This is in response to the recent letter. I read this letter and thought that for someone who is so much for the farmer, the writer surely didn’t show it. It seemed more of a vendetta against a county office that evidently didn’t provide her with specialized treatment that she felt she deserved.
I retired two years ago after 30-plus years working for the USDA Farm Service Agency and working with and for the farmers in our area. I saw where this person “put as much of my property as possible in land use” (though she admits she is not a farmer) “not only for the tax benefit, but because I wanted to promote small farming.” Of course, then it was said “it is increasingly difficult to find farmers who will cut hay unless the owner spends $5,000 a year on lime and fertilizer. This means the farmer gets all of the benefits and the property owners receive no benefit.”
First, if she knew anything about the land, she’d know you do not necessarily have to apply the lime and fertilizer every year to get a decent hay yield. For someone who is receiving rent for the acreage, not providing any nutrients to that property so that farmer could possibly make a decent cutting of hay, and with that landowner receiving a tax break on said land, along with the beauty of mowed fields without having to pay per acre to have it done . . . that certainly doesn’t sound like the farmer is receiving much of a benefit when compared to this landowner.
Farmers spend many hours, provide equipment plus fuel and do deserve to make decent production from rented land. Perhaps if you really want to help that farmer, a consideration could be made to lower the rent or even pay the farmer a stipend for mowing your fields. Maybe then they could apply the fertilizer without such a hardship so a decent yield could be made.
Second: Wanting the commissioner’s office to find a farmer to make hay for you so that you can receive reduced tax benefits is beyond my comprehension. There are things that a government office cannot supply to the public. In my office, we could not provide random names of farmers to landowners, because to do so is a conflict of interest when you work with those producers. I am sure the commissioner’s office is under those same restrictions, so it is indeed a “no can do” situation.
Land use is a wonderful program for the farmers, as they do have so many variables which contribute to their success or failure. I even support the land use program for landowners who actively lease their land to farmers, but it is the responsibility of all landowners and farmers to keep up with the requirements and make the required reports.