Beginning Farmer Tax Credit benefits new and retiring farmers

Ask any beginning farmer or rancher about the greatest challenge to starting an operation, and the most common answer is access to land and operational assets.

A program bringing together asset owners and new farmers aims to lessen those barriers.

Through Nebraska’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act, administered under the NextGen program title, asset owners can earn state income tax credit each year, for three years, when they rent land or agriculture assets to approved beginning farmers.

The amount of the tax credit depends on the terms of the lease, either a 10 percent credit of the cash rent each year for three years or a 15 percent credit of the value of the sharecrop rent or cow/calf share rent each year for three years. A three-year minimum lease is required.

In addition, a qualified beginning farmer is eligible for a separate personal property tax exemption, up to $100,000, for personal property used in production agriculture.

By proactively bringing together retiring and beginning farmers to counter the trend of farm consolidation and the aging of Nebraska’s farmer population, the NextGen program has attracted more than 450 new farmers and ranchers into the industry over the last two decades.

The economics of the program have also paid dividends as nearly $13 million was paid in rent by the 268 beginning farmer and rancher participants in 2018, 11 percent of which was returned to the property owners as tax credits.

Applications for the program and credit are due Nov. 1, 2019. For more information or to apply, visit nextgen.nebraska.gov.