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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tim Miller (R)

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ST. PAUL – In an effort to encourage more Minnesotans to turn to farming as their career, State Representative Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) is authoring the Beginning Farmer Homestead Act.


The proposal would allow landowners to maintain a homestead property classification on land that is rented to new farmers.


"One of the biggest challenges new farmers face, unless they have a family member with available property, is a lack of land to utilize," Miller said. "Our current laws make matters worse by penalizing those who want to rent to beginning farmers, so it's time to find a solution that's workable for everyone involved."


Miller said the initiative was brought forward by a landowner who wanted to rent to a young beginning farmer and saw his property taxes jump from $30 to $60 an acre after he lost the homestead classification.


"Here we had a landowner who wanted to rent out his land as cheaply as he could to the up-and-coming farmer, but ended up paying the price thanks to state regulations," Miller said. "This is not a way to encourage people to turn to farming or to give new farmers a chance."


Under Miller's bill, a "beginning farmer" would be defined as someone who has not actively farmed ag property as a sole proprietor or with others for more than ten years of the person's lifetime.


Miller's bill will soon be heard in the Minnesota House Agriculture Policy Committee.