NEFB Newspaper

President’s Column – June 2022

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s got your back!

It has been a complicated 2022 growing season for farmers and ranchers. We started out with drought conditions across the state, wildfires, low cattle prices, and soaring input costs. Now hail damage from recent storms are causing some to decide whether to replant.

But know this, as you deal with these uncertainties, Nebraska Farm Bureau has got your back. In January, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Board of Directors approved a series of advocacy goals for the year, providing guidance for where the organization should invest time and resources in support of members. I will tell you without Farm Bureau’s voice in the legislative process, without the collective efforts of our county leaders, members and staff, our achievements would look much different.

In the area of broadband, Nebraska Farm Bureau helped secure dollars and resources to support expanding broadband in underserved areas in Nebraska. Livestock expansion also continues to be a priority. Nebraska Farm Bureau helped pass legislation to aid farmers in livestock expansion and livestock mortality management. Whether building a new barn or installing state-of-the-art technology, farmers and ranchers investing in their livestock operation may qualify for a refundable income tax credit of up to $500,000.

As president, the one thing I have heard repeatedly is that we need to expand childcare in rural areas. Nebraska Farm Bureau helped to focus distribution of the American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act dollars to help grow rural areas of the state.

Nebraska Farm Bureau continues to strongly oppose the Biden administration’s efforts to eliminate Stepped-Up Basis, the capital gains tax provision which sets the starting basis (value) of land, buildings, and other capital assets at what it is worth when it is inherited rather than on the potentially much larger increase in value since it was purchased. After significant pushback from agriculture and the business community, the provision was ultimately pulled from the Build Back Better (BBB) proposal now stalled in Congress.

I am proud to say that if it weren’t for Farm Bureau securing passage of a major piece of legislation to reduce property taxes across that state, Nebraska farmers and ranchers wouldn’t see an average property tax reduction of $6,947 in 2022. We also supported inheritance tax reductions and income tax relief. On average, Farm Bureau estimates that agriculture will save $2.6 million in income taxes the first year and up to $19 million in the final year of implementation.

It is also important that agriculture has a seat at the table when we talk environment and climate initiatives to ensure they work for farm and ranch families. While we understand that the climate conversation is an important one, we want to protect private property rights and ensure farmers and ranchers have the freedom to operate.

Nebraska Farm Bureau continues to push for growth in domestic and international markets, for Nebraska agricultural products. Farm Bureau works to expand trade and create awareness about the importance of trade to Nebraska agriculture in support of those efforts.

When the EPA announced the ban on Enlist and Enlist Duo in 32 Nebraska’s counties due to the American Burying Beetle, Farm Bureau worked to stop far-reaching regulations that could needlessly require additional permits and requirements and to keep important crop protection tools in the hands of farmers and ranchers. We are also working to bring commonsense back to the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) issue.

Finally, after a very tight and hardfought race where close to $20 million was spent in the primary election, the NEFB-PAC endorsed Jim Pillen and that endorsement helped him win the Republican nomination for governor. Of the 22 NEFB-PAC-endorsed candidates, all but one advanced to the general election. Our NEFB-PAC made a difference in electing agriculture friendly candidates.

We’ve done a lot, with a lot more to do. One thing you can always count on is that while you are doing the work of farming and ranching, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s got your back!

Mark McHargue

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