We're having trouble understanding why the state of Iowa offers tax incentives so that retiring farmers will lease their land to beginners, rather than to their established brethren who have the cash on hand to bid up rental rates.
The state offers $6 million in a tax credit program to retiring farmers. It is an incentive for them to forego the higher bids, in favor of the young guys. A bill now pending before the Legislature would double the credit, giving half the money to the young farmers themselves, if they improve the land by adding livestock or buying new machinery.
Can we just ask: If retiring farmers find it personally important to give a break to a young guy, can't they just do that themselves? Do the people in Des Moines or Sioux City have to help subsidize the cause? And if retiring farmers opt to instead lease to the highest bidder, isn't that just the normal way of things, perfectly acceptable in every other market situation?
Young farmers may find the market tough at the moment, given high land prices. But young people interested in farming shouldn't have any special privileges to enter this line of work.