One of the few successful, large certified organic farms in Texas is being punished by the state’s property tax assessment.
Kevin Schmidt is the manager of the 73-acre Doodley Dee farm, in Karnack, Texas, near the eastern border of the large state. He proudly admits that through hard work, the property is now paid for, but that property taxes are punishing their success.
“Now they want to penalize,” Schmidt said. “They weren’t there for all the many failures and struggles we’ve had over the years. They just want to tax us for living on the property.” The farm is threatened by foreclosure and forced displacement if they don’t pay the sharp increase in taxes, even though there is no outstanding mortgage on the property.
The farm’s property tax bill rose from $4,000 to $31,000 in the last year. Schmidt will go before a panel at the Harrison Central Appraisal District office on Tuesday, June 28. He admits that significant improvements have been made on the property in the past year, including a huge, multipurpose barn.
The assessment dispute concerns the definition of uses for the barn. The state assessor has determined it will be used primarily for booking attractions to the farm, but Schmidt says it also houses large farm equipment.
The Schmidt family is fighting for their right to remain debt-free as they expand their farming business and community outreach. The state is essentially depriving them of the tax breaks afforded the definition of a homestead because it also serves as a thriving enterprise. See Kevin’s video here: The Venue at Doodley Dee’s Farm
Photo credits: Horse Stable and Venue Barn, Doodley Dee’s Farms Facebook page