Feb 14, 2017
Top 5 industry topics to keep an eye on

There is a lot going on in Washington, D.C. The National Potato Council has created a short list of things that are in play in Washington D.C., that matter to the potato industry.

Trade — The potato industry strongly encourages the Administration and Congress to consider improvements to NAFTA, TPP and other bilateral or regional agreements through continued direct engagement with our trading partners. President Trump has indicated he will renegotiate NAFTA and pursue bilateral agreements with key trading partners. NPC stands ready to work with the administration to modernize NAFTA and complete new bilateral agreements that preserve and expand upon the export gains already achieved for the potato industry.

USDA/EPA Confirmations — The confirmation of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency could occur by mid-February and the approval of former Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue to be Secretary of Agriculture by mid-March. These two picks should be good news for specialty crop producers.

Immigration Reform — The agriculture industry needs Congress and the Administration to approve balanced measures to retain members of the existing improperly-documented workforce and to create a workable guest worker program. These enhancements must be signed into law and fully implemented before any mandatory enforcement program is required.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Purchases — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway has indicated he will hold a hearing soon on SNAP. The hearing will draw on a report from the Committee published last November detailing foods typically purchased by SNAP households. The report indicated that SNAP participant’s purchases are similar to those of individuals ineligible for SNAP benefits. At some point in the future proposals to ban or limit sugary drinks or other low-nutrition foods from SNAP purchases are likely to come before the Committee.

Tax Reform — The positive news is that there is support, perhaps even bipartisan support, to move a major tax reform package. For agriculture this presents an opportunity to eliminate the estate tax and make accelerated depreciation permanent. The cautionary news is that there is a wide ranging discussion about the role of import taxes in such tax reform bill. Depending on the structure of a border tax there could be negative repercussions for export oriented industries like agriculture.

For more information, visit www.nationalpotatocouncil.org.

Source: National Potato Council






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