Farm CEO Corner: September 2017 Edition – News

Updates on tax reform, the best books for farm leaders to be reading and upcoming business education from Farm Journal Media.

Overheard on Twitter: “Still seeking public input as we work on Task Force on Ag & Rural Prosperity, as

created by @POTUS. Click & comment!” via @SecretarySonny

When Will Congress Start Tax Reform?

Tax reform served as a key selling point of President Donald Trump’s campaign. Farmers and small-business owners alike were enticed by promises he would stimulate the economy with lower taxes.

But given the trouble Congress has had reforming health care, some farmers worry tax reform might not happen.

Don’t get too much heartburn yet, experts say. Reform could come soon.

“At least you have the White House, President Trump and key White House officials speaking in the same arena on this topic,” says Jim Wiesemeyer, a political analyst for Farm Journal Media.

Health care doesn’t have to be sorted out before tax reform begins.

“It just would make tax cuts easier,” says Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in an interview with “AgriTalk” radio host Mike Adams. “You don’t necessarily have to do one after the other.”

Farmers across the country think tax reform is one of the administration’s priorities, and Grassley agrees. “We have to have tax cuts to stimulate the economy, to get economic growth and to create jobs.”

Tax-reform priorities for Missouri producer Charlie Kruse include eliminating the estate tax and adjusting the overall tax rate.

“I think a lower tax rate has proven in the past to generate more dollars,” Kruse says.

Although it’s unclear exactly when the administration will get tax reform done, Wiesemeyer says, it appears to have a pretty aggressive timeline because of the need for a fiscal year 2018 budget to be finalized

by Oct. 1. —Anna-Lisa Laca

Kids And Work Ethic: A Problem Without A Solution

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse has established himself as an engaging albeit puzzling star in Republican politics. His most recent book, “The Vanishing American Adult,” is a blend of well-written prose, social commentary, challenging ideas and quiet omissions.

The examination of how coming of age in America went off the rails, culminating in a generation marked by permanent dependence, is documented with anecdotes, personal experience, quotations and scant data.

As a former university president, he draws heavily on that brief tenure to challenge our entire process of forming adults. From parenting to the scope of education to employment, there are few areas he finds acceptable.

Paradoxically, his concerns about preparing for new work and new ways of living lead him to old solutions. He is enamored of hard physical labor for adolescents, echoing the familiar grumble, “Round bales ruined rural America.” How such labor prepares kids for tomorrow’s jobs is left to the imagination.

His emphasis on adventurous travel, especially abroad, borders on impractical elitism. Sasse gives a well-reasoned diagnosis of our cultural problems, but by stressing this is not a book about policy, he offers little in the way of workable remedies. Although thoughtful and worthwhile, the book understandably makes the reader suspicious that it is merely a check mark on an ambitious career plan. –John Phipps

Tactical Training

Nov. 29–Dec. 1: Executive Women in Agriculture

Each fall, women in farming and agribusiness gather in Chicago for timely business education and networking.

Enhance your knowledge of commodity marketing, human resources, finance and more while cultivating friendships.

Dec. 11–13: AgTech Expo

In Indianapolis, check out the latest innovations in technology for farmers and learn to get top value from those tools, whether you’re an innovator or an early adopter.

Jan. 23–26, 2018: Top Producer Seminar

Join us in Chicago for our annual business conference dedicated to the nation’s top operators. Attend our annual banquet as we celebrate U.S. farmers, honor our three finalists and reveal the 2018 Top Producer of the Year.

To register, visit

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