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Congresswoman McClain Joins Farmers to Discuss Proposals That Will Kill Family Farms

April 20, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This weekend, Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-MI), alongside dozens of farmers from Michigan’s 10th Congressional District, discussed the serious implications of proposals to changes in the death tax and a repeal of step-up in basis to capital gains tax would have on family farms.

Rep. McClain is pushing the Biden Administration to reconsider these proposals and penned a letter to the president asking him to work in a bipartisan fashion to address the actual needs of the American people.

“Two percent of the American labor force is farmers, if we put the family farmer out of business, who is going to be feeding us,” asked Rep. McClain. “These proposed tax hikes will do nothing but harm local communities, family farms, small businesses and average Americans.”

“This is the kind of policy that eliminates family farms. Families can’t afford to tie up that kind of money,” said State Senator Dan Lauwers, who also runs his multi-generational family farm. “It’s going to be corporations that run farms as a business, not as a family.”

“With the loss of that stepped-up basis, the next generation may be forced to sell off large portions of the vital farm assets just to pay that capital gains tax,” said Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski. “As a result, economic viability of our farms would be severely impacted, in fact, we may see farms discontinue and go out of business.”

“If our farm had to burden these new taxes at death, it could very well mean selling the land or even leaving agriculture to pursue a new career to pay these taxes. I don’t want to imagine what this could do to our agricultural sector in MI,” said Rita Herford, a multi-generational farmer of corn, soybeans, wheat and sugar beets at her family farm in Minden City.

We produce on a very small margin and the assets are something that we need, something that we have that we need to produce our product,” said third-generation farmer, Clint Stoutenburg.

“These proposals would cripple agriculture and they certainly need to be looked at very hard. It’s something we can’t deal with very easily,” said Rick Gerstenberger, Vice President of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association and third-generation farmer.

“You can see today the goal of these farms is to hand it off in a better operating and financial position. The proposed law is a huge blow to that goal, it straps generational transfers with debt loads that may or may not be supported by business operations. It will cause farming families to consider their options. Do they take the debt loan on, do they sell part of the farm to pay the tax, or do they get out of farming all together,” said family farmer and GreenStone legal and legislative officer, Becky Taylor.

For video of the press conference, click here.

For photos, click here.

For a copy of the letter Rep. McClain wrote to President Biden, click here.