Manager’s Corner

September 4, 2013 09:14 PM

Tax Changes Impact Farms and Families

Tax Day

Avoid costly mistakes and learn how the changes affect you.

Changes in federal depreciation rules will benefit farmers, says Gary Hachfeld, University of Minnesota Extension farm tax specialist.

Many of the rules were extended, allowing greater depreciation amounts. Personal income tax rates for high-income taxpayers were increased at the federal level and in Minnesota. Federal and capital gains tax rates were modified, keeping the 5% and 15% levels but adding a 20% level for taxpayers in the 39.6% income tax bracket.

Federal estate and gift tax exclusion amounts were increased. The estate exclusion amount will be $5,250,000 for 2013 and indexed for inflation. The annual gift exclusion amount will be $14,000 per person in 2013. The life-time gift exclusion amount will be $5,250,000.

In Minnesota, the state legislature clarified several points of the Qualified Small Business Property and Qualified Farm Property Exclusion, making it easier for farm families to qualify. The state also initiated a new state gift tax with an annual exclusion of $14,000 per person and a lifetime exclusion amount of $1,000,000.

These are only a few of the many changes that were made for 2013. Hachfeld advises farmers to talk with their accountant and attorney to better understand these changes.

Equipment Companies Optimistic

Globally, farm equipment remains a very positive business, and short-term growth expectations are dominant in all regions, according to the Agritech Business Barometer.

The survey finds that the majority of Japanese manufacturers have a positive outlook on the market. The boom in the Indian and Brazilian markets was confirmed.

Additionally, half of the U.S. companies surveyed expect to see sales grow in the next six months, while the rest expect to at least maintain the high level reached in the prior year. However, more cautious voices come from Europe, where some markets are declining.

"While the overall business remains positive, we have seen fluctuations in commodity supply and demand, especially corn," says Charlie O’Brien, Association of Equipment Manufacturers senior vice president.

The Barometer covers Brazil, western Europe, Japan, India, South Korea, Turkey and the U.S.


We’re unlocking the mystery and getting inside the heads of Top Producer of the Year winners, with the hopes that you’ll pick up some tips to incorporate into your own farm. We asked Chad Olsen, the 2006 winner, what he knows now that he wishes he knew 30 years ago.

chad olsen

If I got to start fresh again, I would put more emphasis on accurate bookkeeping. It’s a key element in our operation today. Back then, I just wanted to be in a tractor and figured things would just work out. I learned the hard way that it’s an absolute must when trying to develop a partnership-type of relationship with your banker. Sometimes I had to sell grain because I needed a buck, even though I knew there would be a better time to sell in the future. I didn’t have a good enough relationship with my banker at the time because of my lack of record keeping. If I could go back in time, I would have been more profitable in my early years if I had dedicated myself to more time at the desk."

Two Pennies, Please


That’s what it costs taxpayers per meal for crop insurance, according to data from the latest 10-year budget pro­jection by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Total government spending on crop insurance is projected at approximately $8.5 billion per year, with farmers paying $4 billion out of their own pockets to purchase their crop insurance policies.

With the elimination of direct payments in the farm bill being discussed, crop insurance will bethe primary risk-management tool available to many U.S. farmers and the only risk-management tool available to some farmers, such as specialty crop growers.

Cotton Hits the Big Stage


New York City’s Times Square puts the spotlight on e3, Bayer CropScience’s new sustainable cotton, which was launched in mid-July at the Kingpins New York denim sourcing show.


+ Head to the Web

Meet Luke Brubaker, 2013 Top Producer of the Year

Follow along as this innovative dairyman introduces you to his Pennsylvania farm and shares the family’s long-rooted history. Brubaker has not only managed to navigate the changing tides of the dairy industry, but he has taken advantage of opportunities and the resources around him. Learn more at

Farming 2025: What Will Future Farms Look Like?

After you read about the future of the food industry on page 60, check out to learn more about today’s consumer habits and preferences. You might be surprised at what you discover.

Follow Up on the Pro Farmer Crop Tour

With stops in seven states and many farms, we can’t fit all the crop coverage in this issue. For more information and on-farm videos that highlight crop progress and conditions, visit

Get more information from your favorite articles at

Three things you must check out this month

1. Ladies, register for EWA: Registration for the 3rd Executive Women in Agriculture Conference is now open. Register today!

Download the AgWeb App: Get the 7-day forecast, weather radar, market quotes, news and radio commentary.

3. Hedge Position Monitor:
Get a snapshot of the average hedge position of two key positions for corn and soybeans.

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