A federal tax incentive that is due to expire at the end of the year has been an integral part of the success the Black Swamp Conservancy has had in protecting agricultural land and other natural areas from development, says Kevin Joyce, the conservancy’s executive director.
Organizations representing land trusts are supporting measures in Congress that would make the incentive for land donations permanent.
Joyce says a permanent incentive would help more families save their land and choose conservation over land development.
House Resolution 1831 and a Senate companion measure, S. 812, which apply to a landowner’s federal income tax will:
• Raise the deduction a landowner can take for donating a voluntary conservation easement from 30 percent of their income in a year to 50 percent
• Allow farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their income.
• Increase the number of years a donor can take deductions from six to 16.
When landowners donate conservation easements to a land trust such as the Black Swamp Conservancy, they maintain ownership and management of their land but relinquish rights to develop the land in the future.
“Without this measure, landowners across northwest Ohio would not be stepping forward right now to work with us to conserve their land,” Joyce said
Founded in 1993 as a non-profit land trust, the Black Swamp Conservancy has preserved about 8,090 acres of farmland, woods, wetlands, and other open areas at more than 70 locations in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
Joyce credits the tax incentive for helping landowners and trusts nationwide preserve about 535,000 more acres in 2006 and 2007 than in the two years prior to its enactment.
There are 141 co-sponsors of the House resolution, which has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
Congressman Robert Latta, (R-Bowling Green), is a co-sponsor.
The Sandusky County Farm Service Agency will hold meetings July 22 and 23 for growers interested in the Average Crop Revenue Election program.
ACRE is a provision of the 2008 Farm Bill that provides an alternative to the traditional farm safety net.
The optional revenue-based program is described as an alternative to receiving counter-cyclical payments that are designed to support and stabilize farm income in years when current prices for historically produced commodities are less than target prices.
The meetings will be held July 22 at 6 p.m. and July 23 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Agriculture Service Center, 2000 Countryside Dr., Fremont.
For information call (419) 334-6330.