Legislation proposed in Congress would tax capital gains at death and eliminate stepped-up basis to raise revenue to pay for government spending. Stepped-up basis helps in generational transfers of farms by allowing farm and ranch families to pay capital gains taxes only on a property’s increase in value since the time the land was inherited, instead of paying the full increase in value since it was purchased by a deceased relative. Without stepped-up basis Nebraska families could literally be forced to sell the farm to pay capital gains taxes. Stand up for stepped-up!

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Movin’ On Up

State lawmakers advanced a series of budget bills this week to a third and final round of debate. The bills included provisions that would put additional dollars in the state’s cash reserve triggering additional property tax relief in 2021. The action would ensure Nebraskans get the maximum amount of property tax relief possible through the new Refundable Income Tax Credit (RITC) based on property taxes paid to K-12 schools. Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates the move could double the amount of the RITC tax relief property owners were able to claim this tax season. The advanced budget also leaves dollars available that could be used to help underwrite education funding reforms and expanded broadband. The final round of debate on the budget bills is expected April 20. Help push them across the finish line! >> TAKE ACTION HERE >> BUDGET PRIORITIES HERE

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Budget Priorities

A BIG THANK YOU! to the County Farm Bureaus that have helped so far in pushing for answers from the Biden administration on the President’s 30x30 climate executive order. Kudos to the leaders of  Hayes, Jefferson, Kearney/Franklin, Keith, Lancaster, Saline, Scottsbluff, Seward, and Thayer County Farm Bureau’s for joining Nebraska Farm Bureau’s efforts to tell President Biden farmers and ranchers are true conservationists and federal actions infringing on property rights isn’t an option! County Farm Bureau leaders interested in furthering the cause are encouraged to contact their Regional Manager for more information.

Regional Managers

Nebraska Farm Bureau is urging United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai to push for the elimination of Japan’s quota system, which limits the amount of U.S. beef that can enter the country. In correspondence to the newly confirmed U.S. Trade Representative, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue identified numerous areas where Tai could act to boost markets for Nebraska farm and ranch families.

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Read Letter

Agriculture landowners often reflect a minority of voters in K-12 school bond elections yet are held responsible for paying a large portion of school bond taxes. Let your senator you know that you support LB 2, a bill that recognizes the inequity by lowering the value of agricultural land for calculating school bond taxes. LB 2 also helps expand property tax relief for Nebraskans by requiring a minimum of three percent growth each year in the state’s Property Tax Credit Fund. As state lawmakers prepare to debate the bill, let your senator know you support LB 2 and urge them to do the same!

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In this week’s Economic Tidbits video, Nebraska Farm Bureau Senior Economist Jay Rempe takes a closer look at the impacts of COVID-19 on Nebraska’s beef processing sector and processing expansion that’s occurring in its wake.

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A series of state budget bills that would provide additional property tax relief and leave dollars available for education funding reform, broadband expansion, and other Farm Bureau priorities is headed for final approval;  the House version of Sen. Deb Fischer’s HAULs Act to provide much needed flexibility in the transport of livestock animals was introduced this week; and the Federal Communications Commission is encouraging the use of the FCC’s Speed Test App to help to inform the FCC’s efforts to collect more accurate data and improve its broadband coverage maps. Read about these stories in this week’s Policy Watch.

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The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, has opened online applications for the 2022 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. This national business competition showcases U.S. startup companies that are providing solutions to challenges faced by America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Farm Bureau will award $165,000 in startup funds provided by sponsors Farm Credit, Bayer Crop Science, Farm Bureau Bank, Farm Bureau Financial Services, FMC Corporation and John Deere. Applications due August 20.

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The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation awarded the Ron Hanson Collegiate Leader Scholarship to two members of Collegiate Farm Bureau at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) who are pursuing degrees from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR). Emily Reitz and Miranda Hornung, both juniors at CASNR, received $1,500 scholarships. Dr. Ron Hanson, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, established the scholarship to reward students who prioritize leadership building activities while on campus.

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Established, written, and visible farm policies regarding employees and family labor can lessen confusion and on-the-spot decision making. Confusion over farm business policies can create undo stress on employees, supervisors and proprietors. UNL’s Farm and Ranch Management team offers some ideas on how to put policies in place that work for your and your farm employees.

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Buy, sell, or trade for free on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s (NEFB) Exchange. Have an ad you want to place? Place your own free classified ad on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s (NEFB) online Exchange today!

NEFB Exchange

Congressman Adrian Smith took time this week to join Nebraska Farm Bureau members for a conversation about issues swirling in Washington, D.C. that could come home to roost on Nebraska farms and ranches. How real are the threats of increased taxes on farm and ranch families? What does President Biden’s 30x30 really mean? And what’s on the horizon for market growth through international trade? Congressman Smith answered Farm Bureau members’ questions on those topics and more!

Final Reading for Meat Marketing Bill

A Nebraska Farm Bureau supported bill allowing farmers and ranchers to offer livestock ownership shares to customers seeking meat, advanced to Final Reading in the Legislature this week. Introduced by Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth, LB 324 would allow the acquisition of meat through an animal share — an ownership interest in an animal or herd of animals created by a written contract between a consumer and a farmer or rancher — under certain conditions. Generally, meat sold by the package must be inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, owners of animals are exempt from such inspection requirements due to a custom exemption in federal law. LB 324 would allow non-farm interests to have ownership and utilize the custom exemption. Animal share contracts would include a bill of sale and a provision under which the consumer boards the animal or herd with the farmer or rancher for care and processing and the consumer is entitled to receive a share of meat from the animal or herd. The bill also specifies the animal share owner — or someone acting on their behalf — would have to receive the meat, and the farmer or rancher would have to provide the consumer with a description of their livestock health and processing standards. A farmer or rancher who offers an animal share would have to be a Nebraska resident and maintain a record of each animal share sold. LB 324 also establishes an independent processor assistance program that potentially would use federal funding to increase Nebraska’s meat processing capacity.

State lawmakers advanced a series of budget bills this week, including provisions that would put additional dollars in the state’s cash reserve triggering additional property tax relief in 2021. The action would ensure Nebraskans get the maximum amount of property tax relief possible through the new Refundable Income Tax Credit (RITC) based on property taxes paid to K-12 schools. Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates the move could double the amount of the RITC tax relief property owners were able to claim this tax season. There’s still time for members to help secure additional property tax relief. The advanced budget also leaves dollars available that could be used to help underwrite education funding reforms and expanded broadband.

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Budget Priorities

To help push back on federal legislative proposals to eliminate the use of stepped-up basis in determining capital gains taxes,  American Farm Bureau (AFBF) released analysis this week taking a closer look at what the loss of stepped-up basis would mean for farm and ranch families. Using USDA land value numbers, change in cropland values from 1997 to 2020, and assuming a capital gains tax rate of 20 percent, the analysis not only looks at what the loss of stepped-up basis would mean in terms of per-acre tax, but how long it would take to pay it off. The analysis projects the loss of stepped-up would mean a capital gains tax in Nebraska of nearly $700 per acre.

AFBF Analysis

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation selected two recipients for the FFA Advisor of the Year award. AnnaLisa Estrela from Ashland-Greenwood High School and Brian Johnson from Litchfield High School were honored on April 8 during the 2021 Nebraska FFA Virtual State Convention.

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One of President Biden’s first actions was to sign an executive order (EO) calling for the conservation of at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by the year 2030 (30x30). While massive in scope, the President provided little to no detail as to how that goal would be achieved, raising numerous concerns about what the order could mean in terms of possible restrictions on private lands and federal land expansion. Nebraska Farm Bureau is pushing the President for answers. Let the administration know you share those concerns!

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A bill to expand meat marketing opportunities for livestock producers is headed for final reading; lawmakers have advanced a bill to provide greater transparency for taxpayers before local tax hikes; and Farm Bureau and the Farm Journal Foundation have released a new report pointing out the need for more public research for U.S. agriculture. Read all this and more in this week’s Policy Watch.

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Are you a farmer or rancher passionate about sharing your story? Join the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation on May 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kearney Holiday Inn for an exciting NEW one-day conference that will equip volunteers to lead agricultural literacy activities in their Nebraska communities. (There is no-cost to attend!)

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Proposed changes to capital gains have farmers and ranchers wondering what it means for passing their operations to the next generation. Katie Samples Dean an attorney specializing in agricultural law, and Paul Neiffer, a Certified Public Accountant, discuss the proposals and potential impacts as it relates to farm estate and transition planning as part of a UNL Farm and Ranch Management webinar.

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The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is reminding pesticide applicators who received a special extension to their applicator license in May 2020 due to the pandemic, that they must complete recertification training before April 15 to retain their licenses.

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Small Square Alfalfa bales for sale; sudan, rye, triticale, grass hay wanted. Check out the recent listings on the Nebraska Farm Bureau exchange. Have an ad you want to place? Place your own free classified ad on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s (NEFB) online Exchange. View the NEFB Exchange today!

NEFB Exchange

Lawmakers are preparing to debate the state budget after the Easter break. Budget actions will dictate whether state monies are allocated for Farm Bureau priorities like property tax relief, school funding reforms, and broadband expansion. Check out this week’s video for more details and how you can help secure funding for those priorities!

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Green Light for Carbon Storage Bill

State lawmakers advanced LB 650 to second round floor debate this week. The Nebraska Farm Bureau supported measure would adopt the Nebraska Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide Act and establish the legal and regulatory framework for potential carbon dioxide capture and sequestration projects in Nebraska. The bill was introduced by Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk and prioritized by Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango.

Grab a cup of coffee, your favorite digital device, and join the conversation with Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue and Congressman Adrian Smith, Tuesday, April 6 at 8:00 a.m. (CT). Tax hikes and climate initiatives are just two of the issues swirling in D.C. that could dramatically impact your farm or ranch. Be in the know on what’s coming and get your questions answered. Register for the Zoom webinar today!

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Savannah Gerlach of DeWitt, Neb. is the inaugural recipient of the Steve Nelson Yeutter Institute International Trade Internship Award. The award honors Steve Nelson, a longtime Nebraska Farm Bureau leader, as it helps students gain valuable experience in the nation’s capital.

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One of President Biden’s first actions was to sign an executive order (EO) calling for the conservation of at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by the year 2030 (30x30). While massive in scope, the president provided little to no detail as to how that goal would be achieved, raising numerous concerns about what the order could mean in terms of possible restrictions on private lands and federal land expansion. Nebraska Farm Bureau is pushing the president for answers. Let the administration know you share those concerns!

Take Action

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced details of how the USDA will provide COVID-19 assistance to farmers and ranchers as authorized by Congress last December. The December package included direct aid to crop producers, cattle producers, contract growers, livestock producers who had to depopulate animals, and additional inventory payments for livestock producers.

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Farm Bureau is gearing up for a fight to protect farm and ranch families from literally having to “sell the farm” just to pay taxes when generational transfers occur. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall commented this week on recent proposals by several lawmakers to tax unrealized capital gains at death and rollback the stepped-up basis on those capital gains. Full details in Policy Watch.

Duvall Statement

Farm Bureau supported broadband and carbon storage bills advance in the legislature; a bill to lower the value of agricultural land for payment of K-12 school bonds will hit the floor for debate next week; President Biden has unveiled his infrastructure plan; tax proposals introduced in the House and Senate seek to impose capital gains taxes at death; and more details on the anti-livestock ballot measure in Colorado. Read all this and more in this week’s Policy Watch.

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