The financial burden on farmers for implementing Minnesota’s Buffer Strip Law may be eased by a proposal in the Legislature.

Under the new bill in the House and Senate, farmers would receive a 50-dollar per acre credit for eligible farmland that was converted to buffers.

House Representative Clark Johnson (D-North Mankato) sits on the Ag Finance and Policy committees and says the tax credit would total 27.3-million dollars by 2021.

Rep. Clark Johnson

“As I watched this whole buffer issue emerge, one of the problems that’s left undone is how do you deal with the taxes. Because a lot of the buffers are still taxed at an Ag production rate, that’s just fundamentally wrong. We also know that the CRP funding has dried up in a lot of the state, if not the entire state.”

Funding is proposed to come from the Clean Water Fund, but lawmakers are working to have the money come from the General Fund due to constitutional issues and the 2034 sunset clause on the Legacy amendment.

“It’s a complex issue as to the constitutional issues, but they’re real. Regardless is begs for a lawsuit. We want these payments to be secure, we want it done. There’s enough people that want it done, hopefully we can come together and get it done.”

Governor Mark Dayton has indicated he is in favor of the tax credit.