Sec. 23.51. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
(1) “Qualified open-space land” means land that is currently devoted principally to agricultural use to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area and that has been devoted principally to agricultural use or to production of timber or forest products for five of the preceding seven years or land that is used principally as an ecological laboratory by a public or private college or university and that has been used principally in that manner by a college or university for five of the preceding seven years. Qualified open-space land includes all appurtenances to the land. For the purposes of this subdivision, appurtenances to the land means private roads, dams, reservoirs, water wells, canals, ditches, terraces, and other reshapings of the soil, fences, and riparian water rights. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this subdivision, land that is currently devoted principally to wildlife management as defined by Subdivision (7)(B) or (C) to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area qualifies for appraisal as qualified open-space land under this subchapter regardless of the manner in which the land was used in any preceding year.
(2) “Agricultural use” includes but is not limited to the following activities: cultivating the soil, producing crops for human food, animal feed, or planting seed or for the production of fibers; floriculture, viticulture, and horticulture; raising or keeping livestock; raising or keeping exotic animals for the production of human food or of fiber, leather, pelts, or other tangible products having a commercial value; planting cover crops or leaving land idle for the purpose of participating in a governmental program, provided the land is not used for residential purposes or a purpose inconsistent with agricultural use; and planting cover crops or leaving land idle in conjunction with normal crop or livestock rotation procedure. The term also includes the use of land to produce or harvest logs and posts for the use in constructing or repairing fences, pens, barns, or other agricultural improvements on adjacent qualified open-space land having the same owner and devoted to a different agricultural use. The term also includes the use of land for wildlife management. The term also includes the use of land to raise or keep bees for pollination or for the production of human food or other tangible products having a commercial value, provided that the land used is not less than 5 or more than 20 acres.
(3) “Category” means the value classification of land considering the agricultural use to which the land is principally devoted. The chief appraiser shall determine the categories into which land in the appraisal district is classified. In classifying land according to categories, the chief appraiser shall distinguish between irrigated cropland, dry cropland, improved pasture, native pasture, orchard, and waste. The chief appraiser may establish additional categories. The chief appraiser shall further divide each category according to soil type, soil capability, irrigation, general topography, geographical factors, and other factors that influence the productive capacity of the category. The chief appraiser shall obtain information from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, and other recognized agricultural sources for the purposes of determining the categories of land existing in the appraisal district.
(4) “Net to land” means the average annual net income derived from the use of open-space land that would have been earned from the land during the five-year period preceding the year before the appraisal by an owner using ordinary prudence in the management of the land and the farm crops or livestock produced or supported on the land and, in addition, any income received from hunting or recreational leases. The chief appraiser shall calculate net to land by considering the income that would be due to the owner of the land under cash lease, share lease, or whatever lease arrangement is typical in that area for that category of land, and all expenses directly attributable to the agricultural use of the land by the owner shall be subtracted from this owner income and the results shall be used in income capitalization. In calculating net to land, a reasonable deduction shall be made for any depletion that occurs of underground water used in the agricultural operation. For land that qualifies under Subdivision (7) for appraisal under this subchapter, the chief appraiser may not consider in the calculation of net to land the income that would be due to the owner under a hunting or recreational lease of the land.
(5) “Income capitalization” means the process of dividing net to land by the capitalization rate to determine the appraised value.
(6) “Exotic animal” means a species of game not indigenous to this state, including axis deer, nilga antelope, red sheep, other cloven-hoofed ruminant mammals, or exotic fowl as defined by Section 142.001, Agriculture Code.
(7) “Wildlife management” means:
(A) actively using land that at the time the wildlife-management use began was appraised as qualified open-space land under this subchapter or as qualified timber land under Subchapter E in at least three of the following ways to propagate a sustaining breeding, migrating, or wintering population of indigenous wild animals for human use, including food, medicine, or recreation:
(i) habitat control;
(ii) erosion control;
(iii) predator control;
(iv) providing supplemental supplies of water;
(v) providing supplemental supplies of food;
(vi) providing shelters; and
(vii) making of census counts to determine population;
(B) actively using land to protect federally listed endangered species under a federal permit if the land is:
(i) included in a habitat preserve and is subject to a conservation easement created under Chapter 183, Natural Resources Code; or
(ii) part of a conservation development under a federally approved habitat conservation plan that restricts the use of the land to protect federally listed endangered species; or
(C) actively using land for a conservation or restoration project to provide compensation for natural resource damages pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. Section 9601 et seq.), the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 U.S.C. Section 2701 et seq.), the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. Section 1251 et seq.), or Chapter 40, Natural Resources Code.
(8) “Endangered species,” “federal permit,” and “habitat preserve” have the meanings assigned by Section 83.011, Parks and Wildlife Code.
Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2257, ch. 841, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., 1st C.S., p. 142, ch. 13, Sec. 67, eff. Jan. 1, 1982; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 207, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 773, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 780, Sec. 1, 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 796, Sec. 19, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 560, Sec. 1 to 3, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 203, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 911, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1996; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 775, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.
Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 817 (S.B. 760), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2006.
Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1126 (H.B. 2491), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2005.
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 454 (H.B. 604), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2008.
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1112 (H.B. 3630), Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2008.
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 495 (S.B. 801), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2010.
Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4 (S.B. 1), Sec. 46.01, eff. September 28, 2011.
Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 360 (H.B. 639), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2021.