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American Family Farm and Ranchland Protection Act, S.1901

Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My bill seeks to preserve family farms and the heritage of our rural communities by helping families avoid the pressure to sell, break up or develop their property when it's handed down from one generation to the next. This bipartisan bill would update a 1997 provision in the tax code, enabling families to exclude up to 50 percent of the value of their land, totaling up to $5 million in exclusions, from a taxable estate if they protect its natural and historic value with a permanent conservation easement. A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement that prevents future commercialization, while still permitting historic farming and ranching operations to continue in the family. The tax code currently allows landowners to exclude up to 40 percent, but caps the exclusion at $500,000. With today's increasing land prices and the encroachment of development, the American Family Farm and Ranchland Protection Act would raise the exemption and provide additional relief for families, while also encouraging more robust conservation efforts.

This bipartisan legislation is supported by a wide array of stakeholders, including the Land Trust Alliance, the Nature Conservancy, the American Farmland Trust, the U.S. Cattlemen's Association, and the Environmental Defense Fund.

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