News Releases

Date: 12/3/2009

Title: NCBA Opposes House Proposal to Extend Current Estate Tax Law

WASHINGTON – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is extremely disappointed that Congress has ignored repeated calls for estate tax (“death tax”) reform. The House Rules Committee announced today that H.R. 4154 by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) will be considered under a closed rule. The Pomeroy bill would permanently extend the death tax at 2009 levels, without indexing for inflation.

“The Pomeroy bill is a disservice to America’s family farmers and other small businesses,” said NCBA President Gary Voogt. “By keeping a flawed law in place, Congress will simply extend our problems with the current system into the future.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS), farm estates are 5-20 times more likely to incur estate taxes than other estates. In fact, according to ERS estimates, one in ten farm estates (farms with sales of $250,000 or more annually) are likely to owe estate taxes in 2009. Farmers and ranchers are often forced to sell off land, equipment, or even the entire ranch just to pay off tax liabilities. This is money that could otherwise be re-invested to grow the family business and hand it down to future generations.

This is not a tax on the ‘wealthy elite’,” Voogt continued. “It is a huge burden—and in some cases, a death sentence—on family farms and small businesses.”

Most cattle producers have businesses that have been passed down through the generations for more than 50 years, and 15 percent of producers have operations that have been in the family for more than 100 years. Most of the time, these assets have already faced taxes two or three times over the course of a lifetime. 

Taxing America’s farmers and ranchers out of business will impact all Americans,” Voogt continued. “Not only do our family farmers play a critical role in feeding the world’s growing population and American families right here at home, they also help preserve our nation’s treasured open space and environmental resources.” 

NCBA continues to support a dual-track approach for death tax reform, including additional relief and an overall exemption for agriculture. Both types of reform are critical.

“A simple extension of current law is unacceptable,” said Voogt. “America's farmers and ranchers deserve more than the status quo; they deserve true reform.”

A vote on H.R. 4154 is expected on the House floor this Thursday, December 3rd. For more information, visit:

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