Take Action

Help Save the Enhanced Easement Incentive!


Learn More
Policy Principles
You are here: Home / Policy Action / Advocates Newsletter / Farm Bill Includes Easement Incentive, Billions for Conservation

Farm Bill Includes Easement Incentive, Billions for Conservation

Advocates Alert: May 8, 2008

Good news – we have confirmed that a 2-year extension of the expanded conservation easement tax incentive is included in a just-agreed to final version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2419).

This isn’t a victory yet.  There’s still a ways to go, and we will be asking your help.

The final “conference report” will be voted on, and will pass the House and the Senate next week.  Then it goes to the President for his signature.  The President may well veto the bill (for reasons having nothing to do with the tax incentive).  If he does, it only becomes law if two-thirds of both the House and Senate vote to override him.  That’s never easy, and will require a lot of work, but it can be done.

The final bill ALSO includes:

  • A 50% increase in funding for the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program ($1.5 billion dollars over 10 years);
  • $300 million for the Grassland Reserve Program (which had run out of money);
  • Good reforms to these two programs that make them much more user-friendly for landowners, land trusts, and state and local farmland protection programs.

The details on these programs are important – but we don’t have them yet, and won’t until some time next week.

Again, we are NOT declaring victory.  We can do that only after the President has signed this bill into law, or the Congress has overridden a veto.

We are still committed to making the conservation easement tax incentive permanent.  But we are very grateful for the chance to get another two years to demonstrate just how powerful a conservation tool this tax incentive is.  Many other incentives that were in the Senate’s Farm Bill – including tax credits for landowners who protect endangered species habitats, and better treatment of food donations – have been scaled back or eliminated.  Other tax incentives enacted in 2006, including allowing charitable donations from IRAs, have expired, have not been reinstated, and may lose most or all of 2008.

You should know there will be a great deal of criticism of the final Farm Bill.  While we are close to major victories on the tax incentive, Farmland Protection and Grassland Reserve, other conservation programs (including the Wetland Reserve Program and the Conservation Reserve Program) were cut, and may be hampered by new rules.  We have worked hard with Congress over the past week to fix some problems such as means testing for participation in conservation programs, but inevitably, some bad language will remain. On balance, private land conservation did very well in this bill and if it becomes law it will give us some very powerful tools to conserve important lands.

We will be asking for your help in seeing that Congress passes this bill by a wide margin, and, if necessary, votes to overturn the President’s veto.

Read more ADVOCATES Alerts

Document Actions
Bookmark and Share
Advocates Alerts

February 12: The House successfully voted 279-137, demonstrating a supermajority (67%) of support, on H.R. 644, a package of charitable incentives including the conservation tax incentive.Now we need your help in the Senate to secure co-sponsors! Sens. Heller and Stabenow have requested land trusts’ assistance in asking senators to cosponsor S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Learn more »

View Past Alerts Sign-up Now
Congress wrestles with tax breaks for open space

July 29, 2014 | Poughkeepsie Journal | NY

House passes Gerlach conservation tax break bill, now up to Senate

July 18, 2014 | The Mercury News | Pottstown, PA

The Time is Now for Congress to Act on Conservation

July 15, 2014 | Politico | Washington, D.C.

eNews Sign-up » More News »

1660 L St. NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036 info@lta.org ©Copyright 2015 Land Trust Alliance

Privacy Policy | Photo Credits | Site Map | Contact Us