Adams asked Northey what a Romney administration would do to encourage young and beginning farmers. He responded that Romney would favor some credits and opportunities throughUSDA programs, but in talking with young farmers, he says their biggest concern regard regulations and estate taxes. Northey says there are a lot of medium-sized farmers looking ahead to end of December, wondering what would happen if their farm had to change hands after the tax reverts to earlier exemption levels and rates on January 1. (Unless Congress intervenes, the current exemption of $5 million and rate of 35 percent would revert to an exemption of $1 million and a maximum rate of 55 percent on January 1.)
The current President, he says, “has said in many ways” he considers some resources on farms belonging to society, rather than farmers. It’s a philosophy that scares a lot of young farmers who make investments that take a long time to pay off, such as in land, equipment or livestock, Northey says. They worry about policies such as labor-regulation proposals that were pulled, but were in play for eight months. They worry, he says, about the next proposed regulations that might not be pulled.
Asked about agencies such as the EPA under a Romney Administration, Northey says his party recognizes a need for some regulations and for a government role in trade and other areas. However, he says a Romney Administration would be much more sensitive to the impacts of regulations on farmers or ranchers. There will be new regulations, he says, but they will be thoroughly vetted and tested to ensure they do what intended, without unintended consequences. He says there already is too much uncertainty in agriculture due to markets, weather, etc., without regulations adding more.
He believes the EPA under a Romney administration would shift away from mandates and more toward voluntary programs, working with farmers and ranchers to identify systems that protect the environment without creating undue economic challenges.
Regarding energy policies, and specifically the wind-energy tax credit, Northey says a Romney Administration would look closely at tax policy, focusing on simplifying the tax code and reducing rates. Romney therefore opposes the wind energy tax credit. Northey says many in his state of Iowa want the credit to continue, but looking at overall picture, Romney supports an energy policy including building a pipeline from Canada, developing access to domestic energy and including renewable and traditional energy. Differences are like day and night between the candidates, he says, with Romney favoring an opportunity to become self sufficient in energy.