Legislation has been announced that backers say is meant to offer incentives for selling operations to farmers or ranchers who are just entering the industry.

Senator Brian Munzlinger (R-WIlliamstown) (left) and Representative Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg)

Senator Brian Munzlinger (R-WIlliamstown) (left) and Representative Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg)

House and Senate bills both include a tax credit for transferring agricultural assets, a tax deduction for selling lands to someone who has been farming 10 or fewer years, and would create a Beginning Farmer Center through the University of Missouri Extension.

Missouri farmer Ryan Messner is credited with the idea, based on an Iowa program. He says he can’t compete with guys paying nine- to 10-thousand dollars an acre for land.

“Why would a landowner that’s been farming … retire and want to sell to a young guy whenever he can sell to a bigger farmer who’s already more established and can give without all the risks that a young man has,” asks Messner.

Senate sponsor Brian Munzlinger says some young farmers are leaving Missouri because of the difficulty in buying operations here.

“We’ve had no real incentive for those willing to sell,” said Munzlinger. “With your capital gains taxes that the federal government has, it seems like we need something to possibly offset those to give an incentive for those landowners to actually sell to a beginning farmer.”

House Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins is carrying the bill in the House. He says access to credit and affordable land are among the challenges to a farmer starting out.

“It is our hope that the Missouri New Farmers Act will help reduce those barriers and bring a successful generation of new farmers into production agriculture,” said Hoskins.

Supporters say the average age of Missouri farmers is 56 and climbing. They hope this bill can help begin to lower that.