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December 31, 2009

WHAT WILL BE THE BIG ISSUES FOR AGRICULTURE IN 2010?

For more information on Newsline, contact: Cyndie Sirekis, Director, News Services, American Farm Bureau Federation, cyndies@fb.org.

 
A LOT OF THE BIG ISSUES FOR AGRICULTURE IN 2010 WILL PROBABLY SOUND PRETTY FAMILIAR TO THE NATION’S FARMERS AND RANCHERS. 

AFBF’S JOHNNA MILLER REPORTS. 


MILLER: WE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO SEE INTO THE FUTURE BUT AMERICAN FARM BUREAU PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR MARK MASLYN SAYS IT’S NOT TOO HARD TO PREDICT WHAT SOME OF THE BIG ISSUES WILL BE FOR AGRICULTURE IN THE NEW YEAR.  HIGH ON THE LIST FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS WILL BE HOW CONGRESS HANDLES ESTATE TAXES.  
MASLYN (AFBF Public Policy Director): THE EXEMPTION LEVELS AT THE END OF 2009 WERE $3.5 MILLION PER PERSON IN 2010 THAT HAS GONE AWAY.  THE ESTATE TAX HAS EXPIRED.  HOWEVER LEADERSHIP IN CONGRESS AND THE ADMINISTRATION ARE OPPOSED TO KEEPING IT DEAD AND IT WILL COME BACK TO LIFE IN 2011, BUT IT WILL DO SO IN A WAY THAT ENCOMPASSES FAR MORE PEOPLE THAN IT PREVIOUSLY AFFECTED.  A $1 MILLION PER PERSON EXEMPTION. AND THAT’S JUST GOING TO COVER A LOT MORE PEOPLE PARTICULARLY IN AGRICULTURE.
MILLER: MASLYN SAYS THE PUSH WILL BE ON TO GET CONGRESS TO CHANGE THAT.  HE SAYS HE ALSO EXPECTS MORE PROGRESS ON TRADE ISSUES.
MASLYN: THE ADMINISTRATION, WHEN THEY CAME INTO OFFICE ABOUT A YEAR AGO, HAD OTHER PRIORITIES TO CONTEND WITH.  HOWEVER WE SAW IN RECENT MONTHS AN INCREASED ACTIVITY IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE FRONT, PARTICULARLY AS THE ADMINISTRATION GOT ITS TEAM IN PLACE AND WE DO EXPECT THE STALLED BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH COLOMBIA, PANAMA AND KOREA WILL SEE SOME CONGRESSIONAL ACTION THIS YEAR.  THESE ARE STRONGLY TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE UNITED STATES TO ENACT AND WE CERTAINLY HOPE THAT CONGRESS MOVES QUICKLY ON THOSE. 
MILLER: MASLYN SAYS CONGRESS WILL LIKELY PASS NEW FOOD SAFETY LAWS SOON INTO THE NEW YEAR, BUT HE SAID FARM BUREAU MEMBERS WILL BE TALKING TO LAWMAKERS TO SLOW DOWN ON CREATING NEW CLIMATE CHANGE RULES AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS.
MASLYN: WE EXPECT THAT THE CONGRESS WILL CONTINUE TO TRY TO MOVE LEGISLATION EXPANDING THE SCOPE OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND THAT’S SOMETHING THAT WE’VE BEEN OPPOSED TO AS WELL FOR GOOD REASON. IT WILL GREATLY EXPAND THE SCOPE AND THE REACH OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND TAKE DECISIONS THAT ARE NORMALLY MADE BY STATES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND TRANSFER THEM TO EPA AND WE JUST DON’T THINK THAT’S NECESSARY NOR A GOOD POLICY. 
MILLER: MASLYN SAYS FARMERS AND RANCHERS SHOULD EXPECT MORE ACTIVITY BY ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS.
MASLYN: MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT.  THERE’S NO QUESTION THAT THEY WANT TO MOVE LEGISLATURES AND MOVE THE PUBLIC AWAY FROM A DIET THAT CONTAINS MEAT PROTEINS. IF THEY ARE SUCCESSFUL THEY WILL SIMPLY FORCE THE PRODUCTION OF LIVESTOCK OFFSHORE AND WE WILL BE IMPORTING OUR BEEF AND CHICKEN FROM OTHER COUNTRIES.  THAT’S NOT WHAT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC WANTS AND NOR IS IT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF ANIMALS BECAUSE OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE NOWHERE NEAR THE ANIMAL HUSBANDRY REGULATIONS THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS.  THIS IS NOT IN THE INTEREST OF THE AMERICAN CONSUMER NOR IS IT IN THE INTEREST OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY. 
MILLER: JOHNNA MILLER, WASHINGTON.
MILLER: WE HAVE TWO EXTRA ACTUALITIES WITH AFBF DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC POLICY MARK MASLYN.  IN THE FIRST EXTRA ACTUALITY HE EXPLAINS ONE REASON TAX ISSUES WILL LIKELY BE BIG IN 2010. THE CUT RUNS 19 SECONDS, IN 3-2-1.
MASLYN: THERE WILL BE A NUMBER OF TAX ISSUES THAT ARE GOING TO BE FRONT AND CENTER IN 2010.  THE CAPITAL GAINS TAX IS SCHEDULED TO INCREASE. IT IS SLATED TO DO SO BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE LEGISLATION WAS PASSED WAY BACK IN 2001 UNDER THE SO-CALLED BUSH TAX CUTS.  THE ADMINISTRATION AND THE LEADERS IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE FAVOR AN INCREASE AND IT’S SOMETHING THAT WE’RE VERY MUCH AGAINST. 
MILLER: IN THE SECOND EXTRA ACTUALITY MASLYN SAYS CONGRESS WILL LIKELY ADDRESS WEATHER AND PRICE DISASTERS THAT HAVE HIT MANY IN AGRICULTURE. THE CUT RUNS 28 SECONDS, IN 3-2-1.
MASLYN: I THINK THAT CONGRESS WILL STEP FORWARD AND TRY TO DEAL WITH AD HOC DISASTER LEGISLATION.  THERE HAS BEEN A GREAT DEAL OF WEATHER-RELATED DISTURBANCE AROUND THE COUNTRY AND IT’S NOT ISOLATED TO ONE STATE OR ONE REGION. SO WE HOPE THEY WILL MOVE QUICKLY TO DEAL WITH THAT.  THERE’S NO QUESTION THAT THE LIVESTOCK SECTOR, PARTICULARLY HOGS AND DAIRY, HAS BEEN IMPACTED. THEIRS HAS BEEN A PRICE IMPACT RATHER THAN A WEATHER-RELATED IMPACT AND WE’RE HOPEFUL THAT THE ECONOMIC CYCLE WILL BE TURNING MORE FAVORABLY FOR BOTH THE HOGS AND DAIRY. 
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