JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sen. Roy Blunt says thousands of Missouri farmers could face higher taxes if the current federal estate tax rates are allowed to expire.

Missouri has about 100,000 farms, the second highest number nationally. Blunt says only about 1,100 of those would be subject to the 35 percent federal estate tax which currently exempts the first $5.1 million of an estate’s value.

Unless Congress takes action, the exemption in 2013 will drop to $1 million and the tax rate will rise to 55 percent. Blunt says about 15,000 farms could be subject to the tax at that lower threshold.

The Republican senator says he prefers to repeal the estate tax but at least wants to extend the current exemption. Some Democrats want to lower the $5 million exemption.