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Guidelines for Qualification of Agricultural Land for Wildlife Management

The Guidelines for Qualification of Agricultural Land in Wildlife Management Use will outline the requirements that land must meet to qualify for wildlife management use (wildlife valuation), how to value this land, and each of the seven wildlife management activities mandated by state law.

Texas voters approved Proposition 11 (1995), which amended Article VIII, Section 1-d-1 of the Texas Constitution to permit agricultural appraisal for land used to manage wildlife. H.B. 1358 implemented the constitutional amendment by making wildlife management an agricultural use that qualifies the land for agricultural appraisal but “converts” the land to wildlife valuation, which falls under ag valuation.

In 2001, the Legislature passed H.B. 3123 requiring the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to develop and the Comptroller to adopt rules for the qualification of agricultural land in wildlife management use. These guidelines and Chapter 9, Subchapter F, Texas Administrative Code, constitute the rules, as required by Section 23.52(g), Tax Code. The Texas Administrative Code language specifically addresses qualification of land partitioned from a previously qualified larger tract of real property qualified for 1-d-1 appraisal as wildlife management land.

The Tax Code, Chapter 23, Subchapter D, addresses the requirements for landowners to qualify their land for agricultural appraisal and also instructs county appraisal districts on how to appraise qualified agricultural land. Land used for wildlife management must meet all the legal requirements of land qualified for agricultural appraisal. Those requirements, however, are outside the scope of these guidelines. The Comptroller publishes a Manual for the Appraisal of Agricultural Land that discusses in detail the qualification of land for agricultural appraisal, the rollback tax penalty for change of use and appraisal of agricultural land.

Land on which the owner engages in wildlife management and that meets other requirements for agricultural appraisal is qualified for agricultural appraisal and is technically in agricultural use. To simplify terms, however, this booklet refers to agricultural land used for wildlife management as land in wildlife management use.

The Tax Code, Section 23.51(1) defines qualified agricultural land as:

  1. Land that is currently and principally devoted to agricultural use to the degree of intensity typical for the area and has been used for agriculture or timber for at least five of the preceding seven years.
  2. Section 23.51(2), Tax Code, includes wildlife management in the definition of agricultural uses of land. Section 23.51(7), Tax Code, defines wildlife management as:
  3. Actively using land that at the time the wildlife management began was appraised as qualified open-space land under this subchapter in at least three of the following ways to propagate a sustaining breeding, migrating, or wintering population of indigenous wild animals for human use, including food, medicine, or recreation: 
  • habitat control
  • erosion control
  • predator control
  • providing supplemental supplies of water
  • providing supplemental supplies of food
  • providing shelters
  • making census counts to determine population
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