“Farmers encouraged to apply for farm conservation tax credits”

Harrisburg – Pennsylvania farmers can improve their management practices and conservation equipment and landowners can restore their waterways with $5 million in tax credits still available through the Resource Enhancement and Protection, or REAP, program.

REAP provides tax credits to agricultural producers who install best management practices or make on-farm no-till equipment purchases that will reduce soil erosion and sedimentation in Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers. Landowners who are interested in stream restoration projects and/or riparian buffers are also eligible to apply for tax credits.

“When Pennsylvania invests in ways that conserve our soils and improve our waterways it benefits our land as well as our neighbors downstream,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “Our work will pay dividends by rebuilding a healthier environment for future generations of Pennsylvanians.”

Producers may receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50-75 percent of the total project cost. Projects most commonly approved are for no-till planting equipment, waste storage facilities, protecting heavy animal-use areas like barnyards, and nutrient management plans. Farmers can use the credits incrementally for up to 15 years to pay their state income tax or they can elect to sell the credits.

Stream restoration and streambank buffers bring back wildlife habitat, prevent erosion, capture sediment and filter pollution. Landowners can receive tax credits for up to 75 percent of a project’s cost.

The program, administered by the State Conservation Commission, gives agriculture producers an incentive to purchase conservation equipment, plant cover crops, and install practices that help protect the environment.

Farmers who are also working with USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or with any other funding source, can use REAP to offset their out-of-pocket expenses.

Private investors may act as a sponsor by providing capital to producers as a project is approved in return for tax credits. Any individual or business subject to taxation under Personal Income Tax, Corporate Net Income Tax, Bank Shares Tax and others, is eligible to participate in REAP.

Since the program began in 2007, more than 4,300 projects worth more than $52 million have been approved. The total public and private investment made to implement these projects is $133 million.

REAP has helped prevent an estimated runoff of over 12 million pounds of nitrogen, 900,000 pounds of phosphorus and 900,000 tons of sediment from reaching local streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

Applications for the 2014-2015 REAP program area available at www.pda.state.pa.us/REAP under “Forms,” or by contacting Joel Semke with the State Conservation Commission at 717-705-4032 or jsemke@pa.gov

This news release was provided by the State Conservation Commission on October 22, 2014. 

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