ARKANSAS, USA — The Arkansas Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be investing in two outreach and education efforts for farmers and ranchers— including those who are new to agriculture or who have been historically underserved by USDA programs.
FSA announced that $10 million will go towards the new Taxpayer Education and Asset Protection Initiative.
A partnership has been established with the University of Arkansas and the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee, which will create hubs for taxpayer education and develop tax education resources.
Assistant Vice President of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Ronald L. Rainey, believes that the partnership will help overcome inequalities in tax services in order to serve agriculture communities.
“Many rural areas lack legal and certified accounting services, and agricultural producers need additional knowledge and/or resources to integrate tax planning into their financial planning,” explained Rainey.
The partnership will focus on addressing the immediate needs of producers through agricultural tax and asset protection training.
They also plan to develop infrastructure that can provide rural taxpayer education, tax preparation, and long-time support for either beginning, limited resources, and historically underserved farmers and ranchers.
Additionally, $4.5 million will go to the Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentives Program (CRP TIP), which will increase access to land for new farmers and ranchers.
Both efforts are aimed to help advance access to USDA programs and agriculture.
According to Doris Washington, Arkansas's FSA Executive Director, it can be tough to run a farm operation— which is why they are working to meet the needs of farmers seeking assistance.
“First, filing taxes for an agricultural operation can be challenging and many agricultural producers may not have the funds to hire accountants or tax professionals to assist, especially for new and historically underserved producers," Washington explained.
The new initiative will offer support to agricultural producers as they navigate tax season, and make them aware of the different program options available to them.
"[...] Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentives Program (CRP TIP) provides a unique opportunity for producers with expiring CRP land to help bring new farmers into the fold,” he added.
USDA will also update and expand online tax resources, such as the new Tax Estimator Tool, an interactive spreadsheet that can be downloaded to estimate tax liability.