ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- The first major tax reform bill in over 30 years made its way through the Congress yesterday and will soon be the law of the land. And farm groups differ on how it will affect farmers and agriculture in general. The American Farm bureau Federation is praising the bill saying farmers and ranchers will see a tax cut since 94% of them pay taxes as individuals. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duval also said farmers will like the 20% deduction of business income and the higher estate tax exemption which will now be over $20 million for couples. The new law will also now let farmers deduct as much as $1 million a year for both new and used equipment purchases. But the National Farmers' Union doesn't like the new law. Farmers Union officials say the projected deficit increase of $1.4 trillion caused by the law will threaten both farm and social programs. They fear programs like crop insurance and conservation will be threatened in the 2018 farm bill.
But Congress isn't done. Before they leave Washington for the holidays, they must pass a continuing resolution to keep the government operating. And that could include something for dairy farmers. Included in a House bill that calls for disaster aid for fire and hurricane victims is a provision that would repeal the existing cap on dairy and livestock insurance policies under the Federal Crop Insurance act. The House is expected to vote on the bill today with the Senate doing the same tomorrow.
Wisconsin's dairy cows know how to make milk and that's what they did again in November. Milk production last month totaled 2.45 billion pounds, up 1 percent from a year ago, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Milk cow numbers were about the same as October at 1.28 million head, but there were 1,000 less cows than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,915 pounds, up 20 pounds from last year.
In the 23 major states during November milk production totaled 16.2 billion pounds, up 1.1 percent from November 2016. Production per cow averaged 1,861 pounds for November, which is the highest production per cow for the month of November since the 23 State series began in 2003. The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major states was 8.73 million head, 57,000 head more than last November, but unchanged from October. California continues to have the highest total production with about 3.1 billion pounds, but was one of just five states that had lower production compared to last year. Colorado had the greatest increase in year-to-year output at 348 million pounds of milk in November, up just over 6 percent from a year ago.
Farm Bureau members heading to their 99th annual convention in Nashville in January will probably have to go through some extra security screening. That's because their main speaker will be President Donald Trump. Another keynote speaker will be country music star Reba McEntire. The convention will run from January 5th through the 10th.