Voting delegates representing ASA’s 26 state and national affiliates ended another successful Commodity Classic by debating and voting on soy priorities for the upcoming year.

Top priorities include progressive policies for a strong farm safety net, increased funding for agricultural export programs, ambitious global trade negotiations, an aggressive support for biodiesel policies, and robust funding for agricultural research and conservation programs.

While you can contact the ASA DC office for a full copy of the ASA policy resolutions handbook, below is a breakdown of the top priorities and what soy growers will see ASA pursuing on Capitol Hill in 2017.

Farm Bill

ASA affirmed its support for renewing both the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, as well as its long-standing policy to base payments under those programs on historical rather than planted acres. Delegates passed language in support of utilizing federal crop insurance yield data available through USDA’s Risk Management Agency as a more accurate basis for payments under Title I programs, and supported allowing producers a one-time choice to reallocate or update base acreage.

Delegates formally approved ASA’s position that advocates for doubling funding for the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and Market Access Program (MAP) to $69 million and $400 million, respectively.

Delegates voted to include strong language on pursuing bilateral or multilateral trade agreements with nations in the Pacific Rim, as well as Canada and Mexico amid uncertainty surrounding the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

ASA will support increasing the acreage cap for the Conservation Reserve Program to aid in implementation of the program. Delegates also approved language supporting Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plans.

The ASA delegates also reaffirmed the association’s strong support for keeping the nutrition and farm components of the farm bill together, as well as for agricultural research and for energy title programs that help to expand the biodiesel and biobased products industries.

Tax Reform

Considering the potential for a large-scale tax reform package from Congress in the coming year, delegates supported several tax-related resolutions, including renewal of the biodiesel tax credit and a restructuring of the credit to promote domestic production.

Other major tax concerns included full and immediate expensing of capital investments, maintaining farmer access to cash-based accounting, repeal of the estate tax, and maintaining the Section 1031 provision for like-kind exchanges.

Plant Breeding

ASA went on the record opposing pre-market approval for plant breeding innovations (PBIs) like gene editing and CRISPR-Cas9.

Soymilk

ASA delegates added new resolutions defending the growing soymilk market and advocating the expansion of high-speed broadband connectivity to rural areas.

There is no doubt ASA has a busy year ahead working with the 115th Congress and new administration, and as our grower leaders set these resolutions to provide a path forward, we hope all growers will join us in advocating for agriculture and soy by utilizing the Soy Action Center.

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