Farm & Agricultural Land Conservation Program

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.

Purpose of this Program
The Farm and Agriculture Conservation Program was created to specifically maintain commercial farmland that:
  • 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
  • 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.
Examples of Eligible Property Owners
  1. Farmer Oliver Douglas and his wife, Lisa, own 19 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.
  2. Farmer Ziffle has a 50-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.
Why Apply for the Farm and Agriculture Conservation Program?
If the property owner can no longer farm or can no longer meet the income requirements to continue in the Farm and Agriculture Program, but will conserve the land as farmland, he or she can avoid the associated removal costs (7 years of compensating tax, plus interest, plus penalty).

How to Apply
To apply to reclassify from Farm and Agriculture to Farm and Agriculture Conservation, the following two application forms need to be filed with the county.

The Change of Classification or Use Form (PDF) is submitted to:
Spokane County Assessor's Office
1116 West Broadway Avenue
Spokane, WA 99260

The Application for Classification or Reclassification Form (PDF) for reclassification as Open Space Land or Timber Land for Current Use Assessment under Chapter 84.34 RCW is submitted to:
Spokane County Building and Planning
Public Works Building
1026 West Broadway Avenue
Spokane, WA 99260