Oklahoma Ag Groups Join Forces to Urge Passage of SB 422Wed, 12 May 2021 04:05:11 CDT
Eleven of Oklahoma’s leading agricultural industry groups are calling on the state Legislature to approve Senate Bill 422 by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Dell Kerbs.
Representing thousands of farmers and ranchers across the state, a coalition including American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association, Oklahoma Agriculture Cooperative Council, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Oklahoma Cotton Council, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association, Oklahoma Pork Council, Oklahoma Sorghum Association, Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association and Oklahoma Panhandle Agriculture Irrigation Association is urging the state Senate to advance the bill to provide more options for producers to secure a state agriculture sales tax exemption permit.
Many of the groups have heard concerns from producers who have faced difficulties obtaining an agriculture sales tax exemption permit.
SB 422 gives flexibility to farmers and ranchers who are applying for or renewing an agricultural sales tax exemption permit by providing several options to show proof of eligibility. In addition to applying for a permit through a county assessor, the bill allows applicants to qualify for the exemption by providing documentation from one of four categories including a federal tax form, a business description form, a USDA FSA program form or an Oklahoma Tax Commission-created form to verify they are involved in production agriculture.
Below are statements from industry group leaders.
“SB 422 is vital to the livelihoods of many farmers and ranchers across Oklahoma. By providing a number of options for ag producers to prove their eligibility for the ag sales tax exemption, the bill will ensure Oklahoma farmers and ranchers - who are already eligible for the exemption by state statute - continue to have access to the critical business tool. Since our organization’s beginning, Farm Bureau members have labored to ensure Oklahoma farmers and ranchers have access to the critical ag sales tax exemption. We urge our state senators to support agriculture producers and agribusiness by voting yes on SB 422.” - Rodd Moesel, Oklahoma Farm Bureau president
“Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers are an integral part of our state’s economy; it is essential we foster a regulatory environment that keeps farming operations successful and encourages the next generation of producers. Clarifying Oklahoma’s agricultural sales tax exemption process will provide certainty to our producers, while also providing eligibility guidelines for regulators that ensure the ag sales tax exemption is reserved for active farmers and ranchers. In today’s challenging legislative environment, I’m pleased to say this bill has been championed by the entire agriculture community and AFR/OFU Cooperative is glad to support it.” - Scott Blubaugh, AFR/OFU president
“The agriculture sales tax exemption is critical to the success of Oklahoma’s livestock farmers and ranchers. No matter the number of cattle owned, they all find their way into the food chain to nourish families with healthy, nutritious, great tasting beef. It is important that all livestock producers, large, medium and small, have a clear definition of the documentation they can provide to assure the tax exemption is being used appropriately. SB 422 provides this clarity and OCA is honored to work with the many Oklahoma agriculture organizations to bring it to completion. We respectfully ask all Oklahoma senators to vote ‘yes’ on SB 422.” - Mike Weeks, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association president
“The agricultural sales tax exemption is a vital tool to the success of our farmer-owners. As retailers, not only is it important that Oklahoma farmers and ranchers continue to have access to this tool, but it’s also vitally important to the agricultural retail infrastructure to keep Oklahoma farmers and ranchers on the same playing fields as surrounding states. SB 422 creates clarity in the process of obtaining the card as well as ensures that active farmers and ranchers are the only folks eligible for the card. We are proud to stand with the entire agricultural community in support of this bill, and humbly ask that each Senator support SB 422 and vote yes.” - Audrey Hofferber, Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council board chair
“The eligibility for agricultural tax exemption and the process to receive the exemption are both provided for in SB 422. It is important to have this process be in statute and that farmers and ranchers have a clear method for receiving this exemption. SB 422 covers the many different forms of agriculture in our state and gives direction to our retail suppliers. Thank you to the legislators who have the foresight to move this legislation forward.” - Phil Bohl, Oklahoma Cotton Council chairman
“The current law directing producers to make application with their county assessor for certification that they meet the criteria for the agriculture exemption is the most effective way to verify that a person is engaged, for profit, in the business of farming or ranching. There is, however, other official federal government documentation which provides reliable verification options for legitimate producers who are unable to receive certification from their county assessor. Agriculture producers who meet the qualifications must be able to renew their ag exemption efficiently as they always have so agribusiness retailers can have copies of those cards on file by June 30 when existing permits expire to ensure ag retailers can remain in compliance with state laws.” - Jeff Hickman, CEO, Oklahoma Grain & Feed, Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers, Oklahoma Wheat Growers and Oklahoma Sorghum Associations.
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