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Wyoming Agricultural Producers Share Soil Practices in New Videos

  Farmers and ranchers in five Wyoming counties in a series of videos describe innovative soil practices they say are cost-effective and help maintain profitability. Producers in Big Horn, Fremont, Goshen, Hot Springs and Washakie counties are featured in the  eight videos, “Soil Management on Wyoming Farms and Ranches,” available at bit.ly/wyomingsoils . University of Wyoming Extension educator Caitlin Youngquist  developed the videos of farmers and ranchers showing practices specific to Wyoming.       They offer a convenient reference for local practices that truly function in Wyoming, said Youngquist, who is based in Washakie County and serves northern Wyoming. “It is a mini-field day idea,” she said. “You get to learn the kinds of things you would by sitting down with these producers and having coffee while asking questions or walking around the farm with them and hearing their stories of what they have tried.” She said the idea was to answer the questions of what is possible in Wyoming – what people are doing in terms of innovative or interesting soil practices, soil fertility, tillage, cover crops and what people are experimenting with. “Ag professionals can expand their knowledge because these videos explain current conditions and ways to improve production. Viewers can then spread these new strategies to other growers,” said Youngquist. According to Youngquist, the UW Extension YouTube channel was created as an in-office field day for extension educators but is now growing into a platform available to all ag professionals, such as farmers and ranchers, agronomists, conservation district members, extension educators and other industry folks. Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education provided funding for the videos. For more information, contact Youngquist at 307 347-3431 or cyoungqu@uwyo.edu.     Source:  University of Wyoming Extension  

Proposed Estate Tax Regulations Threaten Family Businesses

WASHINGTON (Sept. 28, 2016) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association along with more than 3,800 organizations and family-owned enterprises sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew adamantly opposing and asking for withdrawal of the newly proposed estate tax regulations by the Department of Treasury. The proposed regulations under section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code would permanently change estate planning for families that own a controlling interest in a privately-held entity.  “The proposed guidance is one of the most sweeping changes to estate tax policies in the last 25 years and would be detrimental to active enterprises and family-owned businesses that employ millions of workers throughout the nation,” the letter reads. “In particular, these rules would impose significant new tax costs on family-owned businesses, diverting capital from business investment, costing jobs and threatening the ability of families to pass businesses on to the next generation of owners.”  Danielle Beck, NCBA director of government affairs, said the regulations would eliminate or greatly reduce available valuation discounts for family-related entities, which in turn increase the tax associated with common transfers including inheritance. “These proposed regulations would eliminate or greatly reduce marketability for family related entities, effectively discouraging families from continuing to operate or grow their businesses and pass them on to future generations,” said Beck. “Producers are often forced into selling land or cattle in order to pay the tax, and in some cases, are put out of business. The Administration is causing unnecessary economic harm to family businesses.” NCBA urges the Department of Treasury to withdraw the proposed estate tax regulations.     Daines Encourages Administration to Abandon Proposed Estate Tax Regulations Proposed Regulations Would Have Severe Chilling Effect on Family Farms and Businesses   BOZEMAN, Mont. — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today wrote to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew encouraging the Treasury Department to abandon proposed regulations that would significantly increase the estate tax burden on family farms and businesses. The proposed regulations, if finalized, would contradict long-standing legal precedent and greatly discourage families from continuing to operate and grow their farms and businesses for eventual transfer to future generations.   “Treasury should pursue policies that encourage the creation and growth of family businesses and not propose regulatory changes that make it more difficult and costly for families to transfer ownership to future generations,” Daines wrote. “We thus request that Treasury withdraw the proposed regulations and ask that any regulations that Treasury may issue in the future more directly target perceived abuses in the valuation of transferred interests in family businesses.”   The letter was also signed by U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.)Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).   Full text of the letter can be found below.    The Honorable Jacob Lew United States Treasury Secretary U.S. Department of the Treasury 1500 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20220   Dear Secretary Lew:   We write to express our serious concerns over proposed regulations (REG-163113-02) published on August 4, 2016, under Internal Revenue Code section 2704 (“proposed regulations”) that, if finalized in their current form, will significantly increase the estate tax burden on family businesses. The proposed regulations eliminate or greatly reduce the discounts for lack of control and lack of marketability for family farms and businesses and will thus discourage families from continuing to operate and build their businesses. We ask that the proposed regulations not be finalized in their current form as they directly contradict long-standing legal precedent, create new uncertainty for taxpayers, and put family-owned businesses at a disadvantage relative to other types of businesses.   In an October 3, 2014, letter, a number of us communicated to the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service our strong opposition to any regulatory effort that would artificially inflate the valuation of estates and eliminate the benefits of estate tax relief legislation that was enacted on a bipartisan basis by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. By raising taxes on family farms and businesses, the proposed regulations represent a step back from the recently enacted permanent estate tax relief.   Treasury should pursue policies that encourage the creation and growth of family businesses and not propose regulatory changes that make it more difficult and costly for families to transfer ownership to future generations. We thus request that Treasury withdraw the proposed regulations and ask that any regulations that Treasury may issue in the future more directly target perceived abuses in the valuation of transferred interests in family businesses.   Sincerely, Source:  National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Senator Steve Daines Office

MSU to Host Agricultural Outlook Conference Nov. 11

  by MSU News Service   BOZEMAN – The  Montana State University Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics  and  MSU Extension  will host an agricultural economics conference,  “Agricultural Production Trends and Changing Food Systems,”  on Nov. 11. The Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics is a joint department of the  MSU College of Agriculture  and  MSU College of Letters and Science . At the conference, MSU agricultural economics and Extension faculty will speak about topics tailored to the Montana agricultural industry, including grain and cattle markets, banking regulation, crop viruses, farm bill updates, Montana poverty statistics and agricultural profitability under the statewide agricultural production research grant with the  Montana Research and Economic Development Initiative.  “The annual conference is an opportunity for university economists and specialists to share their research findings and value with our state’s stakeholders,” said Joel Schumacher, MSU agricultural economics Extension specialist. “We look forward to the conference each year because it’s a chance for us to connect and talk with public supporters, who ultimately guide and direct our research priorities.” The conference’s guest M.L. Wilson Speaker this year is Jayson Lusk, who will discuss “The Future of Food.” A Regents Professor and Willard Sparks Endowed Chair in the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics, Lusk is often cited as one of the country’s most prolific commenters on food policy and marketing and agricultural marketing topics related to consumer behavior. He is a fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and six books, including “Unnaturally Delicious” and “The Food Police.” He has also published editorials in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Thursday’s conference speakers include Joe Janzen, MSU assistant professor of agricultural economics, who will speak about grain market fundamentals, and Eric Belasco, MSU associate professor of agricultural economics, who will speak on cattle market fundamentals. Gary Brester, MSU agricultural economics professor, will address the impacts of emerging bank regulations on agricultural loan competition. Conference registration includes a hosted a lunch with comments from Vincent Smith, MSU professor of agricultural economics, on  MSU’s new Center for Regulatory and Applied Economic Analysis . After lunch, two in-depth breakout session will be offered. One will feature a selection of ongoing research featuring MSU Agricultural Economics Extension Specialist Kate Fuller and Nina Zidack, director of the MSU Montana Seed Potato Certification Program, who will speak on the economics of disease screening in the Montana seed potato industry. Schumacher will share Montana poverty statistics, followed by a second session that will feature faculty involved with the Montana Research and Economic Development Grant, aimed at increasing general agricultural profitability across Montana. Speakers include Anton Bekkerman, MSU associate professor of agricultural economics; George Haynes, MSU Extension agricultural policy specialist; Bruce Maxwell, MSU professor of ecology; and Colter Ellis, MSU assistant professor of sociology.  The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The morning session will be held in the Procrastinator Theater in MSU's Strand Union Building. Conference registration is $25. Participants should call 994-3511 to register. A full schedule is available at  http://www.ampc.montana.edu/fallconference.html . The 10 th  annual conference is part of MSU’s larger Celebrate Agriculture weekend, set for Nov. 10-12 and hosted by the MSU  College of Agriculture . More information about Celebrate Agriculture is available at  http://www.montana.edu/news/16409/msu-to-host-annual-celebrate-agriculture-event-nov-10-12 .