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POLICY WATCH

Claim Your Refundable Income Tax Credit

Don’t forget to the claim your refundable income tax credit on your taxes. The average credit per farm or ranch is *$8,060 in property tax relieve. That’s a 28% reduction in property taxes. *Average is based on statewide agricultural property taxes and number of Nebraska farms/ranches.

To claim the credit, you’ll need to include Form PTC 2022 with your taxes. If you didn’t claim the credit in 2020 or 2021 it’s not too late! You can file those years on the PTCX Form.

Nebraska Farm Bureau worked for you down at the capitol to receive this tax credit to reduce the property taxes. Over the course of the next five years, the tax relief package will save Nebraskans an estimated $1.3 billion in property taxes.

New WOTUS Rule Creates More Confusion

Just before the end of 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made the unfortunate decision to provide a final lump of coal in stockings of farmers and ranchers; a new WOTUS rule. The EPA’s new Waters of the U.S. Rule seeks to replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule put in place during the Trump Administration. While Farm Bureau has repeatedly pushed the EPA to provide a rule that respects the regulatory authority of states, the limited Congressional intent included in the Clean Water Act, and ensuring farmers and ranchers clearly understand what bodies of water are in and which ones are out, EPA made the decision to introduce a rule that more closely mirrored the 2015 WOTUS rule rather than the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

As we feared, the new rule does not provide the needed clarity and certainty that the regulated community has long called for. This rule allows the federal government to expand their jurisdictional reach over private property. It is clear that the agencies have doubled down on their use of the troubling significant nexus test, which will require landowners to hire environmental consultants, attorneys and engineers to ensure that they are in compliance.

When the federal government expands its reach, the amount of permitting that farmers and ranchers are subject to, gets worse. Since this rule relies on case-by-case determinations and ambiguously defined terms, it is incredibly difficult for a farmer to understand if they have a jurisdictional feature on their property. On the other hand, what is clear are the civil and criminal liabilities attached to Clean Water Act compliance.

The new WOTUS rule now goes into effect 60 days after it’s published in the Federal Register. In better news, the EPA will likely have to make significant changes to this new rule based on a Supreme Court decision expected in the early spring of 2023.

Senate Affirms New Chief Ag Negotiator, USDA undersecretary

As Congress finished up the work of the 117th Congress, the confirmation of two Biden administration Trade officials finally made their way to the President’s desk. The U.S. Senate has confirmed the appointment of Doug McKalip to chief agricultural negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Alexis Taylor as undersecretary of trade and foreign agricultural affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Trade is critically important to Nebraska and U.S. agriculture, and we need strong advocates on the world stage who serve as our eyes and ears around the globe. McKalip will handle the current disagreements over exports to Mexico and potential new trade relationships with the European Union and Great Britain. McKalip has nearly 30 years of experience with agricultural policy and is currently a senior advisor to Vilsack. Taylor will be pursuing new and expanded market opportunities for our agricultural products, which was put on hold in the Biden administration. Taylor’s previous experience at the USDA, on Capitol Hill, and leading a state department of agriculture are solid preparation for what will be a big job. Farm Bureau looks forward to working with them to create more opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers to feed families around the world.

Sasse Officially Exits Senate

Nebraska Farm Bureau would like to take this opportunity to thank Senator Ben Sasse for his eight years of service to Nebraska in the U.S. Senate. We have appreciated our working relationship with the Senator and wish him and his family nothing but the best in the next chapter of their lives at the University of Florida. Nebraska Farm Bureau looks forward to working with the next Senator following their selection by Governor Jim Pillen.

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