Hannah Ferguson

Dec 18, 2015  |  ICGA

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.-- Illinois Corn Growers Association President Jeff Jarboe, a family farmer from Loda, made the following statement after hearing of Congressional passage of the omnibus and tax extender bills, two pieces of legislation holding important provisions for agriculture.                                                                                            

“It’s good to see Congress pull together to get these two important bills moved on to the President’s desk.

“We are pleased to see the repeal of COOL. The Country-of-Origin-Labeling issue has proven to be a sticking point with the WTO. Since livestock are the number one consumer of U.S. corn and corn products, what’s important to that industry is important to us.

“In the negotiated language of the tax extenders bill, we were pleased to see the extension of the Section 179 tax law. All farmers can understand the importance of this extension even though it doesn’t seem directly related to agriculture. The language would permanently cap small business deduction for capital expenses at $500,000, instead of $25,000. Language was also included to extend the 50% bonus depreciation provision for five years. These tax provisions are vital to securing our ability to reinvest in our farms as we strive to continually improve our farming practices, become more efficient, and do more with less.

“Although the omnibus bill agreement is a positive step forward in getting beyond partisan politics in DC, it’s too bad Congress walked away from the opportunity to deal with some pressing issues. For this reason, the bill leaves something to be desired from an Illinois corn farmer’s perspective.

“Given that the Republicans fought hard to hand Big Oil a victory by removing the oil export ban, we would have liked to see the Reid Vapor Pressure waiver included in this bill to level the playing field for higher ethanol blends in the marketplace. The RVP waiver would have helped dampen rising gas prices that will result from the export ban repeal.

“Repealing WOTUS, passing the GMO labeling policy, and funding the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program were also among our top priorities, but weren’t addressed in the omnibus. That’s disappointing.”