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It’s a “Big” Week for Agriculture in Washington


It’s a ‘big’ week for agriculture in Washington, with key actions likely to have an impact on producers’ bottom-line.

The U.S. Senate is expected to take a ‘make or break’ vote Thursday or Friday on the GOP’s tax plan, that Republicans will have to pass with a likely razor-thin, Republican-only majority. The GOP is edging closer to the needed votes, and President Trump is meeting today (Tuesday) with Senators.

American Farm Bureau tax adviser Pat Wolff says both bills impact producers’ pocketbooks…

 “Both bills double the estate tax exemption, but the Senate bill’s provision expires after 10 years, so that needs to be figured out. 

“The Senate bill provides and exclusion for 17% of business income, and the House bill sets up a system where income is divided into two categories; farm income would either be a return on investment or a return on labor.”

30 percent of income would be taxed at a new, lower, 25 percent rate.

Meanwhile, both bills boost the exemption for small business expenses, known as ‘Section 179’…

“The House increases it to $5 million, but makes it a temporary provision for five years.  The Senate bill increases the threshold exemption to $1 million, but that’s temporary, it would last for 10 years.”

Separately, the EPA is expected to issue by Thursday’s statutory deadline, renewable fuel volumes for next year, on the heels of a ‘David vs. Goliath’ win by ethanol over ‘big oil,’ reversing an EPA extra rollback of some volumes. Renewable Fuels Association chief Bob Dinneen…

​“The politics on this issue are really being driven by President Trump, who throughout his campaign repeated expressed support for ethanol general, and the Renewable Fuels Standards specifically.”

But it took weeks of letter writing, phone calls, meetings, and even an angry floor speech by one Senator to get the president to order his EPA chief to reverse course. The EPA last week also nixed an oil industry-requested compliance change to shift ethanol-use reporting from refiners and imports to blenders.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.