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Farmers and the Estate Tax Myth

"The Farm Bureau, the nation’s largest agricultural lobbying group, has featured estate tax repeal among its key legislative priorities for many years. The current president, Zippy Duvall of Georgia, recently responded to President Trump’s tax reform plan, stating that, “Eliminating the estate tax will free farmers to invest in the future of their family businesses rather than selling off their land and legacy when a family member dies.”

The Farm Bureau is joined by national and state commodity groups, such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council, in their continuous estate tax repeal campaign. This message has penetrated Republican orthodoxy deeply, and remains on President Trump’s stump speech checklist of policies to help “forgotten rural America.”

But, like so many issues in today’s political landscape, instead of offering any clear data or empirical evidence to back up their rhetoric, agriculture industry groups and their political allies are simply pushing policies that favor a massive wealth transfer. They are actively working to dismantle government spending that supports the poor, the working class, and rural communities in favor of gigantic paydays for the super-rich."

A New Vaccine Campaign Could Be The First Step In Wiping Out ‘Goat Plague’

"The virus was first identified in Ivory Coast in 1942 and has spread to some 70 countries since then. It is quite good at spreading, both by animal-to-animal contact and through the air. "It's very, very contagious," says Adesogan.

It has not reached the United States because our quarantine measures and our control of animal imports keep sick animals out. Since the acute form of the disease lasts only a week or two, quarantines definitely work. Nor has it been reported in Europe.

Now there's an effort to eradicate the disease by 2030 — to wipe it out just as its relative, the cattle plague called rinderpest, was officially eliminated in 2011 after decades of effort. The key is to vaccinate the herds with a shot administered in the neck or rump. The problem up until now has been that the freeze-dried vaccine was only effective if kept at about 39 degrees Fahrenheit. And there isn't a lot of refrigeration available in many parts of the world where the virus lurks."

Farmers And Ranchers Are Completely Screwed By American Healthcare

"A new USDA-funded study led by researchers at the University of Vermont surveyed a thousand farmers and ranchers scattered among ten representative states (CA, WA, UT, NE, MI, KY, MS, PA, VT, MA). The survey aimed to find out exactly what the realities and concerns are among workers in the agricultural field about their healthcare in order to better understand the impact of the Affordable Care Act on farmers—and help inform policy going forward."

"The findings are pretty grim. Twenty-four percent of farmers aged 18 to 64 purchased a plan on the healthcare exchange, which doesn’t sound like all that much until you learn that 72 percent of farmers are forced to get a second job, primarily for healthcare purposes. With a whopping 64 percent of farmers and ranchers reporting a pre-existing condition, the state of that provision within American healthcare is paramount; almost half of all the farmers and ranchers surveyed are concerned they’ll have to sell land or equipment to pay for healthcare."