Soybean farmers benefit from Omnibus passage

Two pieces of legislation that will greatly benefit United States soybean farmers -- an omnibus appropriations bill and a package of tax provisions -- were passed by Congress last week before the year-end recess.

Highlights of the Omnibus Appropriations bill included the repeal of the mandatory country of origin labeling rule and continued funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program at current levels of $200 million and $34.5 million, respectively.

Unfortunately, blockage of the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing the Waters of the U.S. regulations and another piece on pre-emption of state genetically modified organism labeling initiatives were not included in this final bill. They are expected to be addressed again when Congress returns in 2016.

The Tax Extenders package that passed included the biodiesel tax credit through 2016, although it is still a blender’s credit instead of a producer’s credit that the American Soybean Association and bio-diesel industry both wanted.

The package also includes Section 179 expensing limits that permanently extend the small business expensing limitation and phase out amounts to $500,000 and $2 million, respectively, beginning in 2016. The bill provides a five-year extension of the bonus depreciation for property acquired and placed in service from 2015 through 2019. Finally, the package includes the conservation easement tax credit and other tax credits for agricultural research donations.

The House passed the tax package by a vote of 318-108 and the Omnibus Appropriations bill by a vote of 316-113. The Senate approved both pieces of legislation as one, with a vote of 65-33.

Organizations in this story

American Soybean Association 600 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Washington, DC - 20003

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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