|Posted:||January 14, 2021 01:44 PM|
|From:||Representative Mindy Fee|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Co-Sponsor Memo - Farm Succession Planning Grants|
|Please join me in cosponsoring legislation to permit the use of certain unused money in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund for grants for succession planning to ensure that agricultural operations continue on land subject to agricultural conservation easements (preserved farmland). This will assist the next generation of farming families in their efforts to keep the preserved farm operational.
In 1994, the General Assembly established that the proceeds from the sale of state farmland (hospital farms) would be deposited into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund. In 1999, $750,000 from those proceeds was authorized to be used for an agricultural conservation assistance grant program, which was designed to assist the counties that have farmland preservation programs with staff training and digital mapping, among a few other things. The counties used all but roughly $165,000 of that money and have not applied for grants under those provisions for many years. The remaining funding cannot be used for any other purpose. Providing for succession planning grants has been authorized in the Fiscal Code for the past four years.
Instead of providing language in the Fiscal Code each year, this legislation would allow the amount remaining in the fund (roughly $99,000) to be used for the grants, which would not exceed $5,000 for each family, until the remainder is exhausted. The eligibility criteria would be set by the Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the State Agricultural Land Preservation Board.
Please join me in cosponoring this important legislation.
Introduced as HB183