Congressional candidate Christie Vilsack is proposing a tax break for those who sell their farmland to a beginning farmer or a military veteran.
“Even as we gather today, farmers are out there gathering the harvest, but for the long-term health of our rural economy, we need to start harvesting a new crop of farmers,” Vilsack said during a news conference in Ames.
“It’s a sad fact that the rural parts of our state are rapidly losing population.”
Vilsack, a Democrat from Ames, borrows a phrase from her husband’s time as Iowa’s governor in dubbing it her “Fields of Opportunity” plan. It includes a call to shift money within the USDA’s beginning farmer program to set up courses at community colleges to help students develop a business and marketing plan for a farm.
“This ‘fields of opportunity’ program is an example of how the government can help provide job opportunities to those who need them, while revitalizing our rural communities and giving them hope for the future,” she said.
Vilsack’s tax break would amount to $50 per acre, for the first 160 acres someone sells to either a beginning farmer or to a military veteran.
“I’m proud that Iowans from rural areas are serving in larger numbers than young people from urban areas all over this country. It reflects our strong patriotism and our Iowa value of serving others,” Vilsack said. “These veterans deserve our gratitude, but they deserve far more than that. They deserve an opportunity to make the most of their return to civilian life and they’ve earned the help of a grateful nation in making this transition.”
Vilsack’s nephew is currently on active military duty in Afghanistan.
AUDIO of Vilsack’s news conference this morning in Ames. She’s speaking in Boone at one o’clock and plans to hold a third news conference on this topic early tomorrow afternoon in Sioux City. Vilsack is seeking to represent the new fourth congressional district and will likely face Republican Congressman Steve King of Kiron in the 2012 election.