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FMCSA Announces New ELD Waiver

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

March 13, 2018

FMCSA Announces New ELD Waiver

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced additional steps to address the unique needs of the country’s agriculture industries and provided further guidance to assist in the effective implementation of the Congressionally-mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule without impeding commerce or safety.

FMCSA is announcing an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture related transportation. Additionally, during this time period, FMCSA will publish final guidance on both the agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption and personal conveyance.

It is important to note that this 90 days is an extension of the previous 90 days given to all agriculture commodity haulers.  This is not a final decision on the livestock specific ELD exemption request filed in September—a determination on that request is still to be made. The AHC will continue to push for this exemption along with other livestock industry associations. The welfare, safety, and health of the animals in transit, together with the safety of other drivers on the road, are top priorities for the equine industry and its enthusiasts.

The AHC will continue to work with the FMCSA and the DOT during this delay to better meet the needs of the animal agriculture community to ensure that there are no unintended consequences from current ELD regulations.

If you have any questions, please contact the AHC.

Read on AHC Website

ACTION ALERT- H2-B Visa Cap Relief Needed Now

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

ACTION ALERT- H2-B Visa Cap Relief Needed Now!

As the March 23 deadline to finalize a FY2018 spending bill approaches, the horse industry and its allies continue to urge lawmakers to include H-2B guest worker visa “cap relief” in the final spending bill.   Please contact your federal elected officials today and tell them to support any provision that will provide H-2B visa cap relief within the context of FY2018 appropriations bills.  Congress can help provide the tools you need to grow your business in 2018 by enacting visa cap relief today!

 

Take Action

FMCSA Responds to AHC Request

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 26, 2018

FMCSA Responds to AHC Request

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) followed their recent meeting with AHC staff, a meeting in response to the AHC request for clarification , by releasing two documents on the existing Commercial Driver License (CDL) regulations and how those regulations impact the horse industry. The AHC is appreciative of the horse specific efforts that FMCSA have taken to quell the concerns of our recreational enthusiasts.

The guidance titled “Agricultural Exceptions and Exemptions to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service (HOS) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Rules” and “Non-Business Related Transportation of Horses ” explain how published FMCSA guidance provides an exception for the transportation of horses when the transportation in question is not business related (neither for compensation, nor where the driver is engaged in an underlying business related to the move). In these cases, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations do not apply, even if prize or scholarship money is offered. This includes the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations, requirements for Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) and CDL regulations, unless required by the driver’s home state. Both documents contain example scenarios that may help horse owners better understand the regulations as they exist today.

The documents can be found on the FMCSA website at:
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/non-business-related-transportation-horses

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/agricultural-exceptions-and-exemptions-federal-motor-carrier-safety

The AHC will continue to pursue clarifications until the industry is satisfied that there are no unintended consequences from current CDL or ELD regulations. The AHC will take action where clarifications are not sufficient, including the continued collaboration with the entire livestock industry to get a delay in ELD enforcement.

AHC staff are still compiling the industry’s concerns and questions to forward to DOT and invite people to share their comments. Additionally, DOT has established a specific email address for agricultural specific questions at agricultural@dot.gov . This address will be used to generate a future F.A.Q. page.

The AHC encourages our members to share their questions to the DOT email as well to better highlight the existing concerns regarding the interpretation of CDL regulations. If clarifications and the F.A.Q. fail to address the concerns of our members, then the AHC will continue their efforts and pursue both legislative and regulatory solutions.

Find AHC resources at http://www.horsecouncil.org/eld-mandate-cdl-requirements/

Please contact the American Horse Council with any questions or comments.

Read on AHC Website

National Forest Service Identifies Priority Areas for Trail Repair

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 20, 2018

National Forest Service Identifies “Priority Areas” for Trail Repair, Lawmakers to Expand Scope of RNR Act

On February 16, the Department of Agriculture’s National Forest Service (NFS) unveiled a list of 15 trail areas that the agency is targeting for priority maintenance projects.  As you recall, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (PL 114-245, aka, “Trails Act”), signed into law in late 2016, directs the NFS to take steps to reduce the backlog of federal maintenance projects by identifying those that are in most need of repair. The Trails Act outlines a detailed program including goals and timetables by which the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will leverage private partners to clear trails long overdue for maintenance.  USDA Secretary Perdue underscored the importance of public/private partnerships supported by the horse industry by stating that the “partners and volunteers” will “address needed infrastructure work,” amounting to about $300 million in backlog maintenance.

Jim McGarvey, who leads the American Horse Council’s Recreation, Trails and Land-Use Committee, applauds the agency’s follow-through on the Trails Act directives.  He states that “AHC was a proud supporter of the Trails Act, and we thank the Forest Service for its continued work in saving these trails for America’s horse riders.” By beginning work on “priority areas,” the agency is focusing on trails that were “impassable” and otherwise posed safety hazards to horsemen and other outdoor enthusiasts.  On February 13, NFS personnel informed AHC members and staff that the agency will continue to explore ways to leverage public/private partnerships to maintain public trails.  To view a copy of the NFS announcement, please click here:  https://www.fs.fed.us/news/releases/usda-secretary-announces-infrastructure-improvements-forest-system-trails.

On the congressional front, lawmakers continue to review provisions that would expand the scope of the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape (RNR) Act (H.R. 3400), one of Congress’ most ambitious public lands initiatives.  The legislation would build on the success of the Trails Act by authorizing the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to enter into cooperative agreements with private parties to continue to expand the role of volunteers in trail maintenance.  The House Natural Resources Committee is planning to move forward with a mark-up of H.R. 3400, possibly as early as March, to incorporate provisions of the Guide Outfitters (GO) Act into H.R. 3400.  The expanded bill would establish a variety of regulatory efficiencies, including creation of joint permits for activities that take place on lands administered by the National Park Service, NFS and BLM.  The House Natural Resources Committee postponed a mark-up planned for Wednesday, February 14, to continue to explore ways to expand the scope of the RNR Act.

If you would like more information about federal land access issues, please contact Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.

Read on AHC Website

AHC Meets With Department of Transportation

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 18, 2018

AHC Meets with Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The American Horse Council met with Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Deputy Administrator and leadership team this week in response to a letter sent to Secretary Chao on January 28th, 2018. AHC staff went to DOT headquarters to raise the industry’s concerns and solicit clarification on how the existing regulations should be interpreted, and how those interpretations are affecting the horse industry.

The AHC expressed the industry’s interest in an increased level of stakeholder outreach, the lack of uniform interpretations nationwide, the applicability of various exemptions already in place, and the appropriate avenues for future legislative and regulatory efforts. AHC shared specific situations where rodeo, racing, competition and recreational sectors have interacted with law enforcement concerning commercial regulations.

The DOT informed the AHC that a new website specifically tailored to the agricultural industry will be unveiled in the next week, with a dedicated contact for agricultural questions, and they will begin to develop a F.A.Q. to more clearly address the questions which they receive.

The DOT members present did clarify that trailer drivers not engaged in business are not subject to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) regulations, specifically where additional licensing is concerned. Regardless of weight, it was the interpretation of those present that going to an event that may issue prizes does not necessarily constitute commercial activity. As long as participation in the competition itself is not a component of the business with which that driver or the vehicle are regularly engaged, and expenses for said trip are not deducted for tax purposes, a CDL is not required to operate the CMV in question. Those interpretations, as are all CMV regulations, are specific to federal regulations, and state regulations may be less forgiving.

The AHC is excited about the opportunity to develop this relationship with DOT-FMCSA. The equine community should look forward to utilizing these lines of communication in the future to assure industry wide compliance and protection of individuals driving both commercially and recreationally. The AHC encourages the industry to reach out to state law enforcement to determine how best to comply with the state regulations. As additional information on this subject becomes available, the AHC will share that with our members as quickly as possible.

Visit http://www.horsecouncil.org/eld-mandate-cdl-requirements/ for AHC materials on this subject. Please contact the AHC with questions or concerns.

Read on AHC Website

Join our Member’s Only Group

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

Join our Member’s Only Facebook Group!

As a member of the AHC, we know want you to stay up to date and informed of the issues that could impact the industry you love.

That’s why we created our Member’s Only group on Facebook- a place where we can post information and updates and get our members immediate feedback.* In addition to the Washington Updates you receive, this is just one more way the AHC is working to keep our members informed and up-to date!

Click below to join the group today!

*Only current AHC members are eligible to join. All requests to join will be subject to verification by the AHC.

Join AHC Members Group

 

2019 Annual Meeting Location Survey

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 16, 2018

Help the AHC Pick the 2019 Annual Meeting Location

The AHC is in the process of looking at hotels for our 2019 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum and we want our member’s opinion!

Please take a moment to complete the survey at the link below. We would appreciate your response no later than Wednesday, February 21st.

Thank you!

Take the Survey

ELD and CDL Webinar Recording

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 14, 2018

ELD and CDL Webinar Recording

While registration filled up quickly for the AHC’s First Quarter 2018 webinar on the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirements, the AHC recorded the webinar in order to share with our members.

This is a multifactorial issue, with requirements for a CDL varying from state to state. The AHC is planning on hosting a second webinar on this topic in the coming weeks, and will be meeting with the Department of Transportation this coming Friday to further address how to best communicate the complexities of the requirements to the equine industry.

The AHC recommends contacting your state Department of Transportation for specific questions on the CDL regulations for your state. To view a list of state by state contacts, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact the AHC at info@horsecouncil.org.

View the Recording

Congress Strikes Budget Deal in Wake of Brief Funding Lapse

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 9, 2018

Congress Strikes Budget Deal in Wake of Brief Funding Lapse

Renews 3-Year Depreciation for Race Horses for FY2017

Following a procedural roadblock in the Senate that initiated a five-hour government shutdown early Friday – the briefest lapse on record and second in three weeks – Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, legislation that will fund government operations through March 23 and remove budgetary obstacles to allow longer-term FY2018 appropriations talks to move forward.  Fortunately for the horse industry, lawmakers approved an important tax incentive to restore three-year depreciation of racehorses for FY2017, allowing race horse owners to take advantage of the incentive within their FY2017 tax submission.  This will allow racehorse owners to capture tax benefits that expired in FY2016.  As you recall, the new tax law includes 100% depreciation for racehorses.  The industry will continue to advocate for the 3-year depreciation provision for 2018 and beyond. 

In addition to enacting an important capital cost recovery tool for the horse industry, the budget agreement also removes spending caps until March 2019 and authorizes nearly $300 billion in additional federal spending for the next two years.   Lawmakers hope that addressing the funding caps, effectively ending the “sequester” for the next year, will pave the way for smoother and more long-term budget negotiations through the remainder of 2018. 

To view a summary of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, please click here.

For more information related to the nation’s rapidly changing tax policies, please contact Bryan Brendle, AHC’s Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.

Read on AHC Website

Planning Underway for AHC’s 2018 Issues Forum

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 5, 2018

Planning Underway for AHC’s 2018 Issues Forum

The American Horse Council (AHC) is pleased to announce that 2018 National Issues Forum will take place on Tuesday, June 12th at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The theme will be “Let’s Capitalize On It!” and will focus on ways the equine industry can learn and grow from both equine and outside industry segments as well as expanding technology beneficial to both humans and equines.

“This year we wanted to bring in a combination of equine industry and outside industry speakers,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “It’s always interesting to hear from outside segments about what they are doing to cultivate their own industries and how the equine industry itself can learn and grow from what they are doing. Additionally, we thought it would be fascinating to gain some insight into new technologies that are not only enhancing human lives, but equine ones as well.”

The Forum will kick of Tuesday with speaker Luis Benitez, Director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, where he will give an overview of his roles and responsibilities, as well as explain how other states could adopt a similar model. Following Mr. Benitez will be a panel titled “Survey Says” and will examine various data trends within the equine industry over the past several years.  The morning will also include a youth engagement panel, “Building the pipeline of future horse enthusiasts,” and will feature representatives from the PGA “First Tee” program, Outdoor Industry Association’s “Outdoor Nation,” and the Center for Creative Leadership.

The afternoon session will start with Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). AZA is a nonprofit association dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation. Fran Jurga who will examine emerging technologies in the equine industry in a segment “CES 2017- Equestrian Style.”  The afternoon will also include panels of Congressional representatives, and equine aftercare, followed by round table discussion on topics of interests.

New this year, vendors will be set up to provide live demonstrations of emerging technologies including health monitoring sensors for horses and virtual reality demonstrations.

The AHC’s Annual Meeting will take place Sunday, June 10th – Monday, June 11thwhere the various committees of the AHC will meet. The Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum are open to both AHC members and non-members- we encourage anyone involved in the equine industry to attend to learn about new developments and how they can become involved!

Please check the Event page on the AHC’s website at http://www.horsecouncil.org/events for more information as it becomes available. If you have any questions, please contact the AHC at info@horsecouncil.org.

View Tentative Schedule

AHC Encourages Horse Industry to Complete 2018 Ag Census

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 2, 2018

AHC Encourages Horse Industry to Complete 2018 Ag Census

The USDA is a little more than one week away from the 2017 Census of Agriculture response deadline of February 5. The American Horse Council (AHC) would like to remind farmers and ranchers of the importance of their input. A national press release was sent out this week and individuals can find it, as well as past census press releases, at www.agcensus.usda.gov/Newsroom/ . Also on the census website are video messages from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, testimonials, the latest ads, and more at www.agcensus.usda.gov/Partners/.

The response rate for the census has been good across much of the United States. However, from the southeast across to Arizona, the return rate has been slightly lower compared to other parts of the country. States with lower return rates at this point are Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. It is important to note that these states have a considerable equine presence, and it is important to make the horse industry impact in these states known.

The AHC will release the National Economic Impact of the United States Equine Industry study later this month, and we are fortunate to be able to have our information come out the same year as the national agricultural census. The population figures the USDA collect, while not comprehensive, are also crucial for the equine industry and the efforts of the AHC here on Capitol Hill.

Please www.agcensus.usda.gov if you have any questions.

Read on AHC Website

AHC Requests Clarification from DOT

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

January 31, 2018

AHC Requests Clarification from DOT

The upcoming Electronic Logging Device deadline has sparked an animated discussion within the horse industry. The AHC would like to note that these are federal regulations that are left to state officials to be enforced. This division of responsibilities, and potentially divergent interpretation, is the basis for the sense of confusion felt across the industry.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have told the AHC that the regulatory changes within the department are several years behind schedule. As such, addressing the current state of compliance is critically important to the industry and the continuation of the equestrian sport and way of life.

In that light, the AHC is working collectively with the larger livestock industry to seek more concise and plainly presented expectations for the equine industry to follow. The following letter was sent to Secretary Elaine Chao with the Department of Transportation in the hopes that DOT will address these concerns. Depending on the response from Secretary Chao and DOT, AHC is prepared to pursue new regulatory and legislative options that ensure the continuity and protection of the equine industry. View the letter here.

Please contact the AHC if you have any further questions.

Read on AHC Website

First Quarter Webinar to Discuss ELD Mandate

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

January 25, 2018

First Quarter Webinar to Discuss ELD Mandate

The American Horse Council (AHC) will host its First Quarter 2018 webinar on Monday, February 12th at 3:00 pm ET and will address the recent Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate that has caused much confusion and a lot of questions throughout the equine industry.

In light of the recent phone calls and emails with questions about the ELD Mandate and how it is going to not only affect the industry, but individuals as well, the AHC felt it was appropriate for the first webinar for 2018 to address the ELD mandate, and would be a compliment to the brochures that have already been put together on this issue.

The webinar will address the details of what the ELD Mandate includes, and who is required to have an electronic logging device.  Also discussed will be the requirements for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), as well as what the AHC is doing to mitigate the effects of the proposed changes on the equine industry.

Both AHC members and non-members are encouraged to attend the webinar. The webinar will also be recorded and posted on the AHC website for those that could not attend. Please register online here, and you will receive an email with login instructions two days before the webinar date.

Register for the Webinar

Partisan Gridlock Initiates Federal Government Shut-Down

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

January 20, 2018

Partisan Gridlock Initiates Federal Government Shut-Down

With Congress gridlocked on an agreement to adopt a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government into February, the following are some real world consequences that could impact AHC members.   In the unlikely event that the government faces an extended suspension of “non-critical” operations, AHC will inform you about other specific consequences arising from the funding impasse.

  • National Park Service  – With the temporary suspension of federal government operations, the Department of Interior may close the National Park Service (NPS).  During the last government shutdown in 2013, the NPS marked as closed, or gated, all roads accessing national parks.  The NPS also closed all visitor and information centers.  Similar measures during the current shutdown would hinder hikers and horseback riders from gaining access to nearly 60,000 miles of trails under NPS jurisdiction. AHC recommends that members research the status of specific parks prior to planning a visit.
  • National Forest Service, Possible Flexibility  – According to a 2017 “shut down” contingency plan from the Department of Agriculture (USDA), any activity already certified by a permit could move forward in the event of a shutdown, so long as NFS personnel aren’t necessary to guarantee the safety of the participants, per the terms of the permit. However, NFS has the discretion to apply these contingencies on a “case-by-case” basis.  AHC recommends that members research the status of specific NFS trail closures beforehand.
  • Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – According to a USDA memorandum, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has identified at least some APHIS functions as exempt from a shutdown, based on their role in protecting public health.  This includes APHIS’ Safety and Security Unit (SSU), which oversees health, safety, and security issues for employees of the National Centers for Animal Health (NCAH).
  • Critical Services – As a general rule, federal employees involved in “critical services” will not be subject to a furlough.  This group includes air traffic controllers, military personnel, and hazardous waste handlers, among others.  Other exempted services include USDA’s inspection and quarantine of animals prior to import or export (see above).
  • U.S. Mail – Finally, U.S. postal workers are not exempt from a federal funding furlough and will continue to deliver the mail.

Federal officials don’t anticipate an extended shut down of government operations.  For details related to the budget impasse and its near-term consequences, please contact Bryan Brendle, Director of Legislative Affairs, at  bbrendle@horsecouncil.org.

Read on AHC Website

 

 

AHC Tax Bulletin-January 2018

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

AHC’s Tax Bulletin is Sponsored by

The American Horse Council keeps you up to date with important tax court cases and regulations with its bi-monthly Tax Bulletin. The Tax Bulletin is a member benefit, and thus is not intended for reproduction. For more information on federal legislation, equine health and regulatory issues, taxes, animal welfare, racing, recreation, and showing please visit our website at www.horsecouncil.org

Horse Industry Faces New Tax Landscape in 2018

Following President Trump’s signing of the new tax law on December 22, federal policy makers began immediately to discuss the likelihood of moving legislation in 2018 to address technical changes and clarifications to the 1100 page law.  While AHC takes a deeper dive into the tax law to address in more detail those provisions having a direct impact on the horse industry, please click to lin below to login and view the highlights that will impact your tax filing for Fiscal Year 2018.

Login to read the January Tax Bulletin

Tax Court Rules Owner Did Not Operate Horse Activity as a Business for Profit

By Thomas A. Davis, Esq., Davis & Harman, LLP

Since childhood, the taxpayer has been an amateur horsewoman. In 2005, she started Big Dog Farms (BDF) for the purpose of breeding, selling, and showing horses. Operations at BDF ceased in 2011.

Login to read the January Tax Bulletin

Horse Owners Ability to Utilize a Section 179 Deduction Against Income from Multiple Active Trades or Businesses

By:  Joel B. Turner, Esq. and Nelson D. Rhodes IV, Frost Brown Todd, Lexington, KY

While the Internal Revenue Code (“the Code”) allows taxpayers to deduct from taxable income all ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in carrying out an active trade or business,  generally, when purchasing tangible business assets with a useful life greater than a taxable year, the asset must be capitalized rather than deducted from business income for the year the property is placed in service. Under the Code, taxpayers are generally allowed to take an annual depreciation deduction for the wear, tear, and deterioration of their capitalized tangible property used in an active trade or business over an applicable recovery period.  For race horses, the current applicable recovery period is 3-years from the time the horse is placed in service (i.e., begins training). For broodmares and stallions, the current applicable recovery period is 7-years.

Login to read the January Tax Bulletin

The AHC Tax Bulletin is a digest of current tax developments affecting the horse industry. The AHC Tax Bulletin is for informational purposes only and not intended to take the place of professional tax counsel.

Download a PDF of the Tax Bulletin

 

 

Confused About the ELD Mandate? We Can Help.

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

Confused About the ELD Mandate? We Can Help.

On November 30th , the AHC sent out a Washington Update to our members on our efforts to address the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate. The AHC, in collaboration with the rest of the animal agriculture community, has requested that the Department of Transportation (DOT) grant a one-year enforcement delay followed by a waiver and limited exemptions from compliance with the December 18, 2017 implementation date for the Final Rule on Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and Hours of Service (HOS). Additionally, we requested that the DOT address the significant problems with the mandate that will occur if the compliance deadline is not extended. The welfare, safety, and health of the animals in transit, together with the safety of other drivers on the road, are top priorities for the equine industry and its enthusiasts.

The introduction of the ELD mandate has also brought to light concerns about Commercial Driver’s license (CDL) requirements from the entire equine community. Drivers have been required to have a CDL in order to drive certain commercial motor vehicles (CMV’s) since April 1, 1992. That being said, a truck and trailer can be considered a commercial vehicle without the requirement that you obtain a CDL. The AHC would like to note that the requirements for a CDL or CMV classification have been in effect for quite some time, and are not new developments along with the ELD mandate.

In an effort to help provide some clarity for both our members and the general equine industry, the AHC has put together two brochures: “Electronic Logging Device Mandate: How Will It Affect You?” and “Commercial Driver’s License: How do I Know if I Need One?” Both are available as a .pdf on the AHC’s website here:http://www.horsecouncil.org/eld-mandate-cdl-requirements/

We encourage our members to share this information, and please contact the AHC if you have any additional questions.

Read on AHC Website

 

Senate Passes Tax Bill, Moves to “Conference” to Negotiate Final Package

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

Senate Passes Tax Bill, Moves to “Conference” to Negotiate Final Package

Senators scrambled Saturday, December 2, to muster the necessary 51 votes to pass its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, effectively laying down a marker to jump start negotiations with the House of Representatives on a final package.  While details related to the senate bill continue to emerge, please see the below highlights of key provisions that will impact the equine industry.  Many of these provisions diverge from the House-passed version and could be subject to changes during the House and Senate conference, which congressional leadership will organize this week:

Business Provisions

  • Corporate Tax Rate: The senate bill delays reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% until 2019. By contrast, H.R. 1 provides an immediate corporate tax cut, effective in 2018.  Lawmakers will have to bridge this gap during the conference committee.
  • Small Business:  The senate vehicle establishes a 23% deduction for small business income of “pass-thru entities,” or small companies which opt to pay taxes under the individual rate.  Senators included this deduction to address concerns from lawmakers who claimed that previous versions of the bill did not create sufficient tax relief for small business.
  • Expensing: While the House bill and a previous version of the senate vehicle provided 100% bonus depreciation, the final senate bill appears to modify treatment of bonus depreciation to “phase down … the percentage from 100% by 20% per calendar year.”  AHC largely supports the House treatment of expensing, which according to Hill sources, includes a broad legislative definition to allow full expensing of horses.
  • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – According to Hill sources, the senate vehicle preserves a 20% corporate, alternative minimum tax.  The House bill repeals the unpopular provision altogether, laying the groundwork for a major discussion point during negotiations for a final package.
  • Name and Logo Royalties:  The senate bill strikes a provision from a previous version of the bill that treated “name and logo royalties” as unrelated business taxable income.
  • Wagering Losses:  A previous version of the senate bill states that it amends the existing tax code provision that addresses treatment of gambling winnings, without specifying how.   The current senate vehicle does not appear to clarify this provision, which AHC will continue to monitor.
Continue Reading

2017 Census of Agriculture Gets Underway

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

2017 Census of Agriculture Gets Underway

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has started mailing the 2017 Census of Agriculture to America’s horse farms. Mailing in phases, all census questionnaires should be received by late December. If you do not receive a questionnaire this year, or have not received one ever, but wish to be included, you can sign up at https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/legacy0/cgi-bin/counts. Producers can respond online at www.agcensus.usda.gov or by mail. The American Horse Council encourages all qualified operations to participate and be counted. The deadline to respond is February 5, 2018.

Conducted once every five years, the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The resulting data are used by trade associations, researchers, policymakers, extension educators, agribusinesses, and many others. The data can play a vital role in community planning, farm assistance programs, technology development, farm advocacy, agribusiness setup, rural development, and more. This information may provide a critical snapshot of the equine industry that, when coupled with the AHC Economic Impact Study, will provided the evidence needed to affect important change here in Washington D.C.

For more information, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540.

Read on AHC Website

American Horse Council Efforts to Address ELD Mandate

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

American Horse Council Efforts to Address ELD Mandate

Over the past months the American Horse Council (AHC) has reached out to the equine community to determine the potential impact of the upcoming Electronic Logging Device mandate. Based on the information received, the AHC, in collaboration with the rest of the animal agriculture community, has requested that the Department of Transportation (DOT) grant a one-year enforcement delay followed by a waiver and limited exemptions from compliance with the December 18, 2017 implementation date for the Final Rule on Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and Hours of Service (HOS). Additionally, we requested that the DOT address the significant problems with the mandate that will occur if the compliance deadline is not extended. The welfare, safety, and health of the animals in transit, together with the safety of other drivers on the road, are top priorities for the equine industry and its enthusiasts.

Continue Reading

Contact Congress TODAY

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The following is from the American Horse Council:

As Congress continues to negotiate a final spending package for FY2018, the horse industry and its allies have an opportunity to assure that lawmakers include H-2B guest worker visa relief in the final bill.   Federal lawmakers must address this issue prior to the expiration of the FY2017 appropriations measure, which occurs on December 8This creates a three week window to contact your elected officials in Washington and tell them you need common-sense, guest worker visa flexibility. 

Please contact your federal lawmakers today! By clicking on the TAKE ACTION button below, you can urge them to support any provision that will provide H-2B visa cap relief within the context of FY2018 appropriations bills.

Take Action

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