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On New York State farms, property taxes per acre are $39. The national average is $6.

New legislation signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo this week will slow the growth of assessments that are put on farmers’ property tax bills.

New York Farm Bureau President and Genesee County native Dean Norton says he expects farmers to see smaller tax bills in the future and more money in their pockets to reinvest back into their businesses and communities.

“You’re going to see a slower growth of real estate taxes paid by farmers and putting it more in line with the services that agriculture is required by our municipalities when it comes to the amount of taxes paid versus the amount of services rendered,” Norton said.

The state enacted a 2 percent property tax cap a couple years ago “…but when it came to farms, the assessments were going up 10 percent a year,” Norton said. “So if you figure over a 10-year period, you’re going to be paying double what your taxes were regardless of the 2 percent property tax cap.”

Norton says the taxes will be more in line with the true, traditional values of agricultural assessments which is beneficial for all New York farmers.

“Hopefully it will help some of our young farmers who want to get started in the business to give them an opportunity to get started and have more money on hand to do that,” Norton said, “and maybe helps some of our older farmers who want to transition.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley says he is also pleased with the legislation. In a statement released Wednesday the Batavia Republican said, “Our local farms have felt the squeeze from constantly escalating taxes in recent years. The agricultural assessment will be crucial in giving our farming families some financial breathing room, allowing them to stay on their land for generations to come and continue doing what they do best: producing the locally grown, healthy products our state relies on.”

The legislation goes into effect next year.

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