Ag Policy Blog

Plunging Deeper into Farmers and Property Taxes

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
Connect with Chris:
A classic farmstead. Property tax data from the Ag Census shows how property taxes paid by farmers ranges widely. (DTN file photo).

I had more than a couple of emails following an article this week on property taxes paid based on the 2017 Ag Census.

People had questions about how the numbers were calculated, or expressed surprise their state didn't rank higher on the list.

The article was purely a numbers piece, taking the dollar amount of property taxes paid in each state and dividing it by the number of farmers reported in the Ag Census.…

Working in Omaha, I also hear and read a lot about property taxes in Nebraska. National farm leaders have told me in the past that no place fights as much about property taxes as Nebraska. Numbers bore out that Nebraska farmers pay significantly more than farmers in neighboring states and only California farmers pay more.

Texas was a bit different because of the sheer numbers of farms listed in the Ag Census. Texas reported 236,030 farmers who pay property taxes, compared to 65,129 farmers in California and 42,502 in Nebraska who reported paying property taxes.

Those 236,030 Texas farmers paid $698.25 million in property taxes. Because there were so many farms, a pure division of taxes per farm led to a much lower per-average number.

State level data breaks down the numbers a little more.

Looking at Texas, 202,243 farms paid under $5,000 a year in property taxes, but they did pay $284.36 million in property taxes, or 41% of the total.

The largest 33,787 farms and ranches in Texas paid a combined $413.9 million in property taxes. They were segmented off as 21,891 farms and ranches paying between $5,000 and $9,999; another 9,332 farms paying between $10,000 and $24,999;

Texas had 2,664 farms and ranches (1.1% of the state's farms) that paid more than $25,000 each. At $135.48 million paid in, they paid about 20% of the entire state's property tax total.

On a national basis, just 55,100 farmers out of 1.92 million, or 2.8% of all farms, paid $25,000 or more for property taxes in 2017. Those 2.8% of farmers, though, paid $3.36 billion in property taxes, or more than 35% of the total paid by farmers.

Among the 7,854 largest farms in California, (12% of total farms) -- those paying more than $25,000 each --- collectively paid $797.8 million in taxes in 2017, or 71% of the total property taxes paid by California farmers.

In Nebraska, 18% of farms, or 7,757 fell into the range of paying more than $25,000 in property taxes. Those farmers paid in $456.8 million, or 66.5% of all property taxes paid by Nebraska farmers in 2017.

In Iowa, the fourth-highest state for overall property taxes, the largest 4% of farms, or 3,506 operations, paid $163.56 million, or about 30% of total property taxes paid.

South Dakota also showed up high on property taxes per farm. There, 2,259 of the largest farms (8% of total farms) paid $115.38 million, or 44% of the state's total.

Lastly, in Illinois, 2,990 farms, (4.4%), paid $149.6 million, or about 35% of the state's total property taxes paid.

Ag Census state level data can be found at…

Chris Clayton can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN


To comment, please Log In or Join our Community .

5/9/2019 | 3:05 AM CDT
Thanks for this post.
4/20/2019 | 5:28 PM CDT
Dollars per acre might sound easier or clearer but the difference in the land being taxed is huge. If you are trying to show the overall tax burden on the farm segment the numbers and percentages of the propert taxes paid should be more alarming.tThis is of course assuming that you are open to listening.Many are not as they believe that we( farmers) are just sitting around with our hands out. Numbers to published are these property tax burdens despite the prices for the crops we grow while being the major pawn of our current trade wars.
4/20/2019 | 7:46 AM CDT
Wouldn't it make more sense to divide real estate taxes by acres instead of number of farmers?