ASA Strongly Oppose Alternative Farm Bill Plan Developed by House and Bush

first_imgThe American Soybean Association (ASA) expressed strong opposition to an alternative version of the 2008 Farm Bill released today by the leadership of the House Committee on Agriculture and the Bush Administration.”This plan represents unilateral surrender to the short-sighted budget and policy priorities of the Bush Administration rather than a compromise with the farm bill passed by the Committee and the full House last year,” stated ASA President John Hoffman, a soybean farmer from Waterloo, Iowa. “It reverses the limited progress ASA achieved in the House bill to provide more equitable income support to soybean producers, and sufficient funding to make U.S. biodiesel producers competitive with imported biodiesel. Worse yet, the plan makes changes to the loan deficiency payment program that dramatically weaken the income safety net and disadvantage soybean, corn and other feed grains, and wheat farmers compared to current law.”Hoffman continued, “ASA will work with Members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to restore these important priorities in Conference on the farm bill in the coming weeks.”Hoffman’s comments followed release of a plan developed after a month-long series of meetings between House Agriculture Committee leaders and U.S. Department of Agriculture and White House officials that cuts overall spending by $12 billion from the earlier House-passed bill and inserts policy positions championed by the Administration that had previously been overwhelming rejected.The cuts include $6.5 billion from the Commodities Title, including $5.2 billion from eliminating direct payments in the ninth year of a 10-year bill, and an unspecified amount from eliminating increases in marketing loan rates and target prices, including for soybeans, sought by ASA and other commodity organizations. Other cuts include $3 billion less in increased food stamp spending and $2.2 billion less in the Energy Title. Funding for the CCC Bioenergy Program, including support for domestic biodiesel production, is reduced from $1.4 billion to $245 million. The plan also would require producers of all commodities, with the exception of cotton and rice, to lose beneficial interest in their crops in order to receive a Marketing Loan Gain or Loan Deficiency Payment (LDP).Responding to the details of the plan, Hoffman said, “It is extremely short-sighted to reverse efforts to provide a more equitable safety net for producers of soybeans, wheat, barley, minor oilseeds, and other crops that have been disadvantaged under the 2002 Farm Bill.””Moreover,” the ASA President said, “requiring producers to sell their crop in order to receive an LDP would end the effectiveness of this program in protecting farm income during periods of low prices. While the income safety net provided by the LDP program is not triggered during times of normal or high prices, gutting the effectiveness of this program during potential future times of low prices represents a major step backward from current law. Further, exempting cotton and rice would distort crop rotations in the South, and discriminate against soybean, corn, and wheat producers under the marketing loan program.”Hoffman concluded, “This plan reflects a failed effort to negotiate an acceptable farm bill directly with the Administration, and its enactment would be far worse for U.S. soybean producers than an extension of the 2002 Farm Bill. The original bill, passed unanimously by the House Committee, had broad support from all regions of the country and all farm organizations. ASA calls for immediate action by House and Senate Conferees to reverse the Administration’s undue and negative influence on the House proposal, and to write a final bill that is equitable and acceptable to production agriculture.”last_img

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