Florida's equestrian community is currently experiencing an influx of horse owners and equestrian facilities. This generates opposition within those counties refusing to recognize equestrian property uses as “agricultural.” Subject to the restrictions set out in section 193.461 of the Florida Statutes (otherwise known as the Greenbelt Law) only property “used primarily for bona fide agricultural purposes shall be classified agricultural.” This article addresses whether the use of property to board, train, and graze abused, abandoned, and aging horses (referred to throughout this paper as “rescue” horses) should fall under the Greenbelt Law‟s “agricultural” tax classification. Several points support classifying rescue ranches as “agricultural.” The use of property for rescue horse ranches is consistent with the purpose of the Greenbelt Law, and the rescue horse ranches provide other benefits to Florida‟s communities. While acknowledging the quantitative and qualitative variations in each county‟s standards and application processes, emphasis is given to substantive criteria and legal precedence of Greenbelt Law as applied to rescue horse ranches.
Michael T. Olexa, Joshua A. Cossey & Katherine Smallwood, Protecting Equine Rescue from Being Put Out to Pasture: Whether Ranches Dedicated to Abused, Abandoned, and Aging Horses May Qualify for "Agricultural" Classifications Under Florida's Greenbelt Law, 16 Drake J. Agric. L. 69 (2011), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/297