DOAG: Laws and Regulations

 
 
Agricultural Laws and Regulations

Land Taxation and Preservation (agriculture)

Without a land base, agriculture in Connecticut would perish. Located between the large metropolitan areas of Boston and New York City, Connecticut has seen a steady increase in land values and development pressures over the last 40 years. During this time frame, two pieces of legislation critical to the safeguarding of  Connecticut's agricultural land base were passed. One in 1963 (commonly referred to as Public Act 490) and one in 1978. The 1978 legislation established the Department of Agriculture's Farmland Preservation Program. This program purchases the development rights to prime cropland thus keeping said land in production agriculture in perpetuity.

"Public Act 490" - C.G.S. Sections 12-107a through 12-107f  acts to preserve agriculture land, forest land and open space land by assessing these lands at their use value, not its market value. For further information on this act go to the Q & A's at Public Act 490 - The Basics and Public Act 490 Recommended Land Use Values - for 2010


Should your land be classified for taxation purposes under Public Act 490 and you are considering selling or transferring ownership you might like to take a look at the Conveyance Tax statutes at C.G.S. Sections 12-504, 12-504a and 12-504b

Farmland Preservation Program - C.G.S. Sections 22-26aa through 22-26kk

C.G.S. Section 47-42d - prohibits anyone from filing a permit application with a state or local land use agency, local building official, or health director relating to property that is subject to a conservation or preservation restriction unless the applicant shows that he provided written notice of the application to the restriction holder at least 60 days before filing the application. It creates a process for (1) allowing permit work, (2) disapproving the permit if the restriction holder proves the work does not comply with the restriction, and (3) reversing permit approval when an applicant fails to provide notice. 

Other important sections of the Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) that sustain and maintain Connecticut as a state favorable to agriculture are as follows:

        C.G.S. Section 1-1q - The Definition of Agriculture

C.G.S. Section 19a-341 - known as the "Right to Farm "

C.G.S. Section 22a-40 - Permitted Operations and Uses in Wetlands

For additional detail (C.G.S. Sec. 22a-40) see this publication Agriculture, Forestry and Wetlands Protection in CT - (produced by the Department of Environmental Protection, 13 page, 11,234 KB, .pdf)
 

Also, listed below is a link to the bulk of Connecticut's agricultural statutes (Title 22) and a few of the more commonly asked about statutes:

Agricultural Statutes (Volume 8, Title 22 - Agriculture. Domestic Animals of the General Statutes of Connecticut)

Community Investment Act - (Public Act 05-228, "An Act Concerning Farmland Preservation, Land Protection, Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation")

Farm Vehicle License Plates

Legislation - Past & Current

Pick-Your-Own Operations: CGS: Ch. 925 Sec. 52-568a. Damages for groundless or vexatious suit against the owner or operator of a "pick or cut your own agricultural operation".

Tax - Farm Sales

Tax - Sales Tax Exemption for Farmers

For a detailed questions and answers informational publication on farm taxation issues published by the Department of Revenue Services, go to "Farmer's Guide to Sales and Use Taxes, Motor Vehicle Fuels Tax, Estimated Income Tax and Withholding Tax."

Property Tax Exemptions and Abatements (agriculture)
Property Tax Abatements (a municipal option) 

C.G.S. Sec. 12-81m. http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/pub/Chap203.htm#Sec12-81m.htm Municipal option to abate up to fifty per cent of property taxes of dairy farm, fruit orchard, vegetable, nursery, nontraditional or tobacco farm or commercial lobstering business operated on maritime heritage land.   Must be approved by municipality.
 
Property Tax Exemptions
All farmers must file a personal Property Declaration Form with assessor (Form M-15 or town may have their own form) listing all taxable personal property they own in order to claim any farm exemptions. C.G.S. Sec. 12-81. The following-described property shall be exempt from taxation:

(10) Property belonging to agricultural or horticultural societies.

(36) Commercial fishing apparatus. Fishing apparatus belonging to any person or company to the value of five hundred dollars, providing such apparatus was purchased for use in the main business of such person or company at the time of purchase;

(38) Farming tools. Farming tools actually and exclusively used in the business of farming on any farm to the value of five hundred dollars;

(39) Farm produce. Produce of a farm, actually grown, growing or produced, including colts, calves and lambs, while owned and held by the producer or by a cooperative marketing corporation organized under the provisions of chapter 596, when delivered to it by such producer;

(40) Sheep, goats and swine. Sheep, goats and swine owned and kept in this state;

(41) Dairy and beef cattle, oxen, asses and mules. Dairy and beef cattle, oxen, asses and mules, owned and kept in this state;

(42) Poultry. Poultry owned and kept in this state;

(44) Nursery products. Produce or products growing in any nursery, and any shrub and any forest, ornamental or fruit trees while growing in a nursery;

(61) Vessels used primarily for commercial fishing. Any vessel as defined in section 15-127 used primarily for purposes of commercial fishing, provided in the tax year of the owner ending immediately prior to any assessment date with respect to which application is submitted for the exemption provided in this subdivision not less than fifty per cent of the adjusted gross income of such owner, as determined for purposes of the federal income tax, is derived from commercial fishing subject to proof satisfactory to the assessor in the town in which such application is submitted;

(68) Livestock totally exempt except that exemption for horses and ponies limited to one thousand dollars in value unless used in farming. Any livestock owned and kept in this state, except that any horse or pony shall be exempt from local property tax up to the assessed value of one thousand dollars, with such exempt value applicable in the case of each such horse or pony, provided any horse or pony used in farming, in the manner required in section 12-91, shall be totally exempt from local property tax as provided in said section 12-91

 (73) Temporary devices or structures for seasonal production, storage or protection of plants or plant material. Temporary devices or structures used in the seasonal production, storage or protection of plants or plant material, including, but not limited to, hoop houses, poly houses, high tunnels, overwintering structures and shade houses;

Property Tax Exemption for Farm Buildings, and Farm Machinery

Up to $100,000 in value for equipment and machinery. An additional $100,000 for machinery if municipality votes to approve such an exemption and an additional $100,000 for farm buildings used actually and exclusively in farming, also if municipality votes to approve.

In order to receive any of above exemptions, you must derive at least $15,000 in gross sales or demonstrate $15,000 in expenses on farm.  You also must declare to Town by October 31 (within 30 days after assessment date) these exemptions on Form M-28.

C.G.S. Sec. 12-91. Exemption for farm machinery, horses or ponies. Additional optional exemption for farm buildings or buildings used for housing for seasonal employees.

Exemption Application for the Assessor for Farm Machinery, Horses, Ponies, Certain Farm Buildings - (M-28)

2008 Connecticut Declaration of Personal Property form


AGRICULTURAL REGULATIONS (Title 22 Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies)

The Department of Agriculture is in the process of adding existing or current regulations to this page. Below are some of the most frequently requested as well as some of the most recently adopted regulations, please check back if you can not find what you are looking for or call, call George Krivda at (860) 713-2573.