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Promising News on the Easement Incentive in the Farm Bill

Advocates Alert: April 25, 2008


Your efforts to persuade the House of Representatives to include the conservation tax incentive in the Farm Bill are working! We still need your help to seal the deal as House-Senate negotiations continue under a new one-week extension.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) was quoted yesterday as saying that a two-year extension of the conservation easement incentive was among the items the conferees on tax items have “agreed to.”  We have similar reports from both House and Senate staff.

But "agreed to" has some wrinkles:

  • While both House and Senate conferees say they are "close" to a deal on tax issues, close doesn't count.  Some tax issues are still undecided, and a final decision on any of these might require the conferees to re-jigger their current deal.  The Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader are supposed to sort some of these issues out.  No word yet on how that is going.
  • Even if there is agreement on the tax issues, it only works if there is agreement among the House, the Senate and the President on the overall Farm Bill, including specific cuts to farm subsidies, as well as a host of more detailed issues.  No Farm Bill = no tax provisions.
  • The lack of a new Farm Bill would also mean no solutions to land trust and landowner problems with the Farmland Protection Program, no new funding for the Grassland Reserve Program and big cuts to other conservation programs.

Please keep talking to your Representatives and their staff about the importance of the conservation tax incentives in the bill, thank them for their help and ask them to do whatever they can to see that a new Farm Bill is passed that includes the tax incentive and new conservation funding.

We will learn more about the fate of the easement incentive and funding levels for farm bill conservation programs early next week. Stay tuned for more news and materials to help spread the word.

Thanks for helping.


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Advocates Alerts

July 10: House Vote on Conservation Tax Incentive Coming Soon

The House of Representatives will vote on the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, perhaps as early as next week. Whether you use this incentive or not, this is an unprecedented opportunity for the entire House of Representatives to vote specifically on whether or not to help land trusts. Every vote will count, and we urge you to call your congressional office and ask your representative to support H.R. 2807 when it comes to the floor – and to get as many others as possible in your land trust and its local partners to do the same.
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