Farm Bill

Farm Bill

ASA Positions

  • ASA supports long-term farm legislation to provide certainty to soybean producers and others who depend on farm programs and policies
  • ASA supports efforts to help farmers manage risk in any new long-term farm legislation developed in 2013 or in any long-term extension of the 2008 Farm Bill
  • ASA believes programs enacted as part of the farm bill must not distort or have the potential to distort planting decisions, and must protect and strengthen crop insurance as a viable risk management tool for soybean producers
  • ASA continues to strongly support programs that provide producers with the greatest possible planting flexibility
  • ASA supported the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program in the Senate version of the 2012 Farm Bill, but recognizes that Title 1 funding may be insufficient to cover the cost of ARC or another acceptable revenue-based risk management program. ASA is willing to consider strengthening the current crop insurance program with a Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) program similar to that which was included in both the Senate and House versions of the 2012 Farm Bill.  ASA also is willing to consider how the ACRE program could be modified and simplified to make it more attractive in order to increase producer acceptance and participation.
  • ASA recognizes that some commodities believe a SCO/STAX program, or a modified ACRE program, may not be appropriate or sufficient in protecting against revenue and price declines.  ASA is open to including a program based on target prices and price losses in a new farm bill, provided it does not interfere with the ability of producers to respond to the market by distorting planting decisions.
  • ASA believes the goal of providing price loss protection could be achieved through increases in target prices under an extension of the current Counter-Cyclical Program (CCP), which are decoupled from current year planting decisions.
  • ASA will continue to oppose a program that ties price loss/target price payments to current year production due to our concerns about planting distortions.
  • ASA recognizes that budget constraints may require reducing or eliminating Direct Payments.
  • Agriculture should accept its fair share of spending reductions, provided they are proportionate with cuts to other federal programs and do not require restructuring or reducing funding for the federal crop insurance program, which is the core safety net for producers of soybeans and other commodities.
  • ASA believes farm programs should be in compliance with existing U.S. WTO commitments.
  • ASA supports maintaining and funding programs that encourage effective conservation practices on working lands.  We support reducing the cap on acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) as part of any requirement to reduce farm bill spending and to allow U.S. producers to respond to increasing world demand for agricultural commodities.
  • As CRP contracts expire, we believe the CRP should be targeted to the most environmentally sensitive land and to meet water quality goals.  Lands that can be returned to production in an environmentally friendly manner should be returned to productive agricultural use.
  • ASA supports reauthorization and increased mandatory funding of the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program (Section 9006) and the Biobased Market Program (Section 9002) in the Energy Title of new farm legislation.  We recognize that energy programs do not have baseline funding in 2013.  However, the benefits provided by the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program and the Biobased Market Program have been worth their relatively low cost, and warrant their continuation with an increased level of mandatory funding.
  • ASA supports reauthorization of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) to expand competitive research at USDA, as well as reauthorization to maintain research capacity at our land-grant universities.  Agricultural research is the foundation of future competitiveness for not just U.S. soybean production, but all of U.S. agriculture.
  • ASA supports reauthorization of the Foreign Market Development (Cooperator) Program and the Market Access Program (MAP) and continued annual funding of these export promotion programs at $34.5 million and $200 million, respectively.  We support continued funding of the Food for Peace Program (Title 1 of P.L. 480) and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program.

 

Issue Background
While the 2008 Farm Bill was extended through the end of FY2013 in September, farmers are still at a point where the need for congressional action on the new farm bill is at a critical stage. This is important legislation should not be subject to partisan politics. It affects the livelihoods not only of farmers, but of the 2 million Americans working in agriculture, and the 23 million Americans whose jobs depend on our industry.

In its most recent form, the bill provides risk management coverage for farmers for the next five years that simply will not be accomplished by this short-term extension. The bill also enables farmers to make planting decisions in the coming year and beyond with the knowledge of which farm programs will be in place. ASA remains disappointed that the House allowed the 2008 bill to expire by failing to take up a comprehensive, five-year farm bill.

As the 113th Congress shapes its agenda, ASA will continue to push for a comprehensive, five-year farm bill in the best interests of soybean farmers. We believe this bill will include the following aspects.

ASA continues to strongly support programs in the 2013 Farm Bill that provide the greatest possible planting flexibility. Allowing and encouraging producers to respond to market signals rather than government programs has been a cornerstone of the last three farm bills, and enabled U.S. soybean plantings to increase by 15 million acres (nearly 25 percent) between 1995 and 2010.

ASA recognizes that budget constraints are likely to require restructuring farm programs in the 2013 Farm Bill. Agriculture should accept its fair share of any required spending reductions, provided they are proportionate with other federal programs and they do not require restructuring of the federal crop insurance program, which is the core safety net for producers of soybeans and other commodities.

ASA supports long-term farm legislation to provide certainty to soybean producers and others who depend on programs and policies included in the omnibus farm bill.  Provisions that should be included in either a new five-year bill or in a modified multi-year extension of the current 2008 Farm Bill are as follows:

Commodities Title

ASA supports efforts to help farmers manage risk in any new long-term farm legislation developed in 2013 or in any long-term extension of the 2008 Farm Bill.  ASA believes programs enacted as part of the farm bill must:

1. Not distort or have the potential to distort planting decisions

2. Protect and strengthen crop insurance as a viable risk management tool for soybean producers

ASA continues to strongly support programs that provide producers with the greatest possible planting flexibility.  The policy of allowing producers to respond to market signals rather than to prospective payments under government programs has been a cornerstone of the last three farm bills, and enabled U.S. soybean plantings to increase by 15 million acres (nearly 25 percent) between 1995 and 2012.   ASA supported the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) program in the Senate version of the 2012 Farm Bill, but recognizes that Title 1 funding may be insufficient to cover the cost of ARC or another acceptable revenue-based risk management program.  ASA is willing to consider strengthening the current crop insurance program with a Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) program similar to that which was included in both the Senate and House versions of the 2012 Farm Bill.  ASA also is willing to consider how the ACRE program could be modified and simplified to make it more attractive in order to increase producer acceptance and participation.

ASA recognizes that some commodities believe a SCO/STAX program, or a modified ACRE program, may not be appropriate or sufficient in protecting against revenue and price declines.  ASA is open to including a program based on target prices and price losses in a new farm bill, provided it does not interfere with the ability of producers to respond to the market by distorting planting decisions.  ASA believes the goal of providing price loss protection could be achieved through increases in target prices under an extension of the current Counter-Cyclical Program (CCP), which are decoupled from current year planting decisions.  ASA will continue to oppose a program that ties price loss/target price payments to current year production due to our concerns about planting distortions.

ASA recognizes that in strengthening the ability of farmers to manage risk through an SCO/STAX program and a decoupled price-loss program with higher target prices, and in order to help achieve overall budget savings from the farm bill, budget constraints may require reducing or eliminating Direct Payments.  Agriculture should accept its fair share of spending reductions, provided they are proportionate with cuts to other federal programs and do not require restructuring or reducing funding for the federal crop insurance program, which is the core safety net for producers of soybeans and other commodities.

ASA believes farm programs should be in compliance with existing U.S. WTO commitments.

Conservation Title

ASA supports maintaining and funding programs that encourage effective conservation practices on working lands.  We support reducing the cap on acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) as part of any requirement to reduce farm bill spending and to allow U.S. producers to respond to increasing world demand for agricultural commodities.  As CRP contracts expire, we believe the CRP should be targeted to the most environmentally sensitive land and to meet water quality goals.  Lands that can be returned to production in an environmentally friendly manner should be returned to productive agricultural use.

Energy Title

ASA supports reauthorization and increased mandatory funding of the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program (Section 9006) and the Biobased Market Program (Section 9002) in the Energy Title of new farm legislation.  We recognize that energy programs do not have baseline funding in 2013.  However, the benefits provided by the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program and the Biobased Market Program have been worth their relatively low cost, and warrant their continuation with an increased level of mandatory funding.

Research Title

ASA supports reauthorization of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) to expand competitive research at USDA, as well as reauthorization to maintain research capacity at our land-grant universities.  Agricultural research is the foundation of future competitiveness for not just U.S. soybean production, but all of U.S. agriculture.

Trade Title

ASA supports reauthorization of the Foreign Market Development (Cooperator) Program and the Market Access Program (MAP) and continued annual funding of these export promotion programs at $34.5 million and $200 million, respectively.  We support continued funding of the Food for Peace Program (Title 1 of P.L. 480) and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program.

Download ASA Position Paper on the Farm Bill
Soy Action Center

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