Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to subnav
Searching 2019-2020 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 32 : Taxation and Finance

Chapter 124 : AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST LANDS

Subchapter 001 : AGRICULTURAL AND MANAGED FOREST LAND USE VALUE PROGRAM

(Cite as: 32 V.S.A. § 3752)
  • § 3752. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Agricultural land" means any land, exclusive of any housesite, in active use to grow hay or cultivated crops, pasture livestock, cultivate trees bearing edible fruit, or produce an annual maple product, and that is 25 acres or more in size, except as provided in this subdivision (1). Agricultural land shall include buffer zones as defined and required in the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets' Required Agricultural Practices rule adopted under 6 V.S.A. chapter 215. There shall be a presumption that the land is used for agricultural purposes if:

    (A) it is owned by a farmer and is part of the overall farm unit; or

    (B) it is used by a farmer as part of his or her farming operation under written lease for at least three years; or

    (C) it has produced an annual gross income from the sale of farm crops in one of two, or three of the five, calendar years preceding of at least:

    (i) $2,000.00 for parcels of up to 25 acres; and

    (ii) $75.00 per acre for each acre over 25, with the total income required not to exceed $5,000.00.

    (iii) Exceptions to these income requirements may be made in cases of orchard lands planted to fruit-producing trees, bushes, or vines that are not yet of bearing age. As used in this section, the term "farm crops" also includes animal fiber, cider, wine, and cheese, produced on the enrolled land or on a housesite adjoining the enrolled land, from agricultural products grown on the enrolled land.

    (2) "Assessing officials" means the listers or other assessing authority of the municipality or the State of Vermont.

    (3) "Board" means the Current Use Advisory Board established in section 3753 of this chapter.

    (4) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Taxes.

    (5) "Development" means, for the purposes of determining whether a land use change tax is to be assessed under section 3757 of this chapter, the construction of any building, road, or other structure, or any mining, excavation, or landfill activity. "Development" also means the subdivision of a parcel of land into two or more parcels, regardless of whether a change in use actually occurs, where one or more of the resulting parcels contains less than 25 acres each; but if subdivision is solely the result of a transfer to one or more of a spouse, ex-spouse in a divorce settlement, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or sibling of the transferor, or to the surviving spouse of any of the foregoing, then "development" shall not apply to any portion of the newly created parcel or parcels that qualify for enrollment and for which, within 30 days following the transfer, each transferee or transferor applies for reenrollment in the use value appraisal program. "Development" also means the cutting of timber on property appraised under this chapter at use value in a manner contrary to a forest or conservation management plan as provided for in subsection 3755(b) of this title during the remaining term of the plan, or contrary to the minimum acceptable standards for forest management if the plan has expired; or a change in the parcel or use of the parcel in violation of the conservation management standards established by the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation. "Development" also means notification of the Director by the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets under section 3756 of this title that the owner or operator of agricultural land or a farm building is violating the water quality requirements of 6 V.S.A. chapter 215 or is failing to comply with the terms of an order issued under 6 V.S.A. chapter 215, subchapter 10. The term "development" shall not include the construction, reconstruction, structural alteration, relocation, or enlargement of any building, road, or other structure for farming, logging, forestry, or conservation purposes, but shall include the subsequent commencement of a use of that building, road, or structure for other than farming, logging, or forestry purposes.

    (6) "Director" means the Director of the Division of Property Valuation and Review created by 3 V.S.A. § 2289.

    (7) "Farmer" means a person:

    (A) who earns at least one-half of the farmer's annual gross income from the business of farming as that term is defined in Regulation 1.175-3 issued under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or

    (B)(i) who produces farm crops that are processed in a farm facility situated on land enrolled by the farmer in a use value appraisal program or on a housesite adjoining the enrolled land;

    (ii) whose gross income from the sale of the processed farm products pursuant to subdivision (i) of this subdivision (B), when added to other gross income from the business of farming as used in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (7), equals at least one-half of the farmer's annual gross income; and

    (iii) who produces on the farm a minimum of 75 percent of the farm crops processed in the farm facility;

    (C) The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall assist the director in making determinations of eligibility pursuant to subdivision (B) of this subdivision (7).

    (8) "Housesite" means the two acres of land surrounding any house, mobile home, or dwelling.

    (9) "Managed forestland" means:

    (A) any land, exclusive of any house site, which is at least 25 acres in size and which is under active long-term forest management for the purpose of growing and harvesting repeated forest crops in accordance with minimum acceptable standards for forest management. Such land may include eligible ecologically significant treatment areas in accordance with minimum acceptable standards for forest management and as approved by the Commissioner; or

    (B) any land, exclusive of any house site, which is:

    (i) certified under 10 V.S.A. § 6306(b);

    (ii) is owned by an organization that was certified by the Commissioner of Taxes as a qualified organization as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 6301a and for at least five years preceding its certification was determined by the internal revenue service to qualify as a Section 501(c)(3) organization which is not a private foundation as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 509(a); and

    (iii) is under active conservation management in accord with standards established by the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

    (10) "Owner" means the person who is the owner of record of any land or the lessee under a perpetual lease as defined in subsection 3610(a) of this title provided the term of the lease is for a minimum of 999 years exclusive of renewals. When enrolled land is mortgaged, the mortgagor shall be deemed the owner of the land for the purposes of this subchapter, until the mortgagee takes possession, either by voluntary act of the mortgagor or foreclosure, after which the mortgagee shall be deemed the owner.

    (11) "Person" means any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, or other form of organization or group of individuals.

    (12) "Use value appraisal" means, with respect to land, the price per acre which the land would command if it were required to remain henceforth in agriculture or forest use, as determined in accordance with the terms and provisions of this subchapter. With respect to farm buildings, "use value appraisal" means zero percent of fair market value.

    (13) "Minimum acceptable standards for forest management" refer to certain standards established by the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

    (14) "Farm buildings" means all farm buildings and other farm improvements that are actively used by a farmer as part of a farming operation, are owned by a farmer or leased to a farmer under a written lease for a term of three years or more, and are situated on land that is enrolled in a use value appraisal program or on a housesite adjoining enrolled land. "Farm buildings" shall include up to $100,000.00 of the value of a farm facility processing farm crops, a minimum of 75 percent of which are produced on the farm and shall not include any dwelling, other than a dwelling in use during the prior 12 months exclusively to house one or more farm employees, as defined in 9 V.S.A. § 4469a, and their families, as a nonmonetary benefit of the farm employment. This subdivision shall not affect the application of the definition of "farming" in 10 V.S.A. § 6001(22) or the definition of "farm structure" in 24 V.S.A. § 4413(d)(1).

    (15) "Active use" of agricultural land includes that portion of otherwise eligible land that is enrolled in a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program for agricultural lands through a contract with the State or federal government. (Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1981, No. 14, eff. Jan. 1, 1981; amended 1981, No. 14, eff. Jan. 1, 1981; 1983, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 2; 1987, No. 57, § 1, eff. May 16, 1987; 1987, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1995, No. 29, § 39, eff. April 14, 1995; 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 286; 1997, No. 60, § 60, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; 1997, No. 60, § 68d; 1999, No. 49, § 86, eff. June 2, 1999; 2001, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 31, 41, eff. June 21, 2002; 2003, No. 66, §§ 286, 286a; 2003, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. June 3, 2004; 2005, No. 76, §§ 1-3; 2007, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. June 10, 2008; 2009, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. June 4, 2010; 2011, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 41, retroactively effective July 1, 2011; 2011, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 45, eff. May 15, 2012; 2013, No. 34, § 23; 2013, No. 73, §§ 12, 14; 2013, No. 159 (Adj. Sess.), § 16c; 2015, No. 57, § 51; 2015, No. 64, § 25; 2017, No. 75, § 11; 2019, No. 51, § 34, eff. June 10, 2019.)