The 1-d-1 Open Space Special Land Valuation (often erroneously but commonly called "Ag Exemption") is a special valuation intended to promote the preservation of open spaces.
To that effect, the Texas Constitution allows agricultural and open-space land to be taxed on its agricultural use or productivity value, which is much lower than its actual market value (the selling price of the land in the open market).
This is not per se a “tax exemption” for agricultural landowners, but instead is an alternative way to calculate property taxes owed (albeit one that results in a significantly lower property tax consequence on the qualifying part of the land).
To qualify land of 5+ to 20 acres in Hays County for open-space (1-d-1) valuation, the land must be in agricultural use (note that 1 acre must be excluded for homestead if there is one on the property). For land without any history of agricultural use, land owners need to accumulate 5 years of qualifying activity before this special land valuation can be obtained.
Beekeeping is one of the qualifying agricultural activities, and it can easily and quickly be put in place.
The good news is that landowners may enroll the services of a professional beekeeper to satisfy those requirements if they do not wish to become a beekeeper themselves.
Documented beekeeping leases and/or bee and hive purchases prior to April 30th may be part of the documentation required to file the application for the year in progress or to start the clock on the 5 years of qualifying activity, even if they are physically delivered/set up later in the Summer (inspectors understand that it takes time to raise the required colonies each year).
So, if you are considering the possibility of having bees on your land to qualify it for an "Ag Exemption", it is not too late to document qualifying activity for the year in progress, as long as you file your application by April 30th.
Also, it is also important to know that one can switch from one qualifying activity and still retain their history:
Example 1: if you have an "Ag Exemption" using livestock, you may switch to beekeeping as a qualifying activity instead
Example 2: if you have already documented 4 years of qualifying activities using livestock, you may switch to beekeeping on your 5th year instead and retain the 4 previous years as qualifying activity
If you have questions regarding beekeeping in general, or as a qualifying activity for an "Ag Exemption" on your land, contact us at BeeMindfulHoneyFarms@gmail.com and we'll be happy to help you.