USA Rice Federation and 34 other farm, ranch, and allied-industry organizations wrote to U.S. Representatives and Senators to ask their support for permanent and meaningful estate-tax relief. The coalition urged Congress to act immediately on the estate-tax provision, until such time as full repeal is possible.

"This permanent extension will give farmers and ranchers the certainty they need to conduct business," the letter says.

Current estate-tax-relief law provides a $5 million per person exemption and a top tax rate of 35 percent, but the provisions are set to expire at the end of 2012.  If Congress does not act on the current law, a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55 percent would go into effect next year.

"At a minimum, we support extending the exemption at $5 million per person and retaining the top rate of 35 percent until such time as full repeal of the estate tax is possible," the coalition said. "It is also imperative that any estate tax law passed, other than full repeal, index the exemption to inflation; provide for spousal transfers; and include the stepped-up basis."

USA Rice Federation strongly supports repeal of the estate-tax law and bills to eliminate or reduce estate-tax burdens on farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural-property owners. USA Rice is a longtime active participant in the farm, ranch, and allied-industry estate-tax coalition.