ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. — Secretary Russell Redding joined farmers and equipment dealers to announce the availability of $13 million in Pennsylvania tax credits for on-farm conservation efforts. At Messick’s Equipment in Elizabethtown, he outlined enhancements to PA’s nationally-recognized Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP) thanks to Governor Tom Wolf’s PA Farm Bill.
“The Pennsylvania Farm Bill recognizes the deep culture of stewardship among Pennsylvania farmers,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “The newly expanded REAP program eases the financial responsibility of this stewardship while supporting viable, profitable farms and healthy waterways.”
REAP is a Pennsylvania tax credit program for agricultural producers who implement best management practices or purchase equipment that reduces the amount of nutrient and sediment runoff and improves the quality of Pennsylvania’s waters. This is the 12th year Pennsylvania farmers have been able to take advantage of REAP tax credits. As a result of the PA Farm Bill, this year funding has increased to $13 million, up from $10 million. In addition, farmers may now receive up to $250,000 in any seven-year period, and spouses filling jointly can utilize REAP Tax Credits.
The most common projects approved are for no-till planting and precision ag equipment, waste storage facilities, conservation plans, Nutrient Management Plans, and protecting animal heavy-use areas, like barnyards. Cover crops and riparian stream buffers are also common REAP-eligible practices. Farmers may receive REAP tax credits of 50 to 75 percent of the project’s eligible out-of-pocket cost and can be used in conjunction with other funding sources such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) or the Chesapeake Bay Program to help install BMPs. REAP applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The basic eligibility requirements are that producers must be in compliance with the PA Clean Streams Law and the Pennsylvania Nutrient and Odor Management Law.
Private investors may act as project sponsors by providing capital in exchange for tax credits. Any individual or business subject to taxation by Pennsylvania through personal income tax, corporate net income tax, the bank shares tax or others is eligible to participate in REAP.
Since the program began in 2007, REAP has awarded tax credits to more than 5,500 projects totaling over $84 million. Improvements from these projects have kept more than five million pounds of nitrogen, 200,000 pounds of phosphorus, and 200,000 tons of sediment out of streams and rivers in Pennsylvania and the waterways they feed. Private investments in REAP have also contributed to the conservation projects, which in total are worth nearly $220 million.
The 2019-20 REAP application packet, as well as other information about REAP, is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website, agriculture.pa.gov.