As part of the package passed Tuesday to avoid the fiscal cliff, the 2008 Farm Bill was extended until September of 2013, with one policy changing permanently.
The extension assures funding for farm research and nutrition programs as well as maintaining stability for many of America's farmers.
National Association of Wheat Growers President Erik Younggren said, "We are pleased that leaders in Washington came to some agreement on fiscal and tax policy, that includes an extension of farm policy through the 2013 wheat growing season."
"It is of the utmost urgency
to our farmer members that the 113th Congress reauthorize a new farm bill
expeditiously, that will last for another five years," he continued
American Soybean Association President Danny Murphy agrees.
"As we have been working with our colleagues on Capitol Hill for more than two years on a comprehensive, five-year bill, we are very disappointed that Congress was not able to come together and pass a new bill in the best interests of farmers," said Murphy. "However, the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill allows important foreign market development, disaster assistance, and farm safety net programs to continue."
Also included in the fiscal package were changes in policy for estate tax and an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.
The estate tax policy provides for a tax rate of 40 percent on estates valued at more than $5 million, or $10 million per couple. The changes made to the estate tax are permanent.
Murphy says the estate tax "is a much more viable framework for the land-based and capital-intensive nature of family farms like ours. This solution allows farmers to pass their operations from generation to generation without the undue burden of an unrealistic estate tax structure."
Also in the fiscal package was the extension of the biodiesel tax incentive of one dollar which will run through 2013. Murphy says this extension is significant for the ASA. "More than half of all
biodiesel produced in the U.S. uses the oil from American-grown soybeans as a
feedstock, which helps to grow our domestic fuel supply and creates soy meal as
a byproduct, providing protein-rich animal feed for livestock, poultry and
Murphy also said, "While the extension is certainly preferable to the alternative of no bill at all, and prevents outdated permanent agricultural law enacted in the 1930s and 1940s from going into effect, it is only a stopgap measure, which does not provide the long-term certainty and stability that farmers need.
extension expires at the end of the fiscal year in September, we will be left
at the same impasse we've had since the House Agriculture Committee passed its
farm bill in July unless our elected leaders can find a way to come back to the
bargaining table with a renewed focus on what's important, not just for soybean
farmers, but for all of agriculture and for the nation as a whole. It's
imperative that our members of Congress in both chambers and in both parties
move past party politics and get the job done this time."