Earlier this week, the Senate passed a one-year extension of multiple tax incentives and credits, including several that have direct impacts on soybean farmers. The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed passage of the bill, which would extend the dollar-per-gallon Biodiesel Tax Incentive, as well as the Section 179 expensing provision that farmers and other business owners use when purchasing new equipment and infrastructure, among other items.

“Today's passage of the tax extenders bill is a welcome relief to farmers as we close our books on 2014," said Wade Cowan, a farmer from Brownfield, Texas, and the new president of ASA. "While it's not the long-term fix we need, the legislation does include the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit, expensing for farm equipment and infrastructure under Section 179, and bonus depreciation on farm assets, all of which provide greater certainty and a more stable climate for the farmers and producers who make use of these programs."

In noting ASA's approval of the one-year extension, Cowan pushed Congress to redouble its efforts to pass a longer-term tax extenders package. "These aren't solutions that benefit farmers in some years and not in others; we need them every year on every farm," he said. "So we encourage both chambers of Congress to come together and find a solution that extends these beneficial provisions for the long term. What we need is certainty in the tax code, not a guessing game."

Also included in the package was language from the House's Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which carried with it a provision to increase the barge fuel fee by nine cents a gallon to fund needed waterways infrastructure projects. The fee, which is supported by those in the waterways industry, dedicates funds to new waterways infrastructure construction and major rehabilitation of the inland waterways system through the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.