News Briefs

Buckeye Farm News

Call goes out for immediate estate tax reform

American Farm Bureau Federation and several other agricultural groups are calling for permanent and meaningful estate tax relief for America’s farm and ranch families. AFBF and 27 other organizations sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stating that inaction on fixing the looming estate tax challenge would be disastrous for agriculture. “American agriculture is traditionally a family-owned enterprise, and estate taxes can take a severe toll on family members who wish to carry on the farm and ranch traditions,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. If Congress does not act beginning in 2011, the law will call for a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55 percent. The negative impact on farm and ranch families will be significant and will cause many viable agricultural operations to disappear. AFBF supports permanently raising the exemption to no less than $5 million per person and reducing the top rate to no more than 35 percent and that the exemptions be indexed to inflation, provide for spousal transfer and include the stepped-up basis.

GREEN Jobs Act gets AFBF support

The Grow Renewable Energy from Ethanol Naturally (GREEN) Jobs Act of 2010 would give a five-year extension to the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit and the Small Ethanol Producers Tax Credit. These two provisions are set to expire at the end of 2010. The bill would also extend the Cellulosic Ethanol Production Tax Credit for three years and the secondary tariff on ethanol that offsets the benefit received by imported ethanol. New and expanded incentives that encourage a more diverse feedstock base for cellulosic fuels are needed to reduce price competition for crops that can serve as energy sources and as food and feed. AFBF supports the bill.

EPA blog post causes concern

A recent blog post by an Environmental Protection Agency intern on the agency’s official blog “Greenversations” has drawn criticism. In the post, the intern promotes giving up meat because of environmental and animal welfare concerns. “While this is a position taken by an intern of the agency, EPA should control its blog space. What is written on its blog comes across as its official position toward farmers and ranchers that it regulates and shows a terrible disregard for them and the agricultural industry,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

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