Revenue Policy Recommendations
Revenue Policy Recommendations
Present-Use Value Program
North Carolina’s Present-Use Value program is a robust tax incentive program available to landowners who use their land for agricultural, horticultural, or forestry production. If the landowner meets certain statutory requirements, then their property can be appraised at its present-use value rather than its market value, the standard, when calculating property taxes. Present-use value can be significantly lower than the property's market value. The requirements include, among other criteria, a “sound management plan.” If the land falls out of agricultural, horticultural, or forestry use, the landowner must pay “rollback” taxes.
The N.C. Department of Revenue should revise its sound management plan criteria to include a second tier: an exceptional management plan. Landowners would qualify for the exceptional management plan by implementing specific conservation and long-term improvement activities on their land that amount to a higher standard of management practices. Qualifying practices under the exceptional management plan should include regenerative agriculture practices, including regenerative grazing. Upon verification that they qualify, the landowner would receive additional reductions in the present-use value of their property—an extra tax benefit.
Counties administering PUV programs should use the revenue collected from “rollback” taxes to create funds that support farmers already enrolled in PUV through sound management plans to transition to exceptional management plans. By creating this fund, the Department of Revenue will incentivize farmers and ranchers to transition to practices that improve soil health and water quality, such as regenerative grazing systems
Helping farmers thrive through decreased taxes and increased funding will help improve the health of county lands, communities, and economies—while also creating a healthy policy environment for regenerative grazing practices to thrive.
Divert Beef Checkoff funds for projects that directly benefit regenerative grazing
Established in the 1985 Farm Bill, the Beef Checkoff “assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products.”(1). Of these funds, half goes to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board to administer the national checkoff program and the other half is retained by states (in North Carolina it is the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Beef Council, NCCBC) . The Checkoff program is administered by USDA and use of funds is limited to producer-driven efforts in promotion, research, consumer information, and industry information . While the marketing campaigns are overall successful, they do not cater specifically to niche beef producers and the challenges they face. Additionally, the Checkoff funds are used for research in areas that are not in line with regenerative grazing practices and standards such as genome sequencing, addressing quality issues, pest management, disease, use of additives and other areas. Beef Checkoff dollars do little to directly support regenerative grazing.
The North Carolina Beef Council should allocate and divert a representative amount of Beef Checkoff funds for projects that directly benefit regenerative grazing such as (but not limited to): fund the transition to regenerative grazing, subsidize niche meat slaughterhouses, aid in marketing regeneratively grazed beef and help graziers take their product to market.
(1)Hanes, Greg. “The Reality of the Beef Checkoff”. Beef Board, October 2019. Available online <http://www.beefboard.org/2019/10/10/reality-of-the-beef-checkoff/
Pilot a climate surcharge at one Duke restaurant to promote regenerative grazing
By adopting a climate surcharge with the help of a consortium of local partners, Duke University could become a leader in carbon-friendly dining in the US, raising the bar for other educational institutions in NC and beyond.
The Regenerative Grazing Bass Connections team should alloacate a focus group of students and faculty to focus on pulling together a consortium of local partners and drafting a pilot climate surcharge program in collaboration with Duke Dining.
Duke University should support a pilot climate surcharge program in West Union in partnership with a consortium of local partners and Duke Dining.