The American Soybean Association has taken a closer look at the mark of the 2012 Farm Bill released by the Senate Ag Committee leaders Friday. The group is voicing its overall support of the draft language and calling on the Committee to approve it quickly in the interest of passing the new farm bill as soon as possible. Steve Wellman – Nebraska soybean farmer and ASA President – says the organization supports the decision to achieve 23-billion dollars in savings over ten years. He says farmers and ranchers are willing to do their fair share to address the nation’s fiscal problems – but adds the investments in food, agriculture and conservation should not be cut disproportionately.
ASA has released its title-by-title positions on the Chair’s Mark for the farm bill. As for the commodity programs of Title I – ASA supports the need to replace existing farm support programs like direct payments, counter-cyclical payments and ACRE; using remaining baseline funding to establish the Agriculture Risk Coverage Program; maintaining marketing assistance loans at current levels; and re-instituting current payment limitations.
Under Title II – ASA supports the simplification, flexibility and consolidation of agricultural conservation programs and the priority given to working lands. They support the consolidation of 23 existing programs into 13 and requiring conservation compliance as a condition for eligibility to receive benefits under Title I commodity programs. When it comes to trade – Title III – ASA supports continuing full annual funding for the Market Access and Foreign Market Development programs; the McGovern-Dole Program and the Food for Peace Program.
ASA also strongly supports the efforts made to protect and strengthen crop insurance as a risk management tool. They support new provisions like increasing the transitional yield plug from 60 to 70-percent; requiring USDA to implement an acreage report streamlining initiative project and authorizing supplemental coverage for farmers to buy a county-level revenue policy in addition to individual coverage.
ASA has outlined areas where they would support changes and refinements as well. Among other things – ASA notes the mark authorizes but does not include mandatory funding for energy programs. The group supports efforts to provide mandatory funding for the Bio-based Market Program and the Biodiesel Education Program.
Source: NAFB News Service