Beginning Farmer graphic

DES MOINES — Iowa’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program will continue to operate but will not be taking new applications until next year due to a lack of action by the Iowa legislature.

The program offers tax credits to encourage landowners to rent to beginning farmers. But legislation passed in 2013 that increased the cap on funding and the credit percentages on contracts sunsetted on Jan. 1, 2018. Since the contracts signed by participants are multi-year arrangements, that means the program is bumping up against the $6 million funding cap.

As some of those multi-year contracts expire this year, more funding will eventually open up, according to Lori Beary, chief community development director for the Iowa Finance Authority, which operates the program. It is likely that about $1.5 to $2 million could open up for 2019, she said.

Iowa House Agriculture Committee Chair Lee Hein, R-Monticello, said that lawmakers tried to correct the problem in 2018 but could not find the money.

“We tried our darndest,” Hein said. “In the end we couldn’t find the couple of million dollars we needed.”

The credit was created in 2009. In 2013 lawmakers expanded the plan and increased the cap to $12 million.

Gene Lucht is public affairs editor for Iowa Farmer Today, Missouri Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.