Biodiesel growth and Asian rust are just two of the top issues facing soybean growers this year, according to American Soybean Association (ASA) president Neal Bredehoeft. Bredehoeft outlined the organization's goals at a press conference during the Commodity Classic held in Austin, Texas, Feb. 23-26.
Last year ASA achieved one of its most important legislative victories when President Bush signed into law a bill containing the first-ever biodiesel tax incentive, says Bredehoeft. Passage of the historic tax incentive and extension of the ethanol tax incentive was a part of H.R. 4520, also known as the American JOBS Creation Act of 2004.
"For every 100 million gallons of soy-based biodiesel demand, the price of a bushel of soybeans is expected to increase by 10 cents," says Bredehoeft. "That could add an average of another $2,000 to the bottom line of farmers growing 500 acres of soybeans."
The tax incentive is expected to provide an economic surge in several sectors of the U.S. economy, including manufacturing, agriculture, and all sectors that provide support services to these industries. It's estimated that the tax incentive could create up to 50,000 jobs in the U.S. over the next 10 years.
Bredehoeft also says the U.S. soybean industry is up to the challenge of Asian soybean rust. "We can, through education, innovation and determination, successfully maintain soybeans as a viable cropping opportunity throughout much of our soybean growing area," he says.
Bredehoeft commented on several other key ASA issues:
"ASA supports concluding the Doha WTO negotiations as soon as possible, and achieving a major outcome in liberalizing world trade. ASA insists that developing countries that are major export competitors be subject to the same disciplines on domestic support as developed countries.
"ASA is urging the United States Senate to approve the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) because this agreement will improve and enhance trade opportunities between the United States and the Central American countries of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Exports of U.S. soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil to these countries currently account for more than $260 million in annual sales."
European labeling laws
"ASA has led efforts to oppose the European Union's new regulations requiring traceability and labeling of food products containing biotech ingredients. These new regulations are not based on science, they are discriminatory, and they will negatively impact U.S. soybean, corn and food exports to the EU."
"In advance of new food labeling laws that go into effect next January, ASA is urging food companies to consider using a variety of available soy-based technologies as they decide how to reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids in food products. Trans fat is created when vegetable oil is partially hydrogenated. Several processing technologies have been developed that transform the chemical and physical properties of soybean oil so that the end product has few or no trans fats."