SD House Sends Ag Land Classification Bill To State Senate


     The South Dakota House has narrowly passed a bill giving ranchers an easier process to have their pastures taxed as rangeland. The 38-30 vote sends HB 1039 on to the State Senate 

     The bill introduced by Representative Trish Ladner of Hot Springs and Rapid City Senator Jessica Castleberry focuses on the classification between crop and non-cropland.

     Some land that’s always been grassland was reclassified as cropland after a satellite-based soil survey identified ribbons and patches of  rangeland with soil types that could be assessed as row cropland.

     That’s what the South Dakota Dept of Revenue did, sending assessments – and potential tax bills – skyrocketing for some ranchers.

       Ladner says the problem is that much of that land can’t be used for row crops for multiple reasons including terrain such as hilltops or creek beds, limited access, or limited water 

     Strong opposition, especially from the Southern Hills, led the Revenue Department to put the change on hold and resulted in HB 1039, which county assessors say will simplify their work by solving 85% of the tax issues facing ranchers.

     The bill allows the designation of non-cropland to be placed on all land at more than 1,955 feet elevation, native grasslands, and land seeded to perennial vegetation for at least 20 years and grazed but never harvested.