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Business Best Practices

AmericanHort has a long history of involvement in federal policy debates with an eye toward ensuring members’ business profitability and growth.  Our members are mostly small, family-owned or closely held, horticultural businesses.  Many are multi-generational, and many are diversified.  Human resources, tax reform, and other small business issues affect all AmericanHort members, so our approach is to engage on issues that present special challenges for our members based on the nature of our industry. 

Clarifying the Department of Transportation’s “Agricultural Commodity” Definition

The “agricultural commodity” definition currently in-use by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues to lead to compliance confusion for horticultural crop growers.  AmericanHort supports the explicit inclusion of nursery and greenhouse crops under the agricultural commodity definition, ensuring shippers are allowed access to an exemption for “Hours of Service” regulations available to those transporting highly perishable goods within a 150 air-mile radius. 

Protecting Cash Accounting & Interest Expensing

Cash accounting and interest expensing are essential elements of industry accounting as many businesses rely on these practices to remain solvent.  Modifying or eliminating these two practices would significantly hurt growth and sustainability not only for the industry but small businesses across the country.  AmericanHort remains committed to ensure efforts to reform tax and accounting practices take into account the necessity of these tools.

Limiting ambiguity around internet sales taxes

Decided in 2018, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Wayfair v. South Dakota allowed states to collect sales taxes from online businesses located beyond their borders.  With increasing industry development of direct-to-consumer sales through the internet, this has the effect of potentially subjecting a retailer to over 12,000 taxing jurisdictions in 45 states.  AmericanHort supports legislation and regulations that will: 

  • Limit ambiguity in the enforcement of state and municipal sales tax laws to across state lines; 
  • Impose reasonable exemption levels for retailers performing only small levels of commerce across state lines; and 
  • Streamline the collection and remittance of interstate sales taxes, thus limiting the cost burdens absorbed by sellers. 

Protecting generational transfers with a realistic estate tax

With the horticulture industry experiencing many generational transfers, and with highly valued land and facilities, mitigating the burden of the estate tax remains a key priority in any discussions of reforming the tax code.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the Estate Tax exemption level to $11.4M/taxpayer ($22.8M/married couple), but those expanded limits are set to expire on 12/31/2025.  AmericanHort will continue to monitor this issue and seek fairness and predictability into 2026 and beyond.

Streamlining international trade

AmericanHort continues efforts to modernize plant quarantine and certification programs to facilitate domestic and international trade in healthy nursery and greenhouse plants.  Our key priorities include completing the “offshore cuttings pilot” and the domestic Systems Approach to Nursery Certification (SANC) programs as well as implementing the revised U.S.-Canada Greenhouse Grown Plant Certification Program.

Reauthorization of the “199A” qualified business income deduction

Owners of many sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations and some trusts and estates became eligible for a qualified business income (QBI) deduction beginning in 2018.  This “199A deduction” allows non-corporate taxpayers to deduct up to 20 percent of their QBI and certain other incomes.  AmericanHort supports efforts to reauthorize this provision, which is among several provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that are set to expire in 2025.

Support for the Risk Management Agency’s study into greenhouse crop insurance

The 2018 Farm Bill instructed the USDA’s Risk Management Agency to conduct research and development on a policy to insure the production of floriculture, nursery, and bedding plants, or the establishment of cuttings, seedlings or tissue culture in a controlled environment such as a greenhouse.  AmericanHort will be monitoring developments to ensure better risk management options are available for our growers.