Boehner, Lugar think bill would fix farm bill

WASHINGTON – Legislation to “complete the unfinished business” of the 1996 farm law and “make any farm bill work” has been introduced in the Senate by Agriculture Committee Chairman Dick Lugar, R-Ind., and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and in the House by Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Lugar said the Agriculture Committee will “move deliberately” through each aspect of federal farm policy to authorize programs for a new farm bill, due by the end of next year.

When the 1996 farm bill became law, Congress and the President made commitments to the agricultural community to work on opening foreign markets, easing the tax and regulatory burden and providing new risk management tools for farmers.

What’s in the bill.

The latest bill by Lugar, Roberts and Boehner, first introduced last year, fulfills these commitments by taking action in four areas: tax relief, risk management, regulatory reform, and trade, the members said.

The bill gives the President fast track trade authority for international trade negotiations; ends the estate tax over 10 years; reduces capital gains taxes for farmers by offering a matching exclusion for farmland from the capital gains tax by providing a $500,000 exclusion from capital gains on the sale of a primary residence or farm and allows for 100 percent deductibility of health costs for the self-insured.

In the area of regulatory reform, the bill calls for a re-evaluation of the cost to farmers of complying with federal regulations; requires that the General Accounting Office offer alternatives to these regulations at less cost to farmers, ranchers and foresters.

FARRM accounts.

For risk management, the bill creates farmer and rancher risk management (FARRM) accounts tax-deferred accounts into which farmers could deposit up to 20 percent of net farm income to be used in low price years.

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