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Producers participate in telephone town hall with Sen. Ernst

Producers participate in telephone town hall with Sen. Ernst

Farmers raised concerns about estate taxes, WOTUS and other issues

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Iowa farmers voiced multiple concerns during a telephone town hall with Senator Joni Ernst and state Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig on Tuesday.

Jeff Frank, a cash crop producer from Auburn, Iowa, participated in the teleconference.

He asked Senator Ernst if she’s heard whether the estate tax exemption and stepped-up basis are going to be taken away from farmers.

In President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Congress passed legislation that says estates worth more than $11.7 million would have to pay 40 percent of the value of the estate.

President Biden’s tax plan would reduce the exemption to $3.5 million and increase the top rate of the estate tax to 45 percent, the Tax Foundation says.

Ernst answered Frank’s question and others about issues like trade, biofuels and Waters of the United States.

But she couldn’t provide any concrete details on some of the topics, he said.

“Nothing has come out of committee yet so it’s hard to have a grasp of what’s going on,” Frank told “She was just talking about what she was willing to support. Any of the questions asked got kind of flowery answers because they don’t know what’s going to happen.

“She got input from farmers about issues important to us, and that’s good, but I just think the townhall was a little premature.”

Senator Ernst thanked farmers for tuning into the town hall on Tuesday evening.

“Hearing from Iowans in every corner of our state – from the smallest towns to the biggest cities – is one of my top priorities, and tonight’s telephone town hall with farmers and other members of our state’s ag community was a great opportunity to do exactly that,” she said in a statement.

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