The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling on Congress to remove barriers to farm ownership. Bills aimed at eliminating the estate tax were introduced in the Senate and House Tuesday. Both are supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and 25 cosponsors introduced S. 671 and Reps. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) introduced H.R. 1712, with 121 cosponsors. Both bills would allow for a complete repeal of the estate tax, which, according to AFBF analysis, threatens more than 74,000 family farms across the country and nearly half of all farmland.

“Farmers and ranchers already face unpredictable challenges beyond our control yet persevere to protect our nation’s supply of food, fiber and renewable fuel. The tax code should encourage farm business growth, not add to uncertainty,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Eliminating the estate tax removes another barrier to entry for sons and daughters or other beginning farmers to carry-on our agricultural legacy and make farming more accessible to all. We appreciate Senator Thune and Representatives Smith and Bishop for introducing their bills and look forward to working with them to get this important legislation passed.”

If the estate tax is not eliminated, instead of spending money to improve their operations, farmers and ranchers, along with all small businesses, will be forced to continue to divert resources to pay for estate planning to account for a shifting and unpredictable tax code.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act temporarily doubles the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person indexed for inflation through 2025. However, without congressional action, the estate tax exemption will revert to $5.5 million per person in 2026, putting even more farms and ranches at risk.