(June 10) – Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bipartisan bill by Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush to help young farmers and ranchers get their start this morning. New farmers and ranchers face numerous obstacles when beginning a career in the industry, including the high cost of land and other equipment needed for the job.

“We are not seeing young farmers and ranchers coming into the industry the way we used to,” said Rep. Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs. “Too many sons and daughters from farming and ranching families are moving away from our communities. This bill will help bring them back, as well as help bring new farmers and ranchers into the industry.”

HB16-1194 creates a $25,000 income tax deduction for current farmers and ranchers who lease an agricultural asset to a beginning farmer or rancher. Under the bill, agricultural assets include land, livestock and livestock facilities, farm equipment, grain storage, and irrigation equipment. Because renting is far cheaper than buying, this new tax deduction will incentivize existing farmers and ranchers to rent their assets to beginning farmers and ranchers instead of selling them outright, while allowing new farmers and ranchers to have much easier access to the right equipment for the job without a huge upfront investment. This will also help to protect and prevent the loss of productive ag land.

Rep. Mitsch Bush was recognized by the Farmers Union as 2016 Legislator of the Year, by the Colorado Livestock Association as 2015 Friend of Ag, and in 2016 by the Farm Bureau for her work on this important bipartisan bill.

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