“Because we allow people to see our farming doesn’t mean we’re not a farm.”
About 175,000 adults and schoolchildren each year flock to the Lazy 5 Ranch off N.C. 150 to see exotic animals and learn about farming, but that could end soon.
A fight over complicated property tax rules may force the ranch, one of the area’s most popular tourist and educational attractions and open 14 years, to close.
A few months ago, the Rowan County tax assessor’s office determined the property no longer qualified for a state-allowed tax break that encourages agriculture.
Qualifying farms are assessed at a lower rate than fair market value in recognition that development pressures on open land drive up property values. As long as farmland is used for agriculture and not developed, the land is valued at its ‘present use,’ rather than a future use, such as subdivision or office park. Read more