American Farm Bureau Federation is asking farmers and ranchers to urge their lawmakers to support House and Senate legislation to eliminate the estate tax.
The current but temporary estate tax exemption of $11 million per person has allowed farmers and ranchers to expand their businesses, upgrade buildings and purchase needed equipment and livestock, rather than spend their money
on life insurance and estate planning. More importantly, when a family member dies, the family can keep a future in farming, without having to sell land, livestock or equipment to pay the tax. The exemption is indexed for inflation while continuing stepped-up basis and portability between spouses.
“In spite of this much-appreciated relief, estate taxes still hang heavy over many family farm businesses. Farm and ranch assets are usually tied to illiquid assets such as land, buildings and equipment. When estate taxes on an agricultural business exceed cash and other liquid assets, surviving family members have few options other than to sell off farm and ranch assets, placing their business at risk,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a letter to Capitol Hill lawmakers.
Duvall also noted that in 2026, the estate tax exemption reverts to $5.5. million per person, which will force many farmers and ranchers to divert resources from their agricultural business for estate tax planning – unless Congress extends the higher estate tax exemption rate.
“The American Farm Bureau believes that tax laws should protect, not harm the family farms that grow America’s food and fiber, and give sons and daughters the ability to follow the agricultural legacy of their parents,” he wrote.
The Farm Bureau-backed Death Tax Repeal Act of 2021 (H.R. 1712, S. 617) was introduced in the House and Senate earlier this month, and Farm Bureau members are encouraged to contact their members of Congress in support of the bills. According to AFBF analysis, not repealing the estate tax threatens more than 74,000 family farms across the country and nearly half of all farmland.