Fort Worth, Texas- Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association President Pete Bonds today made the following statement after Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act, H.R. 2029 and a bill to reauthorize tax exemptions that were set to expire this year.
“Passage of this Omnibus and the tax extenders package is a major victory for the beef industry,” said Bonds. “H.R. 2029 includes key provisions that will better assist ranchers in running successful cattle operations.
“This legislation, first and foremost, addresses TSCRA members’ longtime and serious concerns on the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law. Repealing COOL will benefit ranchers by preventing the imminent threat of more than $1 billion in tariffs from being implemented by Canada and Mexico, two of our largest trading partners. We appreciate Senator John Cornyn and House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway for their tireless efforts to repeal COOL.
“H.R. 2029 relieves ranchers’ concerns relating to the USDA and HHS 2015 Dietary Guidelines by requiring the agencies to base their dietary recommendations for Americans on sound science and also requiring an independent review of the process used to develop these guidelines. You can’t ignore the vast amount of nutritional science proving beef is one of the healthiest foods an individual can consume.
“TSCRA is pleased the Omnibus includes language requiring a more thorough audit and review process by USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for countries that have received animal health status recognitions from the agency. While we believe this provision could have been stronger, it does help ensure that devastating diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, are not imported into the U.S.
“H.R. 2029 also contains provisions that will severely limit the EPA’s ability to initiate new regulatory efforts and restrict their abilities in several key areas affecting the cattle industry. While TSCRA would like to have seen this language prohibit the EPA from implementing their flawed WOTUS rule, this does provide a step in the right direction.”
“Lastly, the tax extenders legislation permanently reauthorizes important tax provisions that were set to expire this year, such as Section 179 and bonus depreciation. TSCRA is relieved this bill passed to encourage ranchers to invest more in their operations and to reduce record-keeping burdens directly attributed to depreciation. Permanently extending these tax provisions provides ranchers more predictability and allows them to plan on a long-term basis, as opposed to relying on Congress to reauthorize them yearly.
“TSCRA greatly appreciates federal elected officials who supported the Omnibus and tax extenders package. We are also very fortunate to have many members who are proactive in communicating with Congressional leaders and letting them know how important these provisions are to cattle raisers,” Bonds concluded.
TSCRA is a 138-year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas. TSCRA has more than 17,000 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members. These members represent approximately 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, but throughout the Southwest.