Nebraska was well represented at the recent Commodity Classic in Nashville, and the state's corn producers played important roles in the National Corn Growers Association policy sessions that were part of the event.
Bob Dickey of Laurel, as first vice president of NCGA, presided over the policy resolution process. He said delegates spent a considerable amount of time discussing tax policies that may affect land prices - specifically, Section 1031 tax-deferred exchanges of farmland.
"It was a close vote, but in the end the delegates voted in favor of restricting 1031 exchanges of farmland on an acre-for-acre basis only," Dickey says. "While some delegates thought this resolution was too restrictive, others felt strongly that changing 1031 rules would make land prices more reflective of the marketplace."
Immigration was another issue addressed by NCGA delegates. By a vote of 97 to 20, they called for an identification and fingerprinting system to help track the status of immigrants who are agricultural employees. They also asked that the burden of proving the legal status of immigrant employees be removed from employers.
"This is the first time NCGA has adopted a policy on immigration," Dickey says. "Finding good farm laborers is a big problem in agriculture, not just for corn producers, but also for our friends in the livestock industry. What we're saying is we need immigrants in our agricultural work force, and we're asking the federal government to put a system in place that makes this work for all of us."
Another resolution passed by the NCGA delegates dealt with beef exports. "This resolution was brought forward by the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association, in support of our beef industry," according to Dickey. "It calls for the open and fair trade of beef using internationally recognized World Organization of Animal Health standards. We're very disappointed that certain countries continue to restrict imports of U.S. beef based on their own unreasonable regulations."
Dickey said he was proud of the leadership shown by the Nebraska delegates, including David Merrrell of St. Edward, Dave Nielsen of Lincoln, Dennis Gengenbach of Smithfield, Jon Holzfaster of Paxton, Randy Uhrmacher of Juniata, Lynn Chrisp of Kenesaw, Steve Wiese of Wilber and Rick Gruber of Benedict.
"Next year should be even bigger, when the members of the National Sorghum Producers Association become part of Commodity Classic, joining corn, soybean and wheat producers from all across the U.S," Dickey says.