Clements: From tax reform, to the Waters of the U.S. Rule, officials in Washington, D.C., gave farmers and ranchers plenty to cheer about last year. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall this month told Farm Bureau members at the organization’s Annual Convention that tax reform topped the list.
Duvall: It’s thanks to your engagement that Congress passed tax reform last year, giving farmers a new 20 percent deduction on their business income, doubling the estate tax exemption and preserving tax credits farmers depend on. And, lowering our individual tax rate.
Clements: Duvall says the Waters of the U.S. rule was one of the biggest challenges farmers faced in recent years. The rule would have allowed the federal government to dictate how farmers use their land.
Duvall: Thanks to your engagement and thanks to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the old rule is being reconsidered. And we are urging the agency to propose a new rule that draws clear lines that protects water without regulating our farmland.
Clements: Other wins include an executive order to reduce federal regulations and improved access to federal grazing lands. Duvall says more grassroots advocacy by farmers and ranchers will continue those successes this year on issues like immigration reform.
Duvall: We need Congress to pass a bill so that we can keep from losing ag production to other countries where they have better access to labor. We can have an impact if we engage. Grassroots leaders like you are transforming national policies to make agriculture stronger every day.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Nashville.