Consequences of the provision added at the last minute to a tax bill rushed through Congress presumably were not foreseen by all its authors, including Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas. Serious consequences extend to the federal government. Cash receipts from crops sold in 2016 totaled nearly $200 billion, including almost $100 billion for corn, soybeans and wheat. Making 20%, or up to $40 billion in grower revenues, deductible may dramatically reduce their federal tax payments.
The National Grain and Feed Association said late last week it was working with key constituent groups toward a solution to a genuine mess, though congressional action ultimately will be required. The episode underscores the underlying fragility within the robust eco-system that comprises U.S. agriculture and the seeming endless propensity of the federal government to disrupt the delicate free market balance crucial to American food and agriculture.