Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Farmers and Ranchers Need Comprehensive Tax Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 5, 2017 – America’s farmers and ranchers need a flexible tax code that gives them freedom to both grow and adapt quickly to changes beyond their control, the American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress today. Pat Wolff, senior director of congressional relations for AFBF, addressed agriculture’s need for sweeping tax reform in a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee. “Running a farm or ranch business is challenging under the best of circumstances,” Wolff said. “Farmers and ranchers need a tax code that recognizes the unique financial challenges that impact them.” Wolff urged Congress to create and retain tax policies that support high-risk, capital-intensive businesses like farms and ranches. Farm Bureau supports many of the provisions in the House’s proposed blueprint for tax reform, including reduced income tax rates, reduced capital gains taxes, immediate business expensing, and estate tax repeal. But, Wolff explained, the plan can be improved by reinstating benefits like the deduction for business interest expense and guaranteeing the continuation of stepped-up basis, cash accounting and like-kind exchanges. “Farming and ranching is a cyclical business where a period of prosperity can be followed by one or more years of low prices, poor yields or even weather disaster,” Wolff said. Farmers, she added, depend on flexibility and benefits in the tax code that allow them to recover capital investments and put their money back to work on their farms quickly. Tax reform is critical to the sustainability of American agriculture and farmers’ ability to feed, fuel and clothe the nation. “Farming and ranching is both a way of life and a way of making a living for the millions of individuals and families that own 99 percent of our nation’s more than 2 million farms and ranches,” Wolff said. A comprehensive tax reform package must not overlook the financial tools farmers and ranchers depend on for keeping their businesses viable from one season to the next.

Monday, April 3, 2017

AFBF and NGFA Urge Senate to Confirm Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary This Week

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2017 – The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Grain and Feed Association today joined in calling on the U.S. Senate to confirm Sonny Perdue as the 31st agriculture secretary this week before beginning a two-week spring recess on April 7. The Senate Agriculture Committee, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote on March 30, approved recommending confirmation of the former two-term Georgia governor to the full Senate. “U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses – and the consumers we serve – need the strong, capable leadership at USDA that Gov. Perdue will provide,” the AFBF and NGFA said. “He is a dedicated, accomplished, innovative, problem-solving and proven public servant, and we need him at the USDA to begin addressing a backlog of policy issues that are awaiting his attention and to begin the process of filling key positions within the department. It also is vital to have Gov. Perdue engaged fully within the administration and with Congress on international trade, farm bill and regulatory issues affecting U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.” Perdue has the bipartisan support of six past agriculture secretaries, the AFBF and NGFA noted, as well as the support of nearly 700 agriculture groups from across the nation.