The Conservation Easement Tax Incentive enabled Barry Chase to place an easement on Chaseholm Farm.
Over 300 U.S. Representatives, including Representative Chris Gibson, have co-sponsored the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. H.R. 1964 which makes permanent a recently-expired tax incentive that helps organizations like CLC work with modest income landowners to conserve important natural or historic resources in our community. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is a co-sponsor of the corresponding Senate bill the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act, S. 339.
The Columbia Land Conservancy is thrilled that Representative Gibson has joined with so many of his colleagues to make this important conservation tool permanent. We have seen firsthand the dramatic impact the incentive has had in helping landowners permanently conserve farms, ranches, forests, and wildlife habitat in Columbia County and across the nation. The incentive was a big driver of the 5,000 acres that CLC conserved during the past 5 years. We look forward to working with Representative Gibson to get the bill passed.
CLC Executive Director Peter Paden
Landowners can retire the development rights on their land by donating a conservation easement to CLC – keeping farm, ranch, and forest lands in productive use, protecting important fish and wildlife habitat, and conserving our scenic and rural heritage. Since the incentive expired at the end of 2011, landowners with modest incomes now receive little tax benefit from restricting what may be their family’s most valuable asset. By allowing donors to deduct a larger portion of their income over a longer period of time, H.R. 1964 will help thousands of family farmers, ranchers, and forest owners afford to conserve their land.
Barry Chase of Ancram is one of the many landowners who took advantage of the temporary incentive and placed a conservation easement on 100 acres of farmland, 99% of the protected property is prime soil or soil of statewide importance, as determined by the USDA and NRCS.
I care deeply about continuing to farm my land, which has been in my family for generations. I always wanted to pass it on to my children and theirs, but simply could not have afforded to without the tax benefits provided by this measure. I hope other landowners will continue to benefit from this law for a good long time.
In the past few years, CLC has noticed that the temporary tax code has been an effective conservation incentive. “In 2011, we worked with six landowners to protect 900 acres of important farmland and wildlife habitat. The enhanced easement incentive was a big motivation for many of these families who donated a conservation easement on their land.” says Tony Colyer-Pendas, CLC’s Director of Conservation Programs.
“We are thrilled that majorities of Republicans and Democrats can agree on supporting the work of local land trusts like the Columbia Land Conservancy that are so important to their communities,” said Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance, which represents 1,700 land trusts nationwide. “We look forward to working with Representative Gibson to restore this important conservation tool.”
Co-sponsors include the Chairman, Ranking Democrat and 32 of 37 members of House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax measures. A broad coalition of sportsmen, outdoor enthusiasts, farmers, ranchers and national conservation groups are working together to make this incentive permanent in the 112th Congress.