Interactive Immigration Map

A new map created by AFBF's partner the New American Economy shows the contributions immigrants are making to the U.S. economy. AFBF congressional relations director Kristi Boswell explained that the map is a powerful tool in the immigration reform debate. "Farm Bureau sees this as a very important tool," Boswell said. "We're advocating for responsible immigration reform that provides agriculture access to a legal, stable workforce, allowing us to really drill down and show members of Congress the impact in their local areas." Find the map online at

Regulatory Reform

American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 40 other agricultural organizations recently sent a letter to U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee leaders expressing support for regulatory reforms included in H.R. 5, a House-passed bill.

Tax Reform Testimony

America's farmers and ranchers need a flexible tax code that gives them freedom to both grow and adapt quickly to changes beyond their control, American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress April 5. Pat Wolff, senior director of congressional relations for AFBF, addressed agriculture's need for sweeping tax reform in a hearing before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. "Running a farm or ranch business is challenging under the best of circumstances," Wolff said. "Farmers and ranchers need a tax code that recognizes the unique financial challenges that impact them." Wolff urged Congress to create and retain tax policies that support high-risk, capital-intensive businesses like farms and ranches. Farm Bureau supports many of the provisions in the House's proposed blueprint for tax reform, including reduced income tax rates, reduced capital gains taxes, immediate business expensing, and estate tax repeal. But, Wolff explained, the plan can be improved by reinstating benefits like the deduction for business interest expense and guaranteeing the continuation of stepped-up basis, cash accounting and like-kind exchanges.

Market Intel Reports

American Farm Bureau Federation has launched "Market Intel," a new series of market intelligence reports available at and on Twitter (@FBMarketIntel). Market Intel will provide timely market intelligence on the agricultural economy for farmers, ranchers, lawmakers and consumers, according to AFBF. "Soybeans Trumping Corn in 18 States" by AFBF's Dr. John Newton, is the first Market Intel report in the new series. It features insights on the implications of the Agriculture Department's just-released Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks reports. "Our aim with Market Intel is to analyze current events in agriculture – related to both crops and livestock – through an economic lens," said Newton, AFBF's director of market intelligence. "The timely market intelligence on the agricultural economy that we provide will be useful for farmers, lawmakers and consumers. Farmers and ranchers will find Market Intel to be a useful decision-making resource for marketing and planting."

Planting Intentions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, March 31, released results of the first survey-based 2017 crop planting intentions, showing U.S. corn acres down 4 percent and soybeans up 7 percent. Nationally, cotton acres are expected to rebound from last year, up 21 percent, but favorably moving prices due to pre-report analyst estimates being higher. In North Carolina, cotton is also up 21 percent but still the 2nd lowest cotton plantings over the past 10 years. With crops just going into the ground, the numbers will likely change by the time the June 30 plantings report is published. North Carolina certainly has room for more corn, soybean and cotton acres to be added to the mix, depending on weather and markets.

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