SDCA applauds congressional action that benefits beef producers

Farm Forum

Pierre, SD — The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association (SDCA) applauds Congressional actions that will provide certainty for beef producers leading into 2015. Cattlemen will benefit from several issues addressed in the Omnibus Appropriations and Tax Extenders packages.

“We are pleased that Congress extended Section 179 Small Business Expensing, Bonus Depreciation, and the Conservation Easement Tax Credit for 2014. This, combined with strong markets, will help put beef producers in a strong financial position going into 2015. It is disappointing that we will be back at square one on these measures beginning on January 1 unless the next Congress takes additional action,” noted Todd Wilkinson, SDCA President.

Wilkinson also observed, “In addition to the tax measures, Congress included language in the Omnibus Appropriation package to address several issues important to cattlemen, including Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), a proposed supplementary beef checkoff, the Waters of the US (WOTUS) interpretive rule, and greenhouse gas permitting and reporting for livestock facilities. Overall, these last-minute actions by Congress provide short-term certainty for ag producers. We look forward to continued progress on the issues important to our members when the new Congress is seated next year.”

More specifically, the Omnibus Appropriations bill includes language to require Secretary Vilsack and the US Trade Representative to provide a report to Congress with recommendations for changes to the Federal COOL law to bring the US into compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and our trade agreements. SDCA is especially pleased the legislation will also prohibit the Secretary from moving forward with a proposal to establish an additional beef checkoff, which SDCA members strongly oppose.

In addition, the Omnibus Appropriations bill will prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from requiring livestock facilities to report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or obtain GHG permits under Title V of the Clean Air Act. It will also rescind the Interpretive Rule between EPA and the NRCS which attempted to clarify agricultural practices that would be exempt from EPA’s proposed WOTUS rule, which will greatly expand EPA’s jurisdiction over water and adjacent lands. Unfortunately, the legislation doesn’t directly address the WOTUS rule, which SDCA stringently opposes. Additional legislative action needs to be taken to prohibit EPA jurisdictional land grab under the proposed WOTUS rule.

Wilkinson stated, “We thank Senators Thune and Johnson and Representative Noem for continuing to fight for South Dakota’s cattlemen through the end of this Congress. Their efforts to support our state’s number one industry, agriculture, are appreciated.”