Hoosier Beef Congress is over, but there's still another exiting, important event for the Indiana Beef Cattle Association membership coming up soon. It's the annual meeting, which will be held at the Four Winds Resort near Bloomington on Feb. 21.
Incoming president, up for official election at that meeting, is Norman Voyles, Jr., Morgantown. He and IBCA staff members recognize several issues that the association leadership will deal with in 2015. They include taxes, trade, food safety and potential environmental regulations.
The tax issue is two pronged – one prong concerning property taxes at the state level. Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., legislative director Katrina Hall says that a legislative Commission has proposed three recommendations that would freeze current property tax values on farmland, and could help get the property tax issue under control. Property taxes on Indiana farmland have increased 33% since 2007.
However, right now they are just recommendations. They have not been formed into bills as of this time. She believes Indiana Farm Bureau plus groups Like IBCA and others, plus individual farmers and livestock producers themselves, will have to sell their message to legislators before meaningful change will happen.
At the federal level, one major issue facing not only livestock producers but all farmers and ag businesses is the future of the Section 179 regulations concerning depreciation and exemptions on equipment purchases.
In the recent past the bonus depreciation and relatively large allowances for depreciation have been reinstated by Congress typically early in the year. In 2014 Congress didn't act to reinstate it until about 10 days ago. If it wasn't reinstated, the limit would have been $25,000 per operation for 2014, with no bonus depreciation. It would be a tremendous blow to anyone intending on making major investments in equipment yet this year.
While Congress reinstated it, the problem is that January 1, 2015, the exemptions expire again, and revert to $25,000. It will take Congressional action again next year to restore higher limits for depreciation. Many ag groups would like to seek permanent deductions instead of subjecting farmers to an annual game of 'wait and see,' which makes planning extremely difficult.