Legislative Action News, March 5, 2013

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OMB Releases Sequestration Report
By Stephen Frerichs

Last Saturday the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a report for the sequestration of Fiscal Year 2013 funds as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The across the board cuts are now slated for implementation starting on March 1st. The OMB report provides calculations of the amounts and percentages by which various budgetary resources are required to be reduced, and a listing of the reductions required for each non-exempt budget account. It is clear from the report that crop insurance is not subject to sequestration while direct payments and ACRE are at 5.1%.

Download a copy of the report.

CBO Revises Farm Bill Estimates
By Stephen Frerichs

Last week the Congressional Budget Office released a report detailing updated cost estimates of the farm bill legislation that was considered in the Senate and the House during the 112th Congress.  Basically both versions would save money compared to a continuation of the 2008 farm bill, but significantly less.  Instead of saving $23.5 billion over 10 years, the new estimate results in the Senate version saving $13.1 billion over 10 years. The House version drops from $35.1 billion to $26.6 billion.

The new estimates reflect changes in the CBO expectation of commodity prices, which raises the cost of the ARC, and dairy assistance. Moreover, the savings from cutting the size of the CRP are over $1 billion less because of recent lower enrollment in the CRP.  The new estimates also reflect a change in CBO assumptions regarding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation.

The new estimates do not appear to include the impact of the across the board sequestration. You can find a copy of the report here: http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/s3240_hr6083_Stabenow_Ltr.pdf 

USDA Announces CRP General Sign-up
By Stephen Frerichs

USDA will conduct a four-week general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) beginning May 20 and ending on June 14. Additional sign-ups for continuous CRP programs-such as Highly Erodible Land Initiative and Initiative to Restore Grasslands, Wetlands and Wildlife will be announced in spring 2013.

Currently, about 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP. Contracts on 3.3 million acres of CRP are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2013. Producers with expiring contracts or producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP.

House Agriculture Committee Adopts Budget Views and Estimates Letter
By Stephen Frerichs

Last week the House Agriculture Committee approved a letter to House Budget Chairman Ryan providing its views and estimates for the fiscal year 2014 budget cycle.  The Committee says adopting a farm bill this year is its top priority.  The Committee also plans to continue its oversight of regulations that affect jobs and the economies of rural communities. The Committee expects to continue oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and a review of the adequacy of customer protections authorized under the Commodity Exchange Act. You can find a copy of the letter here: http://agriculture.house.gov/sites/republicans.agriculture.house.gov/files/pdf/business-meeting/BVEFY14final.pdf

‘Duty of care’ explored in appraisal negligent misrepresentation case
From Valuation Review

An Arizona appellate court addressed the purely legal issue of whether a trial court correctly ruled that an appraiser did not owe a duty of care to a lender as a matter of law, after the lender filed a complaint against the appraisal company for negligent misrepresentation. The appraiser had countered that he owed no duty to the lender because the appraisals were intended specifically for someone else’s use alone.
Read more on the Valuation Review website: http://www.valuationreview.com/VR/ArticlesVR/57356.aspx

“Historic Bills Are Destined to Fail Structurally and Politically”

Eileen M. Smith, M.Arch., an historic preservationist and architect, writes about Kansas House Bill 2118 and HB 2089 regarding the maintenance, protection and preservation of historic buildings.  The benefits of historic preservation are often not clear to communities, local governments and property owners who can benefit with tax credits, cultural identity and heritage tourism. Download the pdf to read more. 

Conservation Easement Enhanced Incentive

As part of the fiscal cliff deal Congress passed, farmers, ranchers and other modest-income land owners will be able to increase the pace of conservation by about a third.  The new legislation renewed tax breaks for landowners who permanently protect environmentally sensitive or historic properties.

Read more about this topic in Wall Street Journal article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324468104578249664107325972.html?mod=googlenews_wsj#articleTabs%3Darticle
Read more about conservation easements on the Land Trust Alliance website: http://www.landtrustalliance.org/policy/tax-matters/campaigns/the-enhanced-easement-incentive

National Ag Day

Generations Nourishing Generations
March 19, 2013
http://www.agday.org/

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