FORT MILL — Congress’ “fiscal cliff” deal renewed a tax incentive for private landowners – especially working family farmers and ranchers – who protect their land with a voluntary conservation agreement. The incentive, which had expired at the end of 2011, helped the Nation Ford Land Trust work with willing landowners in the community to conserve 4,450 acres of productive agricultural lands, timberlands, and natural areas in York County between 2006 and 2011, officials with the Land Trust reported last week,
Conservation-minded landowners now have until Dec. 31, 2013, to take advantage of a significant tax deduction for donating a voluntary conservation agreement to permanently protect important natural or historic resources on their land. When landowners donate a conservation easement to the Nation Ford Land Trust, they maintain ownership and management of their land and can sell or pass the land on to their heirs, while foregoing future development rights.
The enhanced incentive applies to a landowner’s federal income tax. It:
• Raises the deduction a donor can take for donating a voluntary conservation agreement from 30 percent of their income in any year to 50 percent.
• Allows farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their income; and
• Increases the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from six to 16 years.
“Conservation agreements have become an important tool nationally for protecting our watersheds, farms and forests, increasing the pace of private land conservation by a third – to over a million acres a year,” said Nation Ford Land Trust Director of Conservation and Development, Janet Steele.
The Nation Ford Land Trust joins America’s 1,700 land trusts and their two million supporters in thanking Congress for making this important conservation tool available,”
According to the Land Trust Alliance, the national organization that provides a voice for land trusts in Washington, DC, last year’s bills to make this incentive permanent had 311 House and 28 Senate co-sponsors from 47 states, including majorities of Democrats and Republicans in the House. This legislation is further supported by more than 65 national agricultural, sportsmen’s, and conservation organizations.
To learn more about conservation easements and the enhanced incentive visit: nationfordlandtrust.org or www.lta.org/easementincentive, or contact Nation Ford Land Trust Executive Director Jeff Updike at 547-8140.