Soybean producers gathered in Anaheim, CA, to review and revise the policy direction of the American Soybean Association (ASA). Soybean producers from 133 production areas across the U.S. participated in this annual process that guides the ASA as it pursues future initiatives to improve U.S. soybean farmer profitability. The voting delegates session was held in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show.

What follows are the most significant additions and modifications covering a variety of important soybean issues.

Export Market Development
The ASA urges the U.S. Trade Representative to initiate a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint against the European Union’s discriminatory and non-science based traceability and labeling regulations. ASA strongly supports defining Differential Export taxes as export subsidies that would be subject to discipline and elimination in a Doha Round agreement.

ASA strongly urges any Doha Round agreement require that developing countries that are “world-class” exporters be subject to disciplines similar to those applied to developed countries in all pillars of the negotiations. “World-class” developing country exporters should not be able to utilize “Special and Differential” treatment exemptions for their competitive export sectors.

ASA urges Congress and the Administration work to ensure that the European food traceability law and/or U.S. seed companies and shippers’ contracts not transfer financial liability onto U.S. farmers due to grain shipments containing unapproved genetically modified grain traits.

ASA urges Congress to fully fund the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Cooperator Program at a minimum of $34.5 million and the Market Access Program (MAP) at a minimum of $200 million.

Domestic Issues
ASA supports the efforts of the U.S. Livestock and Poultry Industry to vigorously oppose any initiatives that would criminalize the use of modern and accepted animal production practices. These and all limitations are spearheaded and funded by animal activist groups as part of a state-by-state campaign that would push animal agriculture production out of the U.S. ASA supports fund raising efforts to fund these initiatives and encourage ASA and its members to support these efforts.

ASA supports expansion of the domestic aquaculture industry, including offshore aquaculture, to increase food security, create jobs and reduce the U.S. negative trade balance in aquaculture. ASA also encourages Federal funding for research that would optimize the use of soy protein in soy aquaculture feed.

ASA fully supports maintaining the current funding baseline for agriculture for the 2007 Farm Bill; consideration of programs for the 2007 Farm Bill that do not distort planting decisions; and consideration of programs for the 2007 Farm Bill that are WTO compliant.

ASA recommends that the definition of “like kind” in the IRS-1031 provisions be reviewed so that agricultural land values are not inflated by 1031 exchanges.

ASA urges state associations to work with state officials to 1) define biodiesel as a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D6751; 2) adopt the most current version of ASTM D6751 as the specification for biodiesel used as a blendstock with diesel fuels, as well as future biodiesel or biodiesel blend specifications approved by ASTM; 3) encourage state officials to actively enforce the adopted biodiesel related fuel specification standards; and 4) encourage the adoption and enforcement of BQ9000 for feedstock production facilities and marketers of biodiesel.

ASA also supports restricting feedstocks eligible for the agri-biodiesel tax incentive to the list of feedstock oils that were itemized on the JOBS bill.

Research, Education, Natural Resources
ASA encourages soybean producers to select seed genetics based on achieving 35 percent protein, 19 percent oil and high yields. ASA also encourages soybean seed companies to include estimated protein and oil content, on a 13 percent moisture basis, in their sales literature.

ASA encourages Federal funding for research that would optimize the use of soy in aquaculture feed and support species development in aquaculture to better utilize soybean protein.

ASA believes all productive land will be needed to sustain U.S. soybean production. As such, land currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that can be farmed in an environmentally sustainable manner should not be re-enrolled in the program upon expiration of the CRP contract.