Water tax exemption could have big impact on livestock farmers

Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 21:06:42-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A new tax exemption being discussed at the state capitol could have livestock farmers saving thousands on their water bills in Tennessee.

The state house passed a water tax exemption on a 7% tax Thursday with a vote of 96-0.

Officials in the agriculture industry said those savings will have a large impact on livestock farmers, particularly for poultry.

"In Tennessee we have about 520 farmers, we call them growers, that raise chickens for the companies. We have about 1560 companies in the state. We estimate about halfway of those are on metered water, utility water," said Dale Barnett, Executive Director for the Tennessee Poultry Association.

Barnett said many poultry farmers pay $4,000 to $6,000 a year on water for a typical chicken house.

"We estimate, for the average farmer, average grower, this represents about a $430 tax savings that this will mean to them per house. The average poultry farm has about 4 houses in Tennessee," said Dunn.

He also recognized it could have a impact on horticulture nurseries and other animal operations, but it's likely poultry will see the largest impact.

"These farms are servicing a lot of debt," said Barnett. "Some of these farms are servicing several million dollars of debt. So, this money doesn't all of the sudden become something expendable income to go do whatever with. There's always something to repair. Always soemthing to fix, always something to improve upon."