Native Prairie Tax Exemption

prairie and old farm machinery

A Simple Step with Big Rewards

Enroll your native prairie in a Native Prairie Tax Exemption and eliminate property taxes on that parcel.


What is Native Prairie Tax Exemption?

In 1980 the state legislature -- in recognition of the critical importance of native prairie -- created an incentive for landowners to preserve their native prairie: Prairie Tax Exemption . This exempts eligible lands from property taxes and is administered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in cooperation with local County Tax Assessors.


Why be concerned about native prairie?


Prior to European settlement, more than 18 million acres of prairie covered Minnesota. Our prairie lands were part of the largest ecosystem in North America, stretching from Canada to Mexico and from the Rockies to Indiana. A wealth of diverse species, habitats and cultures thrived here. With its fertile soil and nutritious grasses, prairie became the basis for an agricultural empire. Today, less than two percent of Minnesota's native prairie remains  . It is North America's most endangered habitat type. The near elimination of native prairie has inspired many efforts to protect remaining parcels. Native Prairie Tax Exemption is one of those efforts.


How do I apply?

A landowner should complete the one page Prairie Tax Exemption application and return it, along with an aerial photo of the prairie area to be considered for enrollment, to the local County Assessor's Office. Applications are available at DNR offices in the prairie regions of the state, or contact us below to get an application.


What lands are eligible?

To be eligible for Native Prairie Tax Exemption, a parcel of land must meet several criteria including:

  • Never been plowed, cultivated, or reseeded; not severely altered by heavy grazing or herbicides
  • Dominated throughout by native prairie vegetation and no, or limited, tree cover
  • At least 5 native prairie species of grasses or sedges and 12 native prairie wildflower species present
  • Not be in use as pasture (annually hayed tracts may still qualify)
  • Be at least 5 acres (smaller tracts with important rare species habitat or other significant prairie features may still qualify)

After a landowner has submitted an application, the local County Assessor will contact a DNR representative who will visit the property to evaluate and certify qualifying acres.

coneflower illustration

How does this reduce property taxes?

Here is an example. Let's say on 40 acres: 30 acres are cropland and 10 acres are a native prairie hillside too steep to farm. If the assessed value of the cropland is $3,000/acre and the native prairie is $1,000/acre, the total assessed value of the land is reduced by $10,000 if the prairie is enrolled Prairie Tax Exemption.



Without Exemption

With Exemption


(30ac x $3000/ac)



Native Prairie

(10ac x $1000/ac)



Total Assessed Value




grama grass illustration

Other ways you can help save Minnesota's native prairies



For more information

Email [email protected].