Proposed tax credit legislation moving through the Statehouse hopes to establish the next generation of farmers while helping the current generation transition their operations.
When the Senate’s SB 159 and the House’s HB 183 were introduced in 2019, they were identical. As the legislation moved through the House, changes were made to make the bill more palatable for lawmakers and beneficial for farmers looking to transition their operation during their lifetime. Now, the Senate is working to mirror those changes, making its version a “companion bill” to expedite the process.
“Introducing both bills in each chamber and taking them through the process in concert is beneficial,” said Jenna Beadle, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy. “It will make passage of the legislation easier when they decide which of the two bills will be moving forward for a vote.”
When that happens is yet to be seen, amid disruptions due to the coronavirus. Several lawmakers, like Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson, who represents the state’s 17th District, know the importance of this legislation.
“Getting started in agriculture is a big challenge, especially if you don’t have family already in the industry,” Peterson recently testified in support of SB 159. “This bill would help connect older farmers with younger farmers in a way that allows both generations to benefit.”
The first income tax credit this legislation creates is for beginning farmers who participate in a financial management program approved by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. SB 159 also establishes an income tax credit for individuals or businesses that sell or rent agricultural assets to beginning farmers.