Pennsylvania farmers get $13M in tax credits for water, soil improvements

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Pennsylvania farmers may receive up to $13 million in tax credits for improving soil and water quality, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced Friday.

The credits will be funded through the state’s conservation financing program, Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP). They can be combined with other state funding, including the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, the Chesapeake Bay Program, or Conservation Excellence Grants.

“Farmers have led the way, investing heavily in cleaner water and productive soil to sustain us in the future,” Redding said. “REAP tax credits are just one of many ways Pennsylvania invests in our farmers’ efforts to grow a sustainable farm economy to feed our future.”

The Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the tax credits from agricultural producers who implement best practices or purchase equipment that would reduce nutrient or sediment runoff, which would enhance the soil and improve water quality.

Redding’s office said this was the fourth year the program had received increased funding and expanded the eligibility for the program under the PA Farm Bill.

Farmers may get up to $250,000 in any seven-year period. Spouses filing jointly can use REAP tax credits as well. The tax credits cover between 50 and 75 percent of a project’s eligible out-of-pocket costs, but farmers whose operation is in a watershed with an EPA-mandated Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) are eligible for REAP tax credits for up to 90 percent of out-of-pocket costs.

Funded projects can include no-till planting and precision ag equipment, waste storage facilities, conservation plans, and nutrient management plans. Measures that limit runoff from high animal-traffic areas like barnyards are also common REAP-eligible practices.