A recently proposed bill in the Iowa Statehouse would expand state tax breaks to beginning farmers in an attempt to deal with a burgeoning demographic problem.
For the past several years, American farmers have been faced with an increasingly threatening demographic scenario. As more and more young people avoid entering the farm profession, the average age of American farmers has increased, reaching as high as 60 in some places. Without young farmers ready to enter the profession as older farmers retire, US agricultural production could face a serious crisis.
Several states have sought to face this problem through grants and loans. In Iowa, the state legislature is attempting to sweeten the deal for new farmers by expanding state tax breaks that would help young people entering the agricultural profession.
The proposed bill would offer retiring farmers who lease their land to beginning farmers a major tax credit in an attempt to keep farmers from selling or renting their farmland to developers. According to the head of the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority, “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.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer