Baucus, Grassley tax bill aims to promote land conservation

"Our nation is losing precious agricultural and ranch lands at a record pace, resulting in a loss of natural habitats for wildlife and open spaces for our communities," Baucus said.  "We need to protect our land for future generations and to support the ranchers, farmers and other landowners who rely on it to make a living. These tax incentives provide the right tools to help landowners move toward conservation."

Baucus and Grassley first introduced legislation to create an enhanced conservation easement tax deduction in 2006 as part of the Pension Protection Act. The tax deduction, which is set to expire at the end of the year, was extended in 2008 and 2010. 

In 2009, they introduced legislation to make the enhanced deduction permanent.

"Economists say if you want more of a certain behavior, give incentives to encourage the behavior," Grassley said. "Land conservation is something people want. Conserving land is another example of good stewardship."