A.G. upholds Wisconsin land ownership rule

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has issued an opinion upholding the state’s restrictions on foreign ownership of agricultural land. Non-resident aliens cannot own more than 640 acres in the Badger State. Van Hollen issued the opinion at the request of State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos following an attempt by Governor Walker to repeal the… Read more »

Cuban market potential is big for agriculture

Approximately 50 percent of the Illinois corn crop is exported.  Kenneth Hartman, Illinois Corn Growers president says this week’s announcement to normalize trade relations with Cuba is a good move for agriculture.  “I think it’s a big positive for any farmer,” he says. And,  it’s a market that is easily accessible.  “When you look at… Read more »

Wisconsin ag department adds two specialists

To help producers meet growing demand, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is adding two new staff positions to support organic, grazing and specialty crop sectors. Theresa Feiner is a market development specialist and will work with agribusinesses to develop markets for Wisconsin-grown organic and specialty crops. Feiner most recently had… Read more »

What Section 179 means to your farm

In anticipation of President Obama signing the tax extenders legislation; Section 179 tax credits will be reinstated for 2014. Eric Gullicksrud is Tax and Accounting Manager for Badgerland Financial in Mondovi, Wisconsin, he says given what farm income was this year, especially for dairy and livestock producers, you may be tempted to run-out and make… Read more »

Barge user fee increase passes

A nine-cent increase in the barge user fee on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers has passed the U.S. Senate by a wide margin. The U.S. House passed the same bill earlier this month. The increase, from 20 to 29 cents a gallon for diesel fuel used to power barges, will be used to help upgrade… Read more »

Senate passes tax extenders package

The Senate has approved the tax extenders package on a 76-16 vote. It now heads for the White House for approval. The bill, which retroactively extends a package of expired tax breaks for 2014, holds key provisions for small businesses such as section 179 expensing and bonus depreciation. It also includes the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax… Read more »

Grassley pushes USDA on ‘actively engaged’

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley wants the USDA to create a new rule to better define who can qualify as “actively engaged in farming” when it comes to receiving federal farm payments. Grassley has sent a letter—co-signed by several of his congressional colleagues– to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, reminding him that the clarification of “actively engaged”… Read more »

Sasse, Ernst to join Senate Ag Committee

Newly-elected U.S. senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Joni Ernst of Iowa will have seats on the Senate Agriculture Committee in the new Congress. Sasse replaces retiring Mike Johanns of Nebraska on the committee. Ernst takes the spot held by Tom Harkin of Iowa, who is also retiring. Her appointment means Iowa will retain two… Read more »

WOTUS will continue to be the big issue in 2015

Over the weekend the Senate approved a spending bill that will keep the government funded through October 1, 2015.  Mary Kay Thatcher, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau says this bill looks to roll all of the spending bills together – with the exception of Homeland Security.  Which, she says, also includes… Read more »

Dicamba-tolerant products take another step

The USDA has published its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton, concluding that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton should be fully deregulated. Monsanto officials say the announcement moves them one step closer to providing farmers access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. The final EIS on… Read more »