WEST CHESTER (March 31) – State Senator Andy Dinniman encouraged farmers who want to implement best management practices (BMPs) or purchase on-farm conservation equipment to apply for the remaining 2015-16 Resource Enhancement and Protection program tax credits.

REAP, a tax credit program for agricultural producers who install BMPs or make equipment purchases that reduce erosion and sedimentation, is administered by the State Conservation Commission. The program gives agriculture producers an incentive to purchase conservation equipment and materials to better protect the environment.

Farmers may receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50 to 75 percent of the project’s cost. The most common projects approved are for no-till planting and precision agricultural equipment, waste storage facilities, Conservation Plans, Nutrient Management Plans, and protecting heavy animal use areas like barnyards.

The deadline to submit applications for remaining REAP tax credits is April 22, 2016.

corn-field-440338_1920“Pennsylvania farmers continue to make great strides in safeguarding our local streams and watersheds,” Dinniman said. “This program can go a long way in helping farmers take advantage of tax credits while making conservation-minded capital improvements and incorporating best management practices in their operations.”

REAP can be used in conjunction with other funding sources such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQUIP) or the Chesapeake Bay Program for purchases.

Private investors may act as a sponsor by providing capital to producers as a project is approved in return for tax credits. Any individual or business subject to taxation through Personal Income Tax, Corporate Net Income Tax, Bank Shares Tax or others is eligible to participate in REAP.

Since the program began in 2007, REAP has awarded tax credits to 3,900 projects totaling more than $50 million. Public and private enterprise investments in REAP have contributed to the conservation projects, worth more than $128 million. From 2010 to 2014, REAP has helped reduce an estimated runoff of nearly 1.4 million pounds of nitrogen, 84,000 pounds of phosphorus and 9,000 tons of sediment.

Applications for the 2015-2016 REAP program are available at www.agriculture.pa.gov by clicking “protect,” then “State Conservation Commission,” then “REAP,” or by contacting Joel Semke at 717-705-4032 or jsemke@pa.gov.

In addition, producers are welcome to participate in a BMP survey being conducted by Penn State Extension to help tell the story of agriculture and the work producers are doing to protect water quality in the state. The survey can be accessed at http://agsci.psu.edu/aec/projects/help-tell-the-story-pa-farmer-survey.

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