By Mayhah Suri
Report Compares Chesapeake Bay and Iowa Approaches to Water Quality. A comprehensive report released by the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) reveals the startling complexities and costs of curbing water pollution and why assertions that a regulatory approach is the best and only strategy are unfounded. “Contrasting Currents,” available at www.iasoybeans.com/ContrastingCurrents, compares Iowa’s strategies to improving water quality to those deployed in the Chesapeake Bay. As Iowans continue to debate best approaches for improving the quality of their rivers, lakes and streams, the bay is often referenced as the ideal for managing water pollution. Click here to read the full story: https://www.morningagclips.com/contrasting-currents/
IRS Releases 2016 Federal Estate Tax and Gift Tax Limits – Earlier this month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released the 2016 federal estate and gift tax exemption. For 2016, the exemption will be $5.45 million per individual or $10.9 million per couple. This is up $20,000 from 2015. The annual gift tax exclusion will remain at $14,000. For more on the release, see the story on Forbes at http://onforb.es/1kLDREu. To learn more about estate taxes, see Estate Planning for Farm Families: Updated for 2014 by Wes Musser, Lori Lynch, and Paul Goeringer at go.umd.edu/FarmEstatePlan. For additional information on farm transition and estate planning, see the new UME Farm Transition and Estate Planning page at go.umd.edu/agtrans.
House Ag Committee Holds Hearing on Data Issues – This week the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on data issues in agriculture. The hearing focused on the opportunities increased technology gives farmers but at the same time the issues that still exist. The witnesses featured Shannon Ferrell, friend of this site, discussing the legal issues involved in farm data. To reading opening statements of the witnesses and to see a video of the hearing, click here http://agriculture.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=2971.
Budget Deal Impacts Agriculture – This week a two-year agreement was reached by Congressional Republicans and the President would lift the debt ceiling till March of 2017. The deal did include $3 billion in cuts to the crop insurance program over the next 10 years. Farm state congressional members came out against the deal, but recently announced they will back the final deal because Congressional leaders have assured farm state members that the cuts will not be in the final deal. To learn more about the deal and the proposed cuts to the crop insurance program, click here http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2015/10/28/crop-insurance-budget-deal/74730766/.
Charges Dismissed Against Man Who Shot Down Drone – Earlier this year, a Kentucky man was arrested after shooting down a drone flying over his property. The man was charged with firing a gun within city limits. Recently, a judge dismissed those charges against the man because the drone violated the shooter’s rights to privacy. The drone owner can still bring charges before a grand jury to pursue the charges. To read more about the story, click here http://engt.co/1MvHDOo.
Maryland’s Farm Based Brewery Movement Grows. Che’ Carton and his wife Lisa grow four different varieties of hops on their northern Baltimore County farm and they hope to start brewing their own beer next year. If they succeed they will be the tenth farm brewery in the State. Farm breweries offer a chance for farmers to make extra income in much the same way as hosting pumpkin patches and corn mazes. “Craft brewing in general is a trend for a lot of consumers, who are more interested than ever in understanding where they’re made, how they’re made,” said Bart Watson, the National Brewer’s Association’s chief economist. “It doesn’t get more local than a brewery that makes their own raw materials and puts them into the finished products.” To read the full story, go here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-co-farm-brewery-20151023-story.html
Reminder: Webinar Coming Up on Nov. 5th – Curious on ag gag laws and the recent ruling holding Idaho’s to violate the 1st and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution? We will be co-sponsoring a webinar on Nov. 5th featuring Erin Hawley of the University of Missouri and Ashley Newhall to discuss the implications of the ruling and avenues left open to agricultural producers. The webinar is free to attend and is approved for CLE credit in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. To register go to go.umd.edu/AgGagWebinar.
AREC Policy and Outlook Conference is Dec. 16 – The Department of Ag and Resource Economics (AREC) annual Ag Policy and Outlook Conference will be on Dec. 16 in Annapolis MD. The conference will feature Kevin McNew, adjunct faculty member and President of GeoGrain, discussing the 2016 crop outlook, Howard Leathers and Dale Johnson discussing the 2016 dairy outlook, and Jeff Hopkins from USDA-ERS, to discuss the 2016 farm income outlook in Maryland. For a complete list of speakers and to register for the event, click over to go.umd.edu/AREC2015.