In Pennsylvania, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2017 Ag Census, 7.2 million acres is devoted to agriculture use, down from 7.7 million acres in 2012, with much of that land owned and operated by farmers age 55 and older. If agriculture is to remain Pennsylvania’s largest industry, it’s imperative for these acres to remain in agriculture, properly managed, and embraced with passion and honest stewardship of the land.
In furtherance of this, the commonwealth signed into law, on July 2, 2019, amendments to the Pennsylvania Tax Code creating the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit (PDF). This new program allows the seller or lessor of agricultural land, equipment, buildings and livestock to a qualified “beginning farmer” to apply for and receive tax credits against the seller or lessor’s Pennsylvania income tax obligations in the year of the sale or lease. To apply for a Beginning Farmer Tax Credit, visit the Department of Community and Economic Development's website.
Helping to transition these acres to the next generation of farmers is a primary focus of the Agricultural Business Development Center. In collaboration with our partners at Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit organization dedicated to “linking farmers to the future,” you can apply for a listing on their site as a “Landowner/Farmer” or as an “Entering or New Farmer" to help you connect with a new opportunity. Or, if you’re a farmer looking to connect with an agricultural mentor, found out more by visiting the PA Farm Link Ag Mentorship Program.
In addition to these resources, the Beginning Farmer Realty Transfer Tax Exemption states that realty transfer tax shall not be imposed upon a transfer of real estate that is subject to an agricultural conservation easement for qualified beginner farmers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency also supports beginner farmers and ranchers through direct and guaranteed loan programs.