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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 2. Agriculture
Agency 5. Department of Agriculture And Consumer Services
Chapter 20. Standards for Classification of Real Estate As Devoted to Agricultural Use and to Horticultural Use under the Virginia Land Use Assessment Law
5/24/2022

2VAC5-20-30. Conservation of land resources; management and production.

A. Conservation of land resources. The applicant shall certify that the real estate is being used in a planned program of practices that:

1. With respect to real estate devoted to a use that disturbs the soil or that affects water quality, is intended to (in the case of soil) reduce or prevent soil erosion and (in the case of water) improve water quality by best management practices such as terracing, cover cropping, strip cropping, no-till planting, sodding waterways, diversions, water impoundments, and other best management practices, to the extent that best management practices exist for that use of the real estate.

2. With respect to real estate devoted to crops grown in the soil, is intended to maintain soil nutrients by the application of soil nutrients (organic and inorganic) needed to produce average yields of such crops or as recommended by soil tests.

3. Is intended to control brush, woody growth, and noxious weeds on row crops, hay, and pasture by the use of herbicides, biological controls, cultivation, mowing, or other normal cultural practices.

B. Management and production. The applicant shall certify that the real estate is being used in a planned program of management and production that corresponds with the demonstration of at least one of the requirements in 2VAC5-20-20 A 1 through A 6.

C. Field crop production shall be primarily for commercial uses and the average crop yield per acre on each crop grown on the real estate shall be equal to at least one-half of the county (city) average for the past three years; except that the local government may prescribe lesser requirements when unusual circumstances prevail and such requirements are not realistic.

Livestock, dairy, poultry, or aquaculture production shall be primarily for commercial sale of livestock, dairy, poultry, and aquaculture products. Livestock, dairy, and poultry shall have a minimum of 12 animal unit-months of commercial livestock or poultry per five acres of open land in the previous year. One animal unit to be one cow, one horse, five sheep, five swine, 100 chickens, 66 turkeys, or 100 other fowl. (An animal unit-month means one mature cow or the equivalent on five acres of land for one month; therefore, 12 animal unit-months means the maintenance of one mature cow or the equivalent on each five acres for 12 months, or any combination of mature cows or the equivalent and months that would equal 12 animal unit-months, such as three mature cows or the equivalent for four months, four mature cows or the equivalent for three months, two mature cows or the equivalent for six months, etc.).

Horticultural production includes nursery, greenhouse, cut flowers, plant materials, orchards, vineyards, and small fruit products.

Statutory Authority

§ 58.1-3230 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR115-01-02 § 2, eff. November 23, 1988; amended, Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 11, eff. March 10, 2006; Errata, 22:13 VA.R. 2153 March 6, 2006; Volume 37, Issue 2, eff. October 15, 2020.

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