Pa. Senate passes ‘Farming First’ package

The package now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration

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Farming First, Pennsylvania agriculture, Elder Vogel Jr.
Pa. Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Elder Vogel, R-47, was instrumental in pushing the Farming First package through the senate.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Senate approved a “Farming First” legislative package this week that will help promote and support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, according to Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Elder Vogel, R-47.

The package now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“These bills are key parts of our effort to help maintain the viability and profitability of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry now and for years to come,” said Vogel, who operates a farm in Beaver County that was established in the late 1800s.

Senate Bill 478, would provide a personal income tax credit for landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers. 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 tax credits provided under my bill would reward those landowners who help new farmers,” said Vogel. “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.”

In addition to Senate Bill 478, the other bills in the “Farming First” package would:

  • Change the state’s farmland preservation program to allow farmers more flexibility for building or subdividing residences. Senate Bill 145, sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw, R-23.
  • Update Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code to allow the transportation of large farm equipment. Senate Bill 338, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-35.
  • Set safety standards and remove costly requirements for barn weddings and other social events on farms. Senate Bill 453, sponsored by Sen. Judy Ward, R-30.
  • Ease restrictions on the use of farmland for farm-related tourism and entertainment activities. Senate Bill 583, sponsored by Sen. Ryan Aument, R-36.
  • Create the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission to bring together industry stakeholders. Senate Bill 585, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-34.
  • Exempt milk haulers from weather-related travel bans. Senate Bill 588, sponsored by Sen. Judy Ward.

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