The USA Rice Federation and 33 other agricultural commodity, retail, and related organizations have written to U.S. representatives and senators to request reforming current estate tax laws before the end of 2012.

The coalition urged lawmakers to co-sponsor the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act, introduced in the House (H.R. 1259) by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and in the Senate (S. 2242) by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). Each bill would permanently repeal the estate tax.

(For more, see: Estate tax remains major concern for US farmers and ranchers)

"If estate taxes are allowed to be reinstated at the beginning of 2013 with only a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55 percent, the negative impact on our industry will be significant," the coalition predicted. "We support permanently keeping the exemption at $5 million per person and retaining the top rate of 35 percent."

The coalition's letter says it is also "imperative that the permanent estate tax law index the exemption to inflation, provide for spousal transfers, and include the stepped-up basis."

USA Rice strongly supports and has been active in seeking congressional repeal of the estate tax.