The Senate Finance Committee today (May 1) approved a measure that will encourage existing farmers and landowners to help beginning farmers get started in the business, according to Committee Chairman Scott Hutchinson.
Senate Bill 478, a measure sponsored by Senator Elder Vogel (R-47), would provide a personal income tax credit for landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
“Pennsylvania has traditionally offered tax credits as an incentive for any number of economic development initiatives and Senate Bill 478 fits right in that portfolio,” said Senator Hutchinson. “This measure provides essential support for new farmers to help them overcome a major obstacle that prevents many from getting started in the business. This ‘seeding’ will help create new family farms and ensure that agriculture remains Pennsylvania’s top industry well into the future.” Video
Under the bill, landowners would receive a one-time personal income tax credit for the sale of property or a multi-year tax credit for the lease of property. The legislation requires all leases be enforced through written agreements and that the sale of property be for fair market value in order to qualify for the tax credit. The bill is supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the National Young Farmer Coalition.
“I want to thank Senator Hutchinson and the Finance Committee for quickly moving this bill to the Senate for consideration,” said Senator Vogel, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee and operates a family farm in Beaver County that was established in the late 1800s. “The number one concern faced by new farmers is finding affordable farmland. My bill provides a tangible incentive for landowners to help new farmers.”
For every farmer under the age of 35 in Pennsylvania there are four farmers over the age of 65. Of the 7.7 million acres of farmland across Pennsylvania, 41 percent is managed by a farmer 55 years of age or older and 11 percent of that land is expected to transfer in the next five years.
“Those statistics highlight the challenges that new farmers face when looking to start a farm of their own. None of our neighboring states offer a similar tax credit program, so this is a way to show the agriculture community that Pennsylvania is open for business,” said Senator Vogel. Video
Senate Bill 478 is one of seven bills in a “Farming First” legislative package sponsored by Senate Republicans. The “Farming First” package is designed to build on the longstanding efforts of Senate Republicans to support Pennsylvania’s farm families and maintain agriculture’s status as the state’s top industry. Pennsylvania’s 59,000 farm families manage more than 7.7 million acres of farmland. The agriculture industry generates more than $7.5 billion in cash receipts annually. More information about “Farming First” is available at www.pasenategop.com.
Justin Leventry (Senator Hutchinson)
Matt Parido (Senator Vogel)