Young Farmers, Ranchers Ask Governor to Reconsider Tax Plan

2/5/2013 8:27:33 AM

Feb. 4, 2013, 3:15 p.m. (CST)

CONTACT: Steve Nelson, president 402-499-9485

Young Farmers, Ranchers Ask Governor to Reconsider Tax Plan

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska’s younger generation of farmers and ranchers are asking Gov. Dave Heineman to reconsider his tax reform proposal that would increase sales taxes on working farm and ranch families. More than 140 young farmers and ranchers signed a letter to Gov. Heineman relaying concerns about the proposal during Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference held Jan. 25-26 in Norfolk, Neb. 

“Agriculture is a capital intensive business. Land, buildings, machinery and equipment used in farming and ranching are extremely expensive making it challenging for young people to enter into the business already. Placing new taxes on agriculture inputs and machinery will make it even more difficult for young people working to establish or grow their farms or ranches,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

The Governor’s tax proposal would significantly increase the amount of taxes paid on agriculture machinery and inputs purchased for use on family farm and ranch operations. In the letter to the Governor, it was noted that one of the ways younger generations get started in farming is through the purchase of farm machinery and equipment which would be directly impacted by removing the sales tax exemptions.

“Many young people in agriculture rely on machinery and equipment purchases to get started in farming or ranching as they don’t own the land they farm, but rather farm or ranch through rental agreements. Often times they bear all the costs of providing machinery, equipment and inputs under the arrangements. From a young farmer and rancher perspective, the costs of the tax reform plan outweigh the benefits associated with eliminating the state’s income tax,” said Nelson.  

In the letter, young farmers and ranchers also expressed concerns about the impact the proposal could have on rural communities noting that dollars taken out of their hands through increased taxes are dollars that will no longer flow through small towns and rural businesses. According to Nelson, young people in agriculture make a conscious decision to raise their families in rural communities and many of the businesses in these communities rely heavily on the local agriculture economy.

“We have spent years working to find ways to keep young people on our farms and ranches. Moving tax policy in this direction will only make this more difficult and ultimately harm rural main streets and expedite the migration from rural Nebraska which is already a concern for younger farmers and ranchers who want to continue to raise their families in rural communities,” Nelson said.   

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