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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 12, 2019 11:10 AM
From: Senator Elder A. Vogel, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Beginning Farmer Tax Credit
For every four farmers in Pennsylvania over the age of 65, there is only one farmer under 35. Of the 7.7 million acres of farmland across Pennsylvania, 41% is managed by a farmer 55 years of age or older, and 11% of that land is expected to transfer in the next five years.

Those statistics highlight the challenges that beginning farmers face when looking to start a farm of their own. In the near future, I plan on introducing legislation that will encourage existing farmers and landowners to work with beginning farmers to help them get their start in agriculture.

This legislation, modeled after a successful program in Minnesota, will provide a personal income tax credit for landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers. The number one concern faced by new farmers is how to find affordable farmland. This legislation will provide a tangible incentive for landowners to work with beginning farmers through the lease or sale of property.

The legislation would give landowners a one-time personal income tax credit for the sale of property, or provide a multi-year tax credit for the lease of property. We’ve included important safeguards in the legislation which stipulate that all leases must be enforced through written agreements, and that the sale of property must be for fair market value in order for the seller to qualify for the tax credit. There are also provisions that prevent spouses and business partners from qualifying for the tax credit.
I believe this legislation will help with the very real struggle that family farms face when trying to pass down the farm from one generation to the next. In addition, it will also help entrepreneurial young farmers who are seeking the chance to start a business of their own. In the first year of its program, Minnesota offered $2.3 million in tax credits to nearly 450 landowners.

No other surrounding states offer such a tax credit program for beginning farmers, so this is one way that we can show the agriculture community that Pennsylvania is open for business. This legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the National Young Farmer Coalition. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

If you have any questions please contact Matt Parido in my office at 787-3076 or mparido@pasen.gov

Introduced as SB478