After multiple efforts to pass similar legislation didn’t pan out in 2019 or 2020, tax credit legislation to establish the next generation of farmers while helping the current generation transition their operations is up for consideration again in Columbus.
HB 95 establishes an income tax credit for beginning farmers who participate in a financial management program, administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The bill also creates an income tax credit for established farmers who sell or rent agricultural assets to beginning farmers. Several Ohio Farm Bureau members testified this week in front of the Ohio House Agriculture and Conservation Committee in support of this legislation.
“Farm Service Agency provides opportunities for young and beginning farmers, but the time that it takes from application to loan closing is significantly longer than a traditional loan,” said Bennett and Liza Musselman during their testimony. They are part owners/operators of Musselman Farms in Pickaway County. “Young farmers have an added obstacle of finding a seller that is willing to wait additional days for a sale to be completed. The passage of HB 95 will give a financial incentive for sellers to work with a young beginning farmer, and thus help level the playing field.”
If passed in its current form, a beginning farmer would have to intend to farm in Ohio, or have been farming in Ohio for less than 10 years, have a household net worth of less than $800,000, provide the majority of the day-to-day labor for and management of the farm, have adequate farming experience or demonstrate adequate knowledge about farming and participate in a financial management program approved by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
“The agriculture industry is extremely difficult to break into if you or your family do not have a background in farming,” said first-generation farmer Nathan Brown, who represents Farm Bureau members from Adams, Brown, Clermont and Highland counties on the OFBF board of trustees. “High amounts of capital are needed to invest in land, equipment, labor, crops or livestock, financial management plans and compliance with regulations, just to get started. New farmland is not readily available, so there is restricted access to the ground required, adding yet another barrier to individuals who are looking to start a career in farming. HB 95 gives beginning farmers a chance to pursue their passion and enter the agriculture industry.”
The Ohio House Agriculture and Conservation Committee will continue to vet the bill, and then it will move to the House floor for consideration.
Photo: Pictured from left Rose Hartschuh, Bennett Musselman, Liza Musselman and Nathan Brown. The photo was taken prior to COVID-19.