Applications for a state program that will provide as much as $10 million in tax credits to farmers who promote sustainable farming practices are now available, according to state Rep. Bryan Cutler.The Resource Enhancement and Protection Porgram (REAP) was created by Act 55 of 2007, providing tax credits for private investment in the implementation of a variety of proven and cost-effective Best Management Practices (BMPs). Those BMPs may include improvements to barnyards, pastures and riparian corridors, development and implementation of nutrient management plans and remediation of legacy sediments.
BMPS are designed to promote environmentally friendly farming by abating stormwater runoff, minimizing loss of sediment and nutrients, and reducing runoff of other pollutants from raising livestock.
REAP allows farmers to receive between 25 and 75 percent of project costs resulting from the implementation of approved BMPs.
To be eligible for up to $150,000 in tax credits through the REAP program, farmers must meet certain criteria such as having a conservation plan, an agricultural erosion and sedimentation control plan and, in some cases, a nutrient management plan. Farmers may also qualify for a 50 percent credit to purchase no-till planting equipment.
REAP applciations for 2008-09 will be accepted beginning Aug. 4 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. by the State Conservation Commission. Materials postmarked July 30 or earlier will be returned to the sender.
Applications may be delivered in person by U.S. Postal Service, or by a private carrier to the commission office at the following address: Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, State Conservation Commission, Room 407, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, Pa. 17110.
Funding in the amount of $10 million will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, making timely applications important.
More information on eligibility requirements for REAP and an application is available by logging onto Cutler's Web site at www.RepCutler.com.