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Ohio Farm Bureau offers expertise as community seeks tax explanation
Any time there is an increase in what we must pay for something, it usually gets our attention. That’s the case in many counties around the state when landowners received their property tax bills and discovered an increase. According to Ohio tax laws, each county must go through a reappraisal of their property taxes every six years, with an update every three years. Ashtabula County is among several counties currently going through the reappraisal period.
Larry Gearhardt, a long-time Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) employee and now a consultant for the organization, is an expert in Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV). He has been traveling around the state talking to landowners about the increase in their taxes. At a meeting sponsored by Ashtabula County Farm Bureau, Ashtabula County Extension and the Soil and Water Conservation District, more than 500 landowners turned out to hear Gearhardt’s insights.
CAUV values are calculated for each soil type in Ohio (approximately 3,500 soils) by a formula that relies on three crops: corn, soybeans and wheat. Even if a landowner in the CAUV program does not produce any of those four crops, that’s what is used to calculate the values. The formula is then based on five factors: cropping patterns, crop prices, non land production cost, yields and a capitalization rate. The calculations are made based upon Farm Service Agency (FSA) yields per acre for each of those crops per soil type.
According to Gearhardt, a few years ago it was discovered that FSA had not updated the yields per acre since 1984 even though yields had increased in several areas. The adjustments in yield figures, along with the fact that in 2005 CAUV values were at the lowest in history, are the main reasons many landowners are now seeing large increases in their property taxes.
“It was a very informative meeting,” said Ty Kellogg, OFBF organization director in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties. “Those in attendance have a better understanding as to how CAUV is calculated. It doesn’t change the fact they are unhappy about their taxes going up, but at least they have a better understanding as to why."Photo courtesy of Ashtabula County Farm Bureau
2012 CAUV update video featuring Leah Curtis and Larry Gearhardt.