Legislative Action News, January 22, 2013

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Will Direct Payments Be Made for 2013 Crop?
By Stephen Frerichs

For those of you planning budgets for your clients for 2013 the issue of whether direct payments will be made for the 2013 crop is critical. While addressing the American Farm Bureau Federation members during its annual meeting, Secretary Vilsack said USDA will make 2013 direct payments in the fall of 2013. But he also mused that Congress could use the direct payment budget authority as a tool to cut the deficit before next fall, adding some uncertainty about whether the program will stay in place for the 2013 crop.

In response, House Agriculture Chairman Lucas issued a statement last week saying: “While farmers and ranchers have been denied the five years of certainty a new farm bill would provide, folks in Washington need to stop the guessing game about farm policy for the 2013 crop year, especially with respect to direct payments. The existing safety net was extended a year to provide the certainty producers need for the 2013 crop year. This is the law of the land. Anyone familiar with the business of agriculture knows that producers across the country are making spring planting decisions and securing operating loans as we speak. And, I fully expect sign-up for the 2013 crop year — including direct payments — to begin as soon as possible. I assure you that the five-year farm bill that we will mark up in my Committee will honor the commitment Congress made to growers when it extended the 2008 farm bill to cover the 2013 crop year.”

USDA to Allow ACRE Choice
By Stephen Frerichs

One of the questions that the farm bill extension raises is whether the choice to participate in the ACRE program following implementation of the 2008 farm bill would remain binding. Secretary Vilsack told the American Farm Bureau Federation members that he intends to allow producers the option of joining or leaving the ACRE program for the 2013 crop year.

Administration’s Budget Delayed this Year
By Stephen Frerichs

By law, the President’s spending proposal is due the first Monday in February, which will be Feb. 4. But Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients told House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan (R-WI) in a letter delivered last week that the budget will not be delivered by Feb. 4. This is a direct result of the uncertainty created by fiscal cliff negotiations and the delay of the 2013 sequester by two months. The White House and Office of Management and Budget have not said when the budget will be released.

New appraisal requirements for higher-priced mortgages

Valuation Review
Legal News Wednesday, January 16, 2013
By: Nathan Marinchick

Lenders will be required to obtain a written appraisal from a certified or licensed appraiser and meet other requirements before making a higher-priced mortgage loan under a joint rule approved by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) board on Jan. 15.

The final rule, “Appraisals for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans,” includes important changes in response to public comments. Notably, while Dodd-Frank specified certain protections for “higher-risk mortgage loans,” the final rule adopted the term “higher-priced mortgage loans,” a category of mortgage loan defined under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). Commenters noted that the terms had similar definitions, and they urged the six regulatory agencies tasked with writing the rule to harmonize those definitions to avoid confusion. Read more: http://www.valuationreview.com/VR/ArticlesVR/New-appraisal-requirements-for-higherpriced-mortga-56995.aspx?utm_source=vwVRget&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=VR_Thurs_Enews

Fiscal cliff legislation contained farm equipment windfall
Jennifer Morrill, Western Farm Press

In terms of tractor and other farm machinery purchases, “there was a huge windfall in the 2013 tax legislation,” says Roger McEowen, director of Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation.

One of the greatest sources of uncertainty for farmers in 2012 was over tax provisions set to expire on Dec. 31.

Congress kept everyone in suspense working on the “Fiscal Cliff” package containing the new tax provisions right through 2012 and into the early days of 2013. President Obama signed “The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” on Jan. 2.
Read more on the Western Farm Press website: http://westernfarmpress.com/equipment/fiscal-cliff-legislation-contained-farm-equipment-windfall?NL=WFP-01&Issue=WFP-01_20130121_WFP-01_320&YM_RID=sgruba@asfmra.org&YM_MID=1367383&sfvc4enews=42

2012 Top 10 Federal Produce Policy Featured Articles

1. Illegal Immigrant Issues for Fruit and Vegetable Growers 
2. San Joaquin Valley Farming Described by NYT
3. Stanford Study Questions the Benefit of Organic Foods
4. Many Apples, No One to Harvest Them
5. Obama Loses the Broccoli Battle, but Wins the War

6. Organic Specialty Crops Gain Additional Benefits in Senate Committee 2012 Farm Bill
7. Agriculture Leaders in Congress Vow to Pass Farm Bill
8. 2012 Farm Bill Officially Introduced in the Senate
9. Crop Insurance and Value of Farm Land
10. Universities and Specialty Crops Benefit from State Block Grant Program and SCRI

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