Agriculture Department invests in taxpayer education, program outreach efforts for farmers and ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing in two outreach and education efforts for farmers and ranchers, including those new to farming or who have been historically underserved by USDA programs. USDA’s Agricultural Services Agency Invests $10 Million in Taxpayer Education Focused on Agriculture as well as $4.5 Million in Education Reserve Program Transition Incentive Program Outreach conservation, which helps access to land for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and herders. Both of these efforts help advance equity and access in USDA programs and agriculture, according to a press release from the Bangor-based Farm Service Agency.

“Running a farm operation is tough, and we’re working to help fill the gaps where farmers need help,” said Sherry Hamel, FSA’s Maine executive director. “First, filing taxes for a farm operation can be difficult and many agricultural producers may not have the funds to hire accountants or tax specialists to help them, especially for historically underserved new producers. This new initiative provides support for producers to get through tax season. Second, we want to make sure growers are aware of our many program options, and the Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentive Program (CRP TIP) provides a unique opportunity for growers whose CRP lands are expiring d help bring new farmers into the fold.

Taxpayer education

The FSA’s $10 million investment is funding the new taxpayer education and asset protection initiative. As part of the first phase of this work, the FSA has partnered with the University of Arkansas and the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee. This partnership establishes taxpayer education hubs while developing and delivering tax education resources to farmers, ranchers, agricultural educators and tax professionals through partnerships with stakeholders and institutions serving minorities across the country.

Many growers are unaware that receiving USDA program funds for activities, such as conservation contracts, disaster assistance payments, and pandemic relief, are taxable income, and need assistance to help them plan their short and long term activities associated with their program payments. To address these issues, the FSA is investing in partnerships with the University of Arkansas, the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee and other partners to develop and deliver taxpayer education to producers to help them better understand the important relationship between federal income taxes and USDA agricultural programs. . Next phases of this work will include a suite of online resources for producers, continuing education opportunities for tax attorneys and CPAs, and funding and training opportunities for stakeholder organizations.

“Many rural areas lack certified legal and accounting services, and agricultural producers need additional knowledge and/or resources to integrate tax planning into their financial planning,” said Ronald L. Rainey, assistant vice president of the Agriculture System Division of the University of Arkansas. “This partnership will help the University of Arkansas and the USDA work together to overcome inequities in tax services serving farming communities.”

These tax education partnerships aim to meet the immediate needs of producers by providing farmers with training and information on agricultural taxation and asset protection, as well as developing infrastructure to support rural taxpayer education and tax preparation for beginning and historically underserved farmers and ranchers. the long term.

Tax estimate tool

Additionally, the USDA is updating and expanding online tax resources for producers, including the new Tax Estimator Tool, an interactive spreadsheet producers can download to estimate tax liability. It is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered tax or legal advice. Producers may need to work with a tax professional to determine the correct information to enter into the tax estimator. The tool is available at ruraltax.org.

Registration is also open for a webinar on using the tax calculator to estimate the tax burden. The webinar will take place at 2 p.m. on Monday, August 15. Eastern Standard Time. Previous webinars, fact sheets and other resources are available at farmers.gov/taxes.

Funding available for CRP TIP outreach

The TIP provides financial incentives to CRP participants whose contracts are expiring if they sell or lease the land to a beginning farmer, a seasoned farmer or rancher, or a farmer from a socially disadvantaged group.

The FSA is making available up to $4.5 million in funding and plans to award 15-20 partner and stakeholder organizations to carry out outreach activities and provide technical assistance to promote awareness and understanding of the CRP TIP among farming communities, especially those who are military veterans, new to farming, or historically underserved.

Eligible stakeholders include federally recognized Indian tribal organizations, state governments, local governments, non-profit organizations, and institutions of higher education. Interested stakeholders can submit one- to two-year proposals and should submit their applications through Grants.gov by October 14, 2022.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Montaño added, “This technical assistance funding will be critical in helping our external stakeholders connect contract holders to beginning growers and ensure landowners understand the TIP.”

CRP TIP training for staff

The FSA will also train field staff in the CRP TIP to improve and increase staff and producer awareness and support participation. The training will help staff understand the larger issues that may affect landowners’ considerations for CRP TIP and enable them to further assist growers.

Growers interested in the CRP TIP and other USDA programs should contact their local USDA service center to learn more or to apply for programs.

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