For Some Farmers, Property Taxes Soar as Profits Decline

Reuters writer¬† P.J. Huffstutter reported yesterday that, “Collapsing prices for U.S. corn and soybeans have made it harder for some farmers to pay their property taxes, at a time when these tax bills are soaring and the rate of farm bankruptcies is growing.

“Over the past three years, farmland property taxes have jumped as much as 400 percent in parts of the United States, according to state and federal government data. One farmer in Ohio said his property tax bill has skyrocketed to more than $100 an acre from less than $20 seven years ago.

“Farmers say the problem, in many cases, is rooted in the reversal in the grain market. They now are scrambling to come up with the money to pay tax bills based heavily on incomes they enjoyed when crop prices were booming in 2012.”

The Reuters article pointed out that, “The disconnect between taxes and revenue had people like Ohio corn farmer Bruce Kettelle trying to use every possible inch of his 200 acres to boost income this season.

“If the weather holds, he expects his profit to be a little over $100 per acre. The tax bill due this autumn could be as much as $105 per acre.

“Seven years ago, Kettelle said, his farm’s profit was $205 an acre – with a tax bill of $19.50 per acre.”

Yesterday’s article added that, “Such fears have prompted a group of farmers and landowners to sue Ohio, claiming farmland owners were overcharged billions of dollars in property taxes. According to the state court filing, the average current agricultural use value tax collections from 2005 to 2013 jumped 374 percent, from $1.8 billion a year to $6.8 billion a year.”

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