Bill Would Help Beginner Farmers Through Larger Tax Credit

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- As a new crop of farmers emerge, state senator Mark Christensen of Imperial wants to make sure agriculture remains strong. He says his bill (LB 922) would ensure the next farmers and ranchers have the support they need.

Christensen says the price of farm equipment and land has increased in the last few years.

Under the current bill, the Beginner Farmer Tax Credit Act would help a farmer under a 3-year lease to get started in farming and ranching who has a net worth of $200,000 dollars.

This proposed bill would more than double that net worth to $500,000 dollars.

Sen. Christensen says times have changed and the state needs to support the next generation because that state may face a crisis because the average of a Nebraska farmer is over the age of 60. And this proposed bill would make farming and ranching more alluring to a new farmer.

"If half our farmers are over age we have a crisis coming, I believe we do," said Christensen.

One person at the hearing pointed out a few problems with the bill. Age is not a factor according to the current bill so a new farmer could apply for it and this new incentive would compete with farmers and operations with smaller net worth.

If this bill goes through, the start date would be on October 1, 2015.