CAUV recoupment stings

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Editor:

I recently read an article in the Ohio Farm Bureau’s “Buckeye Farm News” concerning CAUV (current agricultural use valuation) of real estate taxes and couldn’t believe what I’d read.

The Ohio Farm Bureau, which is supposed to be protecting farmers and their interests, voted to support legislation to extend CAUV recoupment to five years and in the name of farmland preservation.

This has got to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard: the Farm Bureau thinks that by charging people who own large tracts of land additional (and outrageous) taxes will preserve farmland.

What are these people thinking? Do you think landowners who may be having a hard time paying taxes after losing a CAUV are going to say “Oh, OK, well I’ll just pay these additional taxes for two more years even though I can’t afford it because it is in the name of farmland preservation?”

No, they are going to sell the land to developers, make more money than they ever would have farming, and Cleveland (or any other city) extends a little further. Unbelievable.

I am sick and tired of listening to politicians preach about “farmland preservation” and “protection of green space” when all they really care about is money in the states’, counties’, and their own pockets.

Maybe I am so upset over this because of my own situation. After my grandmother died in 1991, our farm was taken over by my uncle for a year, and then by myself for a year while still in high school.

After high school, I joined the Navy for six years and while away my father tried to maintain the farm as best he could until I was done with my enlistment, but we lost our CAUV status.

After a long appeals process, it was not reinstated even after what I feel was significant evidence of agricultural activity was presented. And this took place in Geauga County, a place where I hear more talk about “farmland preservation” than almost anywhere.

Now, silly me is out of the service and a full-time student at Ohio State University majoring in crop science and driving home every weekend -140 miles – and spending every break working the farm and trying to preserve my heritage and a way of life I love, only to find out now that maybe my family will not be able to afford it.

I know that my letter probably will not accomplish anything and that an already bad system will probably get worse. I guess that counties like Geauga, Lorain, Medina, and Delaware will be completely lost to development and “progress.” I am sure the almighty dollar will win.

Eugene Schultz

Chesterland, Ohio

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