Farmers federation sees pros, cons in Congressional omnibus bill

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) supports the Congressional omnibus spending and tax extender bills, but is disappointed that the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule was not halted from being implemented.

The AFBF believes the omnibus spending and tax extender bills will be beneficial to American agriculture, providing relief to farmers and ranchers.

"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."

The provision, however, did not stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s WOTUS rule, which the federation sees as unlawful. It also lacked language for a national standard on labeling food with genetically modified ingredients. This will cost the agriculture industry because of the patchwork of state labeling mandates, starting next month, that could confuse both farmers and consumers.

"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."

Finally, the American Farm Bureau Federation supports omnibus provisions to repeal country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements.

"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."

Organizations in this story

American Farm Bureau Federation 600 Maryland Ave SW Suite 1000 Washington, DC - 20024

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