Harrisburg, PA - With more and more farmers interested in protecting and improving local water quality, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today reminded producers of a tax credit program that can help them develop plans and install measures that reduce nutrient and sediment runoff.
Farmers can use Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program tax credits to help offset the cost of writing conservation plans and nutrient management plans, purchasing conservation equipment, and implementing best management practices (BMPs) for their operations.
“Pennsylvania’s clean streams law dates back to 1972,” Redding said. “Improving the ecology of our farm operations makes sense, and the REAP program can help make those improvements a reality. Healthy farms and healthy waterways are a concern for all of Pennsylvania, not just the Chesapeake Bay watershed, so I encourage all producers, regardless of where you farm, to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Pennsylvania law requires farmers to have up-to-date conservation plans on all acres that they operate. Agricultural erosion and sedimentation plans also satisfy this requirement. In addition, any operation that has animals or spreads manure is required to have either a nutrient management plan or a Department of Environmental Protection manure management plan.
REAP can help offset 75 percent of the cost of having these plans developed. Farmers must have these plans before their operations are eligible for REAP credits that are available for conservation equipment and other water quality BMPs.
Farmers may receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50 to 75 percent of the project’s cost. The most common projects approved are for no-till planting and precision agriculture equipment, waste storage facilities, conservation plans, nutrient management plans, and protecting heavy animal use areas like barnyards. REAP can be used in conjunction with other funding sources such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) or the Chesapeake Bay Program for purchases.
Any individual or business that is subject to taxation through Personal Income Tax, Corporate Net Income Tax, Bank Shares Tax, or others is eligible to participate in REAP. Private investors, including businesses, can act also as sponsors of the REAP conservation projects, providing working capital to producers when a project is approved, then receiving the project’s tax credits at the conclusion of the plan writing, installation, or equipment purchase.
Since the program began in 2007, REAP has awarded more than $50 million in tax credits to 3,900 projects. The total amount invested in those projects by farmers and other investors exceeds $128 million. From 2010 to 2014, REAP helped to prevent nearly 1.4 million pounds of nitrogen, 84,000 pounds of phosphorus, and 9,000 tons of sediment from running off into Pennsylvania’s waterways.
REAP is administered by the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. For program guidelines, an application, and other information, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov and search “REAP,” or contact Joel Semke at 717.705.4032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Will Nichols - 717.787.5085
# # #