HARRISBURG, Pa. — The farm bill and dairy policy was on the minds of government officials at the annual government luncheon held Jan. 10 during the 97th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett told the crowd that one thing Pennsylvania farmers can be thankful for was the legislature working to exempt farmland from the state inheritance tax.
Corbett said it was common for the next generation of farm families to be forced into selling farmland in order to pay the estate tax in the past. Now that doesn’t have to happen.
Corbett said not only has the legislature passed the exemption, but there is legislation designed to teach accountants and others how to claim the exemption.
Another movement forward is legislation that makes it easier for farmers to move equipment by truck from farm to farm, or even to the shop for repairs. Legislation passed in 2012 increases how far farmers can travel without worrying about breaking the law.
“These bills can keep farmers doing what they do best– farming,” said Corbett.
Corbett also talked about what he plans to include in the new budget. He cautioned, though, that it is up to the state legislature on whether or not it is included in it.
He told the crowd of 500 that he hopes to maintain $2 million in funding to county fairs, funding for veterinary research and agriculture research at Penn State University.
U.S. Sen. Robert Casey Jr. also spoke during the event about what is happening on the federal level.
Casey spoke about how important it is that work get started on a new farm bill. He said he doesn’t feel that it has to start at the beginning with negotiations, but the process has to begin again.
He said that farmers need to gain margin protection and ensure there is a strong and balanced dairy policy.
Casey said farmers have turned into gamblers.
“If you want to play the markets, go play the markets. But if you want to be a farmer, then allow them to be farmers,” Casey said.
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