Farmers See Another Increase in Property Taxes - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Farmers See Another Increase in Property Taxes

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Farmers say taxes are growing even faster than their crops, with the tax burden of agricultural land in the state doubled since 2009.

This nearly 120 percent hike has some farmers worrying about the years to come.

"You have to fine tune and make some adjustments," said David Grimes as he prepares to plant on his Minden farm. "We have good farmland, lots of good farmland and ranch land." 

Grimes just recently moved to central Nebraska, but he says moving from a different county doesn't change paying property taxes. "You have to pay those taxes even when you don't raise a good crop or when the prices are low, as well as times when you make a good living," Grimes explained.

Those taxes are falling a little heavier on families who own farm-, ranch- and pasture land. "About 25 percent of the property taxes paid, which will grow to be about a billion dollars by 2015, are paid by farm and ranch families, which represent only about 3 percent of Nebraska population," said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.

Nebraska Farm Bureau said the lack of balance should be looked at closer in next year's legislative session. "It was disappointing that the Legislature did not do more. There was some additional money placed in the property tax credit program and that's important; it was really not significant measured against the problem we have," said Nelson.

But for now, like many land owners, Grimes will just hope for a good harvest. "A farmer has to go on faith and prepare and plan for adversity and hope for the best."

Since just last year, average agriculture land values in Nebraska have jumped 29 percent. However each county is different; folks in Hall County saw a 41 percent spike.
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