Native Prairie Tax Exemption

A simple step with big rewards

Native prairie hillside with native wildflowers in bloom.

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?


What lands are eligible?

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

  • 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
  • Cannot be grazed (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 applied, a DNR prairie specialist will visit the property to evaluate and certify qualifying acres. The application is then sent to the local County Assessor for enrollment.

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 in Prairie Tax Exemption.


Without Exemption

With Exemption

Cropland (30ac x $3000/ac)



Native Prairie (10ac x $1000/ac)



Total Assessed Value




How do I apply?

Complete the application.

Other ways you can help save Minnesota's native prairies

For more information

Contact the DNR Prairie Biologist.

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