Arkansas Water Tax Credits Program Receives a Face Lift

    Ducks in flooded rice fields after harvest. Photo: University of Arkansas

    The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC), which establishes policy for conservation, water rights, and resource planning, oversees a state tax credit of up to $10 million a year available to farmers and landowners to precision level fields for more efficient water utilization, build on-farm water storage (reservoirs), and invest in on-farm improvements to convert groundwater to surface water.

    These tax credits have been available for some time but have been underutilized.  Nearly ninety percent of this $10 million is left on the table each year because many growers are not familiar with the program, and because many that could utilize the credits don’t have the positive net income with a tax liability that these programs could offset.

    But now, due to the work of a collective group of companies and ag advocates, farmers and landowners should find these tax credits more attractive.

    “The change was made during the recent legislative session that allows farmers and landowners to turn the credits into cash by transferring the credits to third parties who do have state tax liabilities,” said Kevin McGilton, vice president of government affairs for Riceland Foods, one of the companies advocating for the policy change.  “The change becomes effective January 1, 2020.”

    Andrew Grobmyer, executive vice president of the Ag Council of Arkansas, another group that helped push the new policy, said, “Allowing the water conservation and development credits to be transferred is a significant and important enhancement in this tough farm economy, and we commend the General Assembly and our Governor for supporting this effort.”

    Growers who are considering participating in the credits via the three practices mentioned above must begin the application process for the credits before any of the on-farm work has begun.

    Go here for more information on this opportunity.

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