Property Tax Relief, Broadband, Top Stories Ag Federal Tax Proposals for 2021

LINCOLN – The rebound in Nebraska’s farm economy this year and the resulting property tax relief tied to the economy are among the top farm stories of 2021, according to the Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB).

Also on the list are the decision to expand broadband, calls for sweeping changes in livestock markets and the NEFB’s work to end a proposal that would devastate family farms.

“It’s no secret that we have seen price increases for most commodities over the past year and we know that when Nebraska agriculture does well, our state’s economy is strong. is doing well, ”said Mark McHargue, ONEF President.

“The increase in state revenues means that property taxpayers who have requested relief will receive a big ‘win’ from the Nebraska Property Tax Incentive Act, clawing back a tax credit equal to 25% of their property taxes paid to schools when they file their 2021 tax return. “

The property tax incentive law established in 2020, which went from $ 115 million in the first year to $ 548 million this year, allows Nebraska residents to claim an income tax credit based on property taxes paid to K-12 schools. But, according to McHargue, the work on tax reform is not done and one of the most impactful things the legislature can do in 2022 is to build on this relief in property taxes.

In addition to increasing funds for property tax relief, strengthening electronic connectivity is essential for modern agriculture, according to ONEF. This year, the Nebraska Farm Bureau was instrumental in securing $ 40 million over the next two years for broadband expansion into unserved and underserved areas of the state.

“Agriculture and rural Nebraska will not reach their full potential without access to reliable broadband and broadband. Much of the technology that enables farmers and ranchers to improve at all levels, including minimizing our environmental footprint, relies on electronic connectivity, ”said McHargue. “For many of our rural communities, access to health care, education and business opportunities can only be achieved through quality broadband and rural Nebraska cannot afford to be left behind. for account, ”said McHargue.

Federal proposals to increase taxes on Nebraska family farms, ranches and businesses were also on the list of top issues. Discussions in Washington, DC this year focused on the spending bill, Build Back Better, which the Nebraska Farm Bureau opposes because it would increase capital gains, estates (deaths) and corporate taxes. , including a proposal to eliminate the “reinforced base”. tax provisions.

“Maintaining a stronger base is essential to ensure that the next generation of farmers and ranchers can continue to feed, clothe and feed the world. Eliminating this important tool would subject many farm and ranch families to a new tax burden, forcing some to sell parts of their farm or ranch to foot the tax bill, further consolidating agriculture ”, McHargue said.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau expects the outcome of key elections, particularly the governor’s race, to top the list for the news cycle in 2022.

“It is important that the next governor of Nebraska understands the importance of agriculture to the economy of our state and the importance of keeping farmers and ranchers on the land. We know that the voice of rural Nebraska is waning, which is why the Nebraska Farm Bureau hosted a Governor’s Nominees Forum in early December. We wanted to make sure our members had the chance to get to know the candidates so they could make informed decisions in this important election, ”said McHargue.

Looking ahead to other issues in 2022, the Nebraska Farm Bureau predicts that the growth of Nebraska’s livestock sector will be major news for states and national levels.

“The economic development of Nebraska is directly linked to the protection and growth of our state’s ranching sector. The beef industry is the most important segment of this sector, highlighting the need to reform the way cattle are marketed in the United States. That’s why we continue to call on Congress to pass and pass Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer’s Livestock Market Transparency Act, which will bring needed reform to the livestock market, ”said McHargue.

With a spate of cyberattacks on food processors and farm cooperatives making headlines in 2021, the Nebraska Farm Bureau considers the issue of cybersecurity to continue to be at the forefront. According to McHargue, farmers and ranchers want to make sure officials at state and federal levels take the necessary steps to secure and protect data.

McHargue also stressed the importance of international trade to the bottom line of Nebraska farmers and ranchers, calling on the Biden administration to focus its efforts on trade policy in 2022.

“Every dollar of agricultural exports generates $ 1.28 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing and production. It is essential that the administration work to enact new trade agreements in order to create new market opportunities for Nebraska farm and ranch families, ”said McHargue.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a local, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of efforts to education, service and advocacy.

More than 55,000 families across Nebraska are members of the Farm Bureau, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity, as agriculture is a key engine of Nebraska’s economy. For more information about the Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.

Penny D. Jackson