Tax credits available for farming conservation

Area farmers can now apply for 2016-17 Resource Enhancement and Protection program (REAP) tax credits, according to a press release from state Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19.

“Pennsylvania farmers continue to make great strides in safeguarding our local streams and watersheds,” Dinniman said in the release. “This program can go a long way in helping farmers take advantage of tax credits while making conservation-minded capital improvements and incorporating best management practices in their operations.”

REAP is a tax-credit program for agricultural producers who implement best management practices or purchase on-farm conservation equipment that reduces erosion and sedimentation. The program, administered by the state Conservation Commission, gives agriculture producers an incentive to purchase conservation equipment and materials to protect the environment.

Farmers may receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50 to 75 percent of the project’s cost. The most common projects approved are for no-till planting and precision agricultural equipment, waste storage facilities, conservation plans, nutrient management plans, and protecting heavy animal use areas like barnyards, the release said.

REAP can be used in conjunction with other funding sources such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program or the Chesapeake Bay Program for purchases. Private investors may also act as sponsors by providing capital to producers as a project is approved in return for tax credits. Any individual or business subject to taxation through Personal Income Tax, Corporate Net Income Tax, Bank Shares Tax or others is eligible to participate in REAP.

Since the program began in 2007, REAP has awarded tax credits to 3,900 projects totaling more than $50 million. Public and private enterprise investments in REAP have contributed to the conservation projects, worth more than $128 million. From 2010 to 2014, REAP has helped prevent an estimated 1.4 million pounds of nitrogen, 84,000 pounds of phosphorus and 9,000 tons of sediment from running off into Pennsylvania waterways, the release said.

Applications for the 2016-17 REAP program are available by visiting www.agriculture.pa.gov and clicking “protect,” then “State Conservation Commission,” then “REAP.” Interested applicants can also contact Joel Semke at 717-705-4032 or jsemke@pa.gov. For more information contact Dinniman’s district office at 610-692-2112 or acirucci@pasenate.com.

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