Farm Progress

Bipartisan bill targets farm estate taxes

Preserving Family Farms Act would expand special use valuation.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

July 27, 2023

2 Min Read
Farm fields at sunset
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Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D- Calif., and Mike Kelly, R- Pa., have re-introduced legislation they say will help family-owned farms continue operating after a family member dies. The Preserving Family Farms Act would modify tax law, allowing farmers and ranchers to pay estate taxes based on the value of their land for agricultural use.

“Outdated provisions in our tax laws are punishing family farms and causing them to split up or sell the land upon which they have spent generations working and building up,” Panetta says. “My Preserving Family Farms Act would ease the burden on these operations, by ensuring that farms are appraised by the value of their business, rather than for development.”

In 1976, Congress created a special uses valuation in the tax code to protect producers from excessive estate taxes. However, agricultural land values have increased by more than 200% since then. Supporters of the bill contend that the special use valuation no longer meets its intended goal of protecting producers who are most vulnerable to estate taxes.

“Pennsylvania families shouldn’t be forced to sell off or split up their farm that has often been in their name for generations,” Rep. Kelly says. “To support the next generation of American farmers, we must do everything we can to ensure that family farms aren’t burdened with a sky-high estate tax should a loved one pass away. This bill will go a long way toward helping hardworking folks stay on their land in their time of need and for generations to come.”

The Preserving Family Farms Bill has already been endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and multiple state-level groups.

A similar bill introduced in the last congressional session died in the Ways and Means Committee. Now supporters are hoping for a different outcome.

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Estate TaxesLegislation

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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