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Growers To Get Tax Breaks For Water-Saving Efforts - May 10, 2010 May 10/2010


As a result of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners legislative program, farmers will now receive a tax incentive for implementing practices that encourage water conservation efforts. Many of these types of improvements, such as high tunnels or hoop houses, reduce the need for groundwater pumping for freeze protection in ornamental, fruit, and vegetable plant production.

In a bill that is now on Gov. Charlie Crist\'s desk, the tax assessment of certain agricultural improvements or structures, built on agricultural land for water conservation purposes will be reduced. The value associated with these freeze protection measures will be considered a production input, reflected in the agricultural use value of the land.

The reduction of this significant tax burden will make the use of these environmentally beneficial practices more economically feasible for farmers to implement. It also should greatly reduce the need for groundwater pumping to protect crops from annual freezes.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, District 4, took the recommendation of the Hillsborough County Agriculture Economic Development Council and presented it to the BOCC for inclusion in their legislative package. Senators Ronda Storms and JD Alexander and Representative Rich Glorioso were then instrumental in getting this language into law.

This tax incentive for farmers who implement practices that encourage water conservation isn’t something new. It follows the same benefit provided for irrigation systems and animal waste containment structures on poultry and dairy farms. 

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