All Americans depend on our farmers, and American farmers need a tax cut. When American farmers benefit, we all win.
American farmers are the backbone and heartbeat of America. We grow the food that ends up on supermarket shelves and in kitchens across our great land.
Tax reform will help farmers in several ways.
Like all Americans, farmers will benefit from tax simplification. Increasing the standard deduction means the first $24,000 of income will be taxed at a zero rate, and many of the complex deductions are eliminated. The Schedule A form for itemizing deductions is quite complicated. Eliminating the Alternative Minimum tax will also simplify the returns farmers prepare. Streamlining the preparation process is a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.
And farmers, like all Americans, will benefit from the reduction of rates.
American family farms are small businesses, mom and pop operations. The tax reform lowers rates businesses pay and that helps farmers.
Farming is a capital-intensive operation. We regularly purchase expensive equipment, production supplies including fertilizer and soil conditioners, and have pre-productive costs, such as breeding cattle, raising timber, endangered species recovery expenditures, soil and water conservation expenditures and reforestation expenses.
The tax reform bill lifts the limit on how much we can expense for capital purchases and shortens depreciation schedules. That’s a huge boon for our nation’s food and fiber producers.
Our farmers work for generations building their operations, and pay taxes all along the way. Then when it comes time to pass the farm down, they are hit with another tax.
Eliminating the death, or inheritance, tax is hugely important to ensuring America’s next generation of family farms.
The average American farmer is 65 years old. Too often, the next generation that wants to farm and continue the legacy of the family farm is forced to sell the farm to pay off the death tax. In other cases they end up taking on debt just to pay the tax. They start out behind the eight ball before they even put the first crop in the ground.
Repealing the death tax breathes hope and opportunity for the next generation of American farmers.
A growing local food movement is one reason more Americans are taking up farming.
Congress can protect America’s food security, nurture the small and midsize family farms that are crucial to rural economies, and guarantee the future of American agriculture by passing the tax cut now.
Martha Boneta is a policy adviser with America First Policies. She is a farmer at Liberty Farm in Paris, Virginia. The native Virginian was also voted by Country Woman Magazine as one of the “45 Most Amazing Women in America.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.