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AHC Comments on America’s Great Outdoors Initiative

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   October 14, 2010 18:08

October 14, 2010

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact: Bridget Harrison
202-296-4031
bharrison@horsecouncil.org

AHC Comments on America’s Great Outdoors Initiative

On April 16, 2010, President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO).  A central part of the initiative was an effort to collect the view points of Americans.  In September, the American Horse Council submitted comments to the Administration concerning the equestrian community’s connection to America’s private and public land.

The stated goals of the Presidents initiative are: (1) Reconnect Americans with the outdoors by promoting community based recreation and conservation, advance job and volunteer opportunities related to conservation and recreation, as well as educate  individuals in American’s  history, culture, and natural beauty; (2) Build upon State, local, private and tribal priorities for the conservation of land, water, wildlife, historic and cultural resources; (3) Use Science-based management practices to restore and protect America’s lands and waters.

The American Horse Council participated in the initial event for the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative held at the U.S. Department of the Interior on April 16. “We were happy to be invited to the conference,” said Ben Pendergrass, AHC Legislative Director. “It was an excellent opportunity to remind the Administration and other attendees of the equestrian community’s unique connection with the land.”

Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality were directed to lead the initiative.

As part of the initiative the Administration and federal agencies involved held listening sessions around the county and solicited comments from tribal leaders, farmers, ranchers, sportsmen, community park groups, foresters, youth groups, business people, educators, State and local governments and recreational and conservation groups. The information collected at these sessions and submitted comments will be used to complete a report due in November.

“We worked to get the word out to equestrians about the listening sessions,” said AHC President Jay Hickey. “I think it paid off. We heard good feedback from equestrians who were able to attend some of the sessions and agency staff who were involved.”

In September, following up its participation in the listening sessions the AHC submitted formal comments concerning the AGO initiative. The complete comments can be found here or by visiting the Recreation Page under “Issues” on the AHC website.  

In its comments the AHC pointed out that the conservation, management, and use of America’s public and private lands are critical to the equestrian community. 

The AHC also noted that the equestrian community and horse industry is extremely diverse.  It is comprised of many different pursuits, segments, and participants, exists in every region of the country and involves individuals with many different backgrounds and incomes.
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The AHC reminded the Administration of the equestrian communities’ dependence on America’s farmland to feed, raise, breed, and board its horses and the need to protect such land. The AHC specifically requested that the Administration recognize the contribution horse farms and facilities make to preserving open green space, stream buffers, wild life habitat, forests, and pasture.  It also asked that horse farms be considered working lands that need to be protected from urban development.

The AHC also commented on the importance of America’s public lands to hundreds of thousands of Americans of all ages who use horses and pack stock to enjoy America’s great outdoors each year. The AHC made clear that the equestrian community believes that recreation is a fundamental and legitimate use of our country’s public lands and that it is committed to preserving those lands.

“Thousands of equestrians are involved in volunteer projects each year building and maintaining trails for all users of public lands,” said Pendergrass. “We hope the Administration will recognize the volunteer contributions equestrians make and their firm commitment to protecting our public lands.”  

In its comments the AHC pointed out that recreational riders need well maintained trails, trail heads for horses, access routes, picnic, and camping facilities, restrooms, and stables to make use of our nation’s public lands.  It also noted that access has become an increasingly serious issue for equestrians which also must be addressed. The AHC requested that the Administration explore policies that will ensure land managers accommodate all recreational users where appropriate and educate federal land mangers on equestrian issues and encourage state and local governments to do so as well.

“If the goal of the President’s initiative is to connect more Americans with the outdoors, making sure equestrians continue to have access to public lands should be part of any future policy connected with the AGO,” said Pendergrass.

The AHC also stated its belief that equestrian activities can play an important role in reconnecting our young people with the outdoors. It asked the Administration to make equestrian activities an integral part of any effort to reconnect our nation’s youth with the outdoors. 

Additionally, the AHC asked the Administration to consider the role horses, mules, and burros can play in allowing access to the outdoors for physically-challenged Americans in any discussion of America’s outdoors.

“We hope as the Administration and Congress determines future policy the contribution America’s millions of equestrians make to support and conserve America’s outdoors and the role equestrian activities can play in connecting Americans of all ages with the outdoors will be considered,”said Hickey. “The entire equestrian community is dependent on America’s public and private lands and we are committed to working with President Obama, Congress, the federal land management agencies and all stakeholders to preserve our great outdoors and ensure their enjoyment and use by future generations of Americans.”


As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.

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Benefits for Horse Industry in Small Business Stimulus Bill

posted by Administrator    |   October 6, 2010 10:22

American Horse Council Press Release
September 28, 2010

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact: Bridget Harrison
202-296-4031
bharrison@horsecouncil.org

Benefits for Horse Industry in Small Business Stimulus Bill

The American Horse Council reports that President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 into law on September 27, 2010.  The bill is intended to help small businesses and create new jobs.  The bill continues the bigger write-off for  horses and other property purchased and placed in service by a horse business that were originally included in earlier stimulus bills.

The first incentive allows an owner who purchases a horse or other business property used in a horse business and places it in service in 2010 or 2011 to expense up to $500,000 of the cost.  This so-called “Section 179” expensing allowance applies to horses, farm equipment and most other depreciable property.  Once total purchases of horses and other eligible property reach $2 million, the expense allowance goes down one dollar for each dollar spent over $2 million.  Without the bill the expensing allowance would have been $250,000 in 2010 and gone down to $25,000 for later years.

“Let’s assume a horse business purchases $750,000 of depreciable property in 2010, including $650,000 for horses, and places it all in service.  That business can write off $500,000 on its 2010 tax return and depreciate the balance,” explained American Horse Council President Jay Hickey. 

This provision will benefit any business involved in the horse industry that purchases and places depreciable property in service in 2010 or 2011.

The second incentive reinstitutes the 50% first-year bonus depreciation for horses and most other depreciable property purchased and placed in service during 2010. Bonus depreciation had expired at the end of 2009. This benefit applies to any property that has a depreciable life of 20 years or less.  Also, the property must be new, meaning that the original use of the horse or other property must commence with the taxpayer.  For a horse to be eligible, it cannot have been used for any purpose before it is purchased.

“The tax benefits in this bill are great for any horse business that has or is planning on making major purchases,” said Hickey. “The expensing and bonus depreciation provisions can be used together in 2010. For example, let’s assume an owner pays $1,000,000 for a colt to be used for racing and $100,000 for other depreciable property, bringing total purchases to $1,100,000 in 2010.  If the colt had never been raced or used for any other purpose before the purchase and is placed into service, the owner would be able to expense $500,000, deduct another $300,000 of bonus depreciation (50% of the $600,000 remaining balance), and take regular depreciation on the $300,000 balance.”

“We hope the horse industry will take full advantage of these two tax benefits while they last,” said Hickey.

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As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state

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