Cattle Today

Cattle Today

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Tim Cross
Professor, Ext. Agricultural Economics University of Tennessee

Producers who sell more cattle than usual this year, due to the drought, should be aware that special provisions are available to deal with the income tax conse-quences of herd reductions. Pro-ceeds reported from sales of live-stock due to drought conditions can be delayed one year. All live-stock held for sale, whether pur-chased or raised, qualify for the postponement. If more livestock are sold in 1999 than would nor-mally have been sold, the sale of the additional animals may be reported in 2000, provided the taxpayer's principal business is farming, the cash method of ac-counting is used and, under the farm's usual business practices, the sale would not have occurred in 1999 were it not for the drought.

Suppose a producer normally sells 20 calves in the fall and holds 10 calves until the follow-ing spring, but this year sells all 30 calves in the fall. If the 30 calves generate $12,000 in sale value, then the amount of income that can be postponed until next year is ($12,000 ' 30 head) x 10 head = $4,000

Gains from sales of livestock held for breeding purposes can also be postponed. If cows, bulls or replacement heifers are sold due to drought, these sales can be treated as an involuntary conver-sion. The gains from sales of breeding livestock can be post-poned, provided replacement stock of similar kind is purchased within two years from non-family members, and the cost of the re-placement stock must exceed the sale value of the breeding cattle sold due to drought. Only live-stock sold in excess of the amount normally sold can be con-sidered involuntary conversions. For example, a producer who normally culls five cows annually but sells 15 cows in 1999 due to the drought can elect to postpone the gain on 10 of the cows. Refer to the Farmer's Tax Guide, IRS Publication 225, for more details on how to postpone gains due to weather-related sales. The publi-cation is available on-line at or call the IRS at 800-829-3676. Use federal programs to help with drought relief. Now that Tennes-see has been designated an agri-culture disaster state, two federal programs are available that may benefit cow/calf producers. Both of these programs are adminis-tered by USDAs Farm Service Agency OFSA. Emergency con-servation program: During drought, the emergency conserva-tion program can provide cost-share funds for emergency water assistance to livestock. Cost share assistance up to 64 percent can be applied for, with a limit of $20,000/farm at the county FSA office. The state office can ap-prove up to $62,500/farm. Requests under $20,000 are evalu-ated and approved by county FSA committees.

Emergency loan program: Low interest emergency loans are available to producers in agricul-ture disaster areas. The loans are generally repaid in one to seven years with 3.75 percent interest rates. The loans require a first lien on property or demonstrated re-payment capacity. Producers must demonstrate a 30 percent physical loss in any essential en-terprise to qualify for funding. Develop a financial plan for your farm for next year. Before doing anything, producers, should evaluate all their alternatives and develop plans for their farms for the next 12 months. The UT Ag-ricultural Extension Service MANAGE program is available to help farm families develop plans for the coming year during these challenging times. Call your County Extension office to schedule a meeting with a MANAGE program specialist, or call the MANAGE hotline at 1-800-345-0561. The service is free and confidential. Established in 1985, the program has helped thousands of Tennessee farm families to deal with challenges and opportunities.


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