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Name: The name section is the owner of the property’s name or a representative such as a manager of the business or a tax representative legally that is allowed to represent the interest of the fee simple owner. The tenant does not have the legal right only if they are responsible for the taxes on the lease.
Phone: Include the contact number of the owner or someone that has access to the property on behalf of the owner.
Parcel ID or legal description: I would include the parcel ID. Trying to locate a property by its legal description is incredibly difficult. You can find a 17 digit number a.k.a the PCN by looking your property up on the property appraiser’s website.
Land Used Primarily for Agricultural Purposes Section: If you do not see your specific use in this section, your use would be written in the other box. Circle or simply indicate which use you are applying for by writing in the box to the right the number of acres you’re applying for. The next box to the right is indicates how long you have been active in this particular agricultural use.
The Agricultural Income from this Property: Specify the year and what Ag use such as row crop (vegetable sales). The gross income is how much money in total was made that year. Your expenses are what you had to pay to keep that use going. Your net income is the gross income minus the expenses.
Under the Agricultural Income Section is the Date Purchased and the Purchase Price. The purchase price isn’t as important as the date purchased but it may be helpful to the Appraiser’s Office to know this information.
A Tangible Account is a business account filed with the Property Appraiser. This is a good indication there is a business on the property. It is not a necessity, but you would know if you filed or not. Answer “no” if you do not have a business tax account with the Property Appraiser.
The next question: Is the property leased to others? If there is any lease on the property, including a residential lease, the answer is “yes”.
Has the property been rezoned to a non-agricultural use at the request of the owner? In other words, if the property was zoned Agricultural/Residential (AR) or just Agricultural, and you as the owner put in a request to the Department of Building and Zoning to change the zoning code to say, commercial, it’s very possible that agricultural use could be an illegal use and disqualify you from acceptance. Again, you would know if you changed the zoning.
There is a small area to file out that indicates the year you are applying for so make sure this is completed.
Sign and date your application. Make a copy of it and when you send it or drop it off, get a receipt of some sort to prove when you applied should there be any issues down the road.
Application deadlines are March 1 in the year of which you are applying (FL Statute 193.461 (3.a). Again, the application can be found here.
Once the application is submitted, you need to prove use is and was on the property on January 1. Try and take photographs of the use as close to January 1st as possible for documentation. Time and date stamp your photos if possible.
The property appraiser will typically give an Agricultural Classification on whatever lands are used or covered in row crop. The more land used may result in more Agricultural Classified Lands. If the Ag Classification will save you money (check out the Ag Analysis Calculator) try and apply for all the acres on the property to see what you can get. Why limit your tax savings?
Row crop traditionally means growing vegetables in long rows wide enough for the crop to flourish and with enough spacing in between the rows for irrigation and ingress/egress of machinery to harvest the crops. Nowadays row crop can mean a plethora of uses especially for an Agricultural Classification. Vegetables do not have to be planted in rows although in many cases makes much more sense. In cases like squash that can be trellised vertically though, many acres that are used to farm these veggies are no longer needed. Vertical gardening can be useful for those without the acreage although start-up cost can be expensive (it still may be less than buying many acres). Just make sure it’s worth applying for the classification by either calling the property appraiser for a guestimate on what your taxes will be and/or use the Agricultural Tax Analysis Calculator. Also, keep in mind; you may have an issue with code enforcement if these structure do not conform to code so it may be worth calling them or apply for the Agricultural Classification to legally protect the structures.
Micro-farms are popping up and vertical gardening is resulting in a yield per acre greater than the traditional farming methods on many acres. In either event, lets distinguish what row crop means for the purpose of an Agricultural Classification and what one property owner may be able to qualify for. Obviously crops planted in the traditional rows will qualify with some business documentation. The vertical gardening (with soil) should also qualify with business documentation. We are NOT talking about hydroponics, aquaponics, or even aeroponics. They have their own classifications with separate income rates. Let’s also be reasonable; putting these structure in a garage and house will not qualify your house.
Here’s and example of a vertical system. I’ll provide some more examples with some reviews at a later time but look at the link/pic below.
I can believe a small urban farm with these contraptions can produce a heck of a lot of veggies, herbs, etc…They vary in size and structure, but all the same, they get vertical.
These charts should help you decide what to plant vertically or in rows on your property.
|Onions and Shallots||Shallow|
|Strawberries (even though it’s a fruit 😉||Shallow|
When it comes time to sell some of the fruit, this website by the USDA will help in determining the price.
Business and Laws Concerning Fruit Sales:
If it’s your first year, have a business plan. One can be found here. A business plan will not prove business use on it’s own but if you are starting a business it’s likely you will not have much documentation. These are helpful and can show intent at a minimum.
Florida Business License Application process: https://www.stateofflorida.com/corporations/
The Florida Statutes consist of a chapter (Statute 603) dedicated to fruit and vegetable produce and selling the produce in Florida. The produce is graded by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “Vegetables” in this section means tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, leafy greens, green beans, eggplant, sweet corn, and cabbage. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may by rule include additional vegetables.
Stemming from the Florida Statutes is an executive department of the government of Florida called the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or FDACS for short.
When it comes to fruit sales, the FDACS encourages all who sell fresh fruits and vegetables at places like flea markets or roadside stands to apply for an Agricultural Dealer’s License. The only time it is not required is for cash-only sales.
As long as the producer sells directly to the consumer (retail) who will not resell the product (wholesale), no other license is required other than what may be required by county or city regulations.
If you sell any of your produce privately then at least have a receipt book. They are an inexpensive way to help satisfy the agricultural business aspect to the guidelines. One can be found here on Amazon (affiliate) for less than $5.
Make sure to check out the “General Section of the agricultural section of the Classified Use Real Property Guidelines of the Manual of Instructions”: https://floridarevenue.com/property/Documents/FLag.pdf. There is Section V used for cropland and vegetables.
For legal documentation look at these websites:
- Law Depot (click this affiliate link to receive a 10% discount on online legal forms)
- Legal Forms
Always make sure to claim any profits or losses on your yearly income taxes too. If you are running a business and making money, then you may want to keep track of the earning and spending. The accounting will be easier come tax season. Let’s face it, QuickBooks is the leader in accounting software. If you are starting your business and don’t want to part with a couple hundred dollars on Quickbooks software, I recommend MyInvoices & Estimates Deluxe. The software can create invoices, logos, and can calculate taxes.
If you have any suggestions or comments on how to develop and operate a fruit orchard, please email me and I may add the information onto my website. Keep Florida green!