On a cold night on late January, a small gathering of lawmakers and young farmers packed the event room at Bad Weather Brewing in St. Paul, Minn., to celebrate Minnesota’s Beginning Farmer Tax Credit law.
The Central Minnesota Young Farmers Coalition hosted the event, which drew around 100 people. A number of state and federal officials attended and offered words of congratulations. They included Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly; Minnesota Department of Agriculture Deputy Commissioner Matt Wohlman; Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish; state Sen. Mike Goggin; state Reps. David Bly, Rod Hamilton, Nels Pierson and Jeanne Poppe; Congressman Tom Emmer; and gubernatorial candidate Erin Murphy.
Rachel Brann, a CMYFC member and cut-flower farmer from Milaca, Minn.,, welcomed everyone to the event, and acknowledged the longtime term bipartisan effort it took to pass the legislation. State Sen. Goggin and state Sen. Pierson helped sponsor the bill this last legislative session, and CMYFC provided the momentum for it to finally get passed.
“I carried the bill before and asked Nels to do it [last session],” Bly said. “I’m impressed with the young farmers group, which carried it forward. I hope you continue to find the energy to continue to go forward and do great things … Maybe we will see a renaissance of the family farm.”
Wolhman also commended CMYFC and added that new farmers and farms are needed in Minnesota.
“We have twice the number of farmers over the age of 57 that we have under the age of 35,” he said. “We need more families in agriculture.”
The Beginning Farmer Tax Credit, which went into effect Jan. 1, is the first state law in the U.S. to provide a tax benefit for individuals who sell or rent their farmland or farm assets to a beginning farmer. While similar to tax credits in Iowa or Nebraska, Minnesota is the first state to provide incentives for the sale of farmland.
Founded in 2016, the Central Minnesota Young Farmers Coalition is a membership organization of farmers from Benton, Grant, Sterns, Meeker, Milaca, McLeod, Wright, Carver and Rice counties. This local chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition meets regularly to socialize, network and advocate for young and beginning farmers.
For more information on the beginning farmer tax credit, visit the MDA beginning farmer tax credit webpage.
For more information on the coalition, visit its Facebook page.