The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased with the long-term farm policy priorities prepared by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and by Democrats in the U.S. Senate. A primary goal for ASA in the farm bill debate is ensuring that soybeans are treated fairly and equitably as program crops.
“The Administration and Senate Democrats appropriately recognized the need for an effective safety net to offset low commodity prices and farm income within a comprehensive approach to other key issues, including conservation, trade policy and rural development,” said ASA President Bart Ruth, a soybean producer from Rising City, Nebraska. “ASA is particularly pleased that both sets of principles endorse enhanced conservation stewardship initiatives on productive farmland and a boost in development of renewable energy products, including soy-based biodiesel.”
The September release of the USDA's “Report on Food and Agriculture Policy for the New Century” came as the House of Representatives prepared to consider the farm bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee in July. Simultaneously, the Senate Agriculture Committee was deciding how to proceed with its own version of the omnibus farm policy legislation. It is doubtful that the farm bill process can be completed before Congress adjourns, which is expected by the end of October.
Ruth said, “In reviewing the USDA Report, ASA recognizes the constraints that the federal budget and domestic support commitments under the World Trade Organization place on development of the next farm program.”
Ruth cautioned, however, that such constraints should not come at the expense of providing producers with an adequate safety net in the form of the marketing loan program, fixed decoupled payments, and counter-cyclical income support. ASA testified in favor of including each of these domestic farm program components in testimony before both Agriculture Committees earlier this year.
Responding to the Senate Democrat proposal, Ruth stated, “ASA appreciates the emphasis placed on increasing foreign food assistance, including through the Global Food for Education Initiative, and for foreign market development. Soybean producers will work closely with USDA officials and the Senate to develop farm program provisions that address the long-term needs of all U.S. producers in a manner that recognizes the importance of soybeans as the highest-value U.S. export crop.”
More details on these legislative initiatives and other ASA policy can be found at http://www.SoyGrowers.com.
The American Soybean Association is a national commodity organization with 28,500 members and affiliation with 29 states. For membership details, call 1-800-688-7692.