The U.S. House passed the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (H.R. 4520), which includes the "Rancher Help Act," a provision that allows for the extended deferral of capital gains tax from drought-related sales of livestock.

"This is a huge boost for cattlemen in states suffering from ongoing drought," says Bryan Dierlam, director of legislative affairs, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). "We have worked for years on this, and we thank Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO) and Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) for seeing the Rancher HELP provision remains a priority in Congress."

Under current tax laws, ranchers forced to reduce their herds due to historically dry grazing lands are exempt from paying capital gains tax if they replace their herds within two years. This legislation will increase that timeframe to four years. With many regions seeing year after year of drought, this offers help for cattlemen trying to save their livelihood during long-term, unexpected, dry conditions.

Another provision would give a tax credit to livestock producers, including cattle producers, who produce electricity from renewable resources like livestock waste nutrients. The credit is in the amount of 1.8ยข/Kw hour of electricity produced.