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POLICY WATCH

Agriculture Friendly Sales Tax Bill Advances (LB 595)

A Nebraska Farm Bureau supported bill to remove the collection of tax on inputs in the production of ethanol, including enzymes, yeast, and related products, has advanced to final reading. LB 595 was introduced by Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston and prioritized by the Legislature’s Revenue Committee. The bill also contains language from LB 672, introduced by Sen. Dave Murman of Glenvil, that added a necessary exemption for agricultural machinery and equipment “used directly” in agriculture production, including seed tender trailers and header trailers. Senators also adopted an amendment offered by Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn to ensure that gross income from agricultural GPS locating services and over-the-air radio/TV broadcasting antennas would be exempt as well. Senators voted 37-0 to advance LB595 to final reading.

LB 572 – Brand Bill Status Update

LB 572 was advanced to final reading this week. The bill would make a series of changes to the Nebraska Brand Law including making electronic inspection available as a means to meet brand inspection requirements, temporarily lowers the physical inspection fee, and revises statutory maximums for various brand recording and permit fees. It also provides an alternative means for dairies to comply with brand law requirements for calves under 30 days of age leaving the brand inspection area and allows for brand investigators to write waivable citations for infractions to Nebraska’s Brand Law. Nebraska Farm Bureau supports the bill.

LB 388 – Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act is on Final Reading

LB 388 is a bill that takes a significant step forward in getting broadband to unserved and underserved areas, benefitting not only farmers and ranchers, but also the communities that depend on them. LB 388, which would adopt the Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act, was advanced to final reading this week by the legislative body. Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson introduced the bill at the request Governor Pete Ricketts. Nebraska Farm Bureau supports the bill.

Congress Seeks Update on Trade from Biden Administration

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is expected to speak to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee this week. Farmers and ranchers are eager to learn more on the Biden administration’s review on trade with China.

Another “Study” Attacks Agriculture

This week, researchers published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claiming that farming-related pollution leads to nearly 18,000 deaths a year in the United States. The report is the latest in a long line of attacks on agriculture. The report specifically points to livestock agriculture as a primary sources of air quality issues. American Farm Bureau provided the following statement, “We look forward to reviewing the claims behind the conclusions of this report. On first review, it seems filled with data gaps and giant leaps to stretch the definition of cause and effect. Let’s not forget that U.S. farmers and ranchers are responsible for 330-million American lives, providing the food that sustains all of us, in addition to addressing food insecurity around the world. U.S. agriculture is continually doing more using fewer natural resources and we’re proud of that progress.”

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