Applications are now being accepted for a tax credit program intended to support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry by helping new farmers get established, according to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34), who supported the legislation that created the initiative.
“This program is one of a number of important steps toward preserving the rich farming legacy that has been built in Pennsylvania for centuries, and protecting the future of this industry for many generations to come,” Senator Corman said. “Creating a tax credit will allow new farmers to get a strong start that will ensure the farms of today continue to produce well into the future.”
The Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program created by Senate Bill 478 (Act 65 of 2019) provides an incentive to landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers. Landowners will receive a one-time personal income tax credit for the sale or a multi-year 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 Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) , in coordination with the Departments of Agriculture and Revenue, will allocate up to $5 million in tax year 2020, and up to $6 million annually through the 2030 tax year, for credits of five percent of the lesser of the sale price of fair market value of the agricultural asset, up to $32,000; or 10 percent of the gross rental income of the first, second and third year of the rental agreement, up to $7,000 per year.
Beginning farmers must meet eligibility criteria. Applications for certification, which are evaluated by the Department of Agriculture, can be found on the department’s website, agriculture.pa.gov. Applications for the tax credit can be filed at esa.dced.state.pa.us. Complete program guidelines, eligibility, and application instructions can be found on DCED’s website, dced.pa.gov.
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.