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Welcome to the home page for Virginia's Use Value Assessment Program. The purpose of this site is to provide information to those interested in use value assessment in Virginia.

Virginia law allows eligible land in agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space to be taxed upon the land's value in use (use value) as opposed to the market value. The State Land Evaluation and Advisory Council (SLEAC) was created in 1973 with the mandate to estimate the use value of eligible land for each jurisdiction participating in the use-value taxation program. The SLEAC contracts annually with the Department of Agricultural and Applied economics at Virginia Tech to develop an objective methodology for estimating the use value of land in agricultural and horticultural uses, with the Virginia Department of Forestry for the use value of land in forestry, and with the Department of Conservation and Recreation for the use value of land in open space. The Council developed a manual to bring together background information needed by local officials involved in or considering a use-value assessment program. Click here to access the SLEAC Manual

A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), comprised of professionals familiar with Virginia agriculture, was established in 1998 to provided guidance on the technical aspects of developing an appropriate methodology for the estimation of use values for agricultural and horticultural uses. Section 58.1-3239 of Code of Virginia requires each participating jurisdictions' assessment office to consider the SLEAC estimates when assessing the use value of eligible land. However, the local assessing office is not required to use the estimates.

Annually, Agricultural and Horticultural, Forestry, and Open Space Use-value Estimates are presented for review by SLEAC at a public meeting held during the first two weeks of August. These preliminary estimates are open for review for 30 days. During this time, written questions are addressed. Responses to all questions are presented to SLEAC for a vote during a second meeting held during the first 2 weeks of September. The approved estimates are posted on the use-value website in October of each year.

To view the state application click here, this document is for informational purposes only.  Please check with a local government agency to verify specific applications, eligibility, and reporting requirements. 

Click here vt logo to view a map and list of participating use-value jurisdictions.

What's New?

Virginia Association of Assessing Officers (VAAO) Educational Seminar (July 15, 2015)

Land Use Session (Presentations)
Agritourism Presentation (T.Miller - Rockingham County Attourney)
Agritourism Rockingham Resolution
Defining Agritourism in Virginia (G. Ferreira - Virginia Tech)
Commissioner's Standards for Classification of Agri or Hort Use (K. Schmidt - Office of Policy, Planning, and Reserach)

Presentation Essex County Board of Supervisors

The Use-value Estimation Process (Feb 10, 2015)

Estimates TY2015

Agricultural and Horticultural Estimates

      TY2015 Estimated Use Values of Agricultural Land
      TY2015 Estimated Use Values of Land in Orchard Use
      TY2015 Estimated Rental Rate Values of Agricutural Land

Forest Estimates

     TY2015 Estimated Use Values for Forest

Open Space Estimates

     TY2015 Estimated Use Values for Open Space

Virginia Association of Assessing Officers (VAAO) Educational Seminar (July 16-18, 2014)

Land Use Session (Presentations)
Forestry Overview and Update (D.Cumbia)
Commisioner's Standards for Classification of Agricultural/Horticultural Use (K.Schmidt)
Census Update and 10 Questions for Land Use (G.Groover) 

2012 Agricultural Census

Use Value Assessment Estimates and the 2012 Agricultural Census: Jurisdictional Changes in Harvested 
and Composite Farm Acreage from the 2007 and 2012 Census (June, 2014) (Revised)

Document shows changes in the number of farms, harvested crop acreage, and composite farm acreage (calculated) reported by the 2007 and 2012 Agricultural Census for jurisdictions (counties/cities) participating in the use-value taxation program.


VAAO Land Use Manual (August, 2013)

A user friendly manual from the Virginia Association of Assessing Officers (VAAO) offering Land Use Administrators descriptive explanations of the State Code of Virginia as it pertains to Land Use Law.

SLEAC Manual (May, 2013) Last update: Attourney General's Opinion (9- 20- 2013) Conservation Easement

Provides beackground information needed by local officials involved in or considering a use-value assessment program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Click here FAQs or on the FAQ button on the left and you will be directed to sixty questions with answers that pertain to Virginia's Use Value Taxation Program!

    If you have a question about the Use Value Assessment Program, please enter it into our question bank. To do so, click on this link: FAQs Bank . To recieve an answer to your question, please provide your email address.


Tax Incentives for Open Space Preservation, Sandberg, Jeffrey O. (October, 2013)

Twenty-three states offer preferential property tax assessment of open space, to protect the environmental benefits and amenities of undeveloped land. This article compares policy differences from state to state and weighs their potential societal rewards and costs.

Agricultural Use-Value Property Tax Assesment: Estimation and Policy Issues. Anderson,  John E.  (2012) 

This paper provides an overview of the theory and methods used to implement use-value property tax assessment for agricultural land in the United States. After a critical review of the methods used by various states in their application of use-value statutes for agricultural land, the paper examines several policy issues related to the estimation and application of use-value assessment methods. Five state case studies are included, providing an overview of methods used in use-value assessment, and suggestions are provided regarding several ways in which use-value assessment methods need to be improved.

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Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech. For problems or questions regarding this website contact Lex Bruce. Last updated July 7, 2015.