Thursday, December 17, 2015

Just in

Omnibus Is an Overall Win for Ag but Still No Fix for WOTUS or GMOs 

WASHINGTON–Congressional omnibus spending and tax extender bills will benefit agriculture greatly if passed, the American Farm Bureau said today. Farm Bureau said the bills would provide relief to America’s farmers and ranchers, but is disappointed that Congress failed to stop the Waters of the U.S. rule.

 “This tax extender package gives farmers and ranchers critical tools to help them reinvest in their businesses,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. “Tax provisions like Section 179 small business expensing and bonus deprecation free up cash flow for farmers and ranchers to put their money to work. New provisions will let our members make important upgrades that reduce costs, increase efficiency and help make their businesses sustainable for generations to come.”

 A provision to stop the EPA’s unlawful Waters of the U.S. rule was surprisingly missing from the package, as was language that would have set a nationwide standard for labeling of food containing genetically modified ingredients. Congress’s failure to act will bring the heavy cost of a patchwork of state labeling mandates to farmers and consumers as early as next month.

 “We are truly disappointed that Congress did not include legislation to stop implementation of WOTUS,” Stallman said. “The courts have already expressed serious legal concerns about the rule, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office has concluded that EPA broke the law with its covert propaganda campaign to drum up ill-informed support for it.

We remain committed to working with Congress to stop EPA and help America’s landowners, businesses and state and local governments avoid years in court to overturn the rule. This measure undeniably resulted from an illegal and deceptive process. Defeating WOTUS remains a priority of Farm Bureau. We will explore all avenues to ditch the rule.”

 AFBF also supports omnibus provisions to repeal of country-of-origin labeling requirements, which would effectively prevent Canada and Mexico from initiating retaliatory actions. “Farm Bureau supports COOL programs that are in line with world trade rules,” Stallman said. “Current COOL programs, unfortunately, risk serious retaliation by Canada and Mexico now that the World Trade Organization has approved more than $1 billion in tariffs against American beef, pork and other U.S. commodities if COOL is not changed.”

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