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State department of agriculture launches beginning farmer tax credit program

A high tunnel at a beginning farm in Bellbrook, Ohio.
Alejandro Figueroa
/
WYSO
A high tunnel at a beginning farm in Bellbrook, Ohio.

Finding affordable land and equipment is one of the biggest roadblocks for beginning farmers. The average price per farm acre can be over $6,000 in Ohio and finding resources as a beginning farmer can be challenging.

Similarly, some retiring farmers may not have a next of kin and might have a hard time finding someone young farmers.

So the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program encourages retiring farmers to sell or rent their livestock, land or equipment to beginning farmers with the promise of a 3% income tax credit.

The program, which was signed into law last year why Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine, defines beginning farmers as people seeking entry into the industry or have farmed less than 10 years and plan for farming to be significant source of income.

Tracy Intihar, the interim director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said the idea is to incentivize retiring farmers to connect with beginning farmers and keep farmland in the hands of farmers.

“It’s really hard for farmers these days to enter the market,” Intihar said. “The cost in land and equipment is higher than normal. And a tax credit will provide just a little more incentive to help launch that beginning farmer and give them the support they need to start.”

Jane Larson, one of the co-owners of Foraged and Sown — a farm just outside Columbus — said the tax credit program makes their business more competitive.

“Someone in our situation, a small farm and not a lot of capital. We wouldn’t have an opportunity to be competitive and provide a competitive offer to purchase our land. With a tax credit on our side, we might have a better case for buying land,” Larson said.

A beginning farmer is also eligible for a tax credit to cover the cost for completing a financial management program.

“That is to support and benefit the beginning farmer to participate in a strong reputable program that helps provide a good foundation for them as they start this new venture,” Intihar said.

Beginning farmers can apply for the courses online.

Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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Alejandro Figueroa covers food insecurity and the business of food for WYSO through Report for America — a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Alejandro particularly covers the lack of access to healthy and affordable food in Southwest Ohio communities, and what local government and nonprofits are doing to address it. He also covers rural and urban farming