ORS 215.203¹
Zoning ordinances establishing exclusive farm use zones
  • definitions

(1) Zoning ordinances may be adopted to zone designated areas of land within the county as exclusive farm use zones. Land within such zones shall be used exclusively for farm use except as otherwise provided in ORS 215.213 (Uses permitted in exclusive farm use zones in counties that adopted marginal lands system prior to 1993), 215.283 (Uses permitted in exclusive farm use zones in nonmarginal lands counties) or 215.284 (Dwelling not in conjunction with farm use). Farm use zones shall be established only when such zoning is consistent with the comprehensive plan.

(2)(a) As used in this section, “farm use” means the current employment of land for the primary purpose of obtaining a profit in money by raising, harvesting and selling crops or the feeding, breeding, management and sale of, or the produce of, livestock, poultry, fur-bearing animals or honeybees or for dairying and the sale of dairy products or any other agricultural or horticultural use or animal husbandry or any combination thereof. “Farm use” includes the preparation, storage and disposal by marketing or otherwise of the products or by-products raised on such land for human or animal use. “Farm use” also includes the current employment of land for the primary purpose of obtaining a profit in money by stabling or training equines including but not limited to providing riding lessons, training clinics and schooling shows. “Farm use” also includes the propagation, cultivation, maintenance and harvesting of aquatic, bird and animal species that are under the jurisdiction of the State Fish and Wildlife Commission, to the extent allowed by the rules adopted by the commission. “Farm use” includes the on-site construction and maintenance of equipment and facilities used for the activities described in this subsection. “Farm use” does not include the use of land subject to the provisions of ORS chapter 321, except land used exclusively for growing cultured Christmas trees or land described in ORS 321.267 (Lands not eligible for special assessment) (3) or 321.824 (Lands not eligible for special assessment) (3).

(b) As used in this subsection, “current employment” of land for farm use includes:

(A) Farmland, the operation or use of which is subject to any farm-related government program;

(B) Land lying fallow for one year as a normal and regular requirement of good agricultural husbandry;

(C) Land planted in orchards or other perennials, other than land specified in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph, prior to maturity;

(D) Land not in an exclusive farm use zone which has not been eligible for assessment at special farm use value in the year prior to planting the current crop and has been planted in orchards, cultured Christmas trees or vineyards for at least three years;

(E) Wasteland, in an exclusive farm use zone, dry or covered with water, neither economically tillable nor grazeable, lying in or adjacent to and in common ownership with a farm use land and which is not currently being used for any economic farm use;

(F) Except for land under a single family dwelling, land under buildings supporting accepted farm practices, including the processing facilities allowed by ORS 215.255 (Farm product processing facility) and the processing of farm crops into biofuel as commercial activities in conjunction with farm use under ORS 215.213 (Uses permitted in exclusive farm use zones in counties that adopted marginal lands system prior to 1993) (2)(c) and 215.283 (Uses permitted in exclusive farm use zones in nonmarginal lands counties) (2)(a);

(G) Water impoundments lying in or adjacent to and in common ownership with farm use land;

(H) Any land constituting a woodlot, not to exceed 20 acres, contiguous to and owned by the owner of land specially valued for farm use even if the land constituting the woodlot is not utilized in conjunction with farm use;

(I) Land lying idle for no more than one year where the absence of farming activity is due to the illness of the farmer or member of the farmer’s immediate family. For purposes of this paragraph, illness includes injury or infirmity whether or not such illness results in death;

(J) Any land described under ORS 321.267 (Lands not eligible for special assessment) (3) or 321.824 (Lands not eligible for special assessment) (3); and

(K) Land used for the processing of farm crops into biofuel, as defined in ORS 315.141 (Biomass production or collection), if:

(i) Only the crops of the landowner are being processed;

(ii) The biofuel from all of the crops purchased for processing into biofuel is used on the farm of the landowner; or

(iii) The landowner is custom processing crops into biofuel from other landowners in the area for their use or sale.

(c) As used in this subsection, “accepted farm practice” means a mode of operation that is common to farms of a similar nature, necessary for the operation of such farms to obtain a profit in money, and customarily utilized in conjunction with farm use.

(d) As used in this subsection, “cultured Christmas trees” means trees:

(A) Grown on lands used exclusively for that purpose, capable of preparation by intensive cultivation methods such as plowing or turning over the soil;

(B) Of a marketable species;

(C) Managed to meet U.S. No. 2 or better standards for Christmas trees as specified by the Agriculture Marketing Services of the United States Department of Agriculture; and

(D) Evidencing periodic maintenance practices of shearing for Douglas fir and pine species, weed and brush control and one or more of the following practices: Basal pruning, fertilizing, insect and disease control, stump culture, soil cultivation or irrigation. [1963 c.577 §2; 1963 c.619 §1(2), (3); 1967 c.386 §1; 1973 c.503 §3; 1975 c.210 §1; 1977 c.766 §7; 1977 c.893 §17a; 1979 c.480 §1; 1981 c.804 §73; 1983 c.826 §18; 1985 c.604 §2; 1987 c.305 §4; 1989 c.653 §1; 1989 c.887 §7; 1991 c.459 §344; 1991 c.714 §4; 1993 c.704 §1; 1995 c.79 §75; 1995 c.211 §1; 1997 c.862 §1; 2001 c.613 §18; 2003 c.454 §117; 2003 c.621 §67a; 2005 c.354 §1; 2007 c.739 §34; 2009 c.850 §4; 2012 c.74 §1; 2019 c.410 §3]

Notes of Decisions

Woodlot was not currently employed as part of whole parcel, and was not surrounded by and did not border on farm use parcel and was therefore not appurtenant. Linfoot v. Dept. of Rev., 4 OTR 489 (1971)

To qualify for assess­ment for farm use, owner must ultimately receive compensa­tion, in some form, from farming or grazing opera­tions con­ducted for money profit. Linfoot v. Dept. of Rev., 4 OTR 489 (1971)

Contiguous area of substantial size not used for farm purposes must be denied exemp­tion even though contained within boundaries of qualifying farm opera­tion. Taylor v. Dept. of Rev., 6 OTR 496 (1976)

Buildings used for temporary housing of itinerant farm workers during harvest periods were buildings supporting “accepted farming practices” under this sec­tion. Benton v. Dept. of Rev., 7 OTR 162 (1977)

Farm use land includes any land capable of profitable agricultural produc­tion regardless of its size under posi­tion taken by Oregon Tax Court. Rutherford v. Armstrong, 31 Or App 1319, 572 P2d 1331 (1977), Sup Ct review denied

Where land cannot presently or in foreseeable future be utilized for “farm use” as defined in this sec­tion, LCDC goal does not require exclusive farm use zoning upon finding of predominance of certain class soils. Meyer v. Lord, 37 Or App 59, 586 P2d 367 (1978); 1000 Friends v. Benton County, 32 Or App 413, 575 P2d 651 (1978)

Although plaintiff’s at­tempt to control tansy ragwort could have restored subject prop­erty to profitable future ac­tivity, such use of prop­erty did not constitute “farm use” within the meaning of this sec­tion because the land was not currently being used to obtain profits. Shepherd v. Dept. of Rev., 8 OTR 122 (1979)

Homesite located on land zoned for exclusive farm use was not eligible for special assess­ment. Chapin v. Dept. of Rev., 8 OTR 361 (1980), aff’d 290 Or 931, 627 P2d 480 (1981)

Board of county com­mis­sioners’ finding that land for which subdivision was proposed could not “presently or in the foreseeable future be utilized for farm use” as defined in this sec­tion was not based on substantial evidence where board did not specifically address possible farm applica­tions other than grazing. Hillcrest Vineyard v. Bd. of Comm. of Douglas County, 45 Or App 285, 608 P2d 201 (1980)

Since former version of this sec­tion specifically excepted “use of dwelling customarily provided in conjunc­tion with farm use” from defini­tion of “farm use,” half acre homesite on 111 acre tract zoned Exclusive Farm Use was properly valued as homesite rather than farmland. Chapin v. Dept. of Revenue, 290 Or 931, 627 P2d 480 (1981)

Where plaintiff rented pasture at price of $40 per month for grazing of horses owned by his daughter’s girlfriends, many of whom used their horses in connec­tion with their 4-H projects; there were never more than five or six horses on the prop­erty at any one time; and each of the renters was responsible for feeding and care of her own horse, individuals renting pasture were doing so for per­sonal reasons and not for primary purpose of obtaining a profit within the meaning of this sec­tion and use of prop­erty did not meet defini­tion of “farm use.” Capsey v. Dept. of Revenue, 294 Or 455, 657 P2d 680 (1983)

Farmland that has been destroyed by nonfarm ac­tivity may not be classified as “wasteland” for purposes of obtaining farm use assess­ment. Guido v. Dept. of Rev., 10 OTR 85 (1985)

Although this sec­tion has land use regulatory features, the “current employ­ment” require­ment was designed only as qualifica­tion for favorable tax treat­ment. Newcomer v. Clackamas County, 92 Or App 174, 758 P2d 369 (1988)

Storage of manure on land other than land where it is produced is not farm use within meaning of this sec­tion. J and D Fertilizers, Ltd. v. Clackamas County, 105 Or App 11, 803 P2d 280 (1990), Sup Ct review denied

Boarding of horses for profit is not farm use. Fitzwa­ter v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 48 (1991)

Listing of specific ac­tivity as permitted nonfarm use prevents ac­tivity from qualifying under broader farm use category, so land used for ac­tivity is not in farm use. Kang v. Dept. of Revenue, 12 OTR 407 (1993)

Winery is not farm use. King Estate Winery, Inc. v. Dept. of Revenue, 14 OTR 169 (1997), aff’d 329 Or 414, 988 P2d 369 (1999)

“Profit” is measured by direct expenditures and income from use of land and excludes considera­tion of indirect expenditures and profits. Everhart v. Dept. of Revenue, 15 OTR 76 (1999)

In determining whether land is suitable for “farm use,” factors considered by local govern­ment may include net gain or receipts from farm or agricultural activities. Wetherell v. Douglas County, 342 Or 666, 160 P3d 614 (2007)

Where respondent landowner grows, cuts, bales and compresses straw on prop­erty, zoned for exclusive farm use, then ships straw to market, respondent engages in “prepara­tion” of straw and respondent’s use of prop­erty is “farm use.” Gilmour v. Linn County, 279 Or App 584, 379 P3d 833 (2016)

Completed Cita­tions

Ritch v. Dept. of Rev., 4 OTR 206 (1970), rev’d 261 Or 78, 493 P2d 38 (1972)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Authority of state over use of land along Willamette River under Greenway Law, (1975) Vol 37, p 515; propriety of es­tab­lishing aircraft landing field in “farm use zone,” (1975) Vol 37, p 547; effect of constitu­tional pro­vi­sion requiring pay­ments based on govern­ment regula­tions restricting use of prop­erty, (2001) Vol 49, p 284

Law Review Cita­tions

9 WLJ 1-25 (1973); 53 OLR 120, 127 (1974); 19 EL 63 (1988)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Effect of constitu­tional pro­vi­sion requiring pay­ments based on govern­ment regula­tions restricting use of prop­erty, (2001) Vol 49, p 284

Chapter 215

Notes of Decisions

Published notice is adequate if prop­erty owners can reasonably ascertain that prop­erty in which they hold interest may be affected. Clackamas County v. Emmert, 14 Or App 493, 513 P2d 532 (1973), Sup Ct review denied

Statutory scheme es­tab­lishing LCDC and granting it authority to es­tab­lish state-wide land use planning goals does not unconstitu­tionally delegate legislative power where both standards (under this chapter) and safeguards ([former] ORS 197.310) exist. Meyer v. Lord, 37 Or App 59, 586 P2d 367 (1978)

Where county had not yet adopted comprehensive plan but had zoned certain por­tions “primarily agricultural,” county had not enacted adequate interim measures to protect its agricultural land until exclusive farm use zoning was completed. Columbia County v. LCDC, 44 Or App 749, 606 P2d 1184 (1980)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Fasano v. Bd. of County Commrs., applica­tion to county governing bodies and planning com­mis­sions, (1974) Vol 36, p 960; binding effect on govern­mental agencies of the adop­tion of interim Willamette River Greenway boundaries, (1975) Vol 37, p 894

Law Review Cita­tions

36 EL 25 (2006)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 215—County Planning; Zoning; Housing Codes, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors215.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2019, Chapter 215, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano215.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent. Currency Information