Jun 1, 2021
Biden’s budget would eliminate NIFA potato research grants

Reviewing the proposed FY 2022 budget, released May 28 by President Joe Biden, the National Potato Council (NPC) learned the proposal calls for eliminating funding for National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Potato Research Special Grants, which totaled $2.8 million in 2021.

For more than 30 years, NPC has worked with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to secure NIFA funding in order to support competitive potato breeding projects across the country.

“This announcement today by the Biden Administration is disappointing,” said NPC President Dominic LaJoie. “Now is not the time to be reducing federal resources for cutting edge agricultural research conducted by universities across the United States. NPC strongly opposes these cuts to funding that has been supported by Congress on a bipartisan basis for years.”

NPC intends to work with Congress to reject the proposed cuts and ensure that this valuable bipartisan investment is maintained and enhanced in the FY22 Appropriations process.

NPC opposes death tax increase

As a member of the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition (FBETC), NPC and coalition partners wrote to Senate and House Finance Committee leaders this week to state the group’s unequivocal support for the continuation of stepped-up basis and their opposition to any proposals that would raise the tax burden via tax at death.

“Stepping up basis when an individual who is a member of a family-owned business dies is critical to that business surviving the loss of a loved one and a business partner,” wrote the group. “Repealing stepped-up basis by imposing capital gains taxes when assets transfer ownership at death would force many family-owned businesses to liquidate assets or lay off employees to cover the tax burden. This new tax would be imposed on top of any existing estate tax liability, further compounding the negative impacts and creating a second tax at death.”

The group also pointed to a study recently released by EY (formerly Ernst & Young) illustrating the economic damage that step-up repeal via tax at death would inflict. The analysis shows that this tax increase, whether via tax at death or carryover of basis, would have negative impacts on family-owned businesses, U.S. gross domestic product, and job creation both in the immediate and long term.

The full letter can be found here.

EPA step closer to confirming chemical safety and pollution administrator

On May 26, Dr. Michal Freedhoff’s nomination to serve as Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) was approved by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works by a strong bipartisan vote of 19-1. The nomination now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Dr. Freedhoff’s nomination was supported by NPC and a group of agricultural stakeholders in a letter sent to the leadership of the committee. In the letter, the group writes that Dr. Freedhoff’s “scientific background and education will be an advantage in a very science-based office. She has extensive relevant policy experience which overlaps the duties and functions of OCSPP. Through this work experience, Dr. Freedhoff has demonstrated that she has the characteristics that are required for an effective leader of the OCSPP — a commitment to sound public policy, grounded in sound science, and the importance of hearing from all stakeholders.”

The full letter can be found here.

UPGA’s Klompien talks fresh market outlook

The most recent “Eye on Potatoes” podcast welcomed Mark Klompien, President and CEO of United Potato Growers of America, to provide an outlook for remainder of this current shipping crop and a look head to plantings and acreage for the 2021 fresh potato crop. Additionally, in his role as Chairman of United Fresh’s Government Relations Council, Klompien discussed the United Fresh/PMA merger and what it means for potato organizations.

Download and subscribe to the Eye on Potatoes podcast here.

— National Potato Council

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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