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Farm bill would cut red tape, streamline process

COLUMBUS — State Reps. Gary Scherer, R-Circleville, and Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, announced House Bill 485 that would cut red tape for farmers by eliminating the Current Agricultural Use Vale (CAUV) program’s annual application process for farmers with over 10 acres of land.

The CAUV program allows commercial agriculture farmers to value their farm land according to its current use, rather than at its “highest and best” potential use, strictly for tax purposes. By permitting farmers to have their land value be set below the true market value, their tax bills are significantly lower. There are over 400,000 parcels in Ohio that are valued in the CAUV program.

“The CAUV program is an excellent way to help farmers manage their property taxes,” said Stephens. “However, its administration process needs to change.”

Through eliminating the annual CAUV application process for farmers with over 10 acres of land, House Bill 485 would help streamline the administration of the CAUV program. House Bill 485 would only affect the administration process of CAUV, not touch the CAUV formula.

“As a CPA and also a farmland owner, I see the risk to landowners of losing their CAUV status for a minor lapse in reregistration,” said Scherer. “This bill is common sense legislation to alleviate this problem.”

“As a former county auditor and part-time farmer, I saw first-hand the rigmarole it was for farmers to have to jump through hoops for the government. It is my hope to cut red tape for farmers and eliminate an unfunded mandate to local government through this bill,” said Stephens.

Thousands of farmers across the state are receiving their annual CAUV application in the mail right around this time: the beginning of a new year. Under current law, if the farmer does not return the application, they will lose their CAUV value for their property, leading to higher taxes.