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County Farm Bureaus meet with Rep. Hare and discuss clean water, tax extenders

May 26, 2010

17th District Congressman Phil Hare spent about an hour and half  last Saturday with about a dozen members of the Rock Island and Henry County Farm Bureaus in Rock Island.    

Farm Bureau members discussed a wide variety of issues with Rep. Hare including H.R. 5088, the latest attempt by House transportation committee chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) to remove the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act.

A member of the transportation committee, Rep. Hare expressed concerns about the bill and stated that he would not cosponsor H.R 5088 which would substantially increase federal jurisdiction over surface water in the United States bringing drainage ditches and farm ponds under EPA and Corps regulation.

IFB recently sent a letter to Illinois members asking them not to cosponsor the bill and to request a hearing on the bill to explore the potential impact of the bill on farmers.  

American Farm Bureau Federation is a member of a broad coalition strongly opposed to the latest Oberstar bill.

Farm Bureau members asked Rep. Hare to  vote for H.R. 4213 a bill that contains a one-year extension of the biodiesel tax credit and other tax provisions important to production agriculture including a continuation of accelerated five-year depreciation for farm machinery and equipment.

By early summer, EPA is expected to rule on a proposed waiver to increase the ethanol blend level from 10 percent to 15-percent.  Rep. Hare said he supports the demand building effort.   

Hare recently sent a letter to Illinois colleagues encouraging them to sign on to Rep. John Shimkus’ bill to extend the ethanol tax credit and tariff on imported ethanol for five years.

County Farm Bureau members also expressed IFB’s desire to see estate tax reform this year.  IFB supports an increase in the personal exemption to an inflation adjusted $5 million dollars per person and a reduced tax rate from 45 to 35 percent.   Without congressional action this year, the death tax will be resurrected in 2011 with a $1 million personal exemption and 55 percent tax rate.

Farmers also explained to the congressman the challenges they face if EPA ignores the science, folds to the pressure of environmental groups, and phases out the use of Atrazine or if EPA decides to impose pesticide application rules that open the door for citizens to sue farmers for spray drift.

Congressman Hare pledged to continue to work for appropriations to begin construction on new 1,200-foot locks on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers and said he has requested House agriculture committee chairman Collin Peterson schedule a farm bill field hearing in western Illinois.

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