Agricultural Land

Guidelines have been established by the Central Appraisal District for the implementation of these provisions. It is the opinion of the Central Appraisal District and the Agricultural Committee that Agricultural Land Qualification Guidelines are valid for mass appraisal purposes and can be applied uniformly throughout Wharton County.

These guidelines are supported by Section 183 of the Internal Revenue Service Regulations.

It should be noted that these guidelines are to be used as a general guide for qualifying agricultural land. Exceptions to the general rule will be handled on a case by case basis.

Definitions of Key Words/Phrases
  1. Prudent – capable of making important management decisions; shrewd in the management of practical affairs. Specifically the law states that the land must be utilized as would an ordinary and prudent manager in the area of the taxing unit.
  2. Substantial – ample to satisfy; considerable in quantity. Specifically, the law states that the agricultural land must be an identifiable and substantial tract of land. This means that the tract must be of adequate size to be economically feasible to farm or ranch. Thus, when two small tracts are used together, they may become a substantial amount of land; when used separately they may not be.
  3. Typical – exhibiting the essential characteristics of a group. Specifically, the law states that Ag land will be utilized as would a typically (ordinary) prudent manager. Statistically, a typically prudent manager is the median farmer or rancher.
  4. Agricultural Use to the Degree of Intensity Generally Accepted in the Area – farming or ranching to the extent that the typically prudent manager in the area of the taxing unit would farm or ranch on an identifiable and substantial tract of land when the tract is devoted principally to agricultural use. A better understanding of the definition can be gained by identifying the key elements of the definition and explaining each as follows:
    1. Degree of intensity generally accepted in the area shall mean that the farming and ranching practices (cropping patterns, planting rates, fertilization methods, harvesting and marketing techniques, etc.) are those of a typically prudent farm or ranch manager.
    2. Typically prudent farm or ranch managers are ordinary farmers in terms of acres farmed as well as management ability. Given that all other factors remain constant, the number of acres farmed determines that farmer’s capital structure. Typical prudent farmers or ranch managers located in Wharton County are assumed to have similar equipment of similar value and utility.
    3. Simply stated, a substantial tract is a tract of land large enough to be farmed by itself in a typically prudent manner.
    4. Area is interpreted to be that land inside the jurisdictional boundaries of the Central Appraisal District of Wharton County.
    5. Principally means the more important use in comparison with other uses to which the land is put.


Animal Units
  • 1 Cow = 1 A.U.
  • Cow & Calf = 1 A.U.
  • Horse = 1 A.U.
  • Bull = 1 1/2 A.U.
  • 2 – 500 Pound Calves = 1 A.U.
  • 2 Colts = 1 A.U.
  • 6 Goats & Sheep = 1 A.U.
  • 2 Miniature Horses = 1 A.U
  • 2 Miniature Donkeys = 1 A.U.


  • Good – 1 animal unit per 1-3 acres
  • Average – 1 animal unit per 4-8 acres
  • Poor – 1 animal unit per 8-15 acres