Research foundation bill proposed
The American Farm Bureau Federation supports the introduction of a bill to establish a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to support and complement USDA research. The goal of this bill, introduced by Sens. Pat Robert, R-Kan., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is to leverage private capital to spur new agricultural research ventures. Donations are being sought to support research activities focusing on plant health, production and products; animal health, production and products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and environment; agricultural and food security; and agricultural systems and technology. The bill authorizes the establishment of a 501c3, a nonprofit organization, and includes provisions outlining the duties and structure of the foundation.
Federal estate tax reform bills introduced
Senate Bill (S. 2242), the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2012, was introduced by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and is similar to House Bill (H.R. 1259) introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas. America Farm Bureau Federation backs these bills because the legislation would help protect farm and ranch families from potentially crippling blows of federal estate tax following a farm owner’s death. In 2010, the Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act set the estate tax exemption at $5 million per person, with a top tax rate of 35 percent for 2011 and 2012. It also allows the unused portion of a spouse’s exemption to be used by a surviving spouse, and it permanently reinstates stepped-up basis in regard to tax treatment. This new legislation is necessary because without congressional action, in 2013, the estate tax exemption will shrink to $1 million per person with no spousal transfer and the top rate will increase to 55 percent.