ASA pushing important issues in DC this week

American Soybean Association (ASA) farmer-leaders will be in Washington, D.C. this week to participate in two events involving legislation crucial to U.S. soybean farmers.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, ASA Executive Committee member Joe Steiner will be participating in a press conference at the National Press Club on the need for Congress to enact estate tax legislation before Dec. 31. On Jan. 1 of 2011, the estate tax rate will revert to the 2001 rate of up to 55% with only a $1 million exclusion.

If not addressed by Congress, the high estate tax rate of 55% and low exclusion level of $1 million will very negatively affect the ability to pass farms, ranches, and small businesses from one generation to another. Even small and very moderate-sized family farm operations would be negatively affected. With farmland in many regions of the country selling for $5,000 per acre, it takes only 200 acres of land to reach the exclusion value of $1 million. Similarly, a $1 million exclusion level is inadequate to account for the value of machinery, livestock, and buildings with tractors now costing $150,000; combines costing $250,000-$300,000; and a single cow valued at $1,000.

The House passed its estate tax bill last December with a $3.5 million exclusion and a 45% top tax rate. Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) have introduced legislation to establish a $5 million exclusion and a 35% top tax rate.

ASA strongly supports including the Lincoln-Kyl provision in a lame duck tax bill.

Also on Nov. 30, Steiner, ASA Board member Bob Henry and ASA’s National Biodiesel Board representative Darryl Brinkmann will participate in a biodiesel fly-in to press Congress on the urgent need to extend the biodiesel tax incentive. The 111th Congress is rapidly drawing to a close and the decision whether or not to extend expired tax provisions in the lame duck session will be made in the coming weeks.

Extension and renewal of the biodiesel tax credit are critical to the economic viability of the industry. Expiration of the biodiesel tax incentive on Dec. 31, 2009, has resulted in lost production and jobs. This situation is likely to worsen if the credit is not reinstated.

The biodiesel tax credit is needed to make biodiesel competitive with the entrenched petroleum diesel industry.

Biodiesel is a key market for U.S. soybean oil, and has been a key factor in supporting domestic soybean prices in recent years.

Biodiesel is the only advanced biofuel commercially produced in the U.S. It reduces our dependence on petroleum, creates jobs, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

ASA is urging Congress to pass legislation on these items of critical importance to U.S. soybean farmers during the lame duck session. However, we need your active grassroots support. Please contact your Members of Congress and emphasize the need for action on these issues.

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