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AHC Encourages Horse Industry to Complete 2018 Ag Census

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 ...
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AHC Requests Clarification from DOT

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 ...
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First Quarter Webinar to Discuss ELD Mandate

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 ...
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Partisan Gridlock Initiates Federal Government Shut-Down

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 ...
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The ELD Mandate will Impact the Horse Industry

The following is from Protect The Harvest: Protect The Harvest November 28, 2017 "NOT FOR HIRE" IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH - HOW THE ELD MANDATE WILL IMPACT THE HORSE INDUSTRY As a breeder, owner, trainer or competitor in the horse industry, it is important to understand the implications of the ELD Mandate that will be hitting the transportation industry in December of 2017. The facts are that unless we all speak up you may be required to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in your truck. There are some exemptions in place for farm or agricultural hauling where an ELD would not be required. However, many of the rigs used for hauling horses and the activities horse owners participate in, especially those that frequently travel to horse shows, fall outside the allowed exemptions. What is the ELD Mandate? In 2012, President Obama signed the bill Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century. A part of this bill included a provision requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to develop a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) on commercial vehicles. Do we have to comply since we are hauling horses, not cattle or other livestock? Yes, horses are livestock and are specifically listed in the transportation bill language. It is not just the horse industry that is facing the ELD Mandate. Families that show cattle, pigs and other livestock and travel long distances to show and compete will be impacted as well. It will also impact any other type of activity or hobby that requires a large vehicle and trailer and where there is the potential to win money in competitions. The ELD Mandate requires that your vehicle must be fitted with a device under the following conditions: • Your vehicle is a commercial vehicle (see below) • Your activities fall outside of the exemptions allowed for agriculture and livestock transportation. Most who show horses will fall outside of the exemption requirements. (see below) • You are required to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License due to the weight of your truck and trailer (see below) The “Not For Hire” myth: It is not uncommon to see “Not For Hire” graphics on trucks and horse trailers. The idea behind this is to avoid certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. This is an old fable that does not protect those hauling horses from fines for non-compliance ...
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AHC Tax Bulletin-January 2018

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 ...
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