READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, December 7th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Scott Makes History as First African American Chair of House Ag Committee

Congressman David Scott of Georgia made history last Thursday by officially being named the first African American Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. The Democratic Caucus approved him to lead the Committee that oversees American agriculture, forestry, nutrition, and rural development. “I’m honored to be chosen by my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus to serve as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee,” says Scott. “I will use this historic opportunity to represent the values of our entire caucus and advance our priorities on trade, disaster aid, climate change, sustainable agriculture, SNAP, crop insurance, small family farms, specialty crops, and rural broadband.” Scott also says the fault lines between rural and urban communities are running deep and will “lead the fight” to rise and meet the challenges. Scott has been in Congress and a member of the House Agriculture Committee since 2003. In his various leadership roles on the House Ag Committee, Scott has chaired the Subcommittees on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit, as well as Livestock and Foreign Agriculture. The new House Ag Chair grew up working on his grandparents’ farm and understands the critical role ag plays in the nation’s economy.

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U.S. Ag Groups Congratulate Scott

American agricultural groups congratulated Georgia Congressman David Scott on officially being named Chairman of the House Ag Committee. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “Scott’s legislative experience, a childhood working on his grandparents’ farm, and being the first African American chosen to lead the committee all give him a unique perspective needed to tackle rural America’s challenges.” Rob Larew, President of the National Farmers Union, says, “Representative Scott has been a member of the House Ag Committee for the past 18 years and has garnered a reputation for bipartisanship.” National Chicken Council President Mike Brown is pleased that Scott is the first Georgia House member to hold the top spot. “As a committee veteran and long-time member of the Congressional Chicken Caucus, he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of agricultural issues to the chairmanship.” The outgoing House Ag Chair, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, says, “David Scott knows very well the impact the Committee’s work has on the lives of farmers, ranchers, rural residents, and consumers in communities across the country. I’m confident U.S. agriculture is in good and capable hands.”

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Peterson Would Consider Ag Secretary Post, Introduces Bill on CRP

Outgoing House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson tells the Hagstrom Report he’s not currently job hunting. However, he has offered to assist Joe Biden in setting up his agriculture policy. Peterson spoke to reporters during a news conference about a bill he introduced to make an additional 25 million acres available over the next five years for general Conservation Reserve Program signup. Instead of a cap on the program, the bill establishes a minimum requirement of 50 million CRP acres around the nation. The signup cap is currently 27 million acres. When questioned about his potential interest in becoming USDA Ag Secretary, Peterson responded with, “I’m going to back whoever he picks. It’s not my job to pick the next Ag Secretary.” Peterson says he’s been “in the saddle” of public life for more than four decades. During a recent hunting trip with his children, they told him he “seems like a different person.” Peterson says his emotions surrounding the election are mixed, and that’s he’s not looking for a full-time, four-year job. He did tell the transition team in Washington, D.C., that he was willing to consider helping with the agricultural transition. “There are plenty of good people out there who could be the next secretary,” Peterson adds.

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NCGA Asking Farmers to Contact Congress on Next Generation Fuels Act

The National Corn Growers Association is continuously looking for new and creative ways to build demand for corn through the development of new products and markets. Since 2005, NCGA says the Renewable Fuels Standard has helped promote both energy independence and a stable U.S. economy. The Next Generation Fuels Act, or H.R. 8371, is the next step in corn farmers’ efforts to build on the success of the RFS to continue growing the role of low-carbon, affordable, and renewable ethanol in the fuel supply. NCGA says not only does the legislation yield economic benefits for rural America, but it also results in commonsense environmental benefits. Congress will adjourn in mid-December, so this week is a critical time to raise awareness and build additional support for the Next Generation Fuels Act. Farmers and industry stakeholders who contact Congress now will help set the stage for the legislation to be reintroduced and considered in the new Congress in 2021. Corn farmers can learn more about the benefits of transitioning the fuel supply to high octane fuel at ncga.com/octane.

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Soybean Association, Business Groups Ask Congress to Overturn IRS Notice

The American Soybean Association and 564 business groups called on Congress to overturn IRS Notice 2020-32 and allow Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness to be entirely tax-free. Although the Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security Act included a provision stating that any portion of a PPP loan that qualified for loan forgiveness “shall be excluded from gross income” for tax purposes, the IRS later issued a notice which specified that “no deduction is allowed under the Internal Revenue Code if the payment of the expense results in forgiveness of a covered loan under section 1106b of the CARES Act.” This ruling was enacted after PPP loans became available and were distributed, and it transforms tax-free loan forgiveness into taxable income. In a letter to Congressional leadership, the groups highlighted the sense of urgency to reverse the IRS ruling before the end of the year to prevent a potentially significant tax increase on small business owners who applied for and spent their PPP loans before the notice came out. Many of those business owners are still struggling with government-mandated shutdowns or slowdowns.

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Registration Open for Farm Bureau Virtual Convention

The American Farm Bureau Federation officially opened up the registration period for the 2021 American Farm Bureau Virtual Convention on January 10-13. For the first time in history, the group waived all registration fees to give all Farm Bureau members, as well as anyone interested in agriculture, the opportunity to experience one of agriculture’s premier events from the comfort and safety of home. “We are excited to open up the doors of this event and to bring home the high-quality content our attendees have come to expect from our events,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Our featured speakers this year are no strangers to Farm Bureau.” Duvall says they’re honored to have Mike Rowe of the hit tv series Dirty Jobs and his newest show called Returning the Favor. He’ll join the virtual convention as the special guest during a fireside chat in the closing general session. Land O’ Lakes President and CEO Beth Ford will also join the convention to talk about hot topics and issues facing agriculture. The event also features an inspirational keynote address from Navy Seal Commander Rorke T. Denver.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.