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Current Use Farm & Agriculture Conservation Program Application Forms

The Open Space Taxation Act states that it is in the best interest of the state to maintain, preserve, conserve, and otherwise continue in existence adequate open space lands for the production of food, fiber, and forest crops, and to assure the use and enjoyment of natural resources and scenic beauty for the economic and social well-being of the state and its citizens.

The Farm & Ag Conservation Program was created to specifically maintain commercial farmland that:

a.  Was previously classified as farm and agricultural land under RCW 84.34.020(2), that no longer meets the criteria for classification under RCW 84.34.020(2), and that shall be reclassified as open space land under RCW 84.34.020(1); or 

b. Traditional farmland that is not classified under chapter 84.33 or 84.34 RCW, that has not been irrevocably dedicated to a use inconsistent with agricultural uses, and that has a high potential for returning to commercial agricultural purposes.

Now that we cleared that up, here are two examples of property owners who could apply for the Farm & Ag Conservation Program:

 

    (a) Farmer Oliver Douglas and his wife, Lisa, own nineteen acres of classified farm and agricultural land. Farmer Douglas dies and Lisa inherits the classified land. Lisa realizes that she cannot actively farm the land and produce the annual amount of income required by RCW 84.34.020 (2)(b). She decides to have the land reclassified as farm and agricultural conservation land within the open space classification. The land may be reclassified as open space/farm and agricultural conservation land under subsection (3)(a) of this section if she submits an application for reclassification as open space/farm and agricultural conservation land and the application for reclassification is approved by the granting authority.

     (b) Farmer Ziffle has a fifty-acre parcel of land on which he raises pigs.  He inherited this land from his father who farmed it before him. Also, the land has never been classified under chapter 84.34 RCW nor has it ever been designated forest land under chapter 84.33 RCW. As the result of an accident, Farmer Ziffle breaks his back and cannot actively farm the land for an extended period of time. This land may be classified as open space/farm and agricultural conservation land under subsection (3)(b) of this section if Farmer Ziffle submits an application for classification as open space/farm and agricultural conservation land, the application for classification is approved, the land is not irrevocably dedicated to a use inconsistent with agricultural uses, and the land has a high potential for returning to commercial agriculture.

So why would a property owner want to apply for the Farm & Ag Conservation Program?

 

Simple, if the property owner can no longer farm or can no longer meet the income requirements to continue in the Farm & Ag Program, but will conserve the land as farmland, he/she can avoid the associated removal costs (7 years of compensating tax, plus interest, plus penalty).

To apply to reclassify from Farm & Ag to Farm & Ag Conservation the following two application forms need to be filed with the county.  The forms are fillable. You can type directly on the form to fill out the application information, then print, sign, date, and submit to the appropriate county office.

The Change of Classification or Use Form is submitted to:

Spokane County Assessor's Office
1116 W. Broadway Ave
Spokane, WA 99260

The  Application for Classification or Reclassification as Open Space Land or Timber Land for Current Use Assessment Form under Chapter 84.34 RCW is submitted to:

Spokane County Building and Planning
Public Works Building
1026 W. Broadway Ave
Spokane, WA 99260

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