Big Ag is back on the offensive in Oklahoma, less than a year after voters defeated a bill that would have stripped the state’s residents of their ability to regulate corporate farming. The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association wants ranchers to pay an additional $1 tax per head of cattle sold in the state, and will hold a Nov. 1 vote on the tax for Oklahoma cattle producers. Family farm advocates say that much of the money collected under such checkoff taxes is funneled to private industry groups that use it to promote the interests of corporate agriculture over independent farmers.
In FERN’s latest story, produced in collaboration with Harper’s Magazine, Ted Genoways documents the struggles of a fifth-generation Nebraska farm. The article, “Bringing Home the Beans,” details the everyday difficulties that a farm family faces as it tries to harvest its crop, deal with a generational transition, and not lose money in the fluctuating commodity markets.
The first overhaul of the tax code in three decades should result in a one-page tax return for most Americans, President Trump said in Missouri, while declaring that tax reform is the foundation of job growth. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said separately that the estate tax, a bugaboo of the farm sector, should be part of the overhaul expected to be a Republican priority in Congress this fall.