Dear editor,

The stories reported by Daniel Buhrman and Elizabeth Elliott emphasized the economic stress currently suffered by agriculture producers at a time when they are faced with the additional burden of over-taxation of their agricultural lands.

An analysis conducted by the Nebraska Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division revealed that in tax years 2017/18, Washington County ag land was over-assessed by 12 percent, little has changed.

I have asked both the governor and our state Sen. Ben Hansen why are the assessed values of agricultural land not in compliance with Nebraska Constitution Article VIII-1 (5) and Nebraska revised statute 77-1359?

Nebraska revised statute 77-1359 specifically states the assessed value of agricultural land and horticultural land shall not be uniform and proportionate with all other real property, whereas agricultural land is currently being assessed the same as all other real property.

Neb. Constitution Article VIII-1, (5), specifically states that for property tax purposes, agricultural land shall be valued solely for its agricultural use, whereas the actual value of the lands agricultural use is relative to the income derived from that use. Title 350, agricultural assessment regulation 14-006.02, the income approach, provides the only constitutional means for valuing agricultural land solely for its agricultural use.

Currently agricultural land is not valued using the income approach. Why not?

I have never received an answer. Why do our elected officials take such a dismissive attitude toward the main industry that supports this state? How do you grow the State by bankrupting the farmers?

Perhaps these fine reporters could do an investigative report to give the farmers an answer.

William Burdess

Fort Calhoun

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