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Corn+Soybean Digest

Bean Beat

ASA Welcomes Introduction of Biodiesel Legislation

The American Soybean Association (ASA) applauds the introduction of several important legislative measures designed to encourage use of biodiesel, a clean-burning alternative to petroleum-based diesel fuel that is produced primarily from soybean oil. These include:

  • Biodiesel Tax Incentive (S. 355) — Introduced by U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), S. 355 would provide a one-cent reduction in the diesel fuel excise tax for each percentage of biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel up to 20 percent.
  • EPACT Reform (S. 356, H.R. 316) — Introduced by U.S. Senators Lincoln, Kit Bond (R-MO), and Jim Talent (R-MO), S. 356 would remove the 50 percent limit on biodiesel use under the Energy Policy Act (EPACT) of 1992 program. U.S. Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL) and Karen McCarthy (D-MO) introduced H.R. 316, the U.S. House version of S. 356.
  • CMAQ (H.R. 318) — Introduced by Representatives Shimkus and McCarthy, H.R. 318 would allow biodiesel use under the congestion mitigation and air quality (CMAQ) improvement program.

“Securing passage of legislation that would encourage the use and production of biodiesel is a top priority for U.S. soybean farmers this Congress,” stated ASA First Vice President and National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Director Ron Heck from his farm in Perry, Iowa. “Thankfully we have some good friends in Congress who share this goal.”

There are many benefits to increased biodiesel use. A recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report of biodiesel emissions confirms substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter compared to emissions or petroleum diesel. In addition, its primary source - soybeans - is grown here in the U.S., which lessens our nation's dependency on foreign oil. Increased biodiesel use would also provide a much-needed boost to the struggling farm economy.

The previous Congress was on the verge of approving an Energy Bill that contained strong biodiesel incentives. However, issues unrelated to biodiesel prevented congressional negotiators from reaching an agreement on a final Energy Bill before the 107th Congress adjourned last November.

“Capitalizing on the momentum generated from last year's success, ASA is anxious to take biodiesel all the way this year,” proclaimed Heck.

ASA Leads Soymilk Coalition

In preparation for the 2003 reauthorization of child nutrition programs, the American Soybean Association (ASA) is leading a coalition of soy interests to bring soymilk into federal child nutrition programs. Included in the coalition are trade associations representing soybean farmers and processors, as well as individual soy protein companies and soy food producers.

ASA Board member Barb Overlie, a soybean producer from Lake Crystal, Minn., led the group in meeting with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Eric Bost to discuss the Administration's position on including soymilk in federal nutrition programs. Bost indicated that while the change to include soymilk is not one of the Administration's top priorities for child nutrition program reauthorization this year, it is on their list of priorities and an initiative he is willing to support.

The coalition also met with committee staff from the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee. These are the staffers who will draft the legislation reauthorizing child nutrition programs. The coalition continues to find “Hill” staff receptive to including soymilk as part of the reimbursable school lunch program. Questions being raised include the possible cost of adding soymilk, number of children affected, position of the Bush Administration, and position of the dairy industry.

“Soymilk offers a fast-growing, value-added market for U.S. soybean producers,” Overlie said. “It's a nutritious alternative for the growing population of children who cannot or do not drink milk.”

Prior to formation of the soymilk coalition, ASA staff met with representatives of the American School Food Service Association to discuss expanding the availability of soymilk in the school lunch program. Schools are reimbursed for meals containing soymilk only in cases of medical need, documented by a doctor's letter.

ASA will continue to lead efforts to bring soymilk into federal child nutrition programs as reauthorization of those programs takes place this year.

What Every U.S. Soybean Grower Needs To Know About ASA

Fact: The American Soybean Association (ASA) mission is to improve U.S. soybean farmer profitability.

Fact: ASA successfully represents soybean farmers' interests around the world, building demand for soy both in the U.S. and abroad.

Fact: The American Soybean Association makes sure that a strong voice representing the interests of U.S. soybean growers is clearly heard in Washington D.C., among the thousands of other voices clamoring for legislative and policy attention.

Fact: Individual members provide the input for ASA policies through their state soybean associations and voting delegates.

Fact: The American Soybean Association is “the voice” of U.S. soybean producers.

In Washington, the American Soybean Association's consistent presence and tenacity in addressing the many issues that affect U.S. soybean producers helps accomplish important victories for growers.

For example, ASA fought to make soybeans a full-fledged program crop in the 2002 Farm Bill, making producers eligible for a 44-cent/bushel fixed payment and a $5.80/bushel target price. Also, ASA fought hard to ensure that Congress enacted Trade Promotion Authority last year, which allows the President to negotiate trade agreements that will further increase export demand for U.S. soybeans and other agricultural products.

With regard to one of the current issues, ASA is leading the charge to build a robust domestic biodiesel market through a tax incentive to encourage its use, which would displace large quantities of surplus U.S. soybean oil.

ASA makes a difference because of its hard work and strength in membership numbers.

Joining ASA is one of the best things you can do to help ensure soybean profitability and preserve farming for the generations to come. To become a member, call the ASA Membership Department at 800/688-7692, or contact your state membership chair at the phone number listed on this page.

The facts are clear. And you can make a difference by joining the American Soybean Association.

Make the call today. Become a member of ASA.

ASA State Membership Chairs

Donn Glenn256/637-2069

Joe Torian

Richard Wilkins

Jimmy Clements

Yaro Chmelar

Ron Moore

Lynn Teel

Kent Romine

Jack Trumbo

John Janes

Andy Welden

Jim Willers

Kelly Forck

A. Morgan Beckham

North Carolina
Floyd Peed

North DakotaJeff Leinen

Jim Miller

Royden Smith

Jon Leeds

Pamela Snelson

South Carolina
J. T. “Buddy” Rivers

South Dakota
Todd Jongeling

David Nichols

Carl Weets

Bruce Holland

Lorraine Birschbach

Robert Derr

The American Soybean Association is a national commodity organization with 26,000 members and affiliation with 25 states. For membership details, call 1-800-688-7692.

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