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NO. 76.  AN ACT RELATING TO THE AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST LAND USE VALUE PROGRAM.

(H.540)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  32 V.S.A. § 3752(7) is amended to read:

(7)  “Farmer” means a person:

(A)  who earns at least one-half of his the farmer’s annual gross income from the business of farming as that term is defined in Regulation 1.175-3 issued under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; or

(B)(i)  who produces farm crops that are processed in a farm facility situated on land enrolled by the farmer in a use value appraisal program or on a housesite adjoining the enrolled land;

(ii)  whose gross income from the sale of the processed farm products pursuant to subdivision (i) of this subdivision (B), when added to other gross income from the business of farming as used in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (7), equals at least one-half of the farmer’s annual gross income; and

(iii)  who produces on the farm a minimum of 75 percent of the farm crops processed in the farm facility; 

(C)  The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall assist the director in making determinations of eligibility pursuant to subdivision (B) of this subdivision (7).

Sec. 2.  32 V.S.A. § 3752(14) is amended to read:

(14)  “Farm buildings” means all farm buildings and other farm improvements which are actively used by a farmer as part of a farming operation, are owned by a farmer or leased to a farmer under a written lease for a term of three years or more, and are situated on land that is enrolled in a use value appraisal program or on a housesite adjoining enrolled land; but “farm.  “Farm buildings” shall include up to $100,000.00 of the value of a farm facility processing farm crops, a minimum of 75 percent of which are produced on the farm and shall not include any dwelling other than a dwelling in use during the preceding tax year exclusively to house one or more farm employees, as defined in section 4469 of Title 9, and their families, as a nonmonetary benefit of the farm employment.  This subdivision shall not affect the application of the definition of “farming” in subdivision 6001(22) of Title 10 or the definition of “farm structure” in subdivision 4413(d)(1) of Title 24.

Sec. 3.  32 V.S.A. § 3752(1)(C)(iii) is amended to read:

(iii)  exceptions to these income requirements may be made in cases of orchard lands planted to fruit producing trees, bushes or vines which are not yet of bearing age.  For the purposes of this subdivision section, the term "farm crops" also includes animal fiber, cider, wine and cheese produced on the enrolled land or on a housesite adjoining the enrolled land from agricultural products grown on the enrolled land.

Sec. 4.  REPORT

The agency of agriculture, food and markets with the assistance of the departments of economic development and of forests, parks and recreation and in consultation with the division of property valuation and review shall conduct a review of existing Vermont programs and examine programs in other states.  The report shall recommend initiatives that promote the economic development of small farms and agriculture in Vermont.  The report shall be submitted to the house committee on agriculture and the senate committee on agriculture on or before December 1, 2005 with specific options for action by the general assembly targeted to value‑added on‑site farm and natural resources based enterprises.

Sec. 5.  REPORT

The division of property valuation and review and the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall report on or before January 15, 2006 to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance and the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture on farm processing facilities enrolled in the use value appraisal program.

Approved:  June 23, 2005



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us