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Federal Tax Incentive For Local Land Conservation Renewed
Maryland Environmental Trust Encourages Family Farmers to Take Advantage of Extended Deadline
Crownsville — The Maryland Environmental Trust encourages private landowners, particularly family farmers and ranchers, to take advantage of a renewed federal tax incentive for conservation. The incentive, which had expired at the end of 2007, helped the Maryland Environmental Trust work with landowners to conserve 7,972 acres of farmland and natural areas in 2006 and 2007.
“Renewed tax benefits will help landowners and land trusts protect important forest and farms across Maryland, “said John Hutson, Acting Director of Maryland Environmental Trust. “Many our land conservation easement donors were only financially able to protect their land from development due to the enhanced tax benefits.”
Thanks in part to the leadership of Maryland’s congressional delegation; landowners now have until December 31, 2009 to take advantage of these temporary benefits. Unless renewed, easements donated in 2010 will revert to a much lower level of tax benefits.
“The incentive makes it more economically feasible for thousands of farmers, ranchers and other landowners of modest means to conserve their land and keep it in agricultural production, added Hutson.
Voluntary conservation agreements, also known as conservation easements, can protect working farms and ranches and make it easier for families to leave the land to the next generation.
The incentive, which applies to a landowner’s federal income tax, will:
- Raise the deduction a donor can take for donating a voluntary conservation agreement from 30% of their income in any year to 50%;
- Allow farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100% of their income; and
- Increase the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from 6 to 16 years.
According to the Land Trust Alliance, a national organization that provides a voice for land trusts in Washington, DC, more than 200 Members of Congress have co-sponsored legislation to permanently extend the incentive. The legislation is supported by American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Ducks Unlimited, The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and many conservation organizations.
Since accepting its first conservation easement in 1972, the Maryland Environmental Trust has protected nearly 120,000 acres of natural areas, farmland, riparian corridors, scenic vistas and historic sites on more than 950 properties. MET works to conserve natural areas primarily by accepting donated conservation easements on properties of environmental, scenic, historic, or cultural significance. Visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/met/ for more information.
July 28, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov