Land Use Information

Enacted by the General Assembly in 1973, the present-use value program in North Carolina became a part of the property tax system in 1974. While North Carolina law had always required that real property be appraised at market value, it was assessed (also by statutory directive), at a percentage of that market value.

Tagged Cows in the Field


Ownership must be in one of the following forms:

  • Individual
  • Natural Person; (Generally)
  • Tenants by the Entireties
  • Tenants in Common

Individuals, tenants by the entireties, and tenants in common are the most common forms of ownership that qualify under the natural person concept.

A business entity:

  • Corporation (Closely-Held; Not Publicly-Held)
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Partnership

For business entity ownership to qualify, the entity must have as it's principle business activity, the growing and production of either agricultural, horticultural, forestry products, and the members of the entity must either be actively engaged, or related to a member actively engaged, in the business of the entity.

Size Requirements

Regardless of the number of parcels included in the account application, at least one of the parcels must meet the minimum size requirements of acres in production for that specific type of classification.

  1. The parent parcel of an agricultural application must have at least 10 acres in actual production.
  2. The parent parcel of a horticultural application must have a least 5 acres in actual production.
  3. The parent parcel of a forestland application must have at least 20 acres in actual production.

A separate 10-acres forestry parcel cannot be brought into the program on the basis that another 10-acres parcel has met all the requirements for classification as an agricultural parcel.

Land in "Actual Production"

The land actually being cultivated to produce a crop. The crop can be either agricultural, horticultural or timber, dependent only on the classification for which application is being made.

Income Requirements

The parent parcel of an agricultural or horticultural application, in addition to meeting the requirements of ownership, size, and sound management must be able to show that the land (acres), in production produces enough crop or commodity relevant to the classification to meet the $1,000 average income.


There is no income requirement for parcels applying under the Forestland classification. You must have a forest management plan.


Types of Income Not Allowed

  • Ground rents received for acreage leased to another farmer / producer of agricultural or horticultural products.
  • Income received for performing a service for other farming operations, including but not limited to, plowing, discing, mowing, baling, combining, hauling, grinding, picking, drying, curing, processing, or any other similar operation.
  • Income received from the leasing of farm equipment or animals.
  • Income received from stud fees, grazing or boarding fees.
  • Income received from the training and/or showing of livestock for judging or show. Income received from the sale of firewood or other forestry products, such as pine cones, pine straw, etc.