Weather’s effects; doors to success

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

The weather has changed this weekend to remind us we are not out of winter yet. Although not terribly uncomfortable, potentially we may see a 30-plus degree shift from this past Thursday and Friday.

The recent weather patterns throughout the Midwest have many climate/weather folks nervous as well as many in agriculture. We are seeing some weather phenomenon we have never seen before and there is much uncertainty.

What will be the result of this extreme mild weather? What impact will this very mild weather have on our wheat? What about all of our trees especially our fruit trees? Is this a sign we will get crazy weather patterns this spring and summer? Are we going to see some crazy winter storm when we least expect it?

What will see throughout the rest of the year?

I have heard several experts say we will experience freezing temperatures and other winter like conditions before winter is over, but up until now, I have not seen any forecasts I should be concerned with. Forecasts leading into the second week of March may see some nighttime temps below freezing, but daytime temperatures look to be at least in the mid 40’s.

Stay tuned and remember, this is Ohio and the weather can change at any given time. Moral of the story – don’t rush into spring fever just yet.

What you can rush into is registering for the Opening Doors to Success, Small Farm Conference to be held Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11 at the Wilmington College campus. This OSU Small Farms Team sponsored event is sure to have something for anyone looking to gather information that will help build efficiencies in production, hopefully increase profitability and improve management skills.

The March 10 session is from 1-5:30 p.m. with a workshop on Poultry Production, held at the Wilmington College Academic Farm, 1590 Fife Ave., in Wilmington; and a workshop on Beekeeping for the Beginner, held at the Wilmington College Kelly Center, on College Street, in Wilmington.

The March 11 session is from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Center for Science and Agriculture, 340 College St. in Wilmington. Topics for the day will include: applying chemicals, greenhouse production, livestock, field crops, finances, and farm and land access.

Registration for the “Opening Doors to Success” conference is $20 for Friday; $60 for Saturday only; or $70 for Friday and Saturday. Register at no later than March 3. Students are offered a discounted rate.

Finally this week, since you are all in a good mood because of the mild weather let’s talk some tax information. With all the changes in Washington, we at OSU Extension have gotten a lot of questions on what may be in store for tax reform in 2017? Most of the experts are saying we will see the most comprehensive tax reform since the tax reforms of 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

David Marrison, Ohio State University Extension Educator and contributor to the OSU Ohio Ag Manager newsletter shares several potential items for tax reform but I want to just focus on one and that is Estate Tax.

At the beginning of January, House Resolution 198 titled the “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017” was introduced into Congress and it currently sits in the Ways & Means Committee. This bill is seeking to eliminate the federal estate tax. This is one area where I caution us to be careful of what you wish for! On the outside this may look like a good move but in the long run it could mean higher taxes for farmers and small businesses.

Currently, Americans can pass on $5,490,000 to their heir(s) tax free when they die. The federal estate tax law also includes portability to a spouse which essentially means as a couple we can pass on a combined $10.98 million tax free to our heirs.

Even better, Ohio, led by Governor Kasich, repealed the Ohio Estate tax in 2013. So, if your estate is less than $5.49 million as an individual or $10.98 million as a married couple you should have very little concern in this area. And given that less than 0.2 percent of all estates are subject to federal estate tax each year, should this really be on the chopping block?

Marrison has some concern and that is due to the fact the introduced bill has very little in the way of detail. And the detail will be important. He notes one item that could disappear if the estate tax is eliminated is the ability for heirs to “step-up” the value of the inherited assets to its current market value at death.

This could be a significant loss to most farming operations.

Again, the detail in the Repeal Act will be important. It has been suggested a complete repeal of the estate tax could pave way for a capital gains tax collection at death. Marrison shares the following: Imagine your heirs having to pay a 20% capital gain tax on the assets from your estate when you die.

For a $2.5 million dollar farm in Ohio, this would mean $500,000 in taxes versus $0 under our current system. Ouch! Be careful what you wish for as the truth will be in the detail!

We need to know what a repeal of the federal estate tax actually means.

Stay tuned. For the whole article by Marrison and his thoughts on potential tax reform go to:

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for 29 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA. Tony and his family also own and operate a small livestock farm in Washington Court House, raising purebred swine and meat goats.

Tony Nye

OSU Extension