Most states have programs designed to reduce the amount of money farmers are required to pay in local real property taxes. Differential assessment program s allow officials to assess farmland at its agricultural use value rather than at market value.  


Differential assessments help farmers stay in business by lowering expenses and removing unnecessary penalties caused by geography. The programs also help correct inequalities in the tax system.


The land is not protected from longer term development and this is exploited by developers who keep their land in agricultural use pending development.


Example 1: Ohio

Ohio Current Agricultural Use Value Assessment

Description: A factsheet from Ohio State explaining how the Current Agricultural Use Value Assessment works for farmers across the state.  

Example 2: Washington, D.C.

Fact Sheet Differential Assessment and Circuit Breaker Tax Program

Description: Fact sheet from Farmland Information Center.

Example 3: Wisconsin 

Wisconsin Incentives

Description: Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Webpage on the issues for local farmers, including links to guidelines, FAQs, and a guide book.


Photo Credit: Wisconsin Farm Bureau