An Ohio appeals court is considering if Ohio’s Constitution allows landowners to seek Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) for land enrolled in federal retirement or conservation programs.
CAUV allows farmland to be assessed for property tax purposes according to its use as agricultural land rather than its development value.
The case stems from a county auditor’s challenge to a wetland preservation company’s enrollment of conservation land in the CAUV program. A common pleas court had earlier ruled the company’s land qualified for CAUV.
When the case was appealed, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) filed an amicus brief informing the appeals court of the history, purpose and importance of CAUV in Ohio as well as the importance of conservation programs to farmers. The brief also provided Ohio Farm Bureau’s member-developed policies relating to CAUV.
If the appeals court overturns the ruling, it could have a widespread effect on farmers enrolled in CAUV who are simultaneously enrolled in other federal conservation programs or are using other conservation practices. In that event, OFBF urged the court to carefully limit its decision to protect farmers’ efforts to improve the land.
However, OFBF believes the General Assembly is in the best position to determine which conservation practices and programs should qualify for CAUV and which, if any, should not qualify.
In its brief, OFBF stated “these are matters for the legislature, and not a question of constitutionality for the Court to decide.”
2012 update: Watch a new video featuring Leah Curtis and Larry Gearhardt, who explain CAUV changes.