The American Farm Bureau Federation was part of a letter to Congress expressing opposition to the estate tax. Dustin Sherer, director of government affairs for the American Farm Bureau, talks about what was in the letter.

"The Family Businesses Estate Tax Coalition, of which American Farm Bureau Federation is a member, sent a letter to Representatives Feenstra and Bishop, who plan on introducing the Death Tax Repeal Act in the House hopefully sometime in mid-January," Sherer said. "Farm Bureau has long been opposed to any type of estate tax, and this particular bill would take the estate tax completely off the books."

The large number of groups signed on to the letter, including those that represent a variety of business outside of agriculture, shows how important the issue is to the overall economy.

"It's very indicative of how important it is to small, privately held, family-owned businesses, farms, ranches," Sherer said. "The estate tax is oftentimes talked about only with reference to somebody with a farm or ranch trying to pass down a business from one generation to the next. But you apply those same principles to a family-owned small business that manufactures products or a family-owned construction company."

The American Farm Bureau has long been an outspoken opponent of the death tax.

"For some reason, somebody at some point in history thought that somebody dying was a good enough reason to levy a tax on all of the assets that they had accumulated. We have always been philosophically opposed to that," Sherer said. "This particular tax makes it very difficult to transition a business from one generation to the next, which in many cases is all families want to do is keep the family in the business. It's provided for the family over the course of one generation. They want to make sure that it's there for the next."