What is the Green Acres program?

Minnesota law requires assessors to value property at its estimated market value. Estimated market value must reflect the use of the property that will bring the greatest economic return to the land (its highest and best use). For many farm properties, the highest and best use may be to develop the land for a residential or commercial use. The residential or commercial value of a property has typically been significantly higher than that of farmland although the last few years the market has seen a greater increase in farmland values.

Protecting Agricultural Property Values

In the 1960s, the Legislature recognized that urban sprawl was causing valuation and tax increases that had the potential of forcing farmers off their land in certain situations. The Legislature developed a mechanism that allowed qualifying farmers to pay real estate taxes based upon the agricultural value of their land, while deferring the higher property taxes attributed to the land’s value as residential or commercial property. This law, officially known as the Agricultural Property Tax law, is commonly referred to as Green Acres and is codified in Minnesota Statute section 273.111.

Changes to Qualifying Properties

In 2008, the Legislature amended the law to clarify that, going forward, only class 2a productive agricultural land can qualify for Green Acres. Class 2b rural vacant land that is currently enrolled in Green Acres may be grandfathered into the program until the 2013 assessment. Beginning with the 2013 assessment, any class 2b rural vacant land that has been grandfathered into Green Acres will be removed from the program and deferred taxes may be collected.

Show All Answers

1. What is the Green Acres program?
2. Why do some counties administer the Green Acres Program?
3. Who qualifies for the Green Acres Program?
4. How will Green Acres benefit an agricultural property owner?
5. How does the Green Acres Program work?
6. What is the agricultural value of a property?
7. Can special local assessments be deferred under the program?
8. If a property no longer qualifies for Green Acres, how many years can the County Auditor-Treasurer go back to collect additional taxes on the deferment?
9. What if a property loses its eligibility prior to the expiration of the three-year period?
10. If a property has deferred special local assessments and loses its Green Acres eligibility, when does the deferment become due?
11. Are deferred taxes and special assessments considered a lien on the property?
12. What if only part of the property is sold or ceases to be used for agricultural purposes?
13. Does the tax deferment continue if the property is sold and used for agricultural purposes?
14. What if the property no longer qualifies for Green Acres because it loses its agricultural classification?
15. How do I qualify?
16. How do I apply?