Friday, August 1, 2008

Brian Davis for Congress: Agricultural Policy

August 01, 2008
Davis and agricultural policy

Brian Davis, the GOP endorsed candidate for Congress in the First Congressional District, and his campaign's Agricultural Advisory Group, issued an Agricultural Policy Statement today, encompasing a wide range of principles including free and fair trade, protecting and improving Minnesota's water resources, estate and capital gains tax policy. It is also seeks to contrast Davis' positions on agricultural position with those of DFL Congressman Tim Walz.
Free and Fair Trade - Access to markets for agricultural products are key for the survival of agriculture in Minnesota. The recent vote by Congressman Walz and others in Congress against the Columbian Free Trade Agreement is viewed as working in opposition to the important interests of our farmers. According to the U.S. State Department, tariffs on 77 percent of all agricultural tariff lines to Columbia - more than 52 percent of the value of current U.S. farm exports - will be eliminated immediately upon implementation of this important agreement, and the remaining tariffs will be phased out over 19 years. Brian Davis strongly supports increased access to world markets for our agricultural products.
Fuel Prices and Economic Well-Being of Agriculture - The cost of energy and oil affect all aspects of our economy, particularly the agricultural community. Markedly rising input costs have an adverse downstream effect. The full effect has not been felt yet by consumers in the grocery store or with home heating bills. In stark contrast to Congressman Walz's views on domestic oil and natural gas development, Brian Davis and the Advisory Group strongly favor increased development of these resources in the United States, including offshore and in Alaska, as part of the solution to the nation's current energy problems.
Protecting and Improving Minnesota's Water Resources - Clean water and a healthy environment are critical to agriculture and to all residents of Minnesota. Brian is a cancer physician who brings health-care expertise to this issue and he strongly supports reasonable and effective efforts in this area. However, Congressman Walz supports legislation (H.R. 2421) which could trigger the largest-ever expansion of Federal powers over all waters in our state. The current proposed legislation is viewed as an infringement on property rights and would adversely affect local control. This legislation has the potential to undermine agriculture and agriculture-related industry in our District.
Value-Added Agriculture - Minnesota is among the leaders in the development of value-added agriculture and renewable fuels. As an engineer with work experience in the energy industry, Brian understands that we must continue to develop alternative energy sources while supporting efficient and clean use of conventional sources. The energy sector of the First District related to agriculture, including ethanol, biodiesel, and wind power makes rural Minnesota an energy provider and produces a positive economic impact.
Direction of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) - Brian supports the CRP for protecting land that is environmentally sensitive including highly erodible and marginal cropland. Acres that are scheduled to expire from the CRP in the next two years and thereafter that are not environmentally sensitive should be considered for return into agricultural production.
Estate and Capital Gains Tax Policy - The current estate tax that is scheduled to increase on January 1, 2011 will place a tremendous financial burden on families who wish to pass down a farm from one generation to the next, particularly in the current setting of increased land prices where it is difficult to start a farming operation. Likewise, expiration of the capital gains tax rates and their subsequent increase pose an excessive tax burden which will be placed on farmers choosing to sell property and assets. Brian Davis wants to promote an environment where young farmers can continue the family business. Congressman Walz's positions on these tax issues are not helping farmers transfer their assets to our next generation of farmers or to realize the equity built up from years of hard work.
Posted on August 01, 2008 at 01:35 PM