With 2018 now underway, I want to first wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year! Last year was an exciting one for Blue Diamond and I am energized for what this year will offer the cooperative, our grower-owners and the almond industry.
The partnerships Blue Diamond has built are invaluable to achieving shared goals, including the preservation of family farms – not only in California but throughout the United States. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped bring positive change to the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1).
As you may likely have heard, this piece of legislation was signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. Prior to the signing, American farmers were faced with the real possibility of increased taxes and eliminated deductions – both would have significant financial impact. At Blue Diamond’s November 2017 Annual Meeting, I encouraged each person who attended to contact congressional leaders and make their voices heard.
The response was extraordinary! The phone calls, letters and record number of emails ensured the perspective of California almond farmers was considered. I am pleased to report that together, in concert with other cooperatives across the nation, we positively changed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The final legislation will be beneficial to Blue Diamond grower-owners.
Key provisions include the preservation of the Interest-Charge Domestic International Sales Corporations (IC-DISC) and a new Section 199A allows farmers to receive a 20% deduction on all pass-through payments from a farmer cooperative.
This tax bill supports the economic prosperity of our cooperative members, especially our family farms. As growers continue to face increasing costs and regulations, we must be diligent in mitigating burdensome taxes. The preservation of IC-DISC and creation of Section 199A shows Congress’ willingness to listen to American farmers.
One of the most admirable qualities of a cooperative is the ability of its members to come together and engage with partners to achieve a shared goal. I consider all our grower-owners, customers, businesses, communities and the industry, as part of the extended Blue Diamond family. The cooperative is stronger because of you!
Blue Diamond and the almond industry are well positioned for growth in 2018. The Best is Yet to Come!