New state law aims to help young farmers gain access to land

Local

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Many young farmers are excited about a new state law, which aims to make it easier to get started in the agriculture industry.

“I joined the 4-H program when I was 8-years-old and I started doing livestock projects,” said Tyler Shaw, who farms in Dauphin County. “When I was about 14, I thought we had enough that we could start growing our own hay.”

The 23-year-old now rents land in Middle Paxton and West Hanover.

Shaw sells mostly hay, plus some straws and grains.

He’s a first generation farmer, but it’s quickly become part of his blood.

“It was an opportunity to better myself and also to better my community,” said Shaw.

So Shaw was thrilled when he heard about the new law that offers tax incentives to landowners to sell and rent their land to new farmers.

It provides a 10% credit for renting and a one-time 5% credit for sales.

“I was really ecstatic when I heard we were putting forth some legislation that could help the younger generations and help encourage people to get into agriculture instead of exit agriculture,” said Shaw.

The Census of Agriculture shows the age of Pennsylvania’s farmers continues to rise, which has sparked the conversation of where the next generation of farmers will come from and how they will thrive.

“To give you a little bit of an advantage … as far as the younger guys who are getting started who probably don’t have the equipment or the capital,” said Shaw.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau says the lack of affordable farmland is the top reason why young people don’t pursue careers in the industry.

The Bureau and Shaw are hopeful this law will change that.

“The next thing I’m looking forward to in my future is to buy a farm and that’s something that this tax credit … it’s the one-time opportunity for someone to pass their farm onto a younger generation.”

The National Young Farmers Coalition has praised the new law.

Agriculture is the state’s biggest industry. It generates billions of dollars each year.

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