ASA Top Legislative and Regulatory Priorities (March 2017)

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ASA LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY PRIORITIES

(March 2017)

2018 Farm Bill Priorities (Agriculture Committees)

Support policy priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill adopted by ASA Voting Delegates in March 2017.

Trade Expansion (Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees, Agriculture Committees)

  1. Work with the Administration and Congress to ensure continued positive trade with China and NAFTA partners. Provide insight and assistance during renegotiations of current trade agreements.
  2. Enhance U.S. trade relations with Asia-Pacific countries, including through bilateral or multilateral agreements.
  3. Support legislative efforts to remove barriers to trade with Cuba, including ending the embargo.
  4. Improve the timeliness and predictability of regulatory approvals for new biotech traits by China and the EU, including a comprehensive agreement for agriculture within the TTIP negotiations.
  5. Develop low-level presence (LLP) policies that facilitate trade and innovation in biotech products.
  6. Support a doubling of funding for the Foreign Market Development program and the Market Access Program.
  7. Support global food security provisions in the next farm bill that provide USDA and the U.S. agriculture industry a central role in developing and implementing international agricultural development programs.

Tax Reform (Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees)

Ensure tax reform efforts reflect the unique nature of farm operations, including: maintaining cash accounting method for farmers, allowing full and immediate expensing of capital investments, repealing estate tax or increasing exemption levels indexed for inflation, maintaining Section 1031 provision for Like-Kind exchanges, and extending and restructuring biodiesel tax credit.

Environmental Regulations (EPA, USDA and multiple committees of jurisdiction)

  1. Support Congressional efforts to abolish the Waters of the U.S. proposed rule.
  2. Support efforts to improve pollinator habitat; oppose efforts to ban neonicotinoid crop protection products.

Biotech and Food Regulations (USDA, FDA, and multiple committees of jurisdiction)

  1. Work with USDA to ensure that the Final Rule for implementing the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act excludes products that are derived through new plant breeding techniques from being labeled as biotech.
  2. Work to develop and implement regulatory reforms that: (1) enhance the timelines of biotech trait approvals and companion herbicides without disrupting foreign market approvals or U.S. agricultural exports; and (2) do not require pre-market approvals for plant breeding innovations (a type of gene editing).
  3. Oppose efforts to restrict the branding and marketing of soymilk.

 Biodiesel Demand (EPA; Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees)

  1. Extend the biodiesel tax incentive in 2017 and shift it from a blender to a production credit.
  2. Seek optimal levels of annual RFS volumes for biomass-based diesel and Advanced Biofuels, and appropriate enforcement of RFS and WTO requirements for imported biodiesel.

Transportation and Infrastructure (Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Appropriations Committees)

  1. Ensure agricultural industry priorities, such as upgrades to locks and dams, ports, and harbors are included in any large-scale infrastructure funding initiatives.
  2. Continue to increase funding for programs and projects supporting and upgrading infrastructure for inland waterways, ports, and harbor maintenance.

FY-2017 Budget and Appropriations (Agriculture and Appropriations Committees)

Protect funding for crop insurance, export market development programs (FMD and MAP), food aid, agriculture research, conservation practices on working lands, and Inland Waterways and Harbor Maintenance Trust Funds.

Aquaculture (NOAA; Senate Commerce and House Natural Resources Committees)

Support implementation of NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Plan to develop an environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture fishery.

ASA Policy Priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill

  • ASA will work closely with other farm organizations to strengthen the farm safety net in order to offset the significant reductions in farm prices and income incurred since 2013.
  • ASA will oppose reducing premium subsidies or imposing means testing under the crop insurance program.
  • ASA supports keeping the farm/rural and nutrition titles of the next farm bill intact.
  • ASA supports reauthorizing ARC and PLC, and giving producers a one-time choice to sign up for either program on a crop-by-crop basis.
  • ASA strongly supports maintaining the current policy of “decoupling” under which payments under both ARC and PLC are based on recent historical crop production on base acres rather than on current-year planting.
  • ASA supports efforts to fix the dairy and cotton programs, including a new cottonseed program and decoupling generic (former cotton base) acres.
  • ASA supports giving producers options to maintain current crop acreage bases, reallocate bases to reflect more recent plantings, or update bases to include all acres planted to program crops.
  • ASA supports full funding of AFRI and other agricultural research programs as well as the EQIP and CSP conservation programs.
  • ASA supports doubling funding for the FMD and MAP programs over the life of the next farm bill.

ASA supports inclusion of an Energy Title in the Farm Bill that includes specific authorization and funding for the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, the Biobased Market Program, and the Biodiesel Education Program.