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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Property Tax Relief

Monday, December 1, 2008

For most in the area, property taxes either were recently paid or due soon. Statewide, most residential properties saw decreases while agricultural land saw increases.

While this week's topic is not devoted to understanding your property tax bill, one could visit www.agecon.purdue.edu/crd/Localgov/index... to better understand a property tax bill.

Would you like a significant cut in future property taxes?

The Indiana Classified Forest program is specifically designed to help keep Indiana's private forests intact. It allows landowners with at least 10 acres of forest to set that land aside and to remain as forest. In return for meeting program guidelines, landowners receive property tax breaks, forestry literature and periodic free inspections by a professional forester while the forest is enrolled in the program.

The Indiana Classified Forest program is one of the most successful and longest running forest stewardship programs in the United States. Currently over 8,300 pieces of property, covering nearly 420,000 acres, are enrolled in this voluntary set aside program, and the program is growing in excess of 10,000 acres per year.

Classified forests are areas of 10 acres or more, supporting a growth of native or planted trees, which have been set aside for the production of timber and wildlife, the protection of watersheds, or the control of soil erosion.

Lands designated as such by the state forester are eligible for assessment at $1 per acre and taxes are paid on that assessment. Both native timber land and land planted to an acceptable species of trees are eligible for classification.

As discussed last week, seedling trees for the reforestation of open areas can be obtained from state nurseries. The owner of classified forest land does not relinquish ownership or control of the property and the Division of Forestry does not become connected in any way with the ownership of the land.

The Classified Forest Act requires the classified forest owner to follow minimum standards of good timber management and follow a written management plan that is approved by the district forester. The plan must be approved by a professional forester in consultation with and signed by the owner. In addition, it must adequately describe the present condition of the forest and prescribe a plan of action that will meet the objectives of the owner and the classified forest land program.

The forest plan may be revised periodically to meet changing landowner objectives and forest conditions.

The landowner does not have to obtain permission from the Division of Forestry if one wants to cut or sell timber. However, the owner is required to notify the district forester within 60 days after a sale of timber has been made. It is also the owner's responsibility not to over cut the forest to the point that it no longer contains enough good trees to meet the program requirements.

General guidelines on harvesting are available from your district forester. The owner can get technical assistance in marking and marketing timber through either the district forester or a privately-employed professional forester.

To contact the DNR District Forester, Ralph Unversaw 812-829-2462 is the contact in Owen County whereas Jeremiah Lemmons at 812-665-2130 is the contact in Clay County. Visit www.in.gov/dnr/files /fo-ClassifiedForestBrochure.pdf to view a brochure about the program.

You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 829-5020 Ext. 14 in Owen County or 448-9041 in Clay County for more information or publication copies regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While most publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming Events

Dec. 5-6 Indiana Farm Bureau State Convention, Evansville

Dec. 10-11 Midwest Invasive Plant Network Annual Meeting, Indianapolis

Dec. 11 Farm Income Tax Program, Brazil, 7 p.m.

Dec. 16-17 Certified Crop Advisor Conference, Indianapolis

Dec. 17 Rural Energy Workshop, Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Jan. 12-14 Indiana Green Expo, Indianapolis

Jan. 13 Forestry Class-8 week evenings, Martinsville

Jan. 19-21 Hort Congress, Indianapolis

Jan. 21-22 Midwest Organic Conference, Indianapolis

Jan. 26 Clay Extension Advisory Council Annual Meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 27 Managing Margin Risk-5 Tuesdays (Brazil and Spencer) 7 p.m.