Farmers To Talk Taxes, Cap-and-Trade On D.C. Trip
By Debra Davis
Estate taxes, cap-and-trade and research initiatives will be among the topics Alabama farmers plan to discuss with members of their congressional delegation when they visit the nation's capital later this month.
|Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., greets Federation board member Garry Henry and his daughter Hannah during last year's Washington trip.|
The trip, set for March 23-26, is an annual meeting for leaders of the Alabama Farmers Federation who see the summit as a way to put a face on the state's largest industry -- agriculture.
"The estate tax exemptions for farmers, business owners and individuals ended in 2009," said Alabama Farmers Federation Commodity and National Affairs Director Jimmy Carlisle. "Last year, the threshold for exemptions was $3.5 million per household. But there are plans by the leaders in Congress and the administration to impose a new, lower threshold for estate tax exemptions, possibly as low as $1 million per household. That's going to cover a lot more people, particularly in agriculture."
The death of a farmer or rancher may force his or her children and grandchildren to liquidate all or part of the family's property and other assets to pay the federal death tax, Carlisle said.
Farmers also will discuss the Federation's strong opposition to cap-and-trade proposals before Congress and strongly support any legislative action that would suspend the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, Carlisle said.
"Research has always played an important role for farmers and is ever more critical as input and production costs continue to rise," Carlisle said. "Research provides information that enables farmers to be more successful and profitable. While in Washington, our farmers will be asking their congressmen to continue research funding that benefits consumers and farmers alike."
Farmers from each of Alabama's seven congressional districts will meet with their respective U.S. representatives during breakfast meetings while in Washington. These small, informal meetings allow farmers to talk one-on-one with their congressmen about how actions in Washington affect families back home in the district.
Another important meeting during the trip is a luncheon at the Hart Senate Building with U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Small groups of farmers will meet with members of Congress and their staff on specific commodity-related issues throughout the afternoon.
The Federation members and congressional aides also will attend a luncheon coordinated by Auburn University to discuss research initiatives.
Federation members on the trip also will attend a congressional reception for lawmakers and staffers featuring barbecue provided by Colbert County Farmers Federation President L.O. Bishop.