What is in it for you? – Courtesy AHC

June 2008

On Thursday May 22, Congress overrode Presidents Bush’s veto of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, commonly known as the Farm Bill. The House passed the bill again on May 21, by a vote of 316 to 108. The Senate passed it a day later, May 22, by a vote of 82 to 13. Due to a clerical error one title of the Farm Bill concerning trade remains in limbo. However, all other titles of the bill including several provisions that benefit the horse industry are now law.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 includes several provisions that benefit the horse industry.

1) Depreciation of Race Horses Shortened

The tax portion of the bill will amend the current depreciation schedule for race horses to make it uniform at three years.

With the passage of this provision, horse owners will no longer have to decide whether to place their race horse in service at the end of its yearling year, and depreciate it over seven years, or wait until the horse reaches 24 months and a day in order to use the three-year depreciation schedule. Beginning in 2009, all race horses will be uniformly depreciated over three years regardless of when placed in service. This means that an owner will be able to depreciate the horse twice as fast. This amendment will also end the inequitable situation of depreciating race horses over seven years, a period that is about twice as long as their actual racing life.

2) Equine Farmers and Ranchers Eligible for Emergency Loans Another provision in the bill makes horse breeders eligible for the first time for emergency federal loans following a disaster. This change includes “equine farmers and ranchers” within the group of producers specifically eligible for these federal emergency loans.

3) Horses Specifically Included as Livestock in Disaster Assistance Program The Farm Bill also includes a new disaster assistance program that will provide relief funds to farmers and ranchers who suffer losses in areas that are declared disaster areas by USDA. This program is intended to make funds available to producers sooner following a disaster. Horses are specifically included within the definition of livestock eligible for the program.