ST. PAUL, MINN – For farmers facing low commodity prices and high property taxes – paying the bills can be a daunting and overwhelming proposition. Sen. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley) had a bill hearing this week that would launch a study to look at potential reforms to our existing property tax system for agriculture land. The study would examine how to more fairly value the agricultural land based on its production capacity. Sen. Eken says he drafted the bill in an attempt to build a fairer property tax system and provide much needed tax relief for Minnesota farmers.
“Small family farms are unfairly being forced to pay more than their fair share of property taxes. As the prices of commodities fluctuates – some years farmers will have little income to speak of, and yet their property taxes remain the same. This bill is about investigating a different path that more closely ties the production value of the land to the amount landowners will pay in property taxes,” said Sen. Eken.
Eken’s proposal would appropriate $100,000 for a joint study which would include the Commissioner of Agriculture and the Commissioner of Revenue on the possibility of valuing agriculture land based on production value. The study would also review the ripple effect on other types of properties and local governments. The commissioners must seek input from the Dean of the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences in the design of the study.