Bill in Hawaii Could Provide Tax Breaks to Farmers to Offset the Cost of Getting Certified as Organic by the USDA

Associated Press writer Cathy Bussewitz reported earlier this week that, “On a farm tucked under a lush Hawaii mountainside, Sean Anderson tends passion fruit, kale and salad greens — using only what nature provides.

“He creates his own compost and fertilizers and doesn’t use chemicals. But he’s not certified as an organic farmer because the cost is too high.”

The AP article pointed out that, “That could change after Hawaii became the first state to pass legislation providing tax breaks to farmers to offset the cost of getting certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Gov. David Ige has not yet decided whether he will sign it into law, a spokeswoman said.”

Ms. Bussewitz added that, “A federal program offers organic farmers help covering up to 75 percent of certification costs, for maximum of $750. A bill in the Minnesota Legislature would provide grants of up to $750 to farmers in financial need for organic certification costs. It will be part of negotiations as lawmakers weigh how to spend a budget surplus.

In Hawaii, the legislation would give farmers up to $50,000 in tax credits for qualifying expenses, which include application fees, inspection costs and equipment or supplies needed to produce organic products. The state would be able to give $2 million in tax breaks per year.

“The cost of getting certified varies widely, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, according to the USDA. Anderson estimates it would cost him $1,000 to $1,500 per year to get and maintain certification for his 3-acre farm, he said.”

This entry was posted in Agriculture Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.