"Agricultural Forest" and "Undeveloped Land"
Classification and Valuation

Qualifying Parcels

  1. How do the Wisconsin statutes define agricultural forest land?

    Parcels qualifying under condition "a" in Question 1, see Questions 2 thru 10.

  2. What constitutes a parcel that has been classified in whole as agricultural land?
  3. Would forest land qualify as agricultural forest if the forest acres are contiguous to a wholly agricultural parcel?
  4. Does the qualifying agricultural forest parcel need to be completely forested?
  5. Could an owner have qualifying agricultural forest acres in more than one parcel?
  6. Is a parcel containing 39 acres of agricultural land (class 4) and one acre of "road right of way" (class 5) considered a wholly agricultural parcel?
  7. Are parcels that are touching at only one point considered to be contiguous parcels?
  8. In some instances the assessment roll may have combined two forties (or several forties) under one parcel number. Are the combined forties considered a parcel?
  9. Would the following parcel be considered wholly agricultural? A forty having a classification of 40 acres of agricultural land (class 4) with an improvement assessment of $5,000 for a well (class 7 "other" improvement). There are no site acres (class 7 land) included for this parcel.
  10. Could woods adjoining CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) land be considered agricultural forest?

    Parcels qualifying under condition "b" in Question 1, see Questions 11 through 13.

  11. Do forest acres located within a parcel that also contain agricultural land qualify as agricultural forest acres?
  12. Are there a minimum number of agricultural or forest acres required in order to qualify as agricultural forest?
  13. Would the forest qualify for agricultural forest if located within a parcel having multiple classifications

    Parcels qualifying under condition "c" in Question 1, see Questions 14 through 16.

  14. Do the forested acres located within a parcel in which land was converted to agricultural land qualify as agricultural forest?
  15. Example: A forty acre parcel was classified as 40 acres of forest in 2004. The forty acres has 15 acres of agricultural land and 25 acres of forest land for the 2005 (or current) assessment year. Do the 25 acres of forest qualify as agricultural forest for the current year?
  16. How do the "road right of way (ROW)" acres classified as class 5 (undeveloped land) affect the 50% acreage measurement?

    Split or Combined Parcels:

  17. How does the assessor decide whether a split parcel or a combined parcel (two parcels legally joined as one) in the current assessment year qualifies for agricultural forest?

    Parcels in the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program:

  18. Do the guidelines for Agricultural Forest assessment adjustments apply to land enrolled in the Managed Forest Land (MFL) and Private Forest Crop (PFC) programs?
  19. Example: For 2004 a parcel's acreage was classified entirely as MFL however some acreage within the parcel was used for agricultural purposes. For the current assessment year the parcel is no longer in MFL however the agricultural use continues. What criteria should be used to determine if agricultural forest exists?

  1. How do the Wisconsin statutes define agricultural forest land?

    Sec. 70.32(2)(c)1d, Wis. Stats., (effective for Jan. 1, 2005) describes agricultural forest land as land that is producing or capable of producing commercial forest products if the land satisfies any of the following conditions:

    1. It is contiguous to a parcel that has been classified in whole as agricultural land, if the contiguous parcel is owned by the same person that owns the land that is producing or capable of producing commercial forest products. In this subdivision, "contiguous" includes separated only by a road. See questions 2 through 9.

    2. It is located on a parcel that contains land that is classified as agricultural land in the property tax assessment on January 1, 2004, and on January 1 of the year of assessment. See questions 11 through 12

    3. It is located on a parcel at least 50% of which, by acreage, was converted to land that is classified as agricultural land in the property tax assessment on January 1, 2005, or thereafter. See questions 13 through 15.


    Parcels qualifying under condition "a" in Question 1, see Questions 2 thru 10.


  2. What constitutes a parcel that has been classified in whole as agricultural land?

    A wholly agricultural parcel is one that the assessor has classified entirely as agricultural land (class 4) in the assessment roll. Note: See question #6 (below) for the one exception to this.

  3. Would forest land qualify as agricultural forest if the forest acres are contiguous to a wholly agricultural parcel?

    Yes. If the contiguous forest land has the same owner as the wholly agricultural parcel.

  4. Does the qualifying agricultural forest parcel need to be completely forested?

    No. However the forested acres must be contiguous to the wholly agricultural parcel in order to qualify as agricultural forest.

  5. Could an owner have qualifying agricultural forest acres in more than one parcel?

    Yes. However the contiguous forest land must be in the parcel or parcels contiguous to the wholly agricultural parcel.

  6. Is a parcel containing 39 acres of agricultural land (class 4) and one acre of "road right of way" (class 5) considered a wholly agricultural parcel?

    Yes. A Department of Revenue legal opinion concludes the parcel as described would be considered a wholly agricultural parcel. Any acres listed to road right of way would not disqualify the parcel.

  7. Are parcels that are touching at only one point considered to be contiguous parcels?

    Yes. Parcels touching at only one point would be contiguous.

  8. In some instances the assessment roll may have combined two forties (or several forties) under one parcel number. Are the combined forties considered a parcel?

    Yes. For purposes of administering this law the combined forties would be considered a parcel because a parcel number has been assigned to that defined area of land.

  9. Would the following parcel be considered wholly agricultural? A forty having a classification of 40 acres of agricultural land (class 4) with an improvement assessment of $5,000 for a well (class 7 "other" improvement). There are no site acres (class 7 land) included for this parcel.

    Yes. All acres are classified as agricultural. The improvement assessment for the well would not disqualify the parcel from being considered wholly agricultural. If the assessment roll indicated class 7 site acres, then the parcel would not be considered wholly agricultural.

  10. Could woods adjoining CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) land be considered agricultural forest?

    Yes. CRP land is classified as agricultural land so assuming all other qualifications are met, forest land contiguous to CRP land would be classified as agricultural forest.

    Parcels qualifying under condition "b" in Question 1, see Questions 11 through 13.

  11. Do forest acres located within a parcel that also contain agricultural land qualify as agricultural forest acres?

    Yes. The forest acres qualify as agricultural forest if the parcel contains land that is classified as agricultural land in the 2004 assessment roll and in the current assessment year.

  12. Are there a minimum number of agricultural or forest acres required in order to qualify as agricultural forest?

    No. There are no acreage limitations to qualify under condition "b" from above. As long as agricultural acres exist within the parcel in the 2004 assessment roll and the current assessment roll then the forest acres qualify as agricultural forest.

  13. Would the forest qualify for agricultural forest if located within a parcel having multiple classifications?

    The forested acres would qualify as agricultural forest if the parcel contained agricultural land in 2004 and in the current assessment year. Additional classifications such as residential, commercial, undeveloped, or other (agricultural homesite) would not disqualify the agricultural forest classification.

    Parcels qualifying under condition "c" in Question 1, see Questions 14 through 16.

  14. Do the forested acres located within a parcel in which land was converted to agricultural land qualify as agricultural forest?

    If the parcel did not contain agricultural acres in the 2004 assessment roll then at least 50% of the parcel's total acreage needs to be converted to agricultural land in order for the forest acres to qualify as agricultural forest.

  15. Example: A forty acre parcel was classified as 40 acres of forest in 2004. The forty acres has 15 acres of agricultural land and 25 acres of forest land for the 2005 (or current) assessment year. Do the 25 acres of forest qualify as agricultural forest for the current year?

    No. At least 50% of the acreage (in this case at least 20 acres) is required to be converted to agricultural in the current year, in order for the forest acres to qualify as agricultural forest.

  16. How do the "road right of way (ROW)" acres classified as class 5 (undeveloped land) affect the 50% acreage measurement?

    ROW acres are included with agricultural land acres for measurement of the 50% threshold. For example, a forty acre parcel with 19 acres of agricultural land (class 4), one acre of ROW (class 5), and 20 acres of forest land is considered to contain at least 50% of the parcel's total acreage as agricultural land.

  17. How does the assessor decide whether a split parcel or a combined parcel (two parcels legally joined as one) in the current assessment year qualifies for agricultural forest?

    The same rules apply to newly created parcels with separate legal descriptions (split from their original parcel or combined parcels into one). Forest within the new parcels would qualify for agricultural forest by:

    • Being contiguous to a wholly agricultural parcel having the same owner.
    • Containing agricultural acres in 2004 and in the current assessment year. The agricultural acres for 2004 would need to be located within the boundaries of the current assessment year's parcel.
    • If no agricultural acres existed in 2004 but at least 50% of the acreage is converted to agriculture in the current assessment year.

  18. Do the guidelines for Agricultural Forest assessment adjustments apply to land enrolled in the Managed Forest Land (MFL) and Private Forest Crop (PFC) programs?

    Yes. Assuming any of the qualifications of Agricultural Forest have been met, the values of land enrolled in MFL or PFC should be adjusted in the same manner as taxable forest property. If the contract is broken, penalties are collected based upon what the taxes would have been if the land were not enrolled in the program. Therefore, assessments of land enrolled in MFL or PFC must be equitable with similar land not enrolled in those programs. The assessor should inform the property owner under s.70.365 that the assessment has been adjusted .

  19. Example: For 2004 a parcel's acreage was classified entirely as MFL however some acreage within the parcel was used for agricultural purposes. For the current assessment year the parcel is no longer in MFL however the agricultural use continues. What criteria should be used to determine if agricultural forest exists?

    MFL parcels receiving use value due to agricultural use are treated as if an agricultural classification exists. Therefore if an MFL parcel received agricultural use values in 2004 then in the current assessment year this parcel (whether remaining in MFL or not) would qualify for agricultural forest by having any amount of acreage devoted primarily to agricultural use.

For more questions concerning Agricultural Forest and Undeveloped Land Classification and Valuation, please contact the appropriate equalization district supervisor.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Division of State and Local Finance
Equalization Bureau
Mail Stop 6-97
P.O. Box 8971
Madison, WI 53708-8971
Fax: (608) 264-6897

Last updated April 19, 2013