Early last week soybean rust was located in two fields in North Carolina. NC State Extension Soybean specialists Dr. Jim Dunphy and others used the Johnston County field as a teaching tool for identification purposes:
“We had ten days for it to develop in this field in Johnson County where it was identified. We want to show people what it looks like and see it under a microscope. They will learn how to confirm that it is rust.”
Farm Bill Will Have to Wait Until Elections are Over
The U.S. House went home for the elections without action on a new five-year farm bill or an extension of existing farm policy that expires at the end of the month. House Speaker John Boehner told reporters the farm bill will be dealt with after the election not getting more specific than that. But House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas said this week that he hasn’t received any promises his five-year bill will come up in the lame-duck session. According to Boehner – as it currently stands – some believe there isn’t enough reform in the farm bill that came out of committee. And yet others believe there is too much reform – leaving Boehner to believe there are not enough votes to pass an extension or to consider the entire farm bill.
Lack of Farm Bill Just the Beginning of Problems
A failed farm bill is not the only trouble agriculture faces. Come January 1st – automatic spending cuts and dramatic tax hikes also loom unless a lame duck Congress acts. Life without a farm bill could soon be compounded by life with higher taxes and those spending cuts. American Farm Bureau Federation’s Pat Wolff says unless a lame duck Congress acts to head off so-called sequestration and tax break lapses – January 1st is looking ugly. Some USDA programs would be cut more than eight-percent…
“The programs that would be cut by 8.2% would include ag research, extension, food safety, marketing and inspection activities and rural development telecommunications.”
And then there’s automatic tax hikes if a politically-hobbled lame duck Congress fails to act…
“Capital gains tax increase is one, but also things to watch for include a jump in the estate tax and the individual income tax rate along with changes to the small business expensing provision.”
Without Congressional action – estate taxes will revert to 55-percent for estates over just one-million dollars. Capital gains tax rates – key for producers selling or buying land, breeding livestock or assets – will revert to 20-percent from 15-percent. The key question is if Congress paralyzed so far by political infighting will be any more capable of making big decisions after the November elections – when one or the other party may see an advantage to waiting to be seated in a new Congress.