Farm Bureau: We need a new Farm Bill in 2013
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation says recent fiscal cliff negotiations were a lost opportunity for true farm policy reform. Yet the extension of the 2008 farm bill will give Wisconsin farm families the certainty they need for the 2013 growing season.
"We are disappointed that Congress did not agree on a new five-year farm bill that would have provided true reform to federal crop and dairy programs, and enhanced risk management tools," said Jim Holte, WFBF President.
Instead, Congress extended the 2008 farm bill through Sept. 30, 2013.
"Passage of a new farm bill needs to be a priority of Congress in 2013," Holte said. "In the meantime, farmers will be working under the familiar parameters of existing programs."
Despite legislative consensus to reform federal dairy policies, an extension of the previous farm bill brings back the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program, which acts as a safety net for dairy farmers when feed costs exceed the price they receive for their milk.
"In lieu of extensive dairy reform, Wisconsin dairy farmers appreciate having this safety mechanism back in place," Holte said.
Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest general farm organization, supports the permanent changes to the estate tax laws that were made as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations.
The exemption rate will remain at $5 million with a taxable rate of 40 percent on anything exceeding the $5 million exemption.
At the beginning of 2013 that figure was set to change to a $1 million exemption and 55 percent rate, with no spousal exemption. These rates and the spousal exemption now become permanent law.
"The changes to the estate tax law are extremely important to Wisconsin farm families who look to pass their businesses on to the next generation," Holte said.
WFBF appreciated the bipartisan vote by Wisconsin's congressional delegation to the farm bill extension. Senators Kohl and Johnson, along with Representatives Ryan, Baldwin, Kind, Ribble and Moore voted in favor of the legislation.