|I believe we all can agree that winter has arrived in Minnesota! Sleet, snow, wind and cold temperatures affect everyone’s travel, but it also has an impact on our farms and ranches. Ethical animal care is always a priority for Minnesota farmers and ranchers, but many consumers do not realize the extra effort and care it takes during electrical outages, closed roads, wide temperature changes and blizzards to keep our animals safe, healthy and disease-free. A special thank you to those who care for the animals.
As your state president, I have the opportunity to serve on the American Farm Bureau Resolutions Committee. Along with answering questions about our winter weather and the Metrodome roof collapse, I again got to participate in our policy development process.
To some our process may seem to take a long time, but we are truly a grassroots organization that honors the democratic process at the county, state and national level. It takes time to develop sound, solid Farm Bureau policy.
Tax Relief Legislation
While in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to see firsthand the debate in the Senate and the House on the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, which extends tax cuts to all Americans. This legislation addresses a critical issue for farmers and ranchers, the federal estate tax and establishes for two-years a $5 million estate tax exemption at a maximum rate of 35 percent with stepped up basis and is indexed for inflation.
This action provides temporary certainty for farmers and ranchers who are establishing plans to transfer their farms and ranches from one generation to the next, but this is a short term fix to a long term difficulty farmers and ranchers around the country face - ensuring that their family farm can be passed on to the next generation. Farm Bureau will continue to work for permanent certainty and relief from estate taxes.
The legislation also extends capital gains tax relief, tax incentives for biodiesel and ethanol and lower income tax rates for all taxpayers.
Minnesota Farm Bureau thanks Senator Klobuchar, Senator Franken, Chairman Peterson, Chairman Oberstar, Congressman Kline, Congressman Paulsen and Congressman Walz for their support.
Thank You Commissioner Gene Hugoson
I got to know Gene Hugoson, a south-central Minnesota farmer and a Farm Bureau member who served five terms in the Minnesota House as my Representative. He was first appointed commissioner in July 1995 by Governor Arne Carlson, reappointed in 1999 by Governor Jesse Ventura and reappointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2003 and 2007.
He has served as chair of the Environmental Quality Board, chair of the Next Gen Energy Board and is a past president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. A sincere thank you to Commissioner Hugoson and his wife, Patricia, for their dedication to Minnesota agriculture.
Congratulations Dave Frederickson
Minnesota Farm Bureau congratulates Dave Frederickson on being appointed by Governor-elect Mark Dayton to serve as the next commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). He has been engaged on the local, state, national and international level with farmers, agricultural organizations and elected officials.
His real world experiences will serve him well as he works to fulfill the MDA’s mission of enhancing Minnesotans’ quality of life by ensuring the integrity of our food supply, the health of our environment and the strength of our agricultural economy. Minnesota Farm Bureau is looking forward to working with him in his new role.