S.D. ag-soil updates were put on hold

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre map locator South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota agricultural producers won’t see updated soil ratings used for calculating their 2022 property values, state Revenue Secretary Jim Terwilliger said Thursday.

Terwilliger told the Legislature’s Agricultural Land Assessment Task Force that a letter was sent to county directors of equalization.

“None of the new soil tables are being used for the 2022 assessment year,” he said.

Property taxes are based on the assessments. Many of each county’s soil tables are from 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, Terwilliger said. The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service collects the data.

Terwilliger said his decision to delay was based on reasons such as turnover among key staff in his department and misinformation that’s spread.

“The misinformation has continued,” he said. “That’s unfortunate, and I think it’s a little bit unfair.”

The South Dakota Legislature changed the agricultural tax system to an income-based approach starting in 2009. The system previously used comparable sales of agricultural property.

The Legislature created the task force in 2008. 

Terwilliger said he doesn’t know whether his department will provide the soil updates next year. He pledged to notify the task force before going forward. “So you have that commitment from me.”

Brown County Commission member Mike Wiese said his county was one of those that participated in a pilot study on the soil types. “It is more complex than most people believe,” Wiese said.

Representative Kirk Chaffee praised Terwilliger for taking the pause. Chaffee, who chairs the task force, previously was Meade County’s director of equalization.

“It worked well in some counties,” Chaffee said about the soil updates, “and not so well in others.” 

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