77-5201. Act, how cited.

Sections 77-5201 to 77-5215 shall be known and may be cited as the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 2; Laws 2006, LB 990, § 8; Laws 2008, LB1027, § 2.
77-5202. Legislative findings.

(1) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:

(a) Current farm economic conditions in the State of Nebraska have resulted in unemployment, outmigration of people, loss of agricultural jobs, and difficulty in attracting and retaining farm operations; and

(b) Major revisions in Nebraska's tax structure are necessary to accomplish economic revitalization of rural Nebraska and to be competitive with other states involved in economic revitalization and development of agriculture.

(2) It is the policy of this state to make revisions in Nebraska's tax structure in order to encourage persons to seek careers in the farming industry, retain existing and established farm operations, promote the creation and retention of new farm jobs in Nebraska, and attract and retain investment capital in rural Nebraska.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 3.
77-5203. Terms, defined.

For purposes of the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act:

(1) Agricultural assets means agricultural land, livestock, farming, or livestock production facilities or buildings and machinery used for farming or livestock production located in Nebraska;

(2) Board means the Beginning Farmer Board created by section 77-5204;

(3) Cash rent agreement means a rental agreement in which the principal consideration given to the owner of agricultural assets is a predetermined amount of money. A flex or variable rent agreement is an alternative form of a cash rent agreement in which a predetermined base rent is adjusted for actual crop yield, crop price, or both according to a predetermined formula;

(4) Farm means any tract of land over ten acres in area used for or devoted to the commercial production of farm products;

(5) Farm product means those plants and animals useful to man and includes, but is not limited to, forages and sod crops, grains and feed crops, dairy and dairy products, poultry and poultry products, livestock, including breeding and grazing livestock, fruits, and vegetables;

(6) Farming or livestock production means the active use, management, and operation of real and personal property for the production of a farm product;

(7) Financial management program means a program for beginning farmers or livestock producers which includes, but is not limited to, assistance in the creation and proper use of record-keeping systems, periodic private consultations with licensed financial management personnel, year-end monthly cash flow analysis, and detailed enterprise analysis;

(8) Owner of agricultural assets means:

(a) An individual or a trustee having an ownership interest in an agricultural asset located within the State of Nebraska who meets any qualifications determined by the board;

(b) A spouse, child, or sibling who acquires an ownership interest in agricultural assets as a joint tenant, heir, or devisee of an individual or trustee who would qualify as an owner of agricultural assets under subdivision (8)(a) of this section; or

(c) A partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or other business entity having an ownership interest in an agricultural asset located within the State of Nebraska which meets any additional qualifications determined by the board;

(9) Qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer means an individual who is a resident individual as defined in section 77-2714.01, who has entered farming or livestock production or is seeking entry into farming or livestock production, who intends to farm or raise crops or livestock on land located within the state borders of Nebraska, and who meets the eligibility guidelines established in section 77-5209 and such other qualifications as determined by the board; and

(10) Share-rent agreement means a rental agreement in which the principal consideration given to the owner of agricultural assets is a predetermined portion of the production of farm products from the rented agricultural assets.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 4; Laws 2000, LB 1223, § 3; Laws 2006, LB 990, § 9; Laws 2008, LB1027, § 3; Laws 2019, LB560, § 2.
Effective Date: September 1, 2019
77-5204. Beginning Farmer Board; created; duties.

For the purpose of developing and directing programs to provide increased and enhanced opportunities for beginning farmers and livestock producers, the Beginning Farmer Board is created. For administrative and budgetary purposes only, the board shall be housed within the Department of Agriculture. The board shall be vested with the following duties and responsibilities:

(1) To approve and certify beginning farmers and livestock producers as eligible for the programs provided by the board, for eligibility to claim tax credits authorized by section 77-5209.01, and for eligibility to claim an exemption of taxable tangible personal property tax as provided by section 77-5209.02;

(2) To approve and certify owners of agricultural assets as eligible for the tax credits authorized by sections 77-5211 to 77-5213;

(3) To advocate joint ventures between beginning farmers or livestock producers and existing private and public credit and banking licensed institutions, as well as to advocate joint ventures with owners of agricultural assets desiring to assist beginning farmers and livestock producers seeking entry into farming or livestock production;

(4) To provide necessary and reasonable assistance and support to beginning farmers and livestock producers for qualification and participation in financial management programs approved by the board;

(5) To advocate appropriate changes in policies and programs of other public and private institutions or agencies which will directly benefit beginning farmers and livestock producers and may include changes regarding financing, taxation, and any other existing policies which prohibit or impede individuals from entering into farming or livestock production;

(6) To provide adequate explanations of facts and aspects of available programs offered or recommended by the board intended for beginning farmers and livestock producers;

(7) To assist and educate beginning farmers and livestock producers by acting as a liaison between beginning farmers or livestock producers and the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority;

(8) To encourage licensed financial institutions and individuals to use alternative amortization schedules for loans and land contracts granted to beginning farmers and livestock producers;

(9) To refer beginning farmers and livestock producers to agencies and organizations which may provide additional pertinent information and assistance;

(10) To provide any other assistance and support the board deems necessary and appropriate in order for entry into farming or livestock production;

(11) To adopt and promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act, including criteria required for tax credit eligibility and financial management program certification and guidelines which constitute a viably sized farm that is necessary to adequately support a beginning farmer or livestock producer. Such guidelines shall vary and take into account the region of the state, number of acres, land quality and type, type of operation, type of crops or livestock raised, and other factors of farming or livestock production; and

(12) To keep minutes of the board's meetings and other books and records which will adequately reflect actions and decisions of the board and to provide an annual report to the Governor, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, and the Clerk of the Legislature by December 1. The report submitted to the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Clerk of the Legislature shall be submitted electronically.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 5; Laws 2000, LB 1223, § 4; Laws 2008, LB1027, § 5; Laws 2012, LB782, § 140.
77-5205. Board; members; vacancies; removal.

The board shall consist of the following members:

(1) The Director of Agriculture or his or her designee;

(2) The Tax Commissioner or his or her designee;

(3) One individual representing lenders of agricultural credit;

(4) One individual of the academic community with extensive knowledge and insight in the analysis of agricultural economic issues; and

(5) Three individuals, one from each congressional district, who are currently engaged in farming or livestock production and are representative of a variety of farming or livestock production interests based on size of farm, type of farm operation, net worth of farm operation, and geographic location.

All members of the board shall be resident individuals as defined in section 77-2714.01. Members of the board listed in subdivisions (3) through (5) of this section shall be appointed by the Governor with the approval of a majority of the Legislature. All appointments shall be for terms of four years.

Vacancies in the appointed membership of the board shall be filled for the unexpired term by appointment by the Governor. Members of the board shall serve the full term and until a successor has been appointed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature. Any member is eligible for reappointment. Any member may be removed from the board by the Governor or by an affirmative vote by any four members of the board for incompetence, neglect of duty, or malfeasance.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 6.
77-5206. Board; officers; expenses.

Once every two years, the members of the board shall elect a chairperson and a vice-chairperson. A member of the board may be reelected to the position of chairperson or vice-chairperson upon the discretion of the board. Members of the board shall be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses as provided in sections 81-1174 to 81-1177.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 7.
77-5207. Board; quorum.

Four of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of official business. The affirmative vote of at least four members shall be necessary for any action to be taken by the board. No vacancy in the membership of the board shall constitute an impairment of a quorum to exercise any and all rights and perform all duties of the board.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 8.
77-5208. Board; meetings; application; approval; deadline.

The board shall meet at least twice during the year. The board shall review pending applications in order to approve and certify beginning farmers and livestock producers as eligible for the programs provided by the board, to approve and certify owners of agricultural assets as eligible for the tax credits authorized by sections 77-5211 to 77-5213, and to approve and certify qualified beginning farmers and livestock producers as eligible for the tax credit authorized by section 77-5209.01 and for qualification to claim an exemption of taxable tangible personal property as provided by section 77-5209.02. No new applications for any such programs, tax credits, or exemptions shall be approved or certified by the board after December 31, 2022. Any action taken by the board regarding approval and certification of program eligibility, granting of tax credits, or termination of rental agreements shall require the affirmative vote of at least four members of the board.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 9; Laws 2006, LB 990, § 10; Laws 2008, LB1027, § 6; Laws 2015, LB538, § 12; Laws 2016, LB1022, § 8.
77-5209. Beginning farmer or livestock producer; qualifications.

(1) The board shall determine who is qualified as a beginning farmer or livestock producer based on the qualifications found in this section. A qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer shall be an individual who: (a) Has a net worth of not more than two hundred thousand dollars, including any holdings by a spouse or dependent, based on fair market value; (b) provides the majority of the day-to-day physical labor and management of his or her farming or livestock production operations; (c) has, by the judgment of the board, adequate farming or livestock production experience or demonstrates knowledge in the type of farming or livestock production for which he or she seeks assistance from the board; (d) demonstrates to the board a profit potential by submitting board-approved projected earnings statements and agrees that farming or livestock production is intended to become his or her principal source of income; (e) demonstrates to the board a need for assistance; (f) participates in a financial management program approved by the board; (g) submits a nutrient management plan and a soil conservation plan to the board on any applicable agricultural assets purchased or rented from an owner of agricultural assets; and (h) has such other qualifications as specified by the board. The qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer net worth thresholds in subdivision (a) of this subsection shall be adjusted annually beginning October 1, 2009, and each October 1 thereafter, by taking the average Producer Price Index for all commodities, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the most recent twelve available periods divided by the Producer Price Index for 2008 and multiplying the result by the qualified beginning farmer's or livestock producer's net worth threshold. If the resulting amount is not a multiple of twenty-five thousand dollars, the amount shall be rounded to the next lowest twenty-five thousand dollars.

(2) A qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer who has participated in a board approved and certified three-year rental agreement with an owner of agricultural assets shall be eligible to file subsequent applications for different assets.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 10; Laws 2000, LB 1223, § 5; Laws 2006, LB 990, § 11; Laws 2008, LB1027, § 7; Laws 2009, LB447, § 1; Laws 2019, LB560, § 3.
Effective Date: September 1, 2019
77-5209.01. Tax credit for financial management program participation.

A qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer in the first, second, or third year of a qualifying three-year rental agreement shall be allowed a one-time refundable credit against the income tax imposed by the Nebraska Revenue Act of 1967 for the cost of participation in the financial management program required for eligibility under section 77-5209. The amount of the credit shall be the actual cost of participation in an approved program incurred during the tax year for which the credit is claimed, up to a maximum of five hundred dollars.

Source:Laws 2006, LB 990, § 12; Laws 2019, LB560, § 4.
Effective Date: September 1, 2019

Cross References

77-5209.02. Personal property tax exemption; authorized; application; form; county assessor; duties; protest; hearing; appeal; continuation of exemption.

(1) Agricultural and horticultural machinery and equipment of a qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer utilized in the beginning farmer's or livestock producer's operation may be exempt from tangible personal property tax to the extent provided in this section.

(2) A qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer seeking an exemption of taxable agricultural and horticultural machinery and equipment from tangible personal property tax under this section shall apply for an exemption to the county assessor on or before December 31 of the year preceding the year for which the exemption is to begin. Application shall be on forms prescribed by the Tax Commissioner. For the initial year of application, an applicant shall provide the original documentation of certification provided by the board pursuant to section 77-5208 with the application. Failure to provide the required documentation shall result in a denial of the exemption for the following year but shall be considered as an application for the year thereafter.

(3) The county assessor shall approve or deny the application for exemption. On or before February 1, the county assessor shall issue notice of approval or denial to the applicant. If the application is approved, the county assessor shall exempt no more than one hundred thousand dollars of taxable value of agricultural or horticultural machinery and equipment for each year in addition to, and applied after, any amount exempted under subsection (1) of section 77-1238. If the application is denied by the county assessor, a written protest of the denial of the application may be filed within thirty days after the mailing of the denial to the county board of equalization.

(4) All provisions of section 77-1502 except dates for filing of a protest, the period for hearing protests, and the date for mailing notice of the county board of equalization's decision are applicable to any protest filed pursuant to this section. The county board of equalization shall decide any protest filed pursuant to this section within thirty days after the filing of the protest. The county clerk shall mail a copy of any decision made by the county board of equalization on a protest filed pursuant to this section to the applicant within seven days after the board's decision. Any decision of the county board of equalization may be appealed to the Tax Equalization and Review Commission, in accordance with section 77-5013, within thirty days after the date of the decision. Any applicant may petition the Tax Equalization and Review Commission in accordance with section 77-5013, on or before December 31 of each year, to determine whether the agricultural and horticultural machinery and equipment will receive the exemption for that year if a failure to give notice as prescribed by this section prevented timely filing of a protest or appeal provided for in this section.

(5) A properly granted exemption for taxable agricultural and horticultural machinery and equipment under this section shall continue for a period of three years if each year a Nebraska personal property tax return and supporting schedules and depreciation worksheet, showing a list and value of all taxable tangible personal property, are provided and filed by the beginning farmer or livestock producer with the county assessor when due. The value of taxable agricultural and horticultural machinery and equipment exempted pursuant to this section in any year shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars. The exemption allowed under this section shall continue irrespective of whether the person claiming the exemption no longer meets the qualification of a beginning farmer or livestock producer pursuant to section 77-5209 during the exemption period unless the beginning farmer or livestock producer discontinues farming or livestock production.

(6) Any person whose agricultural and horticultural machinery and equipment has been exempted from tangible personal property tax pursuant to this section shall be permanently disqualified from any further exemption of agricultural and horticultural machinery and equipment from tangible personal property tax as a qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer except as allowed in subsection (1) of section 77-1238.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1027, § 4; Laws 2015, LB259, § 10.
77-5210. Board; annual report.

The board shall submit an annual report of the activities and actions of the board for the preceding fiscal year to the Governor, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, and the Clerk of the Legislature by December 1. The report submitted to the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and the Clerk of the Legislature shall be submitted electronically. Each member of the Legislature shall receive an electronic copy of such report by request to the chairperson of the board. Each report shall include the following information:

(1) A complete operating and financial statement for the board for the prior fiscal year;

(2) The number of qualified beginning farmers and livestock producers receiving assistance from the board;

(3) The number of owners of agricultural assets claiming tax credits and the monetary amount of credits granted by the board; and

(4) Any other relevant information which the board deems necessary to report.

No information furnished to the board shall be disclosed in the report in such a way as to reveal information from a tax return of any person.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 11; Laws 2000, LB 1223, § 6; Laws 2012, LB782, § 141.
77-5211. Owner of agricultural assets; tax credit; when.

(1) Except as otherwise disallowed under subsection (7) of this section, an owner of agricultural assets shall be allowed a refundable credit against the income tax imposed by the Nebraska Revenue Act of 1967 for agricultural assets rented on a rental agreement basis, including cash rent of agricultural assets or cash equivalent of a share-rent rental, to qualified beginning farmers or livestock producers. Such asset shall be rented at prevailing community rates as determined by the board.

(2) An owner of agricultural assets who has participated in a board approved and certified three-year rental agreement with a beginning farmer or livestock producer shall be eligible to file subsequent applications for different assets.

(3) Except as allowed pursuant to subsection (5) of this section, tax credits for an agricultural asset may be issued for a maximum of three years.

(4) The credit allowed shall be for renting agricultural assets used for farming or livestock production. Such credit shall be granted by the Department of Revenue only after approval and certification by the board and a written three-year rental agreement for such assets is entered into between an owner of agricultural assets and a qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer. An owner of agricultural assets or qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer may terminate such agreement for reasonable cause upon approval by the board. If an agreement is terminated without fault on the part of the owner of agricultural assets as determined by the board, the tax credit shall not be retroactively disallowed. If an agreement is terminated with fault on the part of the owner of agricultural assets as determined by the board, any prior tax credits claimed by such owner shall be disallowed and recaptured and shall be immediately due and payable to the State of Nebraska.

(5) A credit may be granted to an owner of agricultural assets for renting agricultural assets, including cash rent of agricultural assets or cash equivalent of a share-rent agreement, to any qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer for a period of three years. An owner of agricultural assets shall be eligible for further credits for such assets under the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act when the rental agreement is terminated prior to the end of the three-year period through no fault of the owner of agricultural assets. If the board finds that such a termination was not the fault of the owner of the agricultural assets, it may approve the owner for credits arising from a subsequent qualifying rental agreement on the same asset with a different qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer.

(6) Any credit allowable to a partnership, a corporation, a limited liability company, or an estate or trust may be distributed to the partners, members, shareholders, or beneficiaries. Any credit distributed shall be distributed in the same manner as income is distributed.

(7) The credit allowed under this section shall not be allowed to an owner of agricultural assets for a rental agreement with a beginning farmer or livestock producer who is a relative, as defined in section 36-802, of the owner of agricultural assets or of a partner, member, shareholder, or trustee of the owner of agricultural assets unless the rental agreement is included in a written succession plan. Such succession plan shall be in the form of a written contract or other instrument legally binding the parties to a process and timetable for the transfer of agricultural assets from the owner of agricultural assets to the beginning farmer or livestock producer. The succession plan shall provide for the transfer of assets to be completed within a period of no longer than thirty years, except that when the asset to be transferred is land owned by an individual, the period of transfer may be for a period up to the date of death of the owner. The owner of agricultural assets shall be allowed the credit provided for qualified rental agreements under this section if the board certifies the plan as providing a reasonable manner and probability of successful transfer.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 12; Laws 2000, LB 1223, § 7; Laws 2006, LB 990, § 13; Laws 2008, LB1027, § 8; Laws 2009, LB165, § 15; Laws 2019, LB70, § 17; Laws 2019, LB560, § 5.
Effective Date: September 1, 2019

Note: The Revisor of Statutes has pursuant to section 49-769 correlated LB70, section 17, with LB560, section 5, to reflect all amendments.

Cross References

77-5212. Rental agreement; requirements; appeal.

In evaluating a rental agreement between an owner of agricultural assets and a qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer, the board shall not approve and certify credit for an owner of agricultural assets who has, with fault, terminated a prior board approved and certified rental agreement with a qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer or if the agricultural assets have previously been approved in a qualifying rental agreement. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the board may appeal the decision, and the appeal shall be in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 13; Laws 2006, LB 990, § 14; Laws 2019, LB560, § 6.
Effective Date: September 1, 2019

Cross References

77-5213. Tax credit; amount; agreement; review.

(1) The tax credit approved and certified by the board under section 77-5211 for an owner of agricultural assets in the first, second, or third year of a qualifying rental agreement shall be equal to (a) ten percent of the gross rental income stated in a rental agreement that is a cash rent agreement or (b) fifteen percent of the cash equivalent of the gross rental income in a rental agreement that is a share-rent agreement. Tax credits shall only be approved and certified for rental agreements that are approved and certified by the board under the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act.

(2) To qualify for the greater rate of credit allowed under subdivision (1)(b) of this section, a share-rent agreement shall provide for sharing of production expenses or risk of loss, or both, between the agricultural asset owner and the qualified beginning farmer or livestock producer. The board may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations, consistent with the policy objectives of the act, to further define the standards that share-rent agreements shall meet for approval and certification of the tax credit under the act.

(3) The board shall review each existing three-year rental agreement between a beginning farmer or livestock producer and an owner of agricultural assets on a semiannual basis and shall either certify or terminate program eligibility for beginning farmers or livestock producers or tax credits granted to owners of agricultural assets on an annual basis.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 14; Laws 2006, LB 990, § 15.
77-5214. Board; support and assistance.

In order to carry out the provisions of the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act, the Department of Agriculture shall provide any and all of the necessary support and assistance to the board.

Source:Laws 1999, LB 630, § 15; Laws 2012, LB782, § 142.
77-5215. Changes; when operative.

(1) The changes made in sections 77-5201, 77-5203, 77-5208, 77-5209, and 77-5211 to 77-5213 by Laws 2006, LB 990, shall become operative for all credits earned in tax years beginning or deemed to begin on and after January 1, 2007, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. For all credits earned in tax years beginning or deemed to begin prior to January 1, 2007, under the code, the provisions of the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act as they existed prior to such date shall apply.

(2) The changes made in sections 77-5203, 77-5209, and 77-5211 by Laws 2008, LB 1027, shall become operative for all credits earned in tax years beginning or deemed to begin on and after January 1, 2008, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. For all credits earned in tax years beginning or deemed to begin prior to January 1, 2008, under the code, the provisions of the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act as they existed prior to such date shall apply.

Source:Laws 2006, LB 990, § 16; Laws 2008, LB1027, § 9.