Bennett and Liza Musselman of Orient are Ohio Farm Bureau’s State Young Ag Professionals Committee co-chairs and part owners/operators of Musselman Farms.
Through their participation in YAP, as well as the personal connections made in the industry, they have heard more than a few stories about the challenges new farmers face when trying to get their own operations up and running.
The Musselmans, as well as OFBF State Board Trustees Rose Hartschuh and Nathan Brown, testified before the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee in late April to support legislation that would help farmers who are just getting started.
“There are many barriers to full-time farming beyond access to land and capital, like the lack of employer-sponsored health insurance plans, lack of broadband access, high premiums for crop insurance and minimal mentorship opportunities,” Liza Musselman told the members of the committee. “However, the biggest challenge is limited capital, credit and land. This can be addressed through succession planning, but that is typically for interfamily transitions occurring at the time of death. House Bill 183 would incentivize transfers during the retiring farmer’s lifetime and possibly provide a connection for mentorship.”
Co-sponsored by Reps. Susan Manchester (R-84th District) and John Patterson (D-99th District), House Bill 183 would authorize a nonrefundable income tax credit for beginning farmers who attend a financial management program, and a nonrefundable income tax credit for individuals who sell or rent farmland, livestock, buildings or equipment to beginning farmers.
Eligibility requirements would be affirmed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
The bill will work its way through the Ohio House once it is out of committee, according to Jenna Beadle, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy.
If passed in its current form, a beginning farmer would have to meet the following criteria:
- Intends to farm in Ohio, or has been farming in Ohio for less than 10 years.
- Has a household net worth of less than $800,000. This limit applies to 2019 and will be adjusted for inflation in future years.
- Provides the majority of the day-to-day labor for and management of the farm.
- Has adequate farming experience or demonstrates adequate knowledge about farming.
- Submits projected earnings statements and demonstrates a profit potential.
- Demonstrates that farming will be a significant source of the individual’s income.
- Will not rent or lease agricultural assets from family members through this incentive program.
- Participates in a financial management program approved by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
- Meets any other requirements set by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Photo caption: Bennett and Liza Musselman