HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding revealed on Friday that $10 million in tax credits has become available for Pennsylvania farmers with the intent to improve soil and water quality.
The tax credits become available through Pennsylvania's Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP).
The program allocates tax credits for farmers who utilize best practices with regard to the prevention and reduction of nutrient and sediment runoff, improving the quality of the state’s natural water systems, and strengthening soil levels.
This is the 14th year running that REAP has provided tax benefits for farmers up to $250,000 in a seven-year period.
REAP, in years prior, has awarded the benefits to farms that focus on environmentally conscious practices, such as no-till planting, precision agriculture equipment, waste storage facilities, conservation plans, nutrient management plans, protection of animal heavy-use areas, cover crops, and riparian stream buffers.
The credits can also be used jointly with other resources: Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Chesapeake Bay Program or Conservation Excellence Grants.
Eligibility for the program requires adherence to PA Clean Streams Law and the Pennsylvania Nutrient and Odor Management Law, and it's divvied up on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Since 2007, REAP has awarded benefits to over 5,500 groups, worth over $100 million.
"Farmers are the original stewards of our land and water resources," said Redding.
"REAP tax credits are just one element of our strategy to support their stewardship and grow a viable, sustainable Pennsylvania farm economy to feed our future."