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Corn+Soybean Digest

ASA Seeks Equitable Treatment for Soybeans

The new farm policy legislation will affect the profitability of all soybean farmers. At the end of August, ASA was preparing to work with the Senate Agriculture Committee to put together Farm Bill legislation that treats soybeans equally with other crops.

ASA has been expressing its concerns about farm policy legislation prepared by the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee that does not provide equitable income support for soybean producers.

ASA has endorsed the continuation of full planting flexibility, and the decision to include soybeans and other oilseeds as program crops. However, the fixed payments, target prices, and payment yields included in the House bill could distort production decisions in favor of crops already in greater surplus.

For example, the legislation includes a reduction of 34 cents per bushel in the soybean loan rate, dropping the rate from $5.26/bushel to $4.92/bushel. Based on a 2.8 billion bushel crop, income support for soybean producers would be cut by $952 million.

“We are concerned that this farm policy would negatively affect soybean production at a time when domestic and world demand for soybeans is rapidly expanding,” said ASA President Bart Ruth of Rising City, Nebraska.

The House bill, “Agricultural Act of 2001” (H.R. 2646), provides that producers of traditional program crops, like corn, receive their current loan rates, the target prices they had prior to 1996, and their 2002 Agricultural Marketing Transition Act (AMTA) payment.

Oilseeds have never been classified as “program” crops, and are not eligible for AMTA payments to support farm income. In place of other benefits, oilseed producers have depended on the marketing loan program. They have received an oilseed payment as part of the Market Loss Assistance provided in the last two years, but it has been less on a per bushel basis than the Supplemental AMTA payments made to program crop producers.

ASA is working with key Senators and other farm organizations to ensure the Senate Farm Bill treats soybeans equitably.

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.

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