F&W Schmitt’s Family Farm

The state law that exempts farmers from paying real property tax on buildings that are essential for the production of agriculture and garden products has been extended for another decade. Last renewed in 2008, the legislation was set to expire January 1.

The tax exemption applies to newly constructed and reconstructed agricultural buildings, including dairy barns, equine exercise arenas and temporary greenhouses, to name a few examples. Agricultural buildings have been exempt from state taxation for decades. The estimated benefit to farmers from this tax relief has been more than $112.8 million.

“New York’s agricultural industry is a major sector of our economy, and it’s critical that we continue to support local farmers and growers,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement. “This tax exemption will help New York’s hard-working agricultural producers invest in their farms and grow their businesses, and as a result increase competitiveness and productivity for years to come.”

The law is aimed at lowering production costs, expanding business operations and encouraging new farm investment. The legislation also prohibits tax increases based on the value of construction or renovation of buildings used for the cultivation, harvesting and storage of crops; the feeding, breeding and management of livestock; and housing for farm employees, other than immediate family members.

John v.H. Halsey, the president of the Peconic Land Trust, said it’s an important economic incentive that recognizes the needs of East End farmers.

“It is one more tool in the toolbox and assists farmers as they invest, and reinvest, in their farming operations,” Mr. Halsey said, “as well as reinforces the understanding that structures including barns and deer fences are necessary for farm operations.”

The land trust touted the state’s ongoing commitment to providing opportunities for farmers through tax incentives, and funding for farmland preservation and educational stewardship programs.

This article first appeared in the Press News Group.

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