The American Farm Bureau Federation and Ohio Farm Bureau, along with another 45 state Farm Bureaus and 280 organizations representing family owned agribusinesses, recently sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to leave important tax policies in place as they draft legislation implementing President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda.
“The amount of support for this message, with 327 national, regional and state trade associations joining together as a coalition on this letter is incredible,” said Brandon Kern, senior director of state and national policy with Ohio Farm Bureau. “The broad participation of so many groups demonstrates just how critical this issue is for farmers and small business owners in Ohio and throughout the country.”
The letter addresses four key tax provisions that make it possible for farmers and ranchers to survive and pass their businesses on to the next generation: estate taxes, stepped-up basis, 199A small business deduction and like-kind exchanges.
“The policies Congress enacts now will determine agricultural producers’ ability to secure affordable land to start or expand their operations,” the letter states. “Regardless of whether a business has already been passed down through multiple generations or is just starting out, the key to their longevity is a continued ability to transition when a family member or business partner dies. For this reason, we firmly believe the current federal estate tax code provisions must be maintained.”
These tools are as crucial as ever as the number of farmers and ranchers 65 and older outnumber those 35 and under by a four-to-one margin. More than 370 million acres are expected to change hands in the next two decades.
“As the economic backbone of nearly every county and rural community across the U.S., the importance of American agriculture and related industries cannot be overlooked,” the letter continues. “Farmers, ranchers and family owned agribusiness operators are responsible for producing the safe, affordable and abundant food, fiber and fuel supplies Americans enjoy every day. As the stewards of nearly 900 million acres of crop and rangeland, farmers and ranchers play an important role in terms of natural resource and land conservation. For agricultural producers, carrying on the legacy of our predecessors and setting the next generation up for success is critically important.”
Ohio Farm Bureau sends own letter
Ohio Farm Bureau President Bill Patterson followed up with a letter from Ohio Farm Bureau to the Ohio congressional delegation Sept. 13, which stated in part, “We remain adamantly opposed to repealing the step-up in basis and to imposing new capital gains taxes on family farms at inheritance. Any reduction of the current estate tax exemption also presents a tremendous threat to agriculture here in Ohio.”