The American Soybean Association has submitted comments to the House Ag Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management regarding Farm Bill implementation, voicing concerns about the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. According to ASA President Johnny Dodson that program affects the viability of soybean farmers and the biodiesel industry. Plans to implement the program for Fiscal Year 2009 have been published and ASA is pleased USDA has moved forward. However; there are concerns with provisions of the Notice of Contract Proposal, including the manner in which USDA would determine Base Production of new biorefineries for 2009 and the differential payments for base and incremental production in future years.
Dodson says ASA supports making equal payments on actual production, but says the criteria should apply to actual production of new and old plants alike. He says differentiating between older and newer plants could undercut the competitiveness of older facilities. Another concern is a misstatement that Congress appropriated mandatory funding to the tune of $30 million for FY '09. ASA says the Farm Bill provides mandatory funding of $55 million.
ASA is asking the Committee to conduct active oversight of the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels to ensure it's administered in a manner that's equitable for all producers and is consistent with the intent of Congress. They say that includes using the full mandatory funding amounts provided in the 2008 Farm Bill.