A statewide program is offering $13 million in tax credits to help Pennsylvania farmers reap the benefits of installing conservation practices that improve long-term viability, keep valuable soil on the land, and reduce pollution flowing into local rivers and streams.
Tax credits through the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP) program offset 50 to 75 percent of the costs of no-till planting and precision ag equipment, cover crops, forested streamside buffers, barnyard improvements, waste storage facilities, conservation plans, Nutrient Management Plans, and other practices.
“No-till planting, cover crops, and forested buffers also sequester carbon and help the farm be more resilient to extreme weather with greater drought tolerance and water infiltration during downpours,” said Kelly O’Neill, CBF Agricultural Policy Analyst in Pennsylvania.
“Without REAP tax credits, many farms would not be able to adopt these practices due to the rising costs of supplies and equipment, and uncertain prices for their products,” O’Neill added.
According to the State Conservation Commission, REAP has helped improve environmental stewardship and economic viability on over 3,000 farming operations across the commonwealth, since 2007.
CBF started and led a diverse coalition that successfully advocated for the creation of REAP in 2007. It was amended in 2019 as part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill and REAP has received funding increases in the years since.
According to the State Conservation Commission, the REAP program approved applications from 380 eligible agricultural operations from 62 counties in fiscal year 2020. That year, the program also helped to generate more than $36 million in private and public investments in the local economy for the implementation of conservation practices and equipment.