Save Small Farming: Give Permanent EstateTax Breaks to Small Farmers

Posted on December 13, 2010


SamHenry is an avid, life-long supporter of small farms.  CNN did a report Sunday on a small farm in Maryland near the shore that will leave the family if an estate tax break for them is not forthcoming.  Too, bad.  Maryland Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen is one of the staunchest supporters of dropping the tax extension on estates.

A search for the video of the Maryland farmer interviewed was unsuccessful but here is one as valuable.  Listen to the voice of the farmer himself.

When will small farms catch breaks when corporate farming gets generous breaks all of the time? Our priorities as a nation are all upside down – especially in this instance.

I just met the daughter of a small farmer in upstate New York at the Vermont border. Her family raises sheep and from that sell wool, skins, meat and cheeses.  Her mother drives to New York City with product where many good restaurants  demand fresh, LOCAL farm produce.  This demand should not be filled by corporate farming coming into that beautiful part of New York State to ruin it in order to make money and to fill the need.  Also, they could never produce the artisan cheeses small farmers in this state produce.  Farming remains New York State’ largest industry yet small farms continue to go out of production in frightening numbers.

We have a very large population of young sons and daughters of small farmers who don’t want to continue the family business.  Why would they?  We have given glory to doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. but teaching, nursing and farming are low on the totem pole until recently.  We need to promote small farms every way we can and to make it possible for them to be profitable.

Maintaining small farm profitability has many components but a big one would be for the current farmers to be able to hand their farms on to their heirs without penalizing taxes.

In short, not all of the estates to be taxed are those of Wall Street Tycoons or others of that ilk.  They are honest small business people who feed us and who need a break.  Won’t  you add your voice to the success of this idea?