At one of the meetings in late January, more than 50 farmers and Farm Bureau representatives attended to discuss their concerns and request a change in how the county draws CAUV maps. Those who attended the meetings agreed that good dialogue was key to the successful outcome for farmers.
“What started as a question about how CAUV calculations were done in our county turned into a very positive working relationship with the auditor’s office,” said Adele Flynn, who owns a beef cattle operation in Lorain County and sits on the Ohio Farm Bureau Board of Trustees. “Giving us the chance to voice our concerns led to a much-needed change. I feel like we will have more constructive conversations moving forward.”
The new designation of property is set to begin in fiscal year 2023.