2000s

2001
Nearly $1 billion of additional safety net became available to U.S. soybean producers as USDA announced the loan rate for 2001 crop soybeans was set at $5.26 per bushel. ASA and producer members had been working in Washington for many months to urge USDA to maintain the soybean loan rate at $5.26 to help farmers and rural communities survive a continuing cycle of historically low commodity prices. In February, USDA announced details of an Oilseed Payment Program that ASA again successfully urged Congress to include in emergency farm legislation. At a payment rate of $0.1425 per bushel of soybeans, a farm with 500 acres of soybeans and a 42 bushel per acre yield received about $2,992.00 from this program.

  • ASA competed successfully for $7.6 million in federal funding under the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and $2.6 million under the Market Access Program (MAP), a combined total of over $10 million—$100,000 more than last year. ASA utilizes these funds, along with producer checkoff dollars, to promote exports of U.S. soybeans and products.
  • U.S. soy exports again set record sales volumes for 2000/01 with whole soybean exports reaching just over 1 billion bushels (27.567 million metric tons), up more than 2 percent from the record set last year. Soybean meal exports climbed to over 6.5 million metric tons (mmt), up nearly 7 percent from last year. The European Union remained the largest regional market for U.S. soybean exports at 6.9 mmt, with China the largest single country customer at 5.7 mmt, and Mexico close behind at 3.9 mmt, followed by Japan at 3.5 mmt.
  • One key milestone critical to increasing demand for U.S. soy products was passed when 142 nations belonging to the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to launch a new round of negotiations designed to spur income growth by substantially decreasing market access barriers and trade distorting subsidies. Another key milestone was passed when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to grant the President Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), previously called “fast track.” ASA worked for years to secure passage of both milestones because the future of U.S. soybean producers depends greatly on the ability of the U.S. to negotiate trade agreements.
  • An historic event took place at the end of the year with a resumption of commercial agricultural sales to Cuba. After more than 40 years, and a great deal of legislative effort by ASA to reform economic sanctions on food and medicine, U.S. soy products once again shipped to Cuba under a special one-year license. Cuba purchased from the U.S. 12,000 tons of soybeans, 20,000 tons of soymeal, and 5,000 tons of soyoil.
  • ASA was extremely active in developing and putting forth soybean farmer priorities for a new farm bill. ASA supported domestic farm programs that are equitable and balanced among all loan-eligible crops that can be planted on the same cropland on a farm. ASA supported full and unrestricted planting flexibility, continuation of non-recourse marketing loans, no statutory authority to impose set-asides, and no authority to establish government or farmer-owned reserves for oilseeds. In addition, ASA opposed any limitations on marketing loan benefits, fixed income payments, or any counter-cyclical income support payments.
  • With major energy legislation moving through Congress, soybean farmers had a unique opportunity to create additional domestic demand for their product through increased use of biodiesel. ASA worked on legislation for the “Renewable Fuels for Energy Security Act of 2001,” that set a federal goal for increased national use of renewable fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol. ASA also is working on legislation that would provide a tax incentive for biodiesel.
  • After years of just trying to preserve and restore the cuts proposed to the Federal soybean research funding baseline, ASA launched an effort to increase soybean research funding by $10 million over three years. For FY2001, ASA successfully lobbied to increase soybean research funding by $3.2 million. For FY2002, ASA was successful in garnering an additional $3.34 million, as well as a portion of another $750,000 that will be designated for clinical nutrition studies on soy.
  • At a press conference in St. Louis, the new World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program was formally announced. This program is designed to promote the use of soy products in food aid programs worldwide. Funded with producer checkoff dollars, ASA has launched this multi-faceted program to create short and long-term growth for soy markets without disrupting commercial sales.
  • The sixth annual Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, set a record for total attendance at 3,945, including 124 media. Of the grower attendees, the average age was 51.5, with an average total acres of 1,744. The average soybean acreage was 738 and average corn acreage was 750. Growers attended the many educational seminars and visited the trade show with 636 booths representing 190 companies.
  • ASA announced the new Conservation Legacy Awards that will recognize the environmental contributions of soybean farmers around the nation. This award will allow the soybean industry to recognize those farmers who are voluntarily taking action to conserve our land for future generations.
  • ASA presented the first annual Soybean Leadership College with about 75 participants. Classes were conducted on topics such as new uses, future of the soybean industry, media training, conducting meetings, public speaking, legal basics, effective committees, developing issues programs, and soybean research. There were also several marketing classes that addressed international and domestic marketing as well as the realities of marketing biotech crops.
  • In November, ASA released the findings of its first-ever Conservation Tillage Study, which shows how the availability of soybean seeds enhanced through biotechnology has allowed and encouraged farmers to implement reduced tillage practices that protect farmland from wind and rain erosion. The study shows that 73 percent of the growers are now leaving more crop residue on the soil surface than they did in 1996, when biotech-derived soybeans became available for commercial planting. ASA estimates that no-till and reduced-till farming is now the preferred planting method on more than 80 percent of all the soybean acres in this country. Reduced tillage practices in soybeans saved 247 million tons of irreplaceable topsoil in 2000, and reduced the number of times a farmer had to run equipment over the field, saving 234 million gallons of fuel.
2002
Under the 2002 Farm Bill, ASA lobbied successfully for soybeans to be treated as a program crop, eligible for benefits under the direct payment and target price income support programs as well as under the marketing loan program. Income support for soybeans includes a $5.00/bushel marketing loan, a $0.44/bu. direct payment, and a $5.80/bu. target price. Based on 85 percent of eligible base acres and on payment yields, the effective level of income support for soybeans is $5.59/bu. compared to $5.26/bu. under the FAIR Act of 1996. Funding was also increased for export promotion programs, food aid programs, and conservation programs.

  • The new Farm Bill also created, for the first time, an energy title that extends the Commodity Credit Corporation Bioenergy program for fuel producers who purchase agricultural commodities, such as soybeans, for the purpose of expanding production of biodiesel and ethanol. The program was funded at $204 million, and also provides $5 million ($1 million per year for 5 years) for a biodiesel education grant program.
  • On August 6, President George W. Bush signed into law Trade Promotion Authority legislation that ASA has held at the top of its policy agenda for nearly five years. TPA gives the President the ability to negotiate trade agreements that are beneficial to U.S. interests, and then present the agreements to Congress for approval or rejection. More than half the value of the U.S. soybean crop was exported in 2002.
  • Following a great deal of work by ASA and state affiliates, the U.S. Senate approved the Comprehensive Energy Bill. The measure, approved by a vote of 88-11, contained several ASA-sponsored provisions that would benefit U.S. soybean growers by increasing the use of biodiesel fuel. The bill created a tax incentive for biodiesel. Under its terms, blenders of biodiesel would receive a 1-cent reduction in the diesel excise tax for every percentage of biodiesel blended with conventional diesel up to 20 percent. The bill also contained a 5 billion gallon renewable fuels standard, of which biodiesel would be an eligible fuel, would allow government fleets to use more biodiesel to meet current energy requirements, and required federal government fleets to use biodiesel and ethanol when they are cost competitive.
  • Then in June, the House introduced H.R. 4843, which created a tax incentive for biodiesel. The bill also provided a 1-cent reduction in the diesel fuel excise tax for each percentage of diesel fuel that is blended with biodiesel up to 20 percent, and provided for the reimbursement of the Highway Trust Fund by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation. Although H.R. 4843 was a freestanding bill, the aim was to have its provisions included in the final Energy Bill. Although ASA succeeded in having a biodiesel tax incentive included in the Senate Energy bill, Congress adjourned without agreeing on a final energy bill. Thus, pursuit of incentives to expand use of biodiesel was pushed to the top of ASA’s priority list for 2003.
  • ASA also testified on Capitol Hill about the importance to soybean farmers of an efficient inland waterway system and the critical need for modernization of locks and dams and guide wall extensions on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. ASA also produced an educational video titled, “Double-Locking” Aboard the Ardyce Randall at Lock 20, which premiered at the Midwest Area River Coalition 2000 annual meeting, and was later mailed to every member of the United States Congress.
  • ASA worked with the White House, the U.S. Trade Representative, and USDA to resolve an issue that stopped export contracting to China. As a result of discussions between President Bush and Chinese President Jiang a compromise was reached. The agreement involved the issuance of temporary safety certificates based on safety certificates issued in the exporting country, a solution put forth by ASA. The Chinese also agreed to speed up and simplify the approval process for the applications for safety certificates. Unfortunately, one million tons or more of U.S. soybean shipments were lost or cancelled before the compromise was reached.
  • Despite the lost opportunities in China, ASA’s international marketing programs supported another record year for U.S. soybean exports with shipments of 29.9 million metric tons, the equivalent of 1.1 billion bushels, up 8.5 percent over 2001. This is the third year in a row that soybean exports have exceeded export levels in the previous year.
  • ASA was awarded an additional $1 million in Foreign Market Development funding and an additional $300,000 in Market Access Program funding over prior year levels. This additional $1.3 million to develop international markets for U.S. soy is a direct result of ASA’s policy success in increasing funding for the FMD and MAP programs in the 2002 Farm Bill.
  • To address concerns that labeling and traceability regulations proposed in the European Union are impractical and not science-based, ASA was involved in meetings with major German agricultural contacts in Berlin, and roundtable discussions about strict segregation of biotech-derived crops as part of the 22nd International Forum on Agricultural Policy. ASA also appealed for biotechnology regulations based on sound scientific principles at an ASA-hosted conference held in Darmstadt.
  • A record number of 1,310 growers attended the seventh annual Commodity Classic at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. The trade show included 624 booths representing 176 agriculture related businesses and organizations. A total of 3,900 people participated.
  • The ASA Presidents’ Summit provided opportunities for 16 affiliate presidents to discuss key soybean issues and network with each other and national leaders. About 125 people participated in ASA’s Soybean Leadership College. ASA, state associations and recruiters worked hard to reach beyond the established membership goal to end the year with 25,565 members.
  • USDA made the first purchase of textured soy protein for international food assistance efforts. Florida-based Food For The Poor requested 500 metric tons of TSP for distribution in Guyana where they will use it to help feed children and adults in a country where protein deficiency is common. The federal procurement signals the increasing role that soy products can play in meeting the nutritional needs of the hungry throughout the world. ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health program provided USDA with TSP information that paved its entrance to U.S. food assistance programs. Defatted soy flour, soy protein concentrates, isolated soy protein and soy milk replacer were also added to the list of products eligible for food assistance programs.
2003
Significant developments in Washington, D.C., and around the world were positively influenced by the vigilance of the American Soybean Association (ASA) on issues critical to the profitability of U.S. soybean producers. Despite regulatory challenges and the ongoing controversy surrounding biotech-enhanced crops, world demand for soybeans and soybean products continued to grow while prices paid to farmers greatly improved.

  • Producers witnessed the third straight year of soybean exports above the one billion bushel mark, thanks in part to hurdles being overcome that paved the way for China to become the largest export market for U.S. soybeans. Strong domestic and international demand depleted a 2.8 billion bushel U.S. soybean crop to the lowest level of ending stocks since 1976.
  • Work by ASA and state affiliates generated a flurry of biodiesel-enhancing legislative initiatives in the 108th Congress including a Biodiesel Tax Incentive to provide a one-cent reduction in the diesel fuel excise tax for each percentage of biodiesel blended with conventional diesel up to 20 percent. EPACT Reform also was introduced to remove the 50 percent cap on biodiesel. Biodiesel use was introduced under the congestion mitigation and air quality improvement program and in a Renewable Fuel Standard. A Senate Biofuels Caucus was formed, and USDA announced the final rule for the Bioenergy Program that maintains reimbursement levels for soy-based biodiesel.
  • ASA weighed in on the illegal production of Roundup Ready® Soybeans (RRSB) in Brazil, which is giving Brazilian growers an unfair competitive advantage over U.S. growers and exporters. In a White Paper delivered to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), ASA documented that the combination of Brazilian growers not paying royalties on pirated RRSB seed, estimated at 25-30 percent of Brazil’s entire 2002 crop, along with the economic benefits Brazilian growers receive from RRSB technology, gives Brazilian growers an ill-gotten $0.41 to $0.95 per bushel ($15 to $35 per metric ton) competitive advantage over U.S. growers.
  • ASA also held numerous discussions with Monsanto officials on the imperative need to develop a system for collecting royalties for the Roundup Ready content of Brazilian exports. As a result, Monsanto implemented a royalty collection system based upon the enforceability of intellectual property rights in the European Union, Japan, and other countries where Monsanto has patent protection. Although it is not a perfect solution, the system presents a viable option given the lack of planting authorization in Brazil, which prevents Monsanto from collecting royalties on its patented seed.
  • ASA and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) held a series of meetings to discuss appropriate safeguards necessary to prevent the introduction of Asian soybean rust spores into the U.S. ASA was particularly concerned that due to low ending stocks of domestically produced soybeans, some companies might seek to import whole soybeans or soybean meal from South America where soybean rust has progressed significantly in the last two growing seasons. ASA urged APHIS to implement a rigorous inspection and quarantine process, and if determined necessary by pest risk analysis, to implement a prohibition on whole commodity soybean imports, and adequate inspection and processing procedures for soybean meal.
  • ASA also met with USDA researchers and seed breeders on accelerating development of soybean varieties that are tolerant to soybean rust, and ASA pursued increased Federal appropriations for soybean rust work. ASA met with chemical companies to review fungicide products that could be made available to growers, emergency registration of such products, and the availability of such products in response to a sudden soybean rust outbreak in the United States.
  • A total of 3,148 people participated in the eighth annual Commodity Classic in Charlotte, North Carolina, including 1,066 soybean and corn growers. The trade show contained 682 booths representing 160 agriculture related businesses and organizations. The power of grassroots advocacy by growers was apparent in ASA’s trade show booth as nearly 2,700 e-mail messages were sent to key members of Congress urging support for legislation to promote biodiesel.
  • The first-ever soy foods luncheon on Capitol Hill was presented by ASA. The event drew an estimated 300 people, including Members of Congress and staff from urban and suburban regions where soyfoods are experiencing rapid growth in popularity. The luncheon presented cooking demonstrations by famous chefs and featured various soy protein-based foods. Various displays described ASA’s efforts to promote soy protein in domestic and international markets.
  • ASA continued its efforts to make soymilk a reimbursable option as Congress worked to reauthorize federal child nutrition programs. ASA led the soymilk coalition in a second round of meetings with committee staff from the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee. ASA’s efforts to add fortified soymilk as a choice for students who cannot drink cow’s milk for health or other reasons gained important support when the American School Food Service Administrators (ASFSA) included backing in its 2003 Legislative Issue Paper.
  • ASA contributed soy protein nutritional information to policy makers prior to passage of landmark HIV/AIDS legislation that provides a $15 billion five-year package that expands U.S. leadership in the global fight of HIV/AIDS. ASA urged policy makers to recognize the role nutrition can play in mitigating the effects of HIV/AIDS on populations in developing countries, and called on the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase its nutritional emphasis in dealing with the AIDS pandemic. ASA also produced for worldwide distribution a 2-volume CD-ROM presentation designed to help private voluntary organizations include more soy in their feeding programs. The presentation included information about ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program, 13 multimedia soy demonstrations, and a collection of more than 20 soy food recipes.
  • At a series of river navigation public hearings conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ASA and state soybean leaders provided critical testimony in support of Economic Alternative 6, which calls for construction of seven new locks and five lock extensions on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. ASA provided information to attendees about the importance of river transportation to the soybean industry and agriculture. ASA urged Congress to authorize modernization of these transportation infrastructures in the Water Resources Development Act, and to provide funds to initiate these projects in FY-2004 and FY-2005 appropriations.
  • ASA and 20 other major food chain organizations urged the Bush Administration to initiate a dispute settlement proceeding against the European Union’s (EU) new traceability and labeling regulations because they violate the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) provisions of the Uruguay Round agreement. The regulations would negatively impact U.S. agricultural exports to the EU, and would set a precedent for similar trade-restrictive actions by other countries.
2004
As economic forces of supply and demand pushed spring soybean futures to the highest levels in more than 15 years, ASA took pride in its domestic and international demand-building activities that helped make it possible. This year’s new soybean crop reached a production record 3.14 billion bushels with a record yield of 42.5 bushels per acre. For marketing year 2003-2004, U.S. soybean exports exceeded 1.1 billion bushels, the highest level ever.

  • ASA hosted its second annual soyfoods luncheon in March, to demonstrate why soyfoods are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. and overseas. Themed “Soy Good: Kids and Adults Love It!” the event highlighted the benefits of soyfoods for consumers of all ages. A wide array of soy foods was provided that are appropriate for events ranging from fine-dining menus to U.S. and global school meals. The event provided an opportunity for policymakers and their staffs to experience how great soyfoods taste in addition to being good for them.
  • The Child Nutrition and WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Reauthorization Act of 2004 was signed into law in June, marking an important step forward for soymilk in federal nutrition programs. As a result of ASA lobbying, the new law allows children who cannot drink cow’s milk to be served soymilk with only a note from the parent, a significant improvement over the old practice, which required a doctor’s note. Soymilk manufacturers have expressed enthusiasm for the new provisions and high interest in working with schools to make soymilk available. The value of the provision to the soy industry has been estimated at millions of dollars annually.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) included record-levels of value-added soy protein products in its fiscal 2004 Food for Progress program. Donations to 22 developing countries include soy flour, textured soy protein, and soy protein concentrate (USDA’s first purchase of this product), plus soybean meal, whole soybeans, soybean oil and corn-soy blend with an estimated commercial value exceeding $19 million. ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program was instrumental in providing to the government and to private voluntary organizations the nutritional information that led to greater recognition of the benefits of soy protein.
  • Legislation to build new 1,200-foot locks was introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress. On May 20, S. 2470 was introduced in the Senate, and on July 8, H.R. 4785 was introduced in the House. The legislation provides construction authorization to replace seven locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Waterway costing about $1.6 billion (50 percent cost-shared) along with $1.6 billion in ecosystem restoration for the Upper Mississippi. Upgrading locks and dams is a top policy priority for ASA because 75 percent of U.S. soybean exports are shipped down the Mississippi River to customers worldwide.
  • In October, ASA achieved one its most important legislative victories when President George W. Bush signed into law a bill containing the first-ever biodiesel tax incentive. Passage of the biodiesel tax incentive and extension of the ethanol tax incentive was realized as 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. That could add an average of another $2,000 to the bottom line of farmers growing 500 acres of soybeans. The tax incentive will take effect Jan. 1, 2005, and lasts for two years. It 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.
  • ASA held numerous meetings with Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) staff and USDA policy officials to ensure that the U.S. was protected from the accidental introduction of Asian soybean rust via imports. ASA urged USDA to more rapidly undertake development of a national strategy for controlling and mitigating the potential for an infestation. And in a year when Congress chose to fund virtually no new research programs, ASA helped secure more than $1 million in new funding for soybean rust research.
  • ASA actively worked with manufacturers, USDA and EPA to increase the availability of fungicide treatments. Prior to this time, there were only two chemicals approved for use on soybeans for Asian rust. By the end of the year, there were six chemicals approved, with at least 8 different fungicide products available for farmers to buy. Full registration was pending for one additional product, and approval was pending for three additional chemicals under Section 18.
  • ASA implemented grower education programs that included an ASA-hosted conference in January, and a series of seven regional education meetings during the summer. ASA provided it’s members with a special “Soybean Rust Backgrounder,” followed by a “Growers’ Guide to Soybean Rust,” and ultimately, a 20-page “Soybean Rust Reference Guide.”
  • On August 20, ASA was the only organization to go on record confirming a reported case of Asian soybean rust that was identified north of Cali, Colombia, about five degrees north of the equator in South America. Confirmation of soybean rust above the equator signaled the advancement of spores in the direction of the continental U.S.
  • Advance preparation of a Soybean Rust Crisis Communications Plan made it possible for ASA to quickly and effectively take action following confirmation on November 10, that Asian soybean rust had been found on soybean leaf samples collected from two research plots near Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • The 2004 Commodity Classic achieved record-breaking success in Las Vegas. Total attendance was 4,112, an all-time high for the nine-year-old event. The number of growers in attendance was also a record at 1,517. The Commodity Classic Trade Show contained 675 booths representing 173 companies. There were 91 media representatives registered this year.
  • At the beginning of fiscal year 2004, ASA had 25,045 members, and by the end of the year, 25,804, a net increase of 759 members, which is a gain of slightly more than 3 percent. In total, 23 state associations achieved their membership goals for 2004.
2005
Concerns about the impact of Asian Soybean Rust disease dominated the industry’s attention until after the pods were filled. Discovered in the continental United States for the first time in October 2004, ASA continued its educational commitment to soybean growers with a winter series of Soybean Rust Seminars. A total of five one-day seminars were held for 945 participating producers.

  • ASA also developed a comprehensive Soybean Rust Information Center. This Internet resource is a significantly expanded version of ASA’s highly regarded 20-page Soybean Rust Reference Guide, which was distributed to all ASA members and all attendees of ASA’s winter series of Soybean Rust Seminars.
  • After strong encouragement from ASA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided additional funding for soybean rust surveillance and monitoring. The framework allows for reporting where soybean rust has been confirmed, as well as predicting where it was likely to spread during the 2005-growing season. Later in the year, ASA also secured USDA funding for the 2006-growing season.
  • ASA teamed-up with Doane Agricultural Services Company to launch the Soybean Rust Advisory Program, an online resource designed to provide advice about the prevention and treatment of soybean rust. This resource utilized a nationwide network of crop consultants who monitored the progression of confirmed soybean rust outbreaks in the U.S. and provides growers with fungicide application recommendations based on regional analysis.
  • In 2005, U.S. soybean producers were very fortunate. The weather conditions throughout most of the year were about as unfavorable for soybean rust as they could be. Outbreaks were limited to a few areas in the deep south, where growers were able to minimize the economic impact of the disease by applying fungicides.
  • In January, the USDA publicized a final rule to implement a program of preferred procurement of biobased products by federal agencies. This final rule was the result of ASA-supported provisions in the 2002 Farm Bill. The rule requires all federal agencies to preferentially purchase biobased products, such as biodiesel, that have been designated by USDA as eligible under this program.
  • In July, ASA hailed passage of the Energy Bill as a crucial step forward in establishing biodiesel as a long-term component of the nation’s energy supply. The legislation contains major ASA-supported provisions including an extension of the federal excise tax credit for biodiesel through 2008, creation of a new small agri-biodiesel producer credit, provisions for alternate fuel infrastructure and establishment of a 7.5 billion gallon renewable fuels standard. Biodiesel production tripled to over 75 million gallons in 2004.
  • Also in July, ASA congratulated the U.S. House of Representative for passage of H.R. 2864, the Water Resources Development Act of 2005. The legislation, which provides $1.72 billion in funding authorization for lock improvements and $1.58 billion for ecosystem restoration, was overwhelmingly passed by a vote of 406-14. This is truly a victory for the ASA and for all water resources stakeholders. This legislation authorizes construction of seven new 1,200-foot navigation locks, small-scale navigation improvements, and ecosystem restoration on the upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. By the end of the legislative session, WRDA was still waiting Senate floor action.
  • ASA lobbied hard and gained Congressional approval of an historic trade agreement between the United States, the Dominican Republic, and the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Economists estimate the agreement could boost U.S. agricultural exports by $1.5 billion when fully implemented. This is great news for U.S. soybean farmers because CAFTA-DR will solidify the U.S. position as the preferred supplier of soybeans and soybean products to these Central American nations. The six CAFTA-DR countries represent a growing region of 45 million people that imported $264 million in U.S. soy products during 2004.
  • SA also celebrated a decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Research Initiative (NRI) Competitive Grants Program to provide up to $5 million of funding for functional genomics and bioinformatics on legume crops such as soybeans. This announcement is the culmination of a four-year cooperative effort led by ASA. This new $5 million in funding is an important investment in the future of U.S. soybean production that will help us better understand disease resistance in general, and identify genes that can be useful in other ways to protect the soybean crop.
  • To better serve its members, ASA developed online information resources that are available in a new “members-only” section of its SoyGrowers.com web site. Included is an online edition of the ASA Today newsletter, an electronic version of ASA’s Weekly Leader Letter, an archive of previous issues, and the Soybean Rust Information Center. More than 6,000 members took also advantage of an opportunity to sign up to receive the Weekly Leader Letter via email.
  • At the beginning of fiscal year 2005, ASA had 25,804 members, and by the end of the year, 25,013 members, a net decrease of 791, which is a loss of slightly more than 3 percent. In total, 12 state associations achieved their membership goals for 2005.
  • The 2005 Commodity Classic in Austin was attended by more than 3,300 participants including 1,046 growers and 85 media representatives. The Trade Show contained 708 booths representing 186 exhibitors. About 850 people attended the ASA Awards Banquet on Friday night. ASA held its SoyPAC Founders Event. More than 125 ASA members invested an initial $250 in the PAC, and more than 150 other ASA members invested various amounts.
  • Farmer leaders from the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association and the National Cotton Council met in Chicago on May 9, for an ASA-organized international news conference that recognized the planting of the one-billionth acre of biotech-enhanced crops. ASA managed the news conference and worldwide distribution of press materials. Globally, six percent of canola, 11 percent of cotton, 23 percent of corn and 60 percent of soybeans were grown from biotech-enhanced seedstock.
  • USDA confirmed U.S. soybean exports during marketing year 2004/05 exceeded 1.1 billion bushels (bil. bu). This year’s all-time record is more than 3 percent higher than the previous record of 1.063 bil. bu. set in MY2001. These results are a positive reflection on the efficiency of ASA’s international market development program, and the market-opening policy efforts carried out by ASA.
  • Negotiations and work toward reaching a mutually agreeable way forward with the United Soybean Board on International Marketing absorbed much of ASA leadership’s time and attention. Ultimately, a Memorandum of Understanding with USB was reached on the formation of a new international marketing entity that was jointly founded and controlled by ASA and USB, and work on a final agreement and implementation details continued.
  • Beginning October 1, 2005, ASA and USB formed the United States Soybean Export Council to implement the International Marketing program for U.S. soybeans. ASA worked hard to make the USSEC as successful as possible through a myriad of start-up and transition issues, while also asking that USSEC and USB honor in good faith financial commitments to ASA. The USSEC board will consist of representatives from ASA, USB, and the U.S. soybean industry.
2006
The year will be remembered by some as a year of exceptional yields, and by others, a year of frustrating drought. It was also another year when “unfavorable” weather conditions and grower preparedness minimized the potential negative impact of Asian Soybean Rust. The city of Anaheim welcomed corn and soybean growers and their families to the 10th Anniversary Commodity Classic, plans were announced to decode the DNA of the soybean, and more than 100 attendees took part in ASA’s Leadership College.

  • In its ongoing efforts to educate growers about Asian soybean rust disease, ASA, in cooperation with U.S. Department of Agriculture, hosted a series of five rust education meetings. About 450 participants attended the meetings entitled “Beyond 2005-Preparing for Rust is a Must.” Everyone who attended the meetings received a free Soybean Rust Wheel Chart that details soybean plant growth stages and treatment effectiveness at different growth stages.
  • ASA members raised nearly $45,000 in the first annual Soy Social and Auction, which ASA organized to benefit SoyPAC. SoyPAC resources will be used to support congressional candidates that have routinely championed soybean priorities in Congress.
  • Members of Congress and their staffs got a taste of why soyfoods are playing an increasing role in healthy diets at ASA’s fourth annual Congressional Soyfoods Lunch on Capitol Hill. By hosting the annual Congressional Soyfoods Lunch on Capitol Hill, ASA helps to increase awareness among policymakers and other government officials of soyfoods and their benefits.
  • With high petroleum prices prompting Congress to consider another energy bill, ASA outlined its biodiesel legislative priorities for Congress to consider. Specifically, ASA asked Congress to include in any energy package legislation: 1. Extending the volumetric biodiesel tax incentive; 2. Extending small agri-biodiesel producer credit; and 3. Authoring and funding a CCC Biodiesel program. By taking these actions, ASA estimates on-road diesel supplies could be increased by as much as 2 percent by 2015.
  • ASA signed an agreement in Washington, D.C., that promotes long-term trade and cooperation with China. During a Capitol Hill trade conference, ASA signed the memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Soybean Chamber of Commerce, whose members attending the signing ceremony were responsible for 67 percent of all the soybeans imported into China last year. The three-year agreement renewed a 2003 agreement. It includes measures to increase trade and cooperation, such as the exchange of information on topics ranging from soybean use to solutions to trade issues.
  • U.S. soybean leaders and staff gathered in Tokyo, Japan, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first ASA overseas office. The opening has historic significance because ASA’s Japan office was the very first overseas commodity office to receive funding for market development activities from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The event also marked 50 years of partnership between U.S. soybean farmers and the Japanese soybean industry.
  • ASA representatives had numerous discussions with top U.S. trade negotiators to ensure that U.S. soybean farmer trade priorities were advanced. ASA representatives traveled to Hong Kong, China for the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. ASA advocated that: 1. Substantial improvement in real market access in both developed and developing countries to expand world demand for soy and livestock products; 2. Agreement that developing countries that are world-class exporters will take on commitments similar to developed countries; 3. Elimination of differential export taxes; 4. The degree to which trade distorting domestic support is reduced must be commensurate with the degree to which real market access gains are achieved; 5. Commitment to a 2007 Farm Bill that provides an adequate safety net through WTO-compliant programs, and that corrects the imbalances in farm program benefits that have negatively affected U.S. soybean plantings.
  • A World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel sided with the United States, Canada and Argentina who had argued that the European Union’s review process for biotech commodities was broken and unfairly restricted trade. ASA had strongly pushed the U.S. Government to challenge the EU’s moratorium. While welcoming this WTO ruling against Europe’s flawed and non-science based approval process, ASA called on the Administration to promptly mount a WTO challenge against Europe’s discriminatory traceability and labeling laws that apply to biotech crops.
  • ASA outlined for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation the tremendous potential and benefits that offshore aquaculture could bring to U.S. soybean farmers and seafood consumers. ASA is supporting legislation to establish a regulatory framework for commercial offshore aquaculture in the United States. Since 1990, the aquaculture industry has been growing at an average compound rate of around 10 percent a year, making it one of the world’s fastest growing forms of food production. Soybean farmers have identified offshore aquaculture as a significant new market for U.S. soybeans as many studies project a significant increase in global farmed-fish production over the next 15 years and the unsustainability of wild fish harvests to supply the needed fishmeal.
  • The United States Senate passed S. 728, the Water Resources Development Act of 2005, by a voice vote, signaling a great victory for soybean growers. The House passed WRDA in July 2005, by a vote of 406-14. ASA has made passage of legislation to improve U.S. transportation infrastructure a top priority, and for many years the ASA, its state affiliates and grassroots members have worked tirelessly for passage. Unfortunately the Congressional calendar ran out before the Senate and House could go into conference to resolve differences and produce a final bill.
  • When USDA announced 2006 fiscal year allocations for multiple agricultural promotion programs, ASA was a leading recipient of funding with awards of more than $12 million. This level of success is a credit to the U.S. Soybean Export Council and the ASA International Marketing staff who manage and implement market development programs for U.S. soy, and importantly, to the farmer-directors of USB and ASA who guide the IM efforts and strategic plan.
  • ASA urged Congress to increase support levels for soybeans to competitive levels if current farm programs are renewed in the 2007 Farm Bill. In testimony before the House Agriculture Committee, ASA stated that soybean farmers support the basic structure of farm programs under the 2002 Farm Bill, but believe adjustments are needed in oilseed support levels in the event these programs are reauthorized.
  • ASA participated in a meeting of the Soy Transportation Coalition in Chicago. State association and checkoff participants, as well as ASA, USSEC, and the United Soybean Board attended. Industry participants represented the National Oilseed Processors Association and the National Grain and Feed Association. The group discussed possible structures for the coalition, as well as short and long-term priorities, with a goal of having an impact on rail transportation issues in the long term.
2007
U.S. soybean farmers planted 11.8 million fewer acres of soybeans in 2007 than they planted in 2006. This 15.6 percent reduction was primarily caused by high corn prices driven by the demand for ethanol. Economists debated how many of these soybean acres will be gain back in 2008 given $10 to $11 per bushel soybean price levels, and whether these prices will be short-lived or if they signal a new and sustainable global benchmark for agricultural products.

  • U.S. exports of soybeans plus soybean meal reached 1.1 billion bushels for MY2005/2006, including over 947 million bushels of soybeans and over 154 million bushels equivalent of soybean meal. China continued to be the number one market for U.S. soybeans, buying just over 356 million bushels. Mexico came in as the top export market for both soybean meal and soybean oil.
  • ASA hosted soy industry representatives at the inaugural AgriBusiness Council meeting in Washington, D.C. The Council provides a forum for soybean producer leaders and representatives from a broad spectrum of companies across the soybean industry to discuss issues critical to the future of the U.S. soybean sector, and to develop strategies for working together to achieve mutual goals.
  • The Internal Revenue Service has granted 501(c)(3) charitable organization status to the World Soy Foundation (WSF), a program of ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program. The WSF was created by WISHH to provide food, educate Private Voluntary Organizations and conduct nutritional services. With this designation, individual donors, public and private foundations, corporations and industry will now receive tax deductibility for their contributions to these humanitarian works.
  • ASA supported new legislation to reauthorize the important George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program. In recent years, the international school-feeding program has used U.S. soy to provide children with better nutrition that helped them to learn. The new legislation continues the program in fiscal years 2008 to 2012, under the oversight of the USDA. The bill called for increased funding over five years, beginning with $140 million in FY 2008 and reaching $300 million in FY 2012.
  • ASA celebrated years of work and congratulated Congress for final passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes much-needed improvements to waterways that are vital to the transport of U.S. soybeans. The Senate voted 79-14 and the House of Representatives voted 361-54 to override the President’s veto. This was only the 107th time in the history of the United States that Congress has overridden a Presidential veto. Although these authorized projects must still be funded through the annual federal appropriations process, ASA is very pleased that this major step has been accomplished.
  • ASA lauded a U.S. trade agreement reached with the Republic of Korea for creating landmark opportunities for U.S. soybeans, soybean meal, soybean oil, food-grade soybeans, meat and poultry exports. U.S. negotiators worked hard to achieve ASA’s objectives. ASA continued to work during the year to achieve Congressional approval of the agreement.
  • ASA ranked #1 in Foreign Market Development (FMD) program funding when USDA released its 2007 fiscal year export promotion totals. USDA released the summary of the $234 million that USDA has provided to help market American agricultural products overseas. ASA received $7,380,344 in Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds. Additionally, ASA ranked 9th in Market Access Program (MAP) allocations with a total of $7,849,268 for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. These allocations will provide ASA with the resources to continue to provide a major portion of funding for the export promotion activities being managed by USSEC staff in Saint Louis, and implemented by the ASA International Marketing staff located around the world.
  • ASA formed a Biotech Working Group to provide a forum for grower representatives to consult with biotechnology companies on their commercialization, domestic and international regulatory approvals status, and stewardship plans. ASA’s goal is to bring these new soy technologies to farmers just as quickly as possible, while at the same time safeguarding important export markets. ASA also conducted a series of advocacy missions to the European Union (EU). ASA’s proactive advocacy program complements and augments ongoing ASA International Marketing efforts to educate and motivate key EU livestock, feed industry, Member State officials that the Roundup Ready 2 Yield™, Liberty LinkÒ and OptimumÒ GATÒ biotech soybean varieties are targeted to be commercialized in 2009, with a full pipeline of additional soy events to follow.
  • ASA initiated a letter to President Bush from 12 farm organizations urging a correction to the severe imbalance in the agriculture text in the WTO Doha negotiations. The groups expressed deep concern with the status and direction of the Doha round of WTO agricultural negotiations, and stated that the level of ambition in obtaining access to both developed and developing countries must be commensurate with the level of ambition in cutting trade distorting domestic support. Due to its standing as a strong supporter of trade liberalization and trade agreements, the ASA was asked by other U.S. agricultural organizations to take the lead in meetings with U.S. trade negotiators to discuss these concerns during the WTO negotiations in Geneva.
  • More than 4,000 growers and their families attended the 2007 Commodity Classic in Tampa. The event drew the second largest crowd behind the 2004 event in Las Vegas. More than 1,300 growers from ASA, the National Corn Growers Association and the National Association of Wheat Growers learned ways to improve profitability and productivity on their farms. More than 100 media participated.
  • More than 80 items were sold and 270 people participated in the ASA SoyPAC auction held in conjunction with the Commodity Classic. $50,000 was raised to help ASA support the political campaigns of lawmakers who support soybean farmer-friendly legislation.
  • Members of Congress, congressional staff, government officials, and farmer leaders enjoyed a luncheon featuring a wide-variety of tasty soyfoods and beverages at ASA’s fifth annual Congressional Soyfoods Lunch on Capitol Hill. Approximately 400 people attended the event, which showcased a selection of foods and beverages made from soybeans. The annual event provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. soybean industry to give Members of Congress, their staff, and other government officials, a taste of the ever-expanding selection of fabulous soyfoods and beverages available.
  • ASA worked throughout the year on a new Farm Bill that would provide a basic safety net for farmers, support for energy and conservation programs, funding for nutrition programs, and a Quality Incentive Program to promote increased production of high-stability soybeans and other oilseeds to replace trans fats in food products. Several versions of the legislation were passed by Congress, but the year ended without agreement on a final bill.
2008
Following intense lobbying efforts by the ASA, state soybean associations and many other organizations in the agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and energy industries, the “Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008” passed both Houses of Congress. The new Farm Bill includes key ASA priorities, including increasing the soybean target price to $6.00 per bushel, authorizing a new Bioenergy Program and providing $300 million in funding for biodiesel producers through 2012, continuing to fund the Biodiesel Education Program at $1 million per year, and authorizing a new Quality Incentive Program to promote production of soybeans with high-stability oil that can replace trans fats in food products.

  • A delegation of Chinese buyers from 14 import companies ended their tour of the U.S. with a final stop in St. Louis on June 16, to sign contracts worth a total of $5.3 billion, $4.5 billion of which was in soybean contracts. ADM, Cargill and Bunge were among eight U.S. soybean export companies that signed contracts. ASA, USB and the USSEC helped facilitate the contracts with the China Chamber of Commerce for Import/Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products.
  • ASA formed a Market Performance Working Group to examine the issues affecting markets and to make recommendations on what might be done to improve the situation. While farmers certainly welcomed higher prices for their crops, soybean and other farmers had increasingly become concerned about the growing lack of convergence between futures and cash prices, whether fund participation in markets and related volatility has resulted in a larger than normal basis, and the fact that many elevators had stopped offering bids for grain beyond 60 days. ASA encouraged Commodity Futures Trading Commission to take a number of steps that would improve futures market performance and allow traditional hedgers to have greater confidence in futures markets.
  • ASA joined other commodity groups in a letter to Board members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association expressing deep disappointment with the negative “food before fuel” public relations campaign that GMA and member companies have authorized and funded. ASA stated that its farmer-members are surprised and offended that GMA board members would take this public stance given the long-term partnership of farmers and food companies to feed the world. “In our opinion, the GMA campaign to influence U.S. biofuels policy also falsely portrays to the public and Congress that farmers are greedy, irresponsible environmental stewards, and unmoved by world hunger and rising retail food prices,” the letter states. The letter goes on to say “In your efforts to change U.S. biofuels policy, please stop also blaming American farmers and questioning our collective ability to rise to the opportunity and challenge, as we always have, to produce plenty of food, feed, fiber and fuel.”
  • Following months of diligent work by the ASA, USDA announced it would use 2007 and 2008 Season Average Prices in determining the revenue guarantee for the new ACRE program. ASA’s legwork to generate support for using 2007 and 2008 figures was key to USDA’s last-minute decision. ASA grower leaders and staff worked throughout the fall meeting with Members of Congress, USDA officials and Office of Management and Budget officials to press their case. This ASA policy success provides a revenue guarantee that is $60 to $70 per acre higher than if USDA had used 2006 and 2007 prices, and makes available to U.S. soybean farmers billions of additional dollars in revenue guarantees.
  • To educate growers about the roles of the ASA and the soybean checkoff, ASA launched a campaign that explains the difference and encourages soybean farmers to join their state soybean association. While the law prevents soybean checkoff dollars from being used to fund policy work and lobbying, ASA, as a voluntary dues-paying membership organization can, and does, do those things on behalf of soybean farmers. The campaign theme “If you believe, belong.” emphasizes that soybean growers believe the work ASA does is important, and, therefore, they should become a member if they are not already.
  • A record number of people participated in the 2008 Commodity Classic Feb. 28-March 1, in Nashville. Total registrations were 4,534, up 422 or more than 10 percent over the previous record of 4,112 set in Las Vegas in 2004. Registrations this year included 1,479 growers, very near the record of 1,517 set in 2004. Media registrations also set a record at 145, 23 more than the previous record of 122. The Trade Show was a sell-out with 847 booths, the highest number of booths ever, reflecting a 20 percent increase over the previous record set in 2005. The ASA Auction generated just over $64,000 for ASA’s SoyPAC, which was the most ever since the SoyPAC was established.
  • ASA celebrated the final passage of legislation that included an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive for one year through Dec. 31, 2009, and provisions to shut down the abusive “splash and dash” practice. Enactment of the biodiesel tax credit represents a significant legislative achievement on a key ASA priority because the growth in biodiesel sales has raised soybean bushel prices by a conservative estimate of at least $2.00 per bushel.
  • ASA was credited with playing a key role in defeating a ban in Poland that was to prohibit import, production and use of animal feed derived from biotech crops. Avoiding this ban prevented the disruption of U.S. manufactured feed to Poland, worth $100 million annually. The GM feed ban was defeated by a coalition of the Polish Feed Millers, Poultry Association, and Pork Association, and U.S. trade associations, led by ASA.
  • ASA’s many years of farm and trade policy work, and its long history of building export markets, were largely responsible for the record level of U.S. soybean exports reported by the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service. In its year end report, USDA/FAS announced soybean exports exceeding 30.449 metric tons, equivalent to 1.118 million bushels, for Marketing Year 2007/08. China was again the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans at 490.6 mil. bu. The European Union-27 was second with 143.1 mil. bu.; Mexico was third with 131.3 mil. bu.; and Japan was fourth with 99.5 mil. bu. Collectively, these four buyers represented 77 percent of total U.S. soybean exports during MY 2007/08.
  • ASA worked with U.S. negotiators in Geneva who rejected proposals in the Doha trade negotiations that did not provide sufficient market access for U.S. producers. The latest proposal would have sharply reduced U.S. domestic support programs, while allowing developing countries to increase tariffs on key agricultural products above their current levels. ASA continues to support the WTO framework as the most effective means for expanding world trade, including access to foreign markets for U.S. soybean and livestock product exports, but believes that any WTO agreement must result in meaningful export gains.
  • In the best interest of U.S. soybean farmers, the ASA Board of Directors voted unanimously on Dec. 9, to ask the Secretary of Agriculture to order an Office of Inspector General investigation and financial audit of the National Soybean Checkoff Program. The ASA petition filed with Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer and the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture called for an investigation of the United Soybean Board and the U.S. Soybean Export Council to ensure that soybean checkoff dollars are being managed and invested as prescribed by law.
  • Cargill awarded $499,000 to ASA’s World Soy Foundation. This is the largest corporate donation to WSF today. The funding will be used to implement nutritional programs in Central America, including Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua for the next three years.
2009
ASA submitted its policy priorities to the Obama Administration ahead of the inauguration on January 20. By developing and advocating soybean farmer top policy priorities to the incoming Administration, ASA continued its rich tradition of working in the best interest of U.S. soybean farmers.

  • Top ASA priorities included support for domestic livestock production, in-kind food aid, crop biotechnology, sustainable agriculture, offshore fish farms, a modernized infrastructure system, implementation of the biobased label and the BioPreferred Procurement Program, Congressional passage of pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, and that renewable fuel policies involving direct and indirect land use metrics be based on sound science and verifiable, transparent data so that biodiesel’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions could be accurately assessed.
  • ASA urged the Administration to address slow or non-functioning import approval systems in foreign countries that could negatively affect U.S. soy exports, and pressed for Presidential Trade Promotion Authority, long-term enactment of the biodiesel tax credit, and Farm Bill implementation that provides maximum benefits to U.S. soybean farmers.
  • Following months of diligent work by ASA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would use the 2007 and 2008 Season Average Prices in determining the revenue guarantee for the new Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program. This ASA policy success provided a revenue guarantee $60 to $70 per acre higher than if USDA had used 2006 and 2007 prices, and made available to U.S. soybean farmers billions of additional dollars in revenue guarantees.
  • ASA reiterated the importance of the farm safety net as written in the 2008 Farm Bill, and that it should not be reopened before it expires in 2012. The small investment in agricultural programs by the federal government provides an excellent return for the American people. The 2008 Farm Bill also includes many other reforms that will assist farmers in becoming more financially sound. Production agriculture is a volatile business, and a workable farm safety net is vital to the security of the U.S. soybean industry.
  • Thanks to ASA’s advocacy, USDA continued to provide funding for the Asian Soybean Rust Pest Information Platform for Education and Extension (PIPE). ASA worked with USDA and Congress to secure federal funding for PIPE because the system helps protect the $30 billion U.S. soybean crop and saves soybean producers millions of dollars annually. USDA funds are leveraged with federal and state checkoff investments and available state funding to maintain a soybean rust sentinel plot and diagnostic network.
  • Beginning with the January 2009 edition of the Association’s members-only newsletter, the ASA Today was redesigned for the first time in more than 10 years. The new design provides a more contemporary look that better reflects the progressive policy agenda and advocacy work of the ASA.
  • The sold out trade show at the 2009 Commodity Classic Feb. 26-28, at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, was the largest in Commodity Classic history, with more than 236 companies in more than 943 booths. The trade show has more than doubled in size since the first Commodity Classic held in 1996. Total registrations were 4,527 including 1,513 growers and 137 media.
  • More than 83 items were sold and 350 people participated in the ASA Soy Social and Auction on Thursday, Feb 26. More than $52,000 was raised. The auction proceeds are used to benefit SoyPAC, ASA’s political action committee.
  • On April 2, ASA celebrated more than a decade of diligent and persistent work on behalf of U.S. soybean farmers to advance global acceptance of new biotech soybean traits after LibertyLink® soybeans (A2704-12) from Bayer CropScience received food safety approval from the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA). This final regulatory approval in South Korea cleared the way for unrestricted planting in the U.S. and importation into all major markets for LibertyLink soybeans, along with Roundup Ready 2 Yield™ Soybean (MON 89788) from Monsanto, which received final KFDA regulatory approval on Feb. 27.
  • USDA announced implementation of provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill that support growth of biofuels production in the U.S., including biodiesel. The initiatives include $30 million in funding for the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, which ASA successfully lobbied for during the farm bill debate. Under this program, U.S. biodiesel producers using domestic feedstocks will receive payments to help compete with petroleum-based diesel and with imported biodiesel, which can be subsidized by foreign governments.
  • ASA and other members of the American Oilseed Coalition (AOC) identified to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk countries that are priorities for the U.S. oilseed industry for future FTAs. ASA’s top priorities include ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, Turkey, Egypt, and India. These countries offer potential market growth expansion not only for soybeans and soybean meal and oil, but for exports of pork and poultry products as well.
  • ASA won two first place awards from the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in the Best of NAMA competition. ASA won first place in the category of “Producer Funded Public Relations Program to Ag Audiences.” ASA also won first place in the “Single-page Ads—Single” category. The campaign goal was to increase soybean grower awareness and understanding of ASA while emphasizing the importance of membership.
  • On Nov. 4, ASA outlined its concerns and issues for climate change legislation. ASA is concerned with the impacts that could result from enactment of legislation that unilaterally subjects U.S. farmers, manufacturers and other businesses to emissions caps and increased energy costs without appropriate measures to ensure that the U.S. maintains economic competitiveness.
  • Despite the full court press employed by ASA, state soybean associations, and the biodiesel industry, and many individuals, the biodiesel tax incentive so vital to the U.S. biodiesel industry expired on December 31. While ASA was successful in getting legislation to extend the biodiesel tax incentive passed in the House on December 9, the Senate’s singular focus on health care legislation prevented action on a tax extenders package.
  • ASA congratulated USDA for its efforts to elevate the stature and credibility of agricultural research with the establishment of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Expanding agricultural research and establishing NIFA has long been an ASA priority. NIFA’s mission is to stimulate and fund the research and technological innovations that will enhance and make American agriculture more productive and environmentally sustainable while ensuring the economic viability of agriculture.
  • On Nov. 11, USDA announced funding received by 70 U.S. trade organizations during Fiscal Year 2009 to promote U.S. food and agriculture exports under the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Cooperator Program administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Under MAP, ASA’s generic ceiling was $5,168,853, plus an additional $300,000 under GBI (global broad-based initiatives) for a total of $5,468,853. Under FMD, ASA’s generic ceiling was $7,351,169. This brought ASA’s total to $12,820,022 in funding for promotion of U.S. soybeans and soybean products.
  • ASA achieved a 1.4 percent growth in membership in fiscal year 2009, compared to 2008. FY09 ended Sept. 30. The final total was 22,579 members. ASA congratulated recruiters and the state soybean associations.
  • As 2009 drew to a close, U.S. soy exports were setting a record for the third consecutive year with exports of 1.58 billion bushels. Whole soybean exports totaled 1.28 billion bushels and soymeal exports equaled 300 million bushels, a combined value exceeding $16.3 billion. A delayed harvest did not dampen expectations for record soybean production forecast at 3.32 billion bushels.

2010
  •  ASA successfully led the charge in efforts to correct the EPA’s flawed proposed rule that would have disqualified soy biodiesel from being used to meet mandated renewable fuel use levels. As a result, soy biodiesel now qualifies for the RFS mandated use levels of biodiesel starting at 345 million gallons in CY2010 and growing to 1 billion gallons in CY2012.  Use of soy biodiesel increases demand for U.S. soybean oil and leads to higher U.S. soybean prices received by farmers.
  • ASA successfully lobbied USDA to eliminate the rural area and domestic ownership requirements in the Bioenergy Program rule that excluded participation of several significant soy biodiesel plants.  As a result, these producers will receive much-needed payments at a time when the biodiesel tax credit is not available. Thanks to ASA’s efforts during the last Farm Bill, there will be a total of $300 million made available to biodiesel and other advanced biofuels producers over four years (FY2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012).
  • ASA, NOPA, and NAEGA worked in together to convince USDA to begin issuing phytosanitary certificates for U.S. soybean oil shipments to China.  Phytosanitary certificates provide that an export shipment is free of pests.  Although such certificates shouldn’t be required for a product like soybean oil that is highly processed at high temperatures, China currently requires these certificates and our export competitors issue them in order to make sales to China.  To take advantage of unique market opportunities presented by Argentina’s exclusion from the China market, ASA along with NOPA and NAEGA convinced USDA to begin issuing certificates.  U.S. sales of soybean oil occurred almost immediately, with 339,000 metric tons sold to date since USDA began issuing certificates, with a value of approximately $340 million.
  • ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program continued to expand, enabling ASA and WISHH to expand efforts to develop long-term markets for U.S. soy protein.  WISHH successfully competed for a three-year, $12 million project in Afghanistan.  WISHH also entered into a $3 million agreement with OIC International to implement a five-year, integrated food security program called Liberia Initiative for Food Enrichment (LIFE).”  Projects like these among other funding successes have boosted the overall WISHH market development budget from $2.4 million in FY10 to $7.3 in FY11.
  • As a result of ASA lobbying and leadership in pushing for new, competitive agricultural research funding, $262 million was provided by Congress for USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative for FY10.  ASA believes that agricultural research is “underfunded” compared to medical and other research. ASA believes that increased agricultural research and discoveries will benefit farmers and consumers alike in terms of increased productivity and yields, disease resistance, nutrient content of crops, and sustainability.
  • Record U.S. soybean exports of 39.6 million metric tons (nearly 1.5 billion bushels) with a farm-gate value of over $14.4 billion were made possible in part from years of successful ASA market access and market development efforts. Add projected U.S. soybean meal exports valued at over $2.6 billion and soybean oil exports valued at $830 million, total U.S. soy exports reached nearly $18 billion in value.
  • At ASA’s encouragement, EPA committed to soybean farmers that a new permitting system for pesticide applications over water would be narrowly crafted, excluding typical pesticide and herbicide applications by farmers.  The EPA was ordered by the courts to develop a new permitting system for pesticide application was brought about after the environmental groups won an appeals court decision challenging previous EPA policy.  In meetings with the EPA Administrator and Agriculture Secretary, ASA expressed concerns about delays and liabilities farmers could face under any permitting system that covered typical pesticide and herbicide applications by farmers.
  • A variety of historical information, photos, and special activities were presented to recognize ASA’s 90th Anniversary in serving soybean farmers.  ASA continues to be the advocate and grassroots voice of the nation’s soybean farmers when important policy is being discussed and created.
2011
  • ASA developed the Risk Management for America’s Farmers (RMAF) proposal that would complement crop insurance and help farmers manage risk. ASA worked successfully with the Agriculture Committees to include this revenue-based program in the farm bill that they developed as part of the Super Committee process. The United Soybean Board’s Global Opportunities Committee funded important analysis that ASA’s Farm Bill Task Force utilized in the process.  The revenue-based program that the Agriculture Committees settled upon reflected the essential elements of ASA’s RMAF proposal.
  • ASA successfully pressed the Administration to submit and Congress to pass the FTAs with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. These agreements represent nearly $3 billion of additional agricultural exports to these trading partners, and provide for increased market access for U.S. soy and meat exports. Importantly, these agreements will allow the United States to increase soy, meat and other agricultural exports to these countries.
  • ASA and the biodiesel industry’s dogged persistence on the need to extend the biodiesel tax incentive paid off when Congress included the biodiesel tax credit extension in omnibus legislation passed late in 2010. As a result, the U.S. biodiesel production reached record levels in 2011.
  • ASA — along USB, USSEC and soy exporters — led efforts to maintain access for U.S. soybeans exports to the European Union (EU) that otherwise would be negatively affected by the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The U.S. Government and the EU have agreed to enter into bilateral negotiations on how U.S. soybeans can be deemed compliant with RED requirements.  The U.S. Government also has issued official documents attesting to the sustainability of U.S. soybeans.
  • ASA is a leading member of a coalition of agricultural groups that has urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress not to approve LightSquared’s proposed broadband network until testing demonstrates that the GPS signals used by farmers won’t be harmed.  As a result, additional testing was mandated.
  • ASA and NCGA organized and led two Biotech and Grain Trade Forums to bring together biotechnology providers and the grain trade. These groups increasingly have been at odds over biotechnology policies and commercialization, and we have been concerned that this rift threatens both new technology commercialization and export markets. ASA worked with NCGA, the North American Export Grain Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, and the American Seed Trade Association to develop a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that established a more formal consultative process among growers, biotech providers and the grain trade on biotechnology stewardship, regulatory, export market and other issues.
  • USDA announced a voluntary biobased product labeling program that will help consumers identify biobased products made from renewable resources, and will promote increased sale and use of soy-based products in the commercial market. This labeling program is the direct result of successful ASA efforts in the 2008 Farm Bill to require such a program.
  • ASA-supported provisions passed Congress late in 2010 that raised the exclusion level to $5 million per spouse and lowered the tax rate on estates exceeding the exclusion to 35 percent. Without these new estate tax provisions, the exclusion amount would have gone to $1 million with a tax rate of 55 percent on Jan. 1, 2011.
  •  ASA and a coalition of other agricultural groups succeeded in forcing the Corps of Engineers to reallocate the resources necessary to maintain dredging operations to keep Gulf shipping channels open.
2012
  • In a very tough political climate, the key elements of ASA’s farm bill proposal were included in the Senate-passed bill, and to a lesser degree in the House Agriculture Committee-passed bill.  ASA worked with other key commodity associations in developing an approach in the bill that: recognizes an effective risk management program that complements crop insurance, consolidates conservation programs and ensures agriculture does its fair share to reduce spending. Although the House did not pass its version of the farm bill prior to the election recess, ASA continues to press Congress to pass the farm bill during the lame duck session.
  • ASA successfully lobbied Congress to pass the FTAs with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.  These agreements represent nearly $3 billion of additional agricultural exports to these trading partners, and provide for increased market access for U.S. soy and meat exports.
  • After Russia officially became part of the World Trade Organization, ASA successfully lobbied the House of Representatives to normalize the United States’ trade relationship with the world’s 6th largest economy in order to take advantage of the opportunities this provides by passing Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) legislation. WTO membership requires Russia to adhere to internationally-recognized scientific standards when regulating commodity and meat imports, thereby ensuring greater predictability for U.S. exporters seeking to supply the Russian market.
  • ASA discussed agricultural dust with Secretary Vilsack and EPA Administrator Jackson, advocating for no change to the current policy.  As a result of pressure from ASA and other groups, the EPA committed to make no change to dust regulations.
  • ASA and other grower groups united in opposition of the Department of Labor’s proposed rule that would have tightened restrictions on children under the age of 16 working on farms, leading the Labor Department to withdraw the rule. The regulations would have significantly hindered the ability of youth to gain ag experience.
  • ASA worked successfully to obtain additional resources for the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain dredging operations in New Orleans and other harbors. The House and Senate agreed to fund highway programs at current levels through September 2014. The agreement includes provisions for which ASA strongly advocated, including the exemption of farm trucks from hours-of-service rules, as well as the bill’s freight rail provisions.
  • ASA continued to coordinate the U.S. soy industry working group that is working to maintain access for U.S. soybeans and products as the EU’s RED is implemented. This effort has included 1) establishment of an actual greenhouse gas emissions savings value for U.S. soy biodiesel; 2) working with USDA, USTR and other agencies to seek bilateral negotiations with the EU on an agreement that would provide that U.S. soybeans are sustainably produced and meet the certification requirements of the RED; and 3) submission to the Dutch Government of the U.S. soy industry’s program that certifies U.S. soy meets RED requirements.
  • ASA and NCGA organized and led a series of meetings between biotechnology providers and the grain trade that culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance policies and improve communications. Two working groups under the MOU have been formed. The International Working Group is focused on efforts to address LLP issues and speed regulatory approvals in China and worldwide. The Domestic Working Group is attempting to narrow divergent approaches among value chain members on biotech commercialization risk assessment, management, and responsibility issues.
2013
  • The fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress on January 1, 2013, included ASA-pushed provisions that extended the biodiesel tax credit and provided a solution to the estate tax. The permanent estate tax rate of 40% on estates valued at $5 million, or $10 million per couple; and the retroactive extension of the biodiesel credit for 2012 and through 2013 both were significant wins for the soybean farmers.
  • Many of ASA’s priorities were reflected in the Senate-passed bill, and to a lesser degree in the House-passed bill.  ASA worked with other key commodity associations in developing an approach in the bill that: recognizes an effective risk management program that complements crop insurance; consolidates conservation programs; reauthorizes important market development and trade programs and ensures agriculture does its fair share to reduce spending.
  • ASA-supported legislation graduating Russia from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Act was passed by Congress and signed into law. The bill establishes permanent normal trade relations with Russia, and as part of its accession to the WTO, Russia is obligated to bind its agricultural tariffs, adding more predictability to the trading relationship and opening export opportunities for the U.S. agriculture industry. WTO membership also requires Russia to adhere to international scientific standards when regulating meat imports, thereby providing the opportunity for the U.S. to challenge arbitrary Russian trade actions.
  • ASA welcomed the entry into force of the free trade agreement between the U.S. and Panama. As of Oct. 31, 2012, all tariffs on U.S. soybeans, soybean meal, and crude vegetable oils were removed with enactment of the FTA. Tariffs were also removed for many beef, poultry and pork products that use soybean meal as feed. The U.S. exported more than $193 million in soy, meat, dairy, and egg products to Panama in FY13, up 31% from the previous fiscal year.
  • Facing drought-reduced water flows, ASA urged the White House to take immediate action to maintain navigation on the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Mo. and Cairo, Ill. and take immediate action to remove rock pinnacles near Grand Tower and Thebes, Ill. ASA also met with lawmakers to stress that the Mississippi River is a vital part of the inland waterways system transporting U.S. soybeans to international customers. As a result of Congressional and Presidential intervention, the Corps of Engineers was able to complete critical rock removal ahead of schedule and shipping was maintained.
  • Both the Senate and House have passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which authorizes improvements in our Nation’s waterways and ports. Soybean farmers rely on a healthy waterways infrastructure to move their soybeans to market and remain competitive in global markets. Both bills: contain ASA-supported provisions that gradually increase the percentage of duties going to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for port maintenance and dredging; streamline the process for Corps of Engineers projects and reduce project completion times; and frees up money and increase the capacity of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
  • Following ASA meetings with USDA’s Risk Management Agency to discuss cover crop rules in federal crop insurance, RMA stated it would make changes to its rules to facilitate expansion of the use of cover crops for the upcoming 2014 crop year.
  • On Election Day 2012 voters in California defeated Proposition 37, a ballot initiative requiring a warning label on food products that include a biotechnological ingredient. On Election Day 2013 voters in Washington State defeated a similar initiative.  ASA was a supporting member Coalitions that worked to defeat both initiatives because these measures would have mandated that misleading and confusing information be provided to consumers, would have unnecessarily increased food costs for California consumers, and would have spawned frivolous lawsuits against farmers, grocers and food companies..  To avoid having to battle multiple state initiatives and legislation every year, ASA is working closely with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and other value chain members in the Coalition for Safe & Affordable Food to draft and pass Federal legislation.  Such Federal legislation would establish standards for those companies that want to make voluntary claims on the presence or absence of GMO ingredients, and provide that no state could implement labeling provisions inconsistent with these Federal standards.
  • Following the ASA and NCGA-organized series of meetings between biotechnology providers and the grain trade that culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance biotech policies and improve communications, two working groups under the MOU developed consensus positions. The International Working Group is focused on efforts to address LLP issues and speed regulatory approvals in China and worldwide.  The Domestic Working Group is narrowing divergent approaches among value chain members on biotech commercialization risk assessment, management, and responsibility issues.  The organizations working under the MOU formally named their collaboration the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance, developed a detailed scope of work and hired a Secretariat to help coordinate the implementation of the recommendations, and developed a business plan for the alliance.
  • ASA continued to coordinate the U.S. soy industry working group that is working with U.S. trade negotiators to maintain access for U.S. soybeans and products as the EU’s RED is implemented. Through testimony, letters, and regular meetings with U.S. officials, ASA has conveyed that our concerns with the RED and the EU’s biotech regulations must be addressed in the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership negotiations.
2014
  • ASA succeeded in passing a farm bill that: preserves planting flexibility by decoupling risk management programs from planted acreage to prevent production distortions; raises the soybean reference (target) price in the farm bill’s Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program from $6.00 to $8.40 per bushel; consolidates the farm bill conservation programs on working lands, and streamlined 23 programs to 11 and fully funds the Foreign Market Development and Market Access Programs, which are key to our success in developing foreign markets.
  • ASA succeeded in passing a tax extenders package that reinstates expensing provisions, including the Section 179 small business limitation of $500,000 and the $2 million phase-out amount for property placed in service during 2014; restores the 50 percent bonus depreciation provision on farm assets and renews the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit.
  • ASA worked to pass a Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA) that authorizes much-needed investments in waterways infrastructure farmers need to move products to market.
  • ASA succeeded in passing a nine-cent-per-gallon increase in the barge fuel fee that funds infrastructure upgrades via the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) that, when combined with the changes in WRRDA, will yield $185 million per year in additional funding for waterways infrastructure improvements.
  • ASA maintained significant and vocal opposition and the search for clarification on the EPA’s controversial definition of Waters of the U.S.(WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act, which  is expected to undergo significant revision in 2015.
  • ASA lent critical Congressional support for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and for soybean farmer priorities in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as well as to the Administration’s plan to establish formal diplomatic relations with Cuba.
2015

Legislative and Regulatory Key Accomplishments

  • Enactment of Trade Promotion Authority that allowed the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations to be successfully completed
  • Final Rule on the RFS that increases biodiesel volumes to 2 billion gallons by 2017
  • Enactment of Surface Transportation Reauthorization (Highway Bill) to provide funding certainty for road and bridge construction/maintenance
  • Rescinding the $3 billion cut in crop insurance included in the FY-2016/17 budget agreement
  • House passage of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (HR 1599)
  • Elimination of biotech application and label backlogs at BRS/APHIS and EPA
  • Resolution of the use of administrative counties for the County ARC program
  • Reinstatement of biodiesel tax credit in tax extenders package
  • Permanent reinstatement of higher Section 179 expensing limits
  • Bonus Depreciation extended for 5 years in tax package
  • Increased funding for waterways infrastructure and harbor maintenance
  • Rescinding Country of Origin Labeling in the House and Senate
  • Increased funding for the Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI) by $25 million

Trade Negotiations and Market Access Key Accomplishments

  • Conclusion of TPP agreement with increased market access for soy and livestock products, enhanced SPS provisions, biotech and LLP procedures
  • Work with USSEC on submission of Soy Sustainability Protocol to meet the EU’s RED requirements and continuing emphasis on RED as a priority in the TTIP negotiations
  • Coordination of USBCA Domestic and International Working Groups
  • Coordination of international agricultural development coalition on legislative proposals
  • Approval of additional biotech traits by China following SAID and JCCT meetings (pending)

Forward Planning, Leader Development & Training Key Accomplishments

  • Bold new ASA strategic plan developed; ASA bylaws revisions developed to reflect new strategic plan, and aggressive “full speed ahead” implementation plan developed
  • Commodity Classic continued to set new attendance and financial result records
  • Record SoyPAC Auction and year of raising PAC funds
  • Member engagement on policy issues strengthened through new programs funded by Valent and FMC that ASA developed to assist state affiliates on policy
  • New Advocacy Communications Team (ACT) established to help create a second tier of spokespersons in the industry to help educate consumers on the benefits of modern agriculture tools and practices
  • New Advanced Leadership Program initiated for leaders on ASA’s board and funded by Syngenta
  • Additional ASAAP member (Valent); two other industry partners (Bunge and Farm Credit) are close to becoming members
  • ASA Communications has generated a net revenue gain for the second year in row with all expenses (including salaries) offset by revenues from advertising and program sponsorships
  • Another successful Soybean Leadership College event kicked off the year
  • DYL continues to achieve new levels of quality participation.

Communications Key Accomplishments

  • Increased volume of press releases, action alerts and issue updates, as well as frequency of these communications with ASA leaders and members
  • Used elevated profile in DC media to increase pressure on House and Senate leaders following proposed crop insurance cuts, resulting in agreement and action to rescind
  • Leveraged press relationships into a high-profile event on TPP with FAS Administrator and sitting presidents of ASA, NCGA, NAWG, NCBA, USGC, and NPPC
  • Implemented new impact measurement and intelligence gathering program for ASA Congressional visits
  • Developed and implemented grassroots and advocacy training program for younger farmer advocates, and expanded that program heading into 2016
  • Expanded policy advocacy training module for new board members

World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Key Accomplishments

  • Received $15 million Food for Progress grant to develop the feed and poultry industries in Ghana over five years
  • Continued to facilitate increased trade in U.S. soy in Africa, Asia and Latin America; opened an office in Accra, Ghana, West Africa
  • Successfully closed out two major programs (Food for Progress Afghanistan and Food for Peace Liberia) with positive final evaluations
  • Developed proposals submitted to USDA’s Office of Capacity Building (OCBD), among other agencies, which were ultimately accepted and which will begin in FY16, bringing anticipated budget up to $7 million, including NICRA support for both WISHH and ASA
  • Clean audits (no financial findings indicated in exit interviews or final reports) after FAS/USDA, A133, and the Special Inspector General for Afghan Relief (SIGAR)
  • Successfully transitioned management of Bangladesh market development programs from WISHH to USSEC, due to significant commercial volumes of U.S. soy exported to the poultry, aquaculture and feed industries.   Transitioning countries along the soy market development continuum is success!
  • Preparing for transition of Pakistan from WISHH to USSEC in FY17

Governance, Board Development, Finance, and Administrative Key Accomplishments

  • Large financial gain from operations and overall net positive gain for the year
  • Paperless system for Board and Executive Committee meetings implemented through Dropbox
  • New annual survey of board members initiated to identify skills, backgrounds, and gaps
  • New annual evaluation initiated to allow board members to evaluate their own and the board’s performance so that improvements can be made
  • 360 reviews of ASA executives and managers conducted as an adjunct to normal annual performance reviews to facilitate continuous improvement
  • Positive financial and programmatic audits by ASA’s independent auditor as well as government auditors