Policy & Politics

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Current Agricultural Use Valuation and Property Taxation

Published May. 15, 2013


Since 2005, Ohio landowners enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV)program have seen their property values and resulting property taxes increase. CAUV values are based upon an objective calculation which uses an income approach to value land for its agricultural use only. Values have increased due to higher crop prices and lower interest rates, but continue to provide an average 67% reduction from fair market value.


In 2005, CAUV values reached their all time low with an average statewide value of $120/acre. However, even as the general economy began to suffer, the farm economy began to prosper – returning record yields, receipts and farm incomes. In turn, CAUV values also began to increase. Increases, even of relatively small dollar amounts, were large percentage-wise because values had been so low in the mid-2000s.

CAUV was first introduced in 1973 as a ballot initiative to help preserve farmland by negating development pressure when taxation values were determined. Ohio voters approved the constitutional amendment by an overwhelming majority, and the program began in 1975. The constitutional amendment and resulting laws espoused the idea that farmland valuation would follow the farm economy, ensuring that value was tied to ability to pay by using the income approach to valuation. The income approach used for CAUV ensures that only agriculture is considered when the property is valued, instead of the typical “highest and best use” standard. The income approach also does not consider the fair market value, or the price at which the property would change hands, which can also be strongly influenced by development pressure and demand.

Today’s basic CAUV calculation is:

((Yield/acre)*(Price)) – ((Yield/acre)(cost of production))/Capitalization Rate

The calculation uses yield, price and cost data from corn, soybeans and wheat and is performed for each of the 3,500 individual soil types in the state of Ohio with a slope less than 25%. Any soils with a slope above 25% are placed on minimum value, which the Ohio Department of Taxation sets based on general trends in agricultural values. For more information on the formula, visit http://ofbf.org/news-and-events/news/894/

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