The American Family Farm and Ranchland Protection Act

Some possible good news for farmers and ranchers on the estate tax front.  Idaho Senator Mike Crapo along with Senator Mark Udall of Colorado have re-introduced the bipartisan American Family Farm and Ranchland Protection Act.    The Act would help to keep farm and ranch property under family ownership by allowing 50% of the property involved up to $5 million to be placed under a tax-free easement. Present law provides that 40 % of the value of the land can be exempted from the taxable estate. The amount is capped at $500,000.“Outdated tax law is standing between farm and ranch families and their ability to pass their livelihood to future generations,” stated Senator Crapo, a member of the Senate Finance Committee.  “This legislation has bipartisan support and has been endorsed by a number of agricultural and conservation organizations.”  Other co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Michael Bennett (D-Colorado), Al Franken (D-Minnesota), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).  Supporters of the legislation include the American Farm Bureau, Nature Conservancy, U.S. Cattlemen Association, Land Trust Alliance and the Defenders of Wildlife.This bill was previously introduced in 2010, but never made it out of committee.  Let’s hope for better results this time around.