Tax credit plan to help new farmers get started

Two young Republican farmers who serve in the Iowa Legislature are trying to make it more appealing for retiring farmers to lease their land to beginners.

New Hartford Representative Pat Grassley and Wilton Representative Bobby Kaufmann have introduced a bill that would expand the current tax credit program to beginning farmers who legislators say need incentives to compete with bigger farms for land.

The state now provides $6 million in tax credits to retiring farmers who lease their land to beginners. The bill would double that amount, offering tax breaks for beginners who add livestock or machinery that increases the value of the land they lease.

About 1,135 farmers have received these tax breaks since the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority started the program in 2007.