The Trade Organization for Aviculturists
The Organization of Professional Aviculturists (OPA) is a 501(c)(6) Not For Profit Corporation, founded in 2002 by a group of 80 aviculturists for the purpose of strengthening the future of aviculture, both by protecting the rights of aviculturists and by fostering a high degree of professionalism.
What's New with the OPA?
Aviculture is Given Full Farming Rights in Florida
The OPA has now received a landmark letter from the office of Charles Bronson, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, confirming that "the production of birds for the pet trade is a bona fide agricultural pursuit and protected by the Florida 'Right to Farm Act.'"
All professional aviculturists within the State of Florida should print a copy of this landmark letter and bring it to their County Tax Appraisers Office to demand the property tax exemptions given to any land that is used for agriculture. Many Florida Counties have refused to extend this Florida Constitutional right to avicultural farmers because there was no clear directive from the Florida Department of Agriculture concerning the inclusion of birds produced for the pet trade. This has now been unequivocally clarified by the OPA.
After a quick onsite inspection to confirm how much land you are using to support your farming activity, the property tax savings afforded to "green belted" land along with all the protections of the Florida "Right to Farm Act" will be yours by the rights extended in the Florida Constitution to all farmers. The Property Appraisers Office inspector will not be looking for County or Municipal code violations (i.e. proper setbacks for pens & cages or storage sheds etc, etc.). They are only concerned with the actual land used for your aviaries and support structures so they can determine what your tax savings will be. Anyone in the business of breeding birds in areas zoned Agricultural or more commonly Agricultural / Residential will qualify. You are not required to have an occupational license or have your business registered with the County or Municipality in order to qualify. In fact, Counties or Municipalities that require farmers to get a permit, occupational license or pay a business tax to operate their farm are also in violation of the Florida "Right to Farm Act."
All aviculturists outside the State of Florida should check their individual States "Right to Farm Act" on the internet and demand that their State follow the example set by the State of Florida. For many years, the definition of "Farm Product" has been expanded to include far more than just the production of food or fiber. Most all States currently include horticulture for the production of ornamental plants for people to enjoy in their homes and aquaculture for the production of aquarium fish for the pet trade. Aviculture for the production of birds for the pet trade is no different than these other two categories.
Ask your questions here.