Ohio’s beginning farmer tax credit moves forward

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A young farmer examines corn seed in a corn field.

The Ohio House passed House Bill 95, the Family Farm Regeneration Act, which authorizes tax credits to help beginning farmers get access to land and other resources, June 28. It goes to the Senate for consideration next.

The bill is designed to help farmers transition assets to the next generation. The average age of U.S. farmers is almost 58, and land access is one of the major barriers for new farmers to get started.

The bill authorizes a tax credit for people who sell or rent farmland, livestock, equipment or buildings to beginning farmers. The credit would be limited to five years and a total of $10 million. Beginning farmers could also get a credit by attending a financial management program.

“By decreasing their tax burden, House Bill 95 incentivizes retiring farmers to recruit beginning farmers to take over their operations,” said Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, one of the bill’s sponsors, in a June 28 statement. “This program also sets beginning farmers up for success by giving them an opportunity to learn more about the financial management of a farm operation.”

Legislators introduced similar bills in 2019, but neither of those made it through the legislature before the end of that General Assembly. Multiple farming groups in the state have supported the bill in this General Assembly, and the last.

“Many beginning farmers do not have the levels of capital or credit necessary to begin farming, but even beyond that, the amount of land that is zoned for agriculture is finite. HB 95 will alleviate many of those issues,” said Jenna Reese, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy, in a June 29 release.

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association applauded the bill’s passage and urged the Ohio Senate to act on the bill.

“The past year illustrated, in stark terms, the vulnerability of our food system. We must take the steps necessary to ensure that those interested in providing what is a paramount service to society — contributing to our food supply — are successful,” said Amalie Lipstreu, the organization’s policy director, in a July 7 release.

Other groups, including the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean Association, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Poultry Association and Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, testified in support of the bill during committee hearings earlier this year.

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