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Agricultural News

NCBA Confident Congress More Productive in 2015

Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:54:05 CST

NCBA Confident Congress More Productive in 2015

Now that we are passed the State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, agricultural organizations can concentrate on things that Congress will be focusing on this year. According to National Cattlemen's Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall, he is excited about the prospect of getting things done in 2015.

Three areas of priority for NCBA are taxes, trade and transportation. Woodall is optimistic work can begin on all three areas, especially with the Senate controlled by Republicans.   He said there are some new committee chairman that will be willing to address a lot of topics that haven't been addressed in recent years. One being ongoing concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency. He said one of the committees with jurisdiction over the agency is the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, which is now chaired by Oklahoma's Senator Jim Inhofe.

"He (Inholfe) has made it very clear that fighting EPA and pushing back on 'Waters of the United States', is going to be top priority of his," Woodall said.

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Woodall on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.

In looking at other issues like taxes, transportation and trade, there is always a hook with the agriculture committee. Woodall said with Kansas Senator Pat Roberts serving as the leading Republican on the Agriculture Committee, he looks for Roberts to be involved in all discussions that have an impact on agriculture. Roberts will be supported through the Appropriations process by fellow Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, who is going to take over as the chair of that subcommittee.

"So we are feeling really good about the committee leadership that we have and their willingness to take on our issues," Woodall said.

With the GOP in charge of the Senate, Woodall said he is hopeful things will finally get done after a lot of gridlock. A major area to be addressed this year is tax reform. Woodall said the nation needs overall tax reform to prevent having another year like 2014.

"Where we had to hustle to try to get the tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013, such as bonus depreciation and section 179 put back in place," Woodall said. "It was a bit of a Chinese fire drill that we cannot afford to do year in, year out.   We need certainty in the tax code, especially for producers and the only way we are going to get that is with overall tax reform and we believe the Senate is up to that task."

Secondly, NCBA would like to see reauthorization of the Transportation Bill. Woodall said that would address the infrastructure for trucks carrying cattle to market and increasing trailer weight limits. He said the nation needs a true change in funding and improving infrastructure as short term two year authorization bills are not enough.

Finally, trade continues to be a high priority for cattle producers. Woodall said they know the Senate Finance Committee will take a leadership role in getting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) reauthorized and ultimately getting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement passed. This agreement would be between the United States and 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam). If signed TPP would help the U.S. significantly grow agricultural exports.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.


Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Colin Woodall
right-click to download mp3


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