2008-12-25 / Sports

PA Farmers Continue To Invest In Conservation Practices

Improving water quality

Pennsylvania farmers are again investing millions of dollars this year in hundreds of projects to reduce the amount of erosion and sedimentation entering the state's waterways, said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff on Friday as he announced the second round of tax credits through the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, or REAP.

This year, 231 on-farm conservation practices have been completed and more than $1.6 million in REAP tax credits have been awarded through the program. The projects represent a total investment of more than $23 million by farmers.

"REAP has proven successful because farmers are actively making changes and improvements in their conservation practices to protect our soils and water supply," said Wolff. "In these tough economic times, programs like REAP help farmers maintain viable businesses while making critical investments to improve the quality of our environment."

The State Conservation Commission approved farmers' REAP applications on a first-come, firstserved basis for the $10 million in tax credits available for the 2008- 09 fiscal year. The applications included 945 individual conservation best management practices on Pennsylvania farms, and included the purchase of no-till planting equipment.

These practices are added to the 648 best management practices implemented with the 2007 tax credits.

The remaining $8.4 million in tax credits have been committed to projects, however, farmers cannot take advantage of them until the projects are completed.

REAP was developed in 2007. It allows farmers and businesses to earn tax credits in exchange for implementing best management practices to enhance farm production and protect natural resources.

The program is administered by the State Conservation Commission and the tax credits are awarded by the Department of Revenue.

Farmers can receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50 or 75 percent of the total cost of a conservation project, depending on the best management practice implemented. Farmers may also qualify for a 50 percent tax credit to purchase no-till planting equipment.

Fore more information about the program, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us/REA P, or contact program administrator Mary Bender at 717- 787-8821 or mabender@ state.pa.us.

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