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What's Ahead for Top AmericanHort Advocacy Priorities in 2018

Wednesday, January 17, 2018   (0 Comments)
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What's Ahead for Top AmericanHort Advocacy Priorities in 2018Despite Congress just returning to Washington after the holiday break, 2018 is already shaping up to be quite active with regard to issues that affect our industry. Some issues that were pivotal at our Impact Washington advocacy summit in September continue to be relevant in 2018. In addition to workforce and visa policy reforms, here are some of our top priorities.

Tax Law

Despite tax reform passing at the end of 2017, the issue will stay in the forefront as regulations are written to implement the changes. As with any piece of comprehensive legislation, it is likely that tweaks and minor legislative fixes will occur to certain aspects of the new tax law.

AmericanHort will continue to monitor the issue during the regulatory process, as there are many changes that affect our industry – mostly, but not all, positively. We will push for positive elements of the law to be made permanent. Fortunately, the top priorities AmericanHort leaders, members, and staff focused on in September came out pretty well. In addition to corporate and pass-through rate reductions, the cash method of accounting and our unique capitalization rules remain intact for growers; short-lived capital investments, such as equipment, may be fully expensed in the year of purchase; and, the estate tax exemptions were doubled until the end of 2025.

Trucking Regulations

With the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate entering into the compliance phase in December of last year, challenges are likely this year.

First and foremost, the Agricultural Exemption from the ELD mandate, which we have explained in previous issues of Washington Impact, will be a focus in the first half of 2018. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is likely to introduce additional guidance on the law, as a notice of proposed regulatory guidance was issued on December 20th. AmericanHort is seeking clarification that nursery and greenhouse crops are indeed considered agricultural commodities.

We would also like to see some common-sense improvements that would reduce the burden of the regulations on our industry. AmericanHort will continue discussions with FMCSA, USDA, and other relevant parties on the ELD issue and keep our members informed.

Farm Bill

We are preparing for the coming debate on a new Farm Bill, which will be considered in 2018. AmericanHort made research and innovation a key priority in September – with focus on fully funding important programs such as the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, National Clean Plant Network, and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Overall timing of the release of the Farm Bill remains a bit uncertain, with the House expected to consider a bill during the first quarter of 2018 ahead of the Senate.

Despite it being an election year, 2018 is setting up to be plenty busy for the AmericanHort advocacy team in Washington, D.C. Keep an eye out for updates and especially calls to action as the year progresses!

Brought to you by Lighthouse, an AmericanHort Program. Article by Tal Coley. Photo courtesy of AmericanHort.

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