Rep. Ben Carpenter
Alaska House of Representatives, District 8


Sponsor Statement

House Bill 317 is a proactive measure designed to foster a favorable environment for
agricultural growth and sustainability in Alaska. By providing tax incentives for farm structures
and preserving farm use land, we aim to incentivize farming practices, stimulate economic
activity, and strengthen our food production systems.

Alaska is the largest U.S. state, yet it has one of the smallest agricultural industries according to
the USDA. As such, the food supply does not yet meet demand. Alaska relies heavily on
imported food and is thus more vulnerable to interruptions in the food import supply chain.

Currently, only 5% of the food Alaskans consume is produced in Alaska.

House Bill 317 amends current statute giving municipalities the authority to partially or fully
exempt farm structures used exclusively for farming activities from taxation. This exemption
applies to structures engaged in various farming-related functions, such as crop production,
feed storage, and dairy operations.

The Bill also ensures that farm use land and structures dedicated to farming operations are
assessed based on their agricultural value, rather than being subject to taxation as if used for
non-agricultural purposes. This provision safeguards the integrity of agricultural land and
supports its continued use for farming activities.

Alaska statutes currently help with the cost of farming, through limited property tax
assessments and local option tax exemptions. Alaska state law allows farmland to be assessed
at the farmland use rate, which can be lower than the highest and best use tax rate for the
property. This helps encourage farmers to keep their land in production, rather than selling it or
converting it for other uses. HB 317 removes all current statutory requirements that operators
have to be commercial farmers, to receive the tax breaks.

HB 317 further requires municipalities, who do not currently give tax rate exemptions for farm
use structures, to put the question before their voters in the next general election. The
assessment and tax rate changes in HB 317 will lower the barrier of entry for start-up farmers
and small operations. Which encourages growth in both commercial farming and farming to
feed your family and community.


More Information :     Bill          Sponsor Statement         Presentation           AK LEG