The prediction that the world will need 100 percent more food by 2050 is, at best, concerning. U.S. consumers continue to have the luxury of access to a variety of ample, affordable, safe food; they deserve to have the privilege of continuing to be so fortunate with their food supply. The U.S. Estate Tax could prove to be a future road block to world food security.
Thanks to the efforts of Representative Glenn Thompson (GT) we are one step closer to preserving food availability for future generations. His work to help change the U.S. Estate Tax code has done more to protect the future of the U.S. food supply than any other single act. Farmers and ranchers face a number of factors that are unpredictable and beyond their control each season, from changing weather to fluctuating markets. These family-run businesses need a tax code that encourages investment, rather than one that punishes their success and prevents agricultural families from being able to pass the family business from one generation to the next. Many times the cost of success results in a steep inheritance tax burden for agriculture. Many times surviving family members are left with few options other than selling off part or all of their land to pay estate taxes.
This practice, if continued, will eventually result in the loss of the U.S. food security we currently enjoy. Given the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 in the U.S. House of Representatives, we are now one step closer to tax reform that will help farm families invest in the future and pass their businesses on to other family members interested in continuing to provide food for the world population.
Not just anyone is interested in continuing the family farm. The countless hours and hard work that go into growing America’s food supply are not appealing to the majority of America’s population. Long hours and dangerous dirty conditions are all part of American agriculture. Less than 2 percent of the U.S. Population provides the domestic dietary needs of more than just the U.S. Population.
It takes a person with the passion, drive and desire to be in agriculture to continue the future of American agriculture. The people most interested are family members that have grown up in the industry. Why should we as a country have something like estate tax stand in the way of our children’s future food security? Don’t we all want the future generations to have access to as good a food source as we have had growing up?
U.S. agriculture is something for all of us to be proud of. We thank Representative Thompson for his efforts to protect our food security with the introduction of the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015. We can only hope the U.S. Senate will follow the lead of the House of Representatives and pass Estate Tax reform for the security of the U.S. food supply.
Daniel M. Kniffen, VP Centre County Farm Bureau