The American Soybean Association is calling the House Agriculture Committee's draft Commodities Title a "step in the right direction and an improvement over the 2002 Farm Bill." While the draft released late last week does not go as far as ASA has proposed to Congress, ASA is urging Members of the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management to support the proposal as they mark up the Commodities Title of the Farm Bill this week.
ASA has urged Congress use the new Farm Bill to adjust target prices and loan rates to make them equitable percentages of recent average prices as a means to balance income support between commodities, and to reduce planting distortions.
"We specifically requested increasing the soybean target price to $6.85 per bushel to improve the effective safety net for soybean producers," says ASA President Rick Ostlie, a soybean farmer from Northwood, N.D., in a letter to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson. "We asked that the cost of these changes be offset by adding funds to the farm bill baseline, so as not to reduce support levels for other crops.
"However, we fully understand the position of Chairman Peterson that, to protect baseline funding for Title I (the Commodities Title), any new funds should be directed to other titles in the Farm Bill," Ostlie adds. "As a consequence, we appreciate and support the Chairman's decision to make a small across-the-board reduction in direct payments to fund adjustments in loan rate and target price levels."
ASA shares Chairman Peterson's concerns with proposals that would maintain or even increase farm support through direct payments. Moving farm policy toward a safety net that offsets lower prices and yields will garner more support for these programs.
The next few weeks are key to Farm Bill debate, and the ASA will continue to communicate soybean growers' interests to Congress. For additional details, access ASA's 2007 Farm Bill proposals at www.SoyGrowers.com/policy/2007FarmBill/ASA2007FB.PDF.
ASA is the policy advocate and collective voice of its 24,000 producer-members on domestic and international issues of importance to all U.S. soybean farmers.