Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 3, 2012 – “The estate tax kills small business and jeopardizes the future of our family farms and ranches throughout the country,” said Kent Bacus, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) associate director of legislative affairs. “2012 will be the year where permanent relief is within reach.”

Bacus addressed attendees of the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn. He said the estate tax is top of mind for many cattlemen, especially young farmers and ranchers hoping to take over family-owned cattle operations. As a result of a last-minute fix passed through Congress in December 2010, the current estate tax exemption level is $5 million per individual and $10 million per couple with a maximum tax rate of 35 percent. However, Bacus said if Congress and President Obama fail to take action by the end of 2012, the tax rate will revert back to pre-2001 levels at a “mere” $1 million exemption level with a 55 percent tax rate.

“This is not a tax on the wealthy elite. The wealthy are more likely to find a way to weather the storm. Small business owners and family farmers and ranchers will be forced to make difficult decisions. In many cases, ranchers are forced to sell of all or part of their estate just to pay for this outdated tax. Often times, land doesn't stay in food production but instead is sold into development,” Bacus said. “As the global population continues to grow, it is paramount we keep farms and ranches intact. We have to be able to feed people.”

Bacus said there are 29 pieces of legislation in the U.S. Congress to address the estate tax. NCBA and its state affiliates support a full and permanent repeal of the tax. That's why Bacus said NCBA supports the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2011 introduced by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas). The legislation, if passed, would repeal the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes. Bacus said the legislation has already garnered 194 bipartisan co-sponsors.

“Taxing the next generation of food producers out of business is dead wrong. We will not sit idly by and watch the destruction of family farm and ranch operations,“ Bacus said. “Consumers and cattlemen alike should support repealing this tax. We need jobs and we must not play politics with the world's food security. When land in this country goes out of production, it seldom comes back.”

While full and permanent relief would be ideal, according to Bacus, NCBA's top priority will be permanent relief. He said NCBA and its state affiliates would be willing to make permanent the current estate tax exemption level of $5 million at a top tax rate of 35 percent.

Don't forget to BOOKMARK  
Cattle Today Online!