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2013-04-25

New eligibility rule for farm license plates

Contributed

Bandera County residents will now need to provide proof of eligibility at the Bandera County Tax-Assessor Collector's office before obtaining farm license plates, which have a reduced registration fee.
"We want all vehicles on the road to be properly registered," said Bandera County Tax Assessor-Collector Gwenda Tschirhart. "While this rule requires an additional step for farm vehicle owners, it is important to ensure that only eligible farm vehicles pay the reduced fee."
In March, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles adopted the new eligibility requirement which requires applicants for farm license plates to show proof they hold an Agricultural and Timber Exemption Registration Number issued by the Office of the Texas State Comptroller.
According to Tschirhart, it is important for Bandera residents to know that farm vehicles are only eligible for the reduced fee if they are used for specific purposes, including:
• Transporting the registrant's own poultry, dairy, livestock or farm products to another location for sale or processing
• Transporting farm or ranch workers to or from their place of employment
• Transporting farm supplies or equipment from place of purchase or storage to the farm or ranch
• Transporting the owner or owner's family to church, school, medical appointments, equine activities or other trips for home or family necessities
Additionally, farm trailer or semitrailer owners must obtain farm plates but are not required to register those vehicles if they have a gross weight of more than 4,000 but not more than 34,000 pounds and are:
• Used to transport agricultural products or livestock from the place of production to the place of processing, market or storage
• Used to transport farm supplies from the place of loading to the farm
• Used for the purpose of participating in equine activities or livestock shows
Applicants for farm plates are required to sign a statement that explains the complete operation restrictions.
The State Comptroller began issuing Agriculture and Timber Registration Numbers in January 2012 to farmers and those involved in the production of agricultural and timber products for eligible sales tax-exempt purchases. Under the TxDMV's new rule, the Ag-Timber card used for proof of registration must be current, legible, contain a registration number and be in the name of the person or company in which the vehicle will be registered.
Information on the online application process for the Ag-Timber number is available at www.GetReadyTexas.org.

The Bandera Tax Assessor-Collector's office issues farm vehicle license plates for the TxDMV as required by state law.