WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) this week introduced the Agriculture Students Encourage, Acknowledge, Reward, Nurture (EARN) Act (S. 2774). The legislation amends the tax code to exclude from gross income the first $5,000 earned by students who are 18 years old or younger on agricultural projects completed under the supervision of 4-H or FFA.
“For agriculture and our rural way of life to thrive, it is essential for a new generation of young people to return to rural America to live, work and raise their families,” Sen. Moran said. “Our policies, including the tax code, should encourage this goal by fostering student interest in pursuing a career in agriculture, and I’m proud to have Senator Ernst join me in introducing the Agriculture Students Earn Act.”
“It is so important that we encourage our students to stay engaged in vocational and agricultural education programs, particularly as the demand for young farmers continues to grow. I’m proud to support the Agriculture Students EARN Act, which would promote our youth’s involvement in programs that serve as an introduction to careers in agriculture,” said Sen. Ernst, a former member of the 4-H. “Alleviating some of the tax burden these hardworking students face on the income they earn from 4-H or FFA projects is a step in the right direction to help bridge the generational gap, and ensure our youth is ready to take the reins when their time comes.”
Agricultural projects completed by students under the supervision of 4-H clubs and FFA chapters may include showing animals at local and state fairs, growing and harvesting crops, building agricultural mechanic projects, and many other possibilities. The projects encourage personal growth and responsibility, while also providing the opportunity for students to generate modest revenues. The money earned by a student is often used to finance future agricultural projects, deposited in savings, or used to fund a college education. S. 2774 would protect students involved in 4-H and FFA and the money they earn from the IRS by lowering or eliminating the tax burden on the students.
According to the latest agricultural census, the average age of the U.S. farmer is over 58 years old and trending upward. By lowering the tax burden on projects, S. 2774 would encourage more students to complete agricultural projects under 4-H and FFA. The hands-on experience that supervised agricultural projects provide aims to inspire a new generation of farmers and ranchers.
Supporters of the legislation include National FFA Organization, National 4-H Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, and National Young Farmers Coalition.