Dancer proposes realty-transfer tax exemption for beginning farmers

Dancer proposes realty-transfer tax exemption for beginning farmers

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – If sold to aspiring new farmers, nearly 234,000 acres on more than 2,600 preserved farms would be exempt from the state’s reality-transfer tax under legislation recently introduced by Assemblyman Ron Dancer.

“Most young and beginning farmers do not inherit their land, and, instead, purchase farmland to start their businesses and grow over time,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “This helps remove a cost impediment and will be an incentive for farmers to put more land under cultivation while also supporting our farmland preservation program.”

New Jersey cropland is the most expensive in the nation at $13,600 per acre. While farms preserved under the Farmland Preservation program can cost less, access to land is one of the biggest roadblocks for new and beginning farmers.

Under the bill (A5051), the realty-transfer fee would not apply to preserved farmland if acquired by a qualified beginning farmer with written certification issued by the Department of Agriculture.

It is similar to a provision contained in the Pennsylvania farm bill signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf last year.

”We have to grow a new generation of farmers,” continued Dancer. “We have preserved the land, now it is time to preserve the farmer.”

For every five farmers in the Garden State who are age 65 or older, there is only one farmer under the age of 35, according to a 2017 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The average New Jersey farmer is now about 59 years old.