The repeated lyrics, “crimson and clover, over and over,” from the Tommy James hit song came to mind when seeing another researcher has found property taxes on farms and ranches in Nebraska are significantly higher compared to other states. Agricultural economist, David Widmar, used several measures to examine the relative burden of property taxes on farms between states in a recent blog. Not surprisingly, he found farm property taxes in Nebraska continue to rank high . . . over and over.

Figure 1 shows state-level changes in property tax expense in each state between the average in 2000-2004 versus the average in 2015-2017 based on USDA Economic Research Service data. Quoting Widmar, “Some states experience large—almost unbelievable—increases: Nebraska (+135%), Nevada (+105%), Arkansas (+83%). Remember, a 100% increase is doubling the expense. . . Nebraska stands out—a theme throughout this post. Changes in farm property expenses in Nebraska outpaced its neighbors dramatically. Colorado and Iowa observed very small changes, while Kansas and South Dakota had modest increases.”

Widmar also examines farm property taxes relative to the value of farm production in each state. Again, Nebraska attracts his attention. “That said, Nebraska, again stands out. Property taxes expense in 2017 accounted for 5.9% of the value of farm production. Said differently, property taxes expense was $6 for every $100 in value of production. This is the highest level seen throughout the entire Midwest.”

Nebraska farmers and ranchers compete in a global market where every nickel, dime, or dollar of expense count. Unfortunately, Widmar’s analysis once again shows Nebraska producers start behind competitors from the starting gate due to the high property taxes they face. One can almost hear Tommy James now . . . over, and over, and over. To read Widmar’s analysis, go to: https://aei.ag/2019/07/29/farm-property-taxes-part-ii-a-geographical-look/

Figure 1. Change in Farm Property Tax Expense, by State, Average of 2000-04 vs. 2015-17

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Source: Farm Property Taxes, Part II: A Geographical Look, by David Widmar, Ag Economic Insights, July 29, 2019.