Soybean farmers chart ASA policy course

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Members of the voting delegates of the American Soybean Association (ASA) reaffirmed the association’s commitment to a comprehensive long-term farm bill during its annual meeting during the final day of the 2013 Commodity Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.

"The resolutions process is a great reminder that ASA’s policies come directly from the ground up," said ASA President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss. "The policies are raised, voted on and established as ASA priorities through an entirely farmer-driven process. It keeps farmers involved and it keeps ASA firmly tied to the everyday concerns of soybean farmers."

Within the farm bill resolution language, ASA maintained that any new farm bill must not distort planting decisions, and it should protect and strengthen crop insurance as a viable risk management tool for soybean producers. While ASA supported the revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program in previous farm bill negotiations, ASA noted that it recognizes funding may be insufficient to cover the cost of this type of program, in which case, ASA also expressed its openness to consider strengthening the current crop insurance program with a Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) program similar to that which was included in both the Senate and House versions of the bill.

Given that ASA recognizes some commodities also are interested in a program that protects against long-term price declines, the voting delegates affirmed ASA’s openness to including a program based on target prices and price losses in a new farm bill, provided that payments are decoupled from planting decisions. ASA will continue to oppose a target price program that would interfere with the ability of producers to respond to the market by distorting planting decisions.

Also in the farm bill discussion, delegates noted that in order to pay for the costs of improvements to crop insurance, SCO, and a decoupled target price program and to meet part of any deficit reduction targets, Direct Payments may have to be reduced or eliminated. As has been ASA’s position throughout the negotiations, ASA encourages agriculture to accept its fair share of spending reductions, provided they are proportionate with cuts to other federal programs and do not weaken the federal crop insurance program.

The farm bill resolution approved by the delegates also contained language encouraging Congress to protect valuable programs streamlining conservation programs, reauthorizing and funding biodiesel and biobased education programs, agricultural research, trade development and food aid programs.

The group also discussed other issues, including trade, transportation, biotechnology, regulation and sustainability. You can read more about it here.

The resolutions passed by the delegates on Friday will be available in full on the ASA website in the coming weeks.


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