$10 Million REAP Farm Conservation Tax Credits Gone In Hours
August 4 was the first day the State Conservation Commission accepted applications for the $10 million available under the REAP farm conservation tax credit program, but it only took until lunch time to take in enough applications to exceed that cap.
This year’s program has been so successful, the Department of Agriculture announced it will stop taking applications on August 15.
Last year, it took 10 days to exhaust the funds available, clearly this year’s applications show how the popularity and demand for farm conservation work has increased in just one year.
“The response by Pennsylvania farmers has been overwhelming,” said Department of Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. “Farmers are doing their part to help protect the environment. REAP is helping them do that by cutting costs for implementing conservation practices that will reduce soil and nutrient loss impacting Pennsylvania’s streams and watersheds.”
More than 400 applications requesting more than $14 million in tax credits have been submitted since August 4. Applications are currently being reviewed by the Commission on a first-come, first-served basis.
Farmers can receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50 or 75 percent of the total cost of a conservation project, depending on the best management practice implemented. Farmers may also qualify for a 50 percent tax credit to purchase no-till planting equipment.
The Commission has 60 days to review each application from the date received. The Commission will notify the applicant in writing if the application meets the requirements and is considered eligible. The commission then informs the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue of complete projects and tax credit amounts. The department also has 60 days to issue a letter stating the amount is credited to the applicant’s account.
Part of the PA Fair Share for Clean Water Plan to reduce nutrients from wastewater treatment plants and farms called for an increase in the REAP tax credit from $10 to $35 million to help them meet this federal Clean Water Act mandate imposed by the Department of Environmental Protection, but the General Assembly and Gov. Rendell failed to take action on that proposal.
The General Assembly and Gov. Rendell did act to provide $1.2 billion for water infrastructure improvements, including upgrades to wastewater treatment plants as part of the budget adopted in July.
However, $400 million of this funding hinges on the passage of a bond issue referendum on the ballot for the November election.
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