Irrigation improvement bill becomes law | News
Gov. Robert Bentley signed the Irrigation Tax Credit Improvements bill into law Tuesday to encourage more farmers to install irrigation systems and construct reservoirs. Now, farmers can claim the irrigation tax credit over five years from the date a qualifying project is completed.
Alabama has approximately 120,000 acres of irrigated land, whereas Mississippi and Georgia have more than 1.5 million irrigated acres each. Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said he hopes this legislation will make Alabama farmers more competitive and lessen the need for imported corn.
"Right now, we're importing corn from the Midwest," Orr said "Why can't we grow that corn here in Alabama with irrigated fields and higher yields and support our state's row crop farmers? If this bill will help someone make the very big decision to irrigate all or part of their farm to improve the predictability of their yields, then it's a good day's work for the legislature."
Orr said increasing irrigation would benefit the Education Trust Fund through increased income taxes collected from farmers due to higher yields.
House sponsor Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Troy, said increasing irrigated acres is essential for improving Alabama's corn crop.
"I know our farmers are in need of this legislation and of anything else we can do to help them be competitive," Boothe said.
Other provisions clarify the process for multiple farm owners claiming the tax credit and allow more farmers to qualify for the tax credit by using direct withdrawal irrigation methods without a reservoir.
The original irrigation tax credit legislation became law in 2012. It allows farmers to claim a maximum tax credit of $10,000 for the installation of irrigation equipment or construction of reservoirs, ponds or wells.
Source: ALFA Capitol Connection