1-D-1 Open Space Valuation (Ag Exemption)

Are you considering Honeybees on your land for an Ag Valuation?

Keepers Harvest has helped dozens of  homeowners keep their Ag exemption and even manage their own apiary if they desire. If you have between 5 and 21 acres you could be taxed on your land’s production value rather than its market value! Which could result in some serious savings. Who doesn't want that?

These are the exact steps to help get an Agricultural Valuation (some call it an exemption) on your property by raising bees

Ag Exemption process

Tax Code section 23.51(2) was amended to include in the definition of agricultural use “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. Simply put: Law states that the land be used for raising or keeping bees for pollination OR for the production of bee byproducts.

The food or products must possess commercial value, but do not need to used for commercial sales. Current law doesn't mandate the commercial production or sale of agricultural products, like livestock or crops, for land to qualify for open-space land appraisal with Honeybees.

Typically, a Homestead Exemption removes 1 acre available for the Ag valuation. For example, if you own 15 acres and you live on the property, the home and 1 acre is not considered into the Ag Valuation, leaving you with 14 qualifying acres. On the contrary, if you own 5 acres and have a Homestead Exemption, you do not qualify for an Ag Valuation because the 1 acre is withheld and your property is now treated as 4 acres, which doesn't meet the 5 qualifying acre requirement. 

Always discuss these situations with the CAD as some counties may waive certain situations.

If your don't meet the minimum acreage requirement and are still interested in having bees on your property, give us a call! There are still tax incentives for having bees on your property.

Each Central Appraisal District (CAD) has their own general requirements that beekeepers must meet in order to qualify for Ag Exemptions. You can check your counties CAD website for specific requirements, but this information isn't available for all counties online. In those cases you will need to visit in person or give them a call. We have provided the 1-d-1 Open Space Requirements for the counties we service here: FAQs - County Resources

When talking with your local CAD you want to request written guidelines describing requirements of the beekeeper to qualify for and Ag Exemption. 

Ensure understanding of all requirements, including but not limited to:

  1. Intensity levels: Colonies needed per owned acre.
  2. Discuss productivity value based on land classifications.
  3. Types of colonies: Consider goals like 10 frame, 8 frame, nucs, etc.
  4. Rules for maintaining colonies: Alive, disease-free, treatments.
  5. Months colonies must be on the property annually.
  6. Planting requirements for flowering or nectar-producing vegetation.
  7. Consider proximity of colonies to crops if claiming for pollination.
  8. Inquire about annual reporting; keep records throughout the year.

Be aware of potential unwritten requirements or allowances based on specific county situations:

  1. Some counties allow raising specific native bee species.
  2. Certain CADs may exempt smaller parcels within a larger ownership.
  3. Ensure CAD exempts all bee property, not just land under each hive; check for quantity requirements.

To qualify for agricultural valuation on newly purchased or previously non-agricultural property, a 5-year history of beekeeping is required. Establish the necessary number of colonies, meeting CAD's requirements by the 6th year while paying full ad valorem tax in the initial 5 years. There are however, some tax benefits while you are building history that we can help you with. 

During this 5 year period of building history you must maintain records of expenses, such as bees, equipment, and queens, and document work through photos. Consider registering with Texas Apiary Inspection Service (TAIS) for additional validation, though not legally required unless moving hives across counties or states. You must complete Texas Form 50-129, application for 1-d-1 Open Space annually (https://comptroller.texas.gov/forms/50-129.pdf) for appraisal, and check with your appraiser regarding annual application requirements and history-building efforts.

If required by your CAD to only apply (form 50-129) once, it’s best to do so in early January of the 6th year, which is the year you apply, are rated, approved, and receive the reduced tax for your ag valuation qualifier for raising bees. All CADs require filing no later than the last week of April officially. Ask the CAD if they want you to re-apply (form 50-129) each year. Most don’t after you’re approved the first time.

If your land, previously granted agricultural valuation for bees or any other agricultural use, undergoes a change in use without notifying the chief appraiser, you might face penalties, potentially up to 7% per year. Stopping agricultural production on all or part of the property could result in paying a significant additional tax, calculated as the difference between full ad valorem tax and the agricultural valuation. Tax recapture applies for the three years preceding the change in use, and the specifics of "rollback" implementation may vary among counties. Consult with your CAD for county-specific details.


The Ag Exemption process can be an arduous and timely one, especially if it's your first time. We have helped dozens of property owners navigate these waters and find success through this process. Reach out, we are happy to help! 

Other Services

Hive Removals

We always use sustainable beekeeping practices to remove hives! Whether the hive is in a tree or made it's way into a wall or floorboard, give us a call and we will take care of it!

Coaching & Mentorships

Interested in beekeeping husbandry, but not sure where to start? We are here to teach you what you need to know to be able to manage your own hives.