Nebraska Cattlemen Applauds the Passage of the Omnibus Bill
December 18, 2015
Nebraska Cattlemen applauds the bipartisan passage of the $1.15 trillion Omnibus Appropriations Bill, today. There are several provisions in the legislation important to members of Nebraska Cattlemen.
Repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (mCOOL) was vital to stop the retaliatory tariffs going into effect from two of our largest beef trading partners, Canada and Mexico. With Nebraska being the largest exporter of beef and pork, this is of economic importance to the state. Further, a voluntary COOL system provides consumers with pricing options and producers with marketing options.
Nebraska Cattlemen feels it is positive that the omnibus maintains Congressional oversight ensuring that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans remain within the scope of nutrition and health. The most recent process excluded sound scientific evidence and brought social issues into the process.
The provision telling APHIS to conduct timely audits of trade countries' animal health status is among the positives of this bill. Keeping current on reviews is important to ensure protection of our livestock from disease.
The bill prohibits the use of any funds appropriated to the Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate rules for mandatory reporting of "greenhouse gases" by producers. Further, no funds can be used to promulgate rules for mandatory reporting of methane, carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide resulting from the biological process of cattle production. Unfortunately, the EPA's "Waters of the United States" rule is not addressed in the omnibus. However, the nation-wide stay is still in place currently.
Also, good news for Nebraska farmers and ranchers is the passage of tax extenders legislation. The tax provisions to extend charitable deduction for capital gains of real property for conservation purposes will allow producers more options in their conservation choices. Additionally, the conservation easement tax credit is made permanent. Of particular interest in Nebraska is the permanent extension of the Section 179 at $500,000, up from $25,000 previously.
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"There are many parts to this bill that are positive for Nebraska cattle producers," states President, Barb Cooksley. "We thank our Congressional delegates who voted for the Omnibus bill."