2016 was another successful year not just for ASA, but for soy growers across the country.
Biotechnology – The past year was highlighted by the passage of a landmark biotech disclosure law, after ASA worked for more than two years as a steering committee member of the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food to see Congress enact this legislation, which advances transparency within the industry while avoiding demonization of safe biotechnology.
In regards to biotechnology in China, ASA and USSEC have continued to engage with U.S. government officials, the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance and the Chinese Government to make progress on biotech approvals.
Farm Bill- ASA led the effort to assemble a strong coalition of nutrition, anti-hunger, and production agriculture interests to support maintaining a unified farm bill. ASA also took the lead in organizing seven meetings of farm organizations to discuss their respective positions and concerns in advance of the next farm bill debate in Congress.
RFS- We made progress on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for biodiesel, and while there’s clearly still room to grow, we’re satisfied with where we are for now.
Regulation- ASA also continued our defense of farmers from the overregulation of the EPA under the Obama Administration. The EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule, formally known as the Clean Water Rule, remains subject to a judicial stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and is likely to be vacated by the incoming Trump Administration.
Trade- In 2016 ASA established contact with the incoming Trump Administration to highlight the make-or-break importance of a progressive global trade stance to soybean farmers, siting the necessity of trade deals like NAFTA and TPP. As part of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, ASA made incremental progress on opening the Cuban market to American soy in 2016.
Infrastructure- ASA participated in coalition efforts and directly communicated our waterways infrastructure funding requests to congressional offices, including support for continued increases in funding for relevant programs and projects in the Energy & Water Appropriations bills which passed by committee both include increased funding levels for inland waterways programs and port and harbor maintenance.
Crop Protection- ASA continues to support soybean farmers’ access to crop protection products through active advocacy at EPA and through the courts. ASA has submitted comments to EPA in 2016 supporting the registration of chlorpyrifos, imidacloprid, paraquat, sulfoxaflor, flubendiamide, dicamba and glyphosate.
In the Courts- As an intervenor in the case of Anderson v. EPA, ASA welcomed a significantly positive development in the ongoing fight to protect farmers’ rights to use proven-safe seed treatments.
ASA, as part of the larger U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), challenged Dannon’s CEO and board on its “sustainability” pledge to eliminate the use of safe and proven agricultural biotechnology to feed the dairy cows that supply milk for its yogurt products, criticized the company for misleading consumers as part of marketing puffery.
ASA is pleased with it’s legislative and regulatory accomplishments on behalf of soy growers across the country in 2016, and looks forward to continuing the soy agenda in 2017.