Chapter 254 State Forestry Law
254.075 - State-owned lands, exemptions for.
State-owned lands, used by the commission and classified as forest cropland will not be subject to any ad valorem tax nor subject to any penalties if removed from the forest cropland classification.
254.120 - Tax relief not to affect valuation of other property.
The assessor shall not increase the valuation of property other than forest lands owned by any person so as to make up for loss of taxable property value because of the forest croplands tax relief provided for in this chapter.
254.020 - Definitions.
As used in this chapter, the following words mean:
(1)"Best management practices", forest management practices, as defined by the commission in consultation with the clean water commission, that ensure protection of water quality;
(2)"Commission", the conservation commission of Missouri being responsible for the control, management, restoration, conservation, and regulation of the bird, fish, game, forestry, and all wildlife resources of the state is* therefore vested the responsibilities for the administration of this chapter in conformance with Sections 40 to 46 of Article IV of the Constitution of Missouri; and the words "rules and regulations" shall mean those made by the commission pursuant thereto;
(3)"Conservation commission fund", only the moneys arising from the additional sales and use taxes provided for in Section 43(a) of Article IV of the Constitution of Missouri;
(4)"Forest croplands", those lands devoted exclusively to growing wood and timber, except for such other uses as shall be approved by the commission by regulations and which are tendered to the commission by any person and accepted and classified by the commission as such; and the commission shall prescribe the terms and conditions of such tender, acceptance and classification;
(5)"Person", any individual, male or female, singular or plural, of whatever age.The term person shall include and refer to any owner, grantee, lessee, licensee, permittee, firm, association, copartnership, corporation, municipality or county, as the context may require;
(6)"Precommercial forestry activities", proper forest management activities, as defined by the commission, that do not generate an immediate profit for the landowner;
(7)"State forester", the administrative head of the state forestry program;
(8)"Sustainable forestry principles", forest management activities, as defined by the commission, that ensure efficient use and continued availability of forest resources.
254.220 - Removal from classification by owner, payments required.
In the event an owner of forest croplands may desire to remove his land from classification, he may do so by making reimbursement to the commission in a manner as the director of revenue shall prescribe for the grant which was paid by the commission to the county in lieu of taxes on this land while so classified, plus a penalty equivalent to five percent interest thereon.
254.030 - Forest districts authorized — state forester authorized.
The commission may create such forest districts as it may deem to be appropriate, having due regard for the character and extent of the timber stands, similarity of forest problems, convenience of administration and other pertinent factors.The commission may employ a state forester and such other employees as it deems necessary.
254.130 - Compliance with forest management rules and regulations required.
All persons interested in any way in the forest croplands or the cutting of crops therefrom covered by this chapter shall comply with and follow such forest management rules and regulations as are required by the commission.
254.230 - State forester and commission employees, duties of.
It shall be the duty of the state forester and other employees as appointed by the commission:
(1)To promote forestry by assisting any person in forest management, the planting of trees, the conservation and development of trees and the protection of forests and other trees from fires, insects, and diseases;
(2)To assist in the enforcement of all laws and rules and regulations applicable to forest fires.
254.210 - Owner to reimburse state upon cancellation of classification — penalty.
When a classification shall have been cancelled for cause, the owner of such lands shall make reimbursement to the commission in a manner as the director of revenue shall prescribe for the grant which was paid by the commission to the county in lieu of taxes on this land while so classified as forest cropland, plus a penalty equivalent to ten percent interest thereon.
254.010 - Citation of law.
This law shall be known and may be cited as "The State Forestry Law".
254.110 - Compensatory payments to counties.
1.The commission shall determine as of January first of each year the number of acres of privately owned forest cropland which has been accepted in each county under this chapter.The commission shall pay to each county in which these lands are situated a certain sum from the conservation commission fund as a grant in lieu of taxes, this sum to be set by the commission at not less than fifty cents per acre per year for each acre so accepted.
2.The grants in lieu of taxes so received by the respective counties shall be placed in the general revenue fund of each such county.
3.The commission shall annually certify to the commissioner of administration and the state auditor the amount payable to each county and the treasurer is authorized to pay, and, after appropriations are made as provided in this section, such amounts shall be paid to such counties on or before the first day of January following.This section shall not be retroactive.
254.200 - Forest cropland, grounds for declassification — effect of.
1.When any lands have been so classified the classifications shall be continued as long as proper forest conditions and practices are maintained and continued thereon, and for such periods of time as do not exceed the provisions of this chapter.
2.Use of such lands for pastures, destruction of tree-growth and failure of owner to restore forest conditions, removal of tree-growth and use of land for other purposes, or any changed condition which in the opinion of the commission shall show that the requirements of this chapter are not being fulfilled, or the use of such lands for pasture in violation of any regulations promulgated by the commission shall be sufficient ground for the cancellation of such classification.If the commission find the provisions of this chapter are not being complied with, it shall forthwith cancel the classification of such lands, sending notice of such cancellation to the assessor, the county clerk of the county in which the land is situated and to the owner of such lands.Such lands shall thereafter be taxed as other lands.
254.300 - Violation of chapter a misdemeanor.
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter or any of such rules and regulations shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
254.100 - Private plan of forest management — partial tax relief — revisions.
1.Any person owning or controlling forest land may inaugurate and develop his own plan of management and employ such standards and methods of forest management as may suffice in the judgment of the commission to accomplish the purposes of this chapter and may obtain the partial relief from taxation provided for in this chapter for such forest property so long as the provisions of this chapter are being complied with, provided such plans and methods and application for tax relief be submitted on forms provided by the commission and the same are approved by the commission.Such plans, methods and application shall not be approved unless the commission finds they give reasonable assurance of accomplishing the purposes of this law.
2.After approval of such plans and methods and such application for tax relief such person may present revised working plans from time to time to the commission for the cutting and management of said forest lands, for their approval.Such revised working plans and methods shall be in a form and for a period prescribed by the commission and the decision of the commission in all such matters shall be final.The procedure in effectuating said tax relief shall be as that outlined in this chapter for forest croplands.
254.250 - Powers of agents of commission.
Each agent of the commission authorized to do so by the commission shall have power:
(1)To employ such other person or persons as may be suitable and needed to render assistance in preventing the spread of, or in suppressing forest, brush or grass fires; provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall be construed to relieve the owner or one in control of lands upon which fires may be started or burning, from the duty of preventing the spread of or of the duty of suppressing such fires so far as may lie within his power, and no such owner or person in control nor anyone with a present vested interest therein shall receive compensation from the state or any agency thereof for helping or assisting in preventing the spread of or in suppressing fires upon said lands; and no person who is responsible for starting fire shall receive compensation for helping prevent the spread of or for suppression of such fire.
(2)To enter upon any lands at any time for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter and any such rules and regulations; and no action for trespass or damages shall lie against any such person or any person working under his direction, providing that in entering upon property he and they shall exercise due care to avoid doing unnecessary damage.
(3)To exercise the foregoing powers and duties in any part of the state.
254.050 - Certification of forest croplands, where filed.
For all such lands which have been accepted and classified by the commission as forest croplands, a certificate shall be issued in quadruplicate by the commission; and the original thereof shall be filed in the commission office, one copy in the office of the director of revenue, one copy with the county clerk of the county and one copy with the applicant.The lands described in such certificate shall be entitled to the partial tax relief provided for in this chapter.
254.240 - Enforcement powers of state forester and commission employees.
The state forester and other employees as appointed by the commission shall have power:
(1)To enforce any and all provisions of this chapter and all rules and regulations made by the commission;
(2)To enter into agreements for forestry purposes with any person within the state, the same not to be effective until approved and accepted by the commission;
(3)To enter upon any woodland in the state for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter and performing his duties;
(4)To recommend to the commission tentative rules for forest practices aimed to accomplish the objectives set forth in this chapter and carry out the policies established by such rules and regulations.
254.140 - Firewood and domestic use timber cutting permitted.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as limiting the right of any such person to cut from said forest croplands owned or controlled by him, firewood and timber for his own domestic use.
254.040 - Designation as forest croplands, application for — refusal, appeal from — size of tract and value limitations.
1.Any person desiring to have lands designated as forest croplands shall submit an application to the state forester on forms provided by the commission.The state forester shall make or cause to be made an examination of the lands covered by such application and shall forward a copy of such application, together with his or her recommendations, to the commission.If the commission approves and classifies such lands as forest croplands, they shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter and rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter.
2.If the commission refuses to accept and classify such lands, the applicant may appeal the decision of the commission to the circuit court in which such lands, or major part of such lands, are located and the decision of the circuit court in all such matters shall be final.
3.No application to designate lands as forest croplands shall be accepted for a tract of land containing less than twenty acres; and no such land shall be classified for tax relief if the value thereof shall exceed one hundred twenty-five dollars per acre or a greater value as set by regulation of the commission.
4.No application for the cost-share incentive program established in section 254.225 shall be accepted for lands designated as forest croplands.
254.060 - Transfer of ownership.
The transfer of the ownership of any such forest croplands shall not affect any classification thereof as such.
254.260 - Enforcement of provisions, by whom — duties.
1.It shall be the duty of every authorized agent of the commission to assist in the enforcement of this chapter and any such rules and regulations of the commission; and it shall be the duty of all sheriffs, marshals, constables and their deputies and of all other police officers and of all prosecuting attorneys and their assistants, within their respective counties, to aid diligently in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and all such rules and regulations.
2.Any such officer and any such agent may arrest without warrant any person caught by him or in his view violating or who he has good reason to believe is violating or has violated this chapter or any such rules and regulations, and take such person forthwith before an associate circuit judge or any court having jurisdiction, who shall proceed without delay to hear, try and determine the matter as in other criminal cases.
254.070 - Commission-owned lands eligible as forest croplands — rate of compensation to county — acreage to be certified by commission.
1.The commission may classify as forest croplands any lands conveyed to the state for use of the commission.The commission shall pay to the county wherein the state-owned and classified lands are situated a certain sum from the conservation commission fund as a grant in lieu of taxes thereon, which sum shall be set by the commission at not less than fifty cents per acre per year.
2.The grants in lieu of taxes so received by the respective counties shall be placed in the general revenue fund of each such county.
3.The commission shall annually certify to the commissioner of administration and the state auditor the acreage of such lands and the amount payable to each county under the provisions hereof and the treasurer is authorized to pay, and, after appropriations are made as herein provided, such amounts shall be paid to such counties on or before the first day of January following the certification.This section shall not be retroactive.
254.270 - Fire control and timber trespass activities intensified, when — provisions for added protection.
1.Fire control and timber trespass activities will be intensified and may be extended to include all woodlands in the state as deemed in need of such protection by the commission within the limits of funds provided.Any person whether or not his lands are classified as forest croplands may receive such assistance.
2.Any owner may make application to the commission for special attention in forest fire control requiring expenditures in excess of those permitted within the limits of funds provided for general activities under this chapter, by subscribing a payment of not less than three cents per acre per year for such added protection as the commission may deem advisable and desirable.
254.225 - Forest landowner cost-share incentive program authorized, reimbursements provided, when — application, procedure.
1.The commission may administer a forest landowner cost-share incentive program to promote sustainable forestry on private lands.Such program may provide reimbursement cost share for up to fifty percent of the cost of precommercial forestry activities on eligible lands.Eligible forestry activities shall be carried out in accordance with best management practices and sustainable forestry principles.
2.Any forest landowner may submit a program application to the state forester on forms provided by the commission.Application procedures and acceptance criteria shall be specified by the commission.
3.No application for such program shall be accepted for a tract of land containing less than forty acres.The total amount of incentives provided to any person shall not exceed five thousand dollars in any calendar year.
254.085 - State land may retain classification indefinitely.
Any lands owned by the state of Missouri, used by the commission, and classified as forest cropland as defined in this chapter may retain such classification for an indefinite period, so long as said lands continue to be used by the commission.
254.290 - Penalty for obstructing enforcement.
Any person who shall obstruct or prevent or attempt to obstruct or prevent any officer, agent, employee or deputized person under this chapter or any such rules and regulations, while in the performance of his duties, or in the exercise of the right of entry, access or examination by any such officer or agent, shall, upon conviction thereof, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.
254.090 - Tax rate on privately owned forest cropland.
Privately owned lands classified as forest croplands under this chapter shall be assessed for general taxation purposes at three dollars per acre, and taxed at the local rates of the county wherein the lands are located.Lands so classified prior to August 14, 1974, shall be assessed for general taxation purposes at one dollar per acre and taxed at the local rate of the county wherein the lands are located.
254.190 - Separate taxation on certain products.
If any oil, gas, stone, coal, or other material is obtained from any such forest croplands, this may be assessed separately and taxed at the local rates; otherwise the operation of the property tax shall not be changed, except as provided in this chapter.
254.080 - Time limit on tax relief for private land — reclassification procedure.
Any privately owned lands approved and classified by the commission as forest croplands as defined in this chapter shall receive partial relief from taxation, as provided in said chapter, during a period of time not to exceed twenty-five years, after which the classification shall expire.When the classification shall have expired, the owner of such lands may submit an application as provided in section 254.040 to have the land reclassified.