There are two reasons why agricultural land values are changing for 2012.
First, the total agricultural land value assessment in Cass County is increasing 19% over 2011. The formula for determining the average value per acre for counties is written in statute under NDCC 57-02-27.2. NDSU computes the average value per acre and the tax department certifies that amount to each county. The certified value per acre for agricultural land is not based on a market value concept. It is based on a productivity method which is explained here. Cass County has no influence in the determination of its certified average agricultural value per acre. For 2012, the Cass County average value increased 29% to $903.46 per acre. A more complete explanation is available here. For 2012, the state board of equalization is allowing a tolerance of being between 90%-100% of our certified average. I’ve set the proposed valuation to be at the lower end of that range, or a 19% increase over 2011.
Second, for the 2012 assessment, all agricultural land assessments in Cass County are being based on the USDA detailed soils maps and the associated productivity index (PI Index) assigned to each soil type. Cass County was required to adopt this method under NDCC 57-02-27.2. If we did not comply, 5% of our state aid distribution would have been withheld (about $250,000 per year). Although implementation of this method did not in itself increase assessments overall, it did cause individual assessments and township average values to change. For a more complete explanation, click here.