Agriculture Guidelines & Forms

To be eligible for agricultural classification, property must meet specific criteria in the following areas:

  • The primary use of the land must be for agricultural purposes. Ownership alone does not qualify property for agricultural classification. The primary determinate is use.
  • The land must have been in active production for at least 7 of the 10 years prior to application.
  • Review the State Statute for more information.
Expectation of Profit
There must be a reasonable expectation of operating profit, exclusive of land cost, from the agricultural use of the property. The test of "reasonable expectation of operating profit" is whether a prudent rancher or farmer is managing or operating his unit similar to other experienced and successful ranchers or farmers and reasonably expects to make a profit in a reasonable period of time. State Statute ARS 42-12152.2 offers more information.

Functional Contribution
Noncontiguous parcels must be managed or operated on a unitary basis and each parcel must make a positive economic contribution to the agricultural unit. Contribution may be through common management that allows more efficient use of labor, machinery or equipment. Noncontiguous parcels may also contribute by providing a water supply needed to supplement the primary agricultural property.

Noncontiguous parcels may be owned or leased by the operator. In general they must be fenced, have an independent water source and ingress and egress. For more information, please reference Statute ARS 42-12152.3.

Filing Requirements
The owner of property or the owner’s designated agent shall file a complete Agricultural Land Use Application form with the county assessor before the property may be classified as agricultural. If the ownership of a property changes, an application form must be filed by the new owner within 60 days after the change in order to maintain the agricultural use status. If the owner or the owner’s agent fails to file an application form, the assessor shall not classify the property, on the notice of valuation, as being used for agricultural purposes. ARS 42-12153.5.B offers more information.

Note: If all or part of the property ceases to qualify as agricultural property, the person who owns the property at the time of change shall notify the Assessor within 60 days after the change - ARS 42-12156.

The penalties for filing false information or failing to notify of a change in use include:
  • The property shall be reclassified immediately as being used for a non-agricultural use and shall be valued at its non-agricultural full cash value.
  • The owner is liable for the additional taxes on the difference between the non-agricultural full cash value and the full cash value of the property for all the tax years in which the property was classified based on the false information.
  • The owner shall also pay a penalty of equal to 25% of the additional taxes.
  • Please see Statute ARS 42-12157 for more information.
Agricultural Property
Statute ARS 42-12151 contains more information. Property that is 1 or more of the following:
  • Temporary Crops
    • Cropland in the aggregate of at least 20 gross acres
    • Land cultivated for crops that are harvested once a year such as cotton or with root systems that remain intact to produce another harvest like alfalfa
    • Statute ARS 42-12151.1
  • Permanent Crops
    • An aggregate 10 or more gross acres of permanent crops
    • Plants or trees which produce a crop and are perennial
    • Statute ARS 42-12151.2
  • Grazing Land
    • Large uncultivated acreage utilizing natural forage
    • Sufficient gross acreage to provide carrying capacity to support a minimum of 40 animal units
    • Statute ARS 42-12151.3
  • Equine
    • Land and improvements devoted to commercial breeding, raising, boarding or training equine
    • Rescue facilities registered with the department of agriculture
    • Statute ARS 42-12151.4
  • High Density
    • Land and improvements devoted to high density use for producing commodities
    • Intensive use through comparatively large amounts of labor or capital per unit of land
    • Statute ARS 42-12151.5
  • Processing Cotton
  • Processing Grapes
  • Processing Citrus
  • Fruit or Vegetable Packing Plants
    • Land and improvements devoted to use as fruit or vegetable commodity packing plants that do not cut or otherwise physically alter the produce
    • Statute ARS 42-12151.9
  • Dairy
    • Land and improvements owned by a dairy cooperative devoted to high density use in producing, transporting, receiving, processing, storing, marketing and selling milk and manufactured milk products without the presence of any animal units on the land
    • Statute ARS 42-12151.10