During the 2013 Commodity Classic in Florida last week - American Soybean Association voting delegate members reiterated the association’s commitment to a comprehensive long-term farm bill and other important soybean industry priorities. ASA President Danny Murphy says the resolutions process is a great reminder that ASA’s policies come directly from the ground up - keeping farmers involved and ASA firmly tied to the everyday concerns of soybean farmers. ASA maintains any new farm bill must not distort planting decisions - but protect and strengthen crop insurance as a valuable risk management tool for soybean producers. The farm bill resolution approved by the delegates reveals an openness to consider strengthening existing crop insurance with a Supplemental Coverage Option and to including a program based on target prices and price losses. The resolution also recognizes that direct payments may have to be reduced or eliminated to meet deficit reduction targets. It also encourages Congress to protect valuable programs streamlining conservation programs, reauthorizing and funding biodiesel and bio-based education programs, ag research, trade development and food aid programs.
The delegates discussed trade and formalized ASA’s support of a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement with the EU to provide market access for U.S. soy products and address trade barriers. Transportation was also addressed - as ASA continues support of funding for waterways infrastructure. Biotechnology was also a key topic - as delegates voted to encourage approval and deregulation of high-oleic soybeans - and also established ASA’s opposition to state food labeling requirements beyond those required by the federal government. As for regulation - delegates support raising the quantity of on-farm fuel storage according to EPA’s new regulations - and they support voluntary conservation and water-quality programs led by farmers. Finally - delegates endorse the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol - which documents and promotes to global buyers how U.S. soybeans are the world’s most sustainably-produced soybeans.