By Carroll Smith
When it comes to the 2012 Farm Bill, everyone involved in U.S. agriculture agrees that Congress needs to get it right, but, just as importantly, get ‘er done – on time, that is.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) recently voiced “its overall support of the draft language
and calls on the Committee to approve the mark quickly in the interest of passing the Farm Bill
as soon a possible.”
Excerpts from ASA’s title-by-title positions on the Chair’s mark for the 2012 Farm Bill are as follows:
ASA recognizes and supports the need to replace existing farm support programs, including Direct Payments, Counter-Cyclical Payments and ACRE, in order to achieve the Committee’s deficit reduction objective.
ASA supports using remaining baseline funding to establish the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) Program, which includes provisions similar to the “Risk Management for America’s Farmers” proposal developed by ASA last fall. ARC would partially offset revenue losses at either the farm or the county level on a commodity-specific basis using average plantings and prevented planted acres in 2009-2012
to establish a payment acre cap.
Payment acres under the farm and county options would be set at 60 percent and 75 percent of this acreage, respectively, with payment on prevented planted acres at 45 percent. ARC would apply to losses that exceed 11 percent of a revenue benchmark, not to exceed 10 percent of total revenue loss.
ASA believes additional risk management provided under ARC would complement revenue protection
provided through the crop insurance program without influencing planting decisions and distorting production. A combination of these programs enables and encourages farmers to continue to seek to maximize total returns from the market rather than from the prospect of receiving government payments. Allowing farmers full planting flexibility to follow market signals has been the most important farm policy for the past 16 years.
ASA supports maintaining marketing assistance loans at current levels, which will allow this program to continue to be available as a financing and marketing tool for producers.
ASA supports re-instituting current payment limitations.
ASA supports the simplification, flexibility and consolidation of agricultural conservation programs.
ASA strongly supports continuation of full annual funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) at $200 million and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program at $34.5 million, as included in the mark.
ASA supports full funding for the Food for Peace Program. However, the mark diverts millions annually from funding the purchase and delivery of U.S. commodities under the Program.
ASA supports reauthorization of funding for university research and Extension.
The Senate mark authorizes but does not include mandatory funding for energy programs. ASA supports efforts to provide mandatory funding for the following programs: Biobased Market Program and Biodiesel Education Program.
ASA strongly supports the efforts made to protect and strengthen crop insurance as a risk management
tool. ASA also supports the new provisions included in the mark.
To view ASA’s comments in their entirety, go to www.SoyGrowers.com/newsroom/news.htm.