Update from Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT):
The spending bill just signed by President Obama contains a huge benefit for Iowa landowners who want to protect their land to grow healthy food for good. It also creates a permanent IRA benefit that can help get SILT off the ground.
Long-term Tax Benefits for Conservation Gifts – gifts of land for conservation – including to SILT – now benefit from increased deduction limits. The normal 30% limit for property gifts is increased to 50% for landowners and 100% for eligible farmers and you can carry that deduction forward for 15 years (up to the value of the donation).
IRA Charitable Rollover – IRA owners may transfer up to $100,000 per year to a qualified charity (like SILT!) These IRA charitable rollovers are tax-free and are not included in adjusted gross income.
Why is this so big? Because a young, small but scrappy land trust like SILT doesn’t have a wad of cash to pull out of our back pockets to pay anyone for their land, no matter how much we love them or their farm. Yet we are facing the farm crisis of our day. This new provision allows landowners who otherwise couldn’t afford it to donate land or an easement receive, over time, a large portion of the value of that land back in tax benefits.
(Thank you Gordon Fischer, estate planning attorney in Iowa City, and Michele Traver at Thrivent Financial Services for this info and to the Land Trust Alliance for its 10-year effort to get these passed and made permanent). Landowners and donors should talk to your tax and legal experts for details.
Now more Iowans can take that big step that will bring young people back to Iowa and rebuild diversity in our countryside and our economy with family-size farms growing fruits, vegetables and small livestock. Contact us today for details.
The waiting list is growing of young farmers who want to work SILT land. They trust SILT to provide them a farm they can live on for the rest of their lives, free of mortgage debt, so long as they raise good food in a nature-friendly way.
Don’t own a farm or acreage? Not quite ready to pull your IRA out of Wall Street? We understand! You can still make a difference by becoming a SILT charter member by Dec. 31, 2015. Your tax-deductible donation of any size will make you one of a select group of people who supported SILT’s vision in its first year. What a legacy!
SILT charter members will be listed alongside the group’s founders in our first annual report expected out in early 2016. We’ll send every charter member a print copy for being a part of the place where conservation, food and farming meet – truly sustainable food farms for Iowa. (If you’ve already sent in your donation, thank you very, very much!)
It is the season to be thankful for those who’ve been so generous with their time as well as their money. So we’re sending a special thanks to SILT’s leaders who have donated so much effort to this new endeavor this year.
We also thank our business and nonprofit partners for their advice and support in our first year – Slow Money, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Equity Trust, Cienega Capital, Green Light Renewable Services, Thrivent Financial, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Goodfellow Printing, Benson and Hepker Design, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Bailey Leadership Initiative, AgArts, Bur Oak Land Trust, Omaha Community Foundation, RSF Social Finance, Schumacher Center for New Economics, Maharishi University School of Management, the Vermont Land Trust, Land Trust Alliance and American Farmland Trust. (Let us know if we missed you! It’s been a massive collective undertaking.)
Finally, we wish you a wonderful, joyful and healthy holiday season. Most of the volunteer corps that runs SILT are taking time off for the first half of January. We’ll see you in 2016!
President – Sustainable Iowa Land Trust