Renewable Energy Devices on Farm Land
Lawmaker Stands Up For Farmers Struggling With The Economic Downturn
May 7, 2009
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By: MyBayCity Staff
State Representative Jeff Mayes (D-Bay City) this week introduced a plan that will allow renewable energy devices to be placed on farm land without losing the benefit of existing tax breaks, enabling farmers to take advantage of cleaner and more efficient forms of energy.
"By allowing farmers the opportunity to produce clean, renewable energy, they can dramatically cut their energy costs," said Mayes, the Chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee. "My plan will make common-sense reforms to the tax code and let farmers reap the benefits of renewable energy without losing their tax relief."
Under Mayes' plan, any renewable energy device would be allowed on farm land that is receiving a tax break under Michigan's Farmland Preservation Program as long as farming continues on that land. The Michigan Department of Agriculture last year clarified the law to include wind turbines, but other renewable devices such as photovoltaics remain banned. Mayes' plan will allow for any renewable device, other than an incinerator, to be placed on farm land.
The Michigan Farmland Preservation Program allows farm owners to enter into a "Development Rights Agreement" with the state, which ensures that the land is used for agricultural purposes for at least 10 years, in exchange for potential tax benefits. For more information about whether or not an individual qualifies for the program, please contact the Farmland Preservation Office at (517) 373-3328, or by mail at P.O Box 30449, Lansing, MI, 48909.
"Farmers are already struggling in this recession, and they deserve the same opportunities that other residents and businesses already enjoy," said Mayes, who formerly chaired the House Agriculture Committee. "It's a simple matter of fairness. These reforms will help Michigan's farmers cut their costs and use cleaner, cheaper sources of energy."
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