Senator Vogel’s Farming Legacy Bill Signed into Law

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Senator Elder Vogel’s “farming legacy” bill, a key measure to help promote and support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry into the future, was signed into law by the Governor on Tuesday (July 2).

Senator Vogel’s measure, Senate Bill 478 (Act 65 of 2019), provides a personal income tax credit for landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers. Landowners will receive a one-time personal income tax credit for the sale or a multi-year lease of property. The legislation requires all leases be enforced through written agreements and that the sale of property be for fair market value in order to qualify for the tax credit.

For every farmer under the age of 35 in Pennsylvania there are four farmers over the age of 65. Of the 7.7 million acres of farmland across Pennsylvania, 41 percent is managed by a farmer 55 years of age or older and 11 percent of that land is expected to transfer in the next five years.

“The facts clearly show the ‘graying’ of Pennsylvania’s farming industry. That is an issue that we need to quickly address as a state. I have heard throughout the state that the top hurdle facing new farmers is finding affordable farmland,” said Senator Vogel. “The tax credits provided under this new law will reward landowners who help new farmers get started. None of our neighboring states offer a similar tax credit program, so this is a great way to show the agriculture community that Pennsylvania is open for business.”

The agriculture industry generates more than $7.5 billion in cash receipts annually. Senator Vogel was a key speaker at a Monday (July 1) press conference promoting Pennsylvania’s support for agriculture. Audio Video More information about farming in Pennsylvania is available at https://issue.pasenategop.com/farming/ and SenatorElderVogel.com.

CONTACT:               Matt Parido                 (717) 787-3076

New Measures to Support Pennsylvania Farmers Signed into Law

See all the Farming First bills here.

HARRISBURG – A broad package of bills to support Pennsylvania agriculture and encourage new generations of farmers to continue the state’s rich farming heritage were signed by the Governor, including several measures introduced and supported by Senator Judy Ward (R-30).

Ward sponsored Senate Bill 661, which would create four new programs to support the agriculture community – the Agricultural Business Development Center, Agriculture and Youth Development Grants (SB 660, Ward), the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program, and the Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

“Agriculture is one of the most important industries in the state, and it helps drive our local economy. That is why we need to listen to the most serious concerns of farmers and take action where we can to help,” Ward said. “Both of my bills will help promote Pennsylvania agricultural operations and promote agriculture for future generations of farmers. Along with the rest of the bills in the package, we have taken some extremely positive steps to help current and future generations of farmers.”

Other bills in the package include

  • SB 478, which would establish a tax credit program for landowners to lease or sell farmland to future generations of farmers.
  • SB 585, which would create the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission to review and make recommendations to promote and strengthen the Commonwealth’s dairy industry.
  • SB 338, which would update Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code to allow the transportation of farm equipment that exceeds the current width allowable by law.
  • SB 634, which would create the Conservation Excellence Grant Program to provide technical and financial assistance for agricultural operations to implement conservation best management practices.
  • HB 370, which would amend the Agricultural Area Security Law to allow farmers more discretion regarding the construction and subdivision of residences on preserved farmland.
  • HB 1514, which would renames the current Healthy Farms Healthy Schools program as the Farm-to-School Program and make improvements to the program.
  • HB 1516, which would create the Agriculture Rapid Response Disaster Readiness program to respond to diseases, pests, invasive species, declared disasters and other threats to the agriculture industry.
  • HB 1520, which would create the Very Small Meat Processor Federal Inspection Reimbursement Grant Program to help these businesses comply with federal inspection standards.
  • HB 1526, which would revise the Agriculture Linked Investment Program for the implementation of agricultural and conservation best management practices.
  • HB 1590, which would establish the existing Dairy Investment Program in state law to support research and development, transition to organic, marketing projects and value-added process projects in the dairy industry.

 

CONTACT:  Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490

Senate Republicans Champion Seven “Farming First” Bills to Preserve Pennsylvania Agriculture

 

HARRISBURG – Senate Republicans held a news conference today to highlight passage of seven bills this week that would help current and future generations of Pennsylvania farmers.

The “Farming First” package is designed to build on the longstanding efforts of Senate Republicans to support Pennsylvania’s farm families and maintain agriculture’s status as the state’s top industry.

Bills in the package that were approved earlier this week included:

  • A tax credit program for landowners to lease or sell farmland to future generations of farmers.
  • The creation of the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission to bring together all stakeholders in the industry.
  • Exempting milk haulers from weather-related travel bans.
  • Easing restrictions on the use of farmland for farm-related tourism and entertainment activities.
  • Setting commonsense safety standards and removing costly requirements for barn weddings and other social events on farms.

The Senate approved two additional bills in the package today.

Senate Bill 145, sponsored by Senator Gene Yaw (R-23), would allow farmers more discretion regarding the construction and subdivision of residences on farmland. Current law allows farmers to create one additional farmstead residence, but it does not allow farmers to relinquish this right or to subdivide an existing residence on their property. The change would make it easier to pass farmland on to the next generation at a lower cost.

Senate Bill 338, sponsored by Senator Wayne Langerholc (R-35), would update Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code to allow the transportation of farm equipment that exceeds the current width allowable by law. The measure is critical for farm owners because the size of equipment used for specialized commercial services – such as custom harvesting, planting and hauling – has increased as the equipment has become more technologically advanced.

Pennsylvania’s 59,000 farm families manage more than 7.7 million acres of farmland. The agriculture industry generates more than $7.5 billion in cash receipts annually.

Senate Republicans led the fight last year to create the Pennsylvania Dairy Industry Investment Program, which is designed to improve the production, processing and distribution of dairy items throughout the state.

Over the past four years, Senate Republicans have also worked to restore a cumulative total of more than $15 million in cuts proposed by Governor Wolf to critical programs supporting the agriculture community, including livestock and open dairy shows, food marketing and research, hardwoods research and promotion, agricultural research and Agricultural Excellence.

CONTACT:
Jenn Kocher (717) 787-1377 (Senator Corman)
Matt Parido (717) 787-3076 (Senator Vogel)
Gwenn Dando (717) 787-5400 (Senator Langerholc)
Nick Troutman (717) 787-3280 (Senator Yaw)
Ryan Boop (717) 787-4420 (Senator Aument)
Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490 (Senator Ward

Senate Passes “Farming First” Bills to Support PA Agriculture

HARRISBURG – In recognition of the tremendous contributions of Pennsylvania’s agriculture community to the state’s economy and heritage, the Senate passed five bills today to ensure farming operations remain an important part of the state’s future.

The bills in the “Farming First” package are focused on helping Pennsylvania agricultural operations remain competitive and profitable for current and future generations of farmers. Bills in the package that were passed by the Senate today include:

  • A tax credit program for landowners to lease or sell farmland to future generations of farmers.
  • The creation of the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission to bring together all stakeholders in the industry.
  • Exempting milk haulers from weather-related travel bans.
  • Easing restrictions on the use of farmland for farm-related tourism and entertainment activities.
  • Setting commonsense safety standards and removing costly requirements for barn weddings and other social events on farms.

Senate Bill 478, sponsored by Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Elder Vogel (R-47), would provide a personal income tax credit for landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers. The one-time credit – which is patterned after a successful program in Minnesota – would provide a strong incentive for landowners to work with beginning farmers to ensure farmland remains in productive use for future generations.

Senate Bill 585, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34), would call for the creation of the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission to review the status of the dairy industry in the Commonwealth and make recommendations to support the industry’s future in Pennsylvania. The Commission will bring together experts in the industry with leaders in state government and the legislature to explore potential solutions to the challenging market conditions facing dairy farmers.

Senate Bill 588, sponsored by Senator Judy Ward (R-30) and Senator Yaw, would exempt milk haulers from travel bans imposed during a declaration of disaster emergency. The measure would address the unique needs of the dairy industry during weather-related commercial vehicle travel bans. Travel bans have caused many dairy producers and processers to dispose of milk that cannot be legally transported.

Senate Bill 583, sponsored by Senator Ryan Aument (R-36), would set uniform standards allowing agritourism on farms protected by the state farmland preservation program. Under current law, each individual farmland preservation board sets its own standards for defining or allowing agritourism activity; some boards prevent farm owners from hosting these events altogether.

Senate Bill 453, sponsored by Senator Judy Ward, would allow farmers to apply for an annual exemption to certain costly requirements that are included in the state’s Uniform Construction Code for buildings that host weddings, receptions and similar events. The measure would make it easier for farms to host these events by relaxing requirements for some of the most costly and onerous safety features, including sprinkler systems and other features that could cost tens of thousands of dollars to install.

The “Farming First” package is designed to build on the longstanding efforts of Senate Republicans to support Pennsylvania’s farm families and maintain agriculture’s status as the state’s top industry.

Pennsylvania’s 59,000 farm families manage more than 7.7 million acres of farmland. The agriculture industry generates more than $7.5 billion in cash receipts annually.

Senate Republicans led the fight last year to create the Pennsylvania Dairy Industry Investment Program, which is designed to improve the production, processing and distribution of dairy products throughout the state.

Over the past four years, Senate Republicans have also worked to restore a cumulative total of more than $15 million in cuts proposed by Governor Wolf to critical programs supporting the agriculture community, including livestock and open dairy shows, food marketing and research, hardwoods research and promotion, agricultural research and Agricultural Excellence.

The first five bills in the “Farming First” package were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. Additional bills in the package are expected to receive a vote in the Senate on Wednesday.

 

 

CONTACT:
Jenn Kocher (717) 787-1377 (Senator Corman)
Matt Parido (717) 787-3076 (Senator Vogel)
Ryan Boop (717) 787-4420 (Senator Aument)
Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490 (Senator Ward)

Finance Committee Advances Farmer “Legacy” Tax Credit Measure

 

 

The Senate Finance Committee today (May 1) approved a measure that will encourage existing farmers and landowners to help beginning farmers get started in the business, according to Committee Chairman Scott Hutchinson.

Senate Bill 478, a measure sponsored by Senator Elder Vogel (R-47), would provide a personal income tax credit for landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

“Pennsylvania has traditionally offered tax credits as an incentive for any number of economic development initiatives and Senate Bill 478 fits right in that portfolio,” said Senator Hutchinson. “This measure provides essential support for new farmers to help them overcome a major obstacle that prevents many from getting started in the business. This ‘seeding’ will help create new family farms and ensure that agriculture remains Pennsylvania’s top industry well into the future.” Video

Under the bill, landowners would receive a one-time personal income tax credit for the sale of property or a multi-year tax credit for the lease of property. The legislation requires all leases be enforced through written agreements and that the sale of property be for fair market value in order to qualify for the tax credit. The bill is supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the National Young Farmer Coalition.

“I want to thank Senator Hutchinson and the Finance Committee for quickly moving this bill to the Senate for consideration,” said Senator Vogel, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee and operates a family farm in Beaver County that was established in the late 1800s. “The number one concern faced by new farmers is finding affordable farmland. My bill provides a tangible incentive for landowners to help new farmers.”

For every farmer under the age of 35 in Pennsylvania there are four farmers over the age of 65. Of the 7.7 million acres of farmland across Pennsylvania, 41 percent is managed by a farmer 55 years of age or older and 11 percent of that land is expected to transfer in the next five years.

“Those statistics highlight the challenges that new farmers face when looking to start a farm of their own. None of our neighboring states offer a similar tax credit program, so this is a way to show the agriculture community that Pennsylvania is open for business,” said Senator Vogel. Video

Senate Bill 478 is one of seven bills in a “Farming First” legislative package sponsored by Senate Republicans. The “Farming First” package is designed to build on the longstanding efforts of Senate Republicans to support Pennsylvania’s farm families and maintain agriculture’s status as the state’s top industry. Pennsylvania’s 59,000 farm families manage more than 7.7 million acres of farmland. The agriculture industry generates more than $7.5 billion in cash receipts annually. More information about “Farming First” is available at www.pasenategop.com.

Contacts:

Justin Leventry (Senator Hutchinson)
(717) 787-9684
jleventry@pasen.gov

Matt Parido (Senator Vogel)
(717) 787-3076
mparido@pasen.gov

Senate Committee Approves Aument’s Bill Supporting Agritourism Activities

 

HARRISBURG – The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee approved a bill today that would support farmers who want to host agritourism events like hayrides, farm tours and corn mazes, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ryan Aument (R-36).

Many farmers are turning to agritourism events to generate additional revenue, Aument said. However, some farm owners who participate in the state’s farmland preservation program may be prevented from hosting these activities depending on how they are defined and regulated by county farmland preservation boards.

Senate Bill 583 would set uniform standards allowing agritourism on all farms protected by the state farmland preservation program.

“Agritourism activities highlight our Commonwealth’s rich agricultural heritage, which benefits the entire community,” Aument said. “We should continue to support the farmers who want to offer these educational and family-friendly events.”

Aument’s bill is part of the Farming First package of bills that are designed to support Pennsylvania’s top industry. Additional information about Farming First is available at www.SenatorAument.com. 

Contact: Stephanie Buchanan (717) 787-4420

Bill Exempting Milk Haulers from Travel Bans Earns Committee Approval

 

HARRISBURG – A bill that would exempt milk haulers from travel bans imposed during an emergency declaration was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee today, according to the bill’s sponsors, Senator Judy Ward (R-30) and Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).

Senate Bill 588 would allow a licensed milk hauler to transport milk on highways even during commercial travel bans during inclement weather. The legislation is necessary due to the highly perishable nature of raw milk, Ward said.

“There is a very limited window for milk to be transported before it perishes. When travel bans impact milk haulers, dairy farmers may be forced to dispose of their product as cows continue to produce milk regardless of the weather,” Ward said. “Losing an entire day of work and revenue is extremely hard for dairy farmers who are already suffering due to low market prices.”

A recent USDA report indicated that more than 2,700 dairy farms closed in the US during 2018, including 370 in Pennsylvania alone.

“Cows just don’t turn themselves off when it snows,” Yaw said. “Milk haulers are some of the most experienced drivers and they know what the roads are like here. They have the experience and judgment to be able to transport their product safely even during winter storms.”

The legislation provides for the development of a decal by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board to be issued and displayed by licensed milk haulers.

The legislation is part of the Farming First package of bills that are designed to support Pennsylvania’s top industry. Additional information is available at www.SenatorJudyWard.com.