Federal Affairs

If you’re a business owner, successfully running your company leaves you little time to stay up on legislation, let alone fight changes which may increase costs. It takes a certain level of knowledge and resources to change policy.

That’s where we come in. We are keyed in to what’s happening in Washington. Our director of federal affairs served as chief of staff and legislative director to a senior U.S. Senator and has over two decade of experience working with issues on Capitol Hill. Our people in DC work closely with members of congress and their staff, attending legislative meetings and helping to write legislation. Involved in the issues, we monitor legislation daily and consider the long-term impacts to business owners. Our team attends conferences, writes papers, and reads essential publications. When we see a red flag, we work to build coalitions to change policy. We do this by tapping into our extensive network — such as large corporations, utility, technical researchers and scientists, health and environmental non-governmental organizations, and legislators — to align toward a common goal and address challenges.

We’ve successfully influenced a number of legislative and policy issues.

Cash-to-Accrual

Hearing about proposed legislation which required accrual accounting for businesses with annual gross receipts over $10 million, our federal affairs team realized it would mean significant tax increases for agribusinesses. We put together the Farmers for Tax Fairness coalition and gathered agriculture industry signatures to oppose the changes, ultimately securing an ag exemption in the House tax reform draft bill. The effort resulted in a $5 million savings for farmers and ranchers. More importantly, it meant that they retained the flexibility provided by cash accounting to deal with shifting commodity pricing, and high energy and other input costs.

Water Infrastructure

If you’re a farmer or rancher, you may rely on water infrastructure provided by a non-profit irrigation, ditch, reservoir and canal company. In the United States, aging, badly degraded water infrastructure is at risk of failing, causing a disruption water users. Recognizing the severity of this problem, we helped irrigation and ditch companies draft tax legislation to stimulate private investment in water infrastructure. Our team identified irrigators who would benefit from the bill and got them engaged. Working with a bipartisan group of members of congress, we were able to pass the legislation through the US Senate, positioning the bill for enactment into law.

Sustainability

When tribes in Washington were concerned about the waste from nearby dairy farmers harming salmon, they came to us for help. Our team raised money to study the issue, proposing the two groups jointly develop a biogas facility to create energy from the dairy waste. We helped coordinate efforts involving the tribes, Washington State Dairy Federation, Lower Skykomish River Habitat Conservation Group, and the Northwest Chinook Recovery to collaborate on the project. The partnership raised money to build the facility, turning the manure into 450 kilowatts of power. This effort eliminated a lawsuit threat, increased dairy herd size, protected water quality, and enhanced salmon protection.

Air Quality

Air quality issues in middle Georgia meant seven counties and 13 cities were at risk for failing to meet federal ozone standards. If air quality wasn’t improved, it threatened shutdown of a major employer in the area. Our Federal Affairs team worked with Rivercrossing Strategies to to form the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition and create a long-term regional air quality strategy. This strategy included retrofitting school buses to clean up diesel emissions, installing electric vehicle charging stations, passing local anti-idling resolutions,, and purchasing natural gas vehicles for city fleets. Getting in front of the issue allowed the area to meet ozone standards, retain over 25,000 jobs; significantly improve air quality; and protect health, crops, trees and other vegetation.

Habitat Protection

As imperiled species are listed on the endangered species list, industry and farmers can face new regulation. K•Coe Isom is working with farmers and ranchers nationwide to develop market-based solutions to help species and lower the risk of regulation. For example, in Wyoming, we are working with a broad coalition including the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, University of Wyoming, and Environmental Defense Fund to establish the Wyoming Conservation Exchange – a trading platform allowing ranchers to generate new revenue by conserving habitat for the greater sage-grouse. K•Coe Isom helps farmers and ranchers identify ways that they can maximize revenue from their agricultural operations while also generating new revenue through conservation.

Contact Brian Kuehl at 307.673.4535 to discuss legislative issues affecting your business.

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