Pennsylvania eyes tax credit to link retiring and young farmers

Legacy Tax Credit, Sen. Elder Vogel, Pennsylvania,

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania state Sen. Elder Vogel Jr., a fourth generation farmer and chairman of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, introduced legislation that is intended to encourage existing farmers and landowners to work with beginning farmers to help them get started.

Senate Bill 478 would create a personal income tax credit for landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers.

Aging farmers

For every four farmers in Pennsylvania over 65, there is only one farmer under the age of 35, and of the 7.7 million acres of farmland across Pennsylvania, 11 percent of that land is expected to transfer in the next five years.

“My legislation provides an incentive for landowners to lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers,” said Vogel, who operates a family farm in Beaver County that was established in the late 1800s.

Tax credit

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.

Under the bill, a landowner would receive a one-time tax credit totaling 5% of the sales price, with a maximum credit of $32,000, or a 10% credit on the gross rental price with a maximum credit of $7,000 per year. The landowner, who rents property to a qualified beginning farmer, would be eligible for the tax credit for a maximum of three years.

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.

Vogel’s bill is modeled after a program in Minnesota. In the first year of its program, Minnesota offered $2.3 million in tax credits to nearly 450 landowners, he said.

“The number one concern faced by new farmers is finding affordable farmland and I believe the state can be proactive in helping them overcome that hurdle,” the Republican senator said.

“We work to entice companies to do business in Pennsylvania,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-34, who joined Vogel at a news conference introducing the bill. “This bill does the same thing for agriculture and young farmers.”

The bill is supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the National Young Farmer Coalition.

“Over and over we hear from young farmers who are hindered from establishing their own businesses due to the lack of affordable land to buy or rent,” said Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert, who operates a dairy farm in Westmoreland County. “We are hopeful that the legislation will reduce some of those roadblocks.”

Vogel said there are specific criteria defining who can qualify as a beginning farmer, including the exclusion of individuals who have engaged in farming for 10 years or longer.

The bill, which was assigned to the senate Finance Committee March 26, currently has 13 bipartisan co-sponsors, in addition to Vogel.


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  1. I think it is extremely important for the constituents of the State Senator to know the truth about their elected individual. This bill he is proposing hits very close to home and I believe it clearly displays that the State Senator is a hypocrite.
    Pennsylvania State Senator Elder Vogel Jr. might be posing legislation to aid beginning farmers, but his words do not go along with his actions. Quoting from the article above “who operates a family farm in Beaver County that was established in the late 1800s”, is an extreme stretch of the truth. The State Senator once was a family member that worked on his father’s farm. After the passing of his father, this State Senator took action to remove the farm from the family. The “family farm” at this time is the State Senator and his wife ONLY. There are family members that would love to work there as they did in the past. This includes a nephew who after high school graduation worked on the farm to learn the ropes. The nephew showed up for work one day only to be sent home by his uncle stating that his services were no longer needed. That was over a year and a half ago. The family of two put up No Trespassing signs and locked all buildings and equipment. Not even the State Senator’s mother who lives in a house on the farm has access to any of her family farm property. Now does the sound like a man that you want being the chairman of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee? I hope the constituents of the 47th District take a hard look at their representative because there is a lot that you do not know about this “family” man.


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