Readers responding to BEEF magazine’s latest state-of-the-industry survey appear hungry for a change in administration. Of all respondents to the BEEF reader survey, 55.1% believe the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction, while 24% disagree. Another 20.9% didn’t know. What’s more, 74.8% of respondents indicated they intend to vote Republican in 2012, while just 7.8% said they will vote Democrat. Another 13.2% are undecided, and 4.2% say they will vote for neither political party.

What are the issues U.S. beef producers should keep in mind as they go to the polls? Woodall says the most critical issue of immediate concern is the current tax situation, specifically the status of the death tax.

"If Congress doesn’t get something done, then on Jan. 1, 2013, the exemption amount on the death tax drops to $1 million. And anything over that amount in a farmer or rancher’s estate would be taxed at 55%. I think everyone knows that you do not have to have a very large operation these days to have assets in excess of $1 million," he says.

In preparation for the November elections, Woodall says NCBA is working to ensure its members are educated on all the issues. "We think that’s absolutely the biggest criterion going into the polls. Not just for the presidential election, but probably more so for what happens with the House and especially the U.S. Senate. As we have seen in past administrations, having friends in Congress who understand farming and ranching is probably a better tool than actually having a White House that favors you because they have more opportunities to jump in and help you be successful."