Two young farmers who serve in the Iowa Legislature are trying to make it more appealing for retiring farmers to lease their land to beginners.
Rep. Pat Grassley, 29, of New Hartford and Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, 27, of Wilton, have introduced a bill that would expand a tax credit program that gives an incentive for retiring farmers to lease or rent land to beginning farmers.
The state now provides $6 million in tax credits to retiring farmers who lease land to beginning farmers. The bill calls for doubling that amount so beginning farmers also get tax credits.
“A lot of big, wealthy farmers drive-in with a big checkbook and say I’ll cash rent your farm for an extremely high amount of money. So this expansion gives the beginning farmer a tool to compete out there,” said Steve Ferguson, executive director at Iowa Agricultural Development Authority, which gives financial help to farmers buying land, equipment or livestock.
Iowa has offered tax credits to retiring farmers who lease their land to beginners since 2007, but the measure introduced last week would give an additional tax break to new operators leasing land who have proved they are making improvements to the farm.
Is it a good idea to give state tax breaks to beginning farmers who are trying to rent land, as an incentive to compete against wealthier, established farmers seeking more land to lease?
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