A bill introduced in the House of Representatives last week will help more farm families continue operating their farms after the death of a loved one. 

The Preserving Family Farms Act of 2019 is sponsored by Jimmy Panetta of California and Jackie Warlorski of Indiana and has the full support of the American Farm Bureau Federation. 

“Farm and ranch families often face a significant financial burden when they have to pay estate taxes,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. “Farm families should be able to pay based on how their land is used, rather than its potential value as commercial property, such as a shopping center.” 

The legislation will give more families hope they can hold onto their farm when a loved one passes away. 

The bill modernizes the special use valuation provision of the estate tax. This valuation allows the property to be appraised as farmland rather than its development value when determining estate taxes. 

Increasing the amount of farmland or ranchland that can be valued at agriculture value rather than development value would help protect family-owned farm and ranch businesses by assessing estate taxes on the actual value of the businesses they’ve spent decades building. 

“We strongly urge members of the House to co-sponsor this important bill,” Duvall says.