Clements: A package of tax credits that expired at the end of 2017 could help the depressed rural economy. The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling on lawmakers to reinstate the expired tax credits for biodiesel and short line railroads. Pat Wolff, AFBF senior director of congressional relations, says the tax credits are important to rural America.
Wolff: Biodiesel is a big market for soybeans. The fact that it’s expired has put the brakes on the development of new biodiesel plants and has curtailed biodiesel production. The second tax credit, farmers depend on the short lines to get their products to market, and this has slowed down the railroad’s ability to keep up and maintain their tracks.
Clements: Noting the downturn in the farm economy, Wolff says the biodiesel tax credit would help support a $2.5 billion sector of agriculture.
Wolff: Biodiesel production is estimated to add 60 cents to the value of each bushel of soybeans, that’s $35 an acre. So, reinstating the biodiesel tax credit to expand and maintain biodiesel production is especially important.
Clements: Wolff says there’s a bipartisan bill in the Senate to reinstate the credits, with an expectation of a similar bill in the House this summer.
Wolff: There’s always been bipartisan support for this package of expired tax provisions. Unfortunately, things are just stuck here in Washington. We’re hoping that the House will move legislation soon and there’s talk that they might be able to get it finished before Labor Day. That means that it’s important for farmers and ranchers to call their member of Congress now and tell them to get the job done.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.