D.C., August 4, 2006 -- Ranchers who donate land for conservation can receive an increased
deduction and be ensured those lands will remain in ag production according to
provisions contained in a pensions package on its way to the President's desk
for signature. The adjusted deduction for conservation easement donations within
H.R. 4 provides tax incentives for protection of open space and for farm and
The Senate approved H.R. 4, The Pension Protection Act of 2006, on August 3 by
a vote of 93-5. The package passed the House July 28. Members of the National
Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) have worked with Representatives Bill Thomas
(R-Calif.) and Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) to include this language to better
protect the agricultural character of lands donated for conservation.
"This bill will provide a major increase in the deductions landowners can
take for donating a conservation easement in 2006 and 2007," says Jeff Eisenberg,
NCBA's director of federal lands. "It's important that we focus efforts
on keeping ag lands intact and in production, rather than offer ranchers incentives
to give up their land for other uses."
The Qualified Conservation Contribution Provision includes these items of interest
* Raising the maximum deduction a donor can take for donation of a conservation
easement from 30 percent of their adjusted gross income in any year to 50 percent
(provided that the contribution does not prevent use of the donated land for
farming or ranching);
* Allowing qualified farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their
adjusted gross income; and
* Increasing the number of years over which a donor can use conservation tax
deductions from 6 years to 16 years.
This provision will be effective for donations made through December 31, 2007.
After that, the law will revert back to previous provisions, unless Congress
extends the provision prior to the deadline.
James L. Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality,
agrees that this language will help landowners while keeping agricultural lands
productive. "This new conservation easement law is another important
step in realizing the President's vision for cooperative conservation," says
Connaughton. "It helps fulfill the President's commitment to landowners,
sportsmen, and conservationists to provide substantial new incentives to those
who want to commit their land to open space while keeping our nation's farms
and ranches working."
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The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) is the largest organization
representing America's cattle industry. Initiated in 1898, NCBA is the industry
leader in education, influencing public policy to improve producer profitability
and in preserving the industry's heritage and future. Efforts are made possible
through membership contributions. To join, contact NCBA at 1-866-BEEF-USA or