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Rep. Vicki Kraft seeks to help retiring farmers

House Bill 2349 would permit aging farmers to remove their land from current use status, without penalty

Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, has introduced legislation that would help retired farmers, or those looking to retire.

The 17th District lawmaker’s proposal would allow aging farmers to continue to have their land classified as agricultural, without financial penalties, even after they stop actively working it. Kraft says the change will make it easier for them to make the choice to retire.

Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, has introduced legislation that would help retired farmers, or those looking to retire. House Bill 2349 would permit aging farmers to remove their land from current use status, without penalty. Photo courtesy of Washington State House Republican Communications.

Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, has introduced legislation that would help retired farmers, or those looking to retire. House Bill 2349 would permit aging farmers to remove their land from current use status, without penalty. Photo courtesy of Washington State House Republican Communications.

“Our farmers produce the food that fills our plates and feeds millions of people around the world,” said Kraft. “They work hard and deserve a path to retirement. My bill allows them to have some of the same opportunities to retire as many other professions.”

In 1970, Washington state passed the Open Space Taxation Act. This law allows farm and agricultural land to be valued based on its “current use,” rather than highest market value. When a farmer removes his land from this status, it is subject to seven years of additional tax, penalty and interest.

House Bill 2349 would permit aging farmers to remove their land from current use status, without penalty. The proposal would apply to farmers who owned and worked their land for 10 years or more, have reached the age of retirement, or for reason of disability were no longer able to farm. In addition, veterans with a disability rating for a service related injury would also qualify.

“Work is a deep-seated lifestyle for farmers. But, there comes a point in everyone’s life when it’s time to rest from years of labor,” continued Kraft. “We need to help aging farmers get assurances that upon retirement their financial interests are not jeopardized simply because they’re no longer able to work the land.”

The 2018 legislative session began Monday and is scheduled for 60 consecutive days in Olympia.

Information provided by Washington State House Republican Communications, houserepublicans.wa.gov .

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