To bee, or not to bee: that is the question: That indeed is the question? Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of the Texas Legislature or to take notice of another ag valuation. Nope we ain't exactly quoting Shakespeare but our Texas Legislature added another agricultural use for the purposes of open-space appraisal.
What requirements must be met to get appraised for bees?
- The land must have an EXISTING agricultural valuation for ad valorem taxes or as people call it, the land must be "ag exempt". This valuation history must be in place 5 of the 7 preceding years.
- If the land does NOT have an ag valuation then, contact your local county appraisal district in WRITING and ask them exactly what they will require of you to start qualifying the land for being appraised for BEEs. Each County Appraisal Districts (CADs) will require adherence to all existing requirements such as time in an ag related activity with history requirements (you'll be paying full Ad Valorem tax rates for the 5 years). The beginning of the 6th year you can officially file for an AG VALUATION. If your ag application is accepted, then your ad valorem rates will decrease on the ag acreage. Remember, all improvements such as houses, barns etc. will be taxed at market value.
What is considered "ag use"?
According to the Texas Property Tax Code Section 23.51(2), ''Agricultural use'' includes but is not limited to the following activities: cultivating the soil, producing crops for human food, animal feed, or planting seed or for the production of fibers; floriculture, viticulture, and horticulture; raising or keeping livestock; raising or keeping exotic animals for the production of human food or of fiber, leather, pelts, or other tangible products having a commercial value; planting cover crops or leaving land idle for the purpose of participating in a governmental program, provided the land is not used for residential purposes or a purpose inconsistent with agricultural use; and planting cover crops or leaving land idle in conjunction with normal crop or livestock rotation procedure. The term also includes the use of land to produce or harvest logs and posts for the use in constructing or repairing fences, pens, barns, or other agricultural improvements on adjacent qualified open-space land having the same owner and devoted to a different agricultural use. The term also includes the use of land for wildlife management. The term also includes the use of land to raise or keep bees for pollination or for the production of human food or other tangible products having a commercial value, provided that the land used is not less than 5 or more than 20 acres.
Levels of Intensity Tests
This ag valuation (BEEs) MUST pass a level of intensity test (established by each county appraisal district) CLICK HERE TO REQUEST A COPY OF THE LEVEL OF INTENSITY MATRIX.
Are there Other Regulations that May Impact Me?
Beekeeping is regulated in Texas through Texas Agriculture Code, Chapter 131: Bees and Honey and in the Texas Admistrative Code -Chapter 71. All beekeepers should read and understand these Texas statutes. It is always wise to receive input from the local county appraisal district and county clerk regarding additional requirements that maybe required of you.
So, what is the takeaway? If you have a smaller tract of land that is already ag qualified, then you may BEE able to get the land qualified for tax valuation purposes using bees.
Hey, mayBEE your little contribution to the declining bee population could help out – well it'll sure help the folks around you, no doubt. BEE safe!
Portions of this blogpost were originally published in LandsofTexasMagazine.com (Summer 2012) - by TexasWildlifeGuy and has been updated January 2017. For a FULL copy of the original article CLICK HERE