The American Soybean Association will pursue an aggressive legislative and regulatory policy agenda in 2017.
Legislative efforts will focus on expected congressional action on the 2018 Farm Bill, tax reform, and transportation infrastructure, while regulatory work will focus on rolling back Obama-era regulations on water quality, improving the regulatory approval timeline in the U.S. and export markets for new biotech traits. ASA will also continue our effort to establish and expand trade relationships with our partners abroad.
Farm Bill– ASA will look at ways to strengthen the risk management systems in place for farmers, and what changes need to be made within risk management programs so that they can function to their highest potential. This may include fixes to the ARC county-level option for corn and soy, and to programs for cotton and dairy.
Outside of Title 1, ASA will support increased funding for export promotion programs like MAP and FMD, Energy Title programs such as the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, Biodiesel Education Program, and Biobased Market Program, as well as for ag research and a stronger role for USDA in global food security programs. ASA will support a strong federal crop insurance system as well, and the continued inclusion of nutrition programs within the farm bill. ASA will continue to oppose reduced funding, additional eligibility requirements, or means testing for conservation programs or crop insurance.
Tax Reform– While comprehensive tax reform is a top priority of the Republican led Congress and President Trump, ASA will continue to push for extension and reform of the biodiesel tax credit, which expired at the end of 2016.
Regulations– ASA will support withdrawal or block implementation of the Waters of the U.S. Rule.
Biotechnology— ASA will work collaboratively with the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food to implement the National Biotech Food Labeling Standard that will exempt products with ingredients derived through plant breeding techniques and that do not contain rDNA protein.
Crop Protection— ASA will support the use of sound science in approving new products, and we will continue to engage on pollinator health issues, including habitat restoration and pesticide registrations. We will keep a watchful eye on the ongoing trend of mergers within the agriculture industry.
Renewable Fuel Standards— ASA will support maintaining and establishing appropriate annual volume requirements for biodiesel within the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). ASA will also support enforcement responses to trade violations by biodiesel importers.
Trade— ASA will work directly with the Trump Administration to align its policies to reflect the dependence of U.S. agriculture, and soybeans in particular, on exports, including continuing regional and bilateral trade agreements and maintaining an open and positive trading relationship with China.
In the all-important Chinese market, ASA will work with the Trump Administration to maintain market access to China for U.S. agriculture, including soybeans, and we will bolster our efforts to improve timely approvals of new biotech products.
As you can see, ASA has our work cut out for us in order to see this bold agenda fulfilled in the coming year. We look forward to engaging with the Trump Administration and with our allies old and new in the House and Senate to achieve success on behalf of American soybean farmers, and as always, encourage our grower members to continue being an active voice from the countryside.