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National Farmers delegates set policy at annual meeting

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Delegates at National Farmers National Convention, meeting in West Des Moines, Iowa, passed four key policy positions this week addressing crop insurance funding levels, commodity speculation reform, a national grain reserve, and estate tax relief connected to land ownership.

National Farmers members voted yes on a policy position supporting current funding levels for the federal crop insurance program. The position notes the effectiveness of crop insurance in protecting farm incomes, and its importance for growers in securing operation loans.

Belonging to National Farmers, which provides ag marketing and risk management, members voted to support legislation adding transparency to futures markets, and close the door to excessive speculation by tightening key investment laws. The resolution also calls for clarifying the oversight mission of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

National Farmers also supports establishing a National Grain Reserve Program as advocated by National Farmers Union, and proposed by the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

"Each of these three measures would all work to help producers manage volatility or supply, or protect against disaster--weather and financial--as they navigate their farm businesses through today's economic landscape," said National Farmers Ag Policy Analyst Gene Paul.

In another policy resolution, National Farmers members expressed increasing concern over foreign investors, insurance companies, lenders and commodity buyers, gaining advantage in farmland purchases, with concentration of capital. Members voted in favor of eliminating the 1031 tax exchange.

Part of the same policy position, National Farmers members also voted to support estate tax relief for independent family owned farms, ranches and small businesses to facilitate the transfer of those enterprises to the next generation. Members said yes to making the 2010 tax package permanent, which sets the exemption of $5 million per individual and $10 million per couple. Estates worth more are taxed at a 35 percent rate.

National Farmers members also supported indexing the exemption levels that reflect increases in asset values due to inflation, the step-up basis.

"Estate taxes are of great concern as farmland moves from one generation into the hands of the next," says Paul. "Handling this major concern more fairly today, will provide for better opportunities for a new generation of producers, an issue of critical importance in American agriculture."

National Farmers is a price negotiation and ag risk management organization for the nation's farmers and ranchers.



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