Would you like to cut your property taxes in half?

If you live on a sizable piece of land, you might be able to, by participating in some kind of farming activity.

According to Monique Purcell, the assistant secretary of agriculture and the director of the division of agricultural and natural resources for the New Jersey Agriculture Department, in order for someone’s property to be eligible to get a farmland assessment for tax purposes, it has to be 5 acres or more in size, and has to be actively devoted to an agricultural or horticultural use.

It also has to make a minimum of $1,000 annually in agricultural or horticultural sales.

She said several types of products can be produced on a farm

“It could be growing fruits and vegetables. It could be raising livestock. It could be having land under woodland management,” she said.

Purcell noted if you have bees on your property and you sell at least $1,000 a year in honey or wax, that would quality. Aquaculture is another type of eligible farming.

“If somebody had ponds on their property, where they were raising fin fish, or ornamental fish or plants, that is Aquaculture,” she said.

What the heck is woodland management, you may be wondering?

“If you had wooded acres on your property and you were able to harvest wood or wood products and sell it, for example firewood is one example or selling raw wood,” she said.

Purcell noted to qualify for farmland assessment status for woodland management, you only need to produce $500 annually.

She said one reason why New Jersey passed the Farmland Assessment Act back in the 1960s “is to try to keep more open and available land in agriculture and also just an open land use as opposed to developing it."

“We have plenty of areas in New Jersey that are densely populated, so to have some kind of motivation for people have their land devoted to an (agricultural) or (horticultural)use to keep it open, I think is a good thing. It adds to the quality of life for everyone,” she said.

Purcell noted if someone is raising livestock or has an orchard or plant nursery on a property, it doesn’t generate a lot of need at the local municipal level, “so why would you want to tax it to the degree that (you tax other properties?). It doesn’t even really use the services at the municipal level."

She also noted when a property gets farmland assessment “the house and any other building on the property still is taxed at the normal rate, so it’s only the land itself that is actively devoted to an AG or HORT use that gets the differential tax.”

She pointed out to operate a commercial farm in New Jersey you must produce $2,500 or more in agricultural or horticultural commodities .

More informatoin on what types of activities can qualify you for farmland assessment status is available at the state's website.

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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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