For more information contact: Mike Molzahn 651-296-1774
I hope you’re making it through this first true cold snap of the season. Here are two items I wanted to share with you:
Dayton thanks farmers for cooperation on buffers
On Monday, Governor Dayton and the Board of Water and Soil Resources held a press conference to give an update on buffer compliance in Minnesota. By November 1, 2017, the law requires farmers to install a 50-foot vegetative buffer on all public waters, or file for a waiver that extends the deadline. By November 1, 2018, farmers must have a 16.5-foot buffer on all public ditches.
There has been great success in the program. Farms in Minnesota are now at least 95 percent compliant with the state’s bipartisan water quality buffer initiative ahead of first deadline for public waters. In the last two years, Governor Dayton worked with legislators to provide flexibility and financial support to help Minnesota landowners improve water quality.
To read the press release or to see more information about how soil and water conservation districts are helping farmers, you can see the information from Governor Dayton here.
Also, for a quick reference here’s a map of buffer compliance to date.
New, Permanent Ag2School Tax Credit Takes Effect
As you may know the State Legislature passed a provision called the Ag2School tax credit making it easier for farmers to handle school levy increases. It is hoped that this investment on the part of the State of MN will help make it more likely that much needed school levy referenda will pass. As we face such a levy in many local districts I thought I would pass on some information. A link to a Northfield News article on the topic can be found here.
Also, I received an email from Dr. Joey Page, the Superintendent of Byron Public Schools, in order to raise awareness about the tax credit and it’s a pretty thorough explanation:
Agriculture is considered the backbone of America. The last legislative session achieved some needed relief for our important agricultural lands and the farmers that cultivate them. This came in the shape of a new, permanent tax credit called Ag2School.
The Ag2School tax credit comes as farmers have historically carried a high percentage of the school bond bill. Farmers in some agriculture-rich school districts like Byron can pay up to 10 times as much as other taxpayers in those same districts, according to the Minnesota Farm Bureau. This permanent Ag2School tax credit for agricultural land took effect on July 1, 2017.
Ag2School establishes a 40 percent agricultural bond credit that enjoyed a broad base of bipartisan support. It is permanent law, existing into perpetuity, as stated in the appropriations portion of MN State Statute 273.1387. Minnesota Rural Education Association Executive Director Fred Nolan states, “this tax credit gives farmers the tax relief that they deserve while providing schools with critical resources that they need for their facilities and it has created a fairer state share in 284 school districts in Minnesota.”
In Byron, farmers will see a reduction of $-377.22 per $500,000 in agriculture land value, which comes out to $228,873. Local farmer Paul Daley said “with a struggling agricultural economy, this newly passed tax credit will certainly provide some much-needed tax relief for local farmers. We take pride in our schools and want to commend the legislature for recognizing and supporting the Ag2School tax credit.”
The Ag2School credit applies to all current and future capital referendums, Minnesota Rep. Paul Anderson says in a report from the Council of State Governments. “If a farmer’s levy for a school building referendum was $25 per acre, for example, the state would provide him or her with a credit of $10 per acre (40 percent).” Area farmers will see the 40 percent bond credit on the Proposed Tax statements in November.
Our farmers will benefit from the Ag2School Bond Credit. It provides a fairer state share of the costs of facilities to educate Minnesota’s rural students.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions, concerns or thoughts you may have.
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