Owners of land in an Agricultural District receive:
- Deferment of any new assessments for such improvements as water or sewer systems as long as the land continues to be farmed.
- Legal protection for any generally accepted agricultural practice in the event of a nuisance lawsuit filed against the farming operation.
- Limited protection against the use of eminent domain power of government. (A governmental entity may only appropriate 10% or 10 acres of land within an Agricultural District.)
- Protects farm market operators from certain zoning regulations and requires the power siting commission to consider the impact of new power facilities on land in an Agricultural District.
Benefits of enrolling in an agricultural district include:
- Nuisance suits protection – Agricultural district status can protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits as long as the farmer is following acceptable best management practices. This can serve as an affirmative defense in frivolous lawsuits for odors and noises associated with agriculture.
- Deferring assessments – Another aspect of development that can impact a farm is the extension of water, sewer and electric lines. These lines are usually paid for by the landowner and often assessed on frontage. A farmer with extensive frontage could face costs large enough to require selling a portion of the farm. To prevent that, the law defers the assessments on agricultural district farmland, excluding the homestead, until the land is changed to another use or withdrawn from the agricultural district.
- Scrutiny of eminent domain acquisitions – If eminent domain is used on 10 acres or 10 percent of the total agricultural district land, whichever is greater, the law calls for a review by the state director of agriculture to determine if an alternative to the proposed project is possible. The result might be a re-evaluation of the project with less or no agricultural land being taken
Requirements to form an Agricultural District:
- The land must be devoted exclusively to agriculture or to an improved federal government land retirement or conservation program.
- The land must be composed of tracts, lots or parcels that total not less than ten (10) acres or, if less than ten acres, have an average annual gross income of $2,500 from agricultural production during the previous three years, or can provide evidence that this level of income will be achieved at the time of application.
To form an Agricultural District:
- Any owner of land used in agricultural production, who meets the necessary qualifications, can place land in an agricultural district by filing an application with the Wyandot County Auditor’s office.
- If the land is located within the boundaries of a municipal corporation, an additional application must be made to the city or village.
- There is no cost or fee for filing the application. If approved, the Agricultural District will be in effect for five (5) years from the date of application.
Additional Information and Forms:
Agricultural District Application
Agricultural District Brochure
Agricultural Districts Fact Sheet
Agricultural District information site
Agricultural District fact sheet
A companion law is the current agricultural use valuation (CAUV) program. The CAUV provides relief on farmland property taxes. Please contact your local county auditor’s office for more information about the agricultural district or CAUV programs.
The completed application must be filed with the auditor of the county where the land is located. If the land for which an application has been made is within a municipal corporation limit or if an annexation petition that includes the land has been filed with the Board of County Commissioners under Section 709.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, a copy of the application must also be filed with the Clerk of the legislative body of the municipal corporation.
For additional information refer to the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 929: Agricultural Districts or the following link:
The Ohio State University Extension – Fact Sheet – Agricultural Districts in Ohio