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Good news for soybean fields, bad news for inheritors

View from Rural Route 8

By Jim Suber

Here is some pleasant news from around the eastern Kansas neighborhood: many of the soybean fields contain more beans than previously thought, thanks to that one good rain a few weeks back, apparently.

Harvest isn’t going to be a bin-buster, but some fields will be worth combining if the prices stay fairly close to where they were at last week’s end.

One friend was facing nothing in his soybean fields all summer. But right after a 4.-plus rain (and it was the only substantial one all summer) things began to look better, and now he is estimating 20 bushels.

However, he is generally optimistic and cheerful.

The news is also thought to be true for many other soybean growers throughout the northern and western corn/soybean rotation belt.

The agricultural experts have declared that the corn crop will probably turn out to a few bushels better per acre in the same northern realms.

Usually, according to one service to which I subscribe, in drought years the September report is subsequently modified upward as harvests draw to a close.

All in all, with crop insurance and something to cut and sell at good prices, then most farmers will survive to farm another year…

‘Cruel’ impact caused by steep estate taxes

‘Quite modest’ would describe my life’s pile of material things, but I am not starving or without the basics.

I have been wealthy in other ways, and for those circumstances and eventualities and realities and joys I am grateful beyond words.

Given all of that, I do not now and have never understood my own wonderful nation’s apparent deep dislike for inheritance as manifested in its steep and punishing taxes on those who inherit a bit.

According to an article in the Kansas Livestock Association newsletter, the negative impact of estate taxes on small businesses like farms and ranches is soon going to become downright cruel and confiscatory.

A National Cattlemen Beef Association lobbyist, Kent Bacus, told staffers from both the House and Senate that the estate tax law on Jan. 1, 2013, will revert from the current $5 million per individual and $10 million per couple exemptions at a 35 percent tax rate on amounts above those to a mere $1 million exemption and a 55 percent tax on everything over that.

Those are an old exemption and an old rate and they were long ago outgrown.

In today’s world many worthy scions of small business owners helped their parents and grandparents develop and grow businesses and farms and ranches. Under the old numbers, many people had to destroy the businesses just to pay the taxes.

That would be very close in my view to killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

And, who deserves the fruits of a family enterprise, be it factory or ranch, more than the owners and the owners’ descendants? Do I? No. Neither does any other citizen.

If the business ranch or factory or farm has been healthy, it has been generating a far greater wealth over time for the society than it will by tearing it down and delivering the proceeds to the grossly overweight and inefficient federal government, with the state-level colonial outposts not far behind their Big Brother as wastrels and bullies.

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