Issue Position: Agriculture
Agriculture plays a defining role in our economy, and I realize the importance of making investments in agriculture as well as a commitment to farmers. First and foremost, we must strive to preserve the family farm. Too many children of farmers opt to pursue other professions; we must provide the necessary resources to nurture future agricultural leaders. This includes investments in education and providing younger generations with the opportunity to start up new farms or operate inherited farms.
To make sure younger producers have the opportunity to farm on the same land passed down for generations, I support updating and modernizing our tax laws to shield small business owners and family farmers from the estate tax. I am working toward a bipartisan solution to increase the estate tax exemption to $5 million ($10 million for married couples) and reduce the tax to a 35 percent marginal rate. For estates worth more than $30 million, the benefit of this exemption would be phased out. I do not believe full repeal of the estate tax is a fiscally responsible option at this time. However, my approach eases the estate tax burden for all families and most likely erases it entirely for virtually every small business owner and family farmer in Arkansas.
We must strengthen our farms through programs and strong legislation that benefit our state's producers. I will work toward sustaining a sound farm policy that includes a safety net and offers assistance to farmers during times of low prices and low yields. It should buffer our farm economy in difficult times and allow family farms to stay in business.
After countless hours spent talking with farmers, I recognize the immeasurable benefits that increased market access would provide for Arkansans. We need to eliminate barriers that prevent Arkansans from selling farm products abroad.
As your Senator, I will continue the fight to revitalize rural America and serve as a strong voice for producers.