On January 23rd I announced the establishment of a beginning farmer working subcommittee. This subcommittee will review the existing beginning farmer program that is administered by the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority. The current program consists of a nearly 30-year-old beginning farmer loan program, which provides low-cost lending for agricultural land and other agricultural input assets. It also includes a decade-old beginning farmer tax credit program, which provides retiring farmers with tax credits of 5% (for cash rental) or 15% (for crop-share rental) for leasing or renting their agricultural land or assets to a qualified beginning farmer.
The working subcommittee is chaired by Representative Bobby Kaufmann (R); and includes Representative Brian Moore (R), Representatives Dan Muhlbauer (D), Representative Patti Ruff (D); and myself. It is anticipated that this committee will start moving bills through the subcommittee process as early as next week. Some of the ideas that are being discussed include: 5%-of-value agricultural expansion tax credit for the beginning farmer to help offset agricultural asset acquisition costs greater than $5,000; doubling the current $6-million cap statewide for beginning farmer agricultural tax credit claims that would additionally accommodate the beginning farmer expansion tax credits; and providing qualified beginning farmers with preference in regards to DNR leases of state land for agricultural purposes to Iowa farmers. The working subcommittee held a brief introductory meeting at the conclusion of the House Agriculture Committee meeting on Wednesday. If anyone has any other suggestions for beginning farmers please get ahold of me. I have made this a priority on the Agriculture committee and continue to seek out suggestions to move these ideas forward and work for the future of agriculture.
I will begin my Listening posts: Aplington Community Center, Aplington, Iowa 8:00 AM - 02 Feb 2013; Parkersburg Civic Center, Parkersburg, Iowa 9:15 AM - 02 Feb 2013; New Hartford City Library, New Hartford, Iowa 10:15 AM - 02 Feb 2013; Benny Gambaiani Public Library, Shell Rock, Iowa 11:15 AM - 02 Feb 2013.
In addition to my Listening Posts, I have produced this newsletter called The Grassley Bulletin to keep you informed of the issues going on at the Capitol. The Bulletin is distributed to local newspapers and interested constituents. I encourage you to contact me at any time throughout the year with any issues or concerns. Whether I am down in Des Moines or on the farm in New Hartford, remember that I work for you. Without your input, I cannot properly represent your views. I look forward to hearing from you this legislative session, and I am excited to my work for the people of House District 50.