NACD Joins with Other Groups to Support Estate Tax Reform

Randall Weiseman Citrus, Field Crops, General, Livestock, Specialty Crops

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Sept. 15, 2010—The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is joining forces with agriculture production and environmental advocacy groups in support of the Family Farm Estate Tax Deferral Act of 2010 (S.3664). The Act, sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would exempt family farms and ranches from the estate tax, and update existing estate tax incentives for voluntary, permanent protection of lands with conservation values.

“The estate tax is a serious obstacle to keeping agricultural lands intact and productive,” said NACD President Steve Robinson. “Without estate tax relief, many of these lands will be sold for development, and we’ll in turn see permanent declines in clean water, healthy soils, wildlife habitat and the other critical benefits they provide.”

Earlier this week, NACD, the American Sheep Industry Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Land Trust Alliance, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council, and the Nature Conservancy sent a letter to Senator Feinstein in support of her bill.

“Nearly three quarters of the land in the lower 48 states of the U.S. is in private ownership, with the vast majority owned by farmers and ranchers,” stated the groups in the letter. “These lands are vital to both healthy ecosystems and vibrant rural communities. They provide clean water, climate benefits, food and fiber production, and wildlife habitat.”

“The estate tax, as currently formulated, promotes the break-up, sale and development of family-owned farms, ranches, and green spaces,” the letter continues. “This bill will reduce the financial burden which currently impedes the handing down of productive, intact, agricultural operations to America’s next generation of producers and land stewards.”

To view the full letter, click here.