ASA recognizes that a revenue-based program may not be appropriate for all commodities. ASA is open to supporting an alternative program, provided it does not interfere with the ability of producers to respond to the market or distort planting decisions. Additionally, programs should be in compliance with the United States’ existing World Trade Organization commitments. Existing conservation compliance provisions should continue as a condition of eligibility for receiving farm program payments.
ASA supports maintaining and funding programs that encourage effective conservation practices on working lands. ASA supports reducing the cap on acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) as part of any requirement to reduce spending under the 2012 Farm Bill and to allow U.S. producers to respond to increasing world demand for agricultural commodities. As CRP contracts expire, we believe the CRP should be targeted to the most environmentally sensitive land and to meet water quality goals. Lands that can be returned to production in an environmentally friendly manner should be returned to productive agricultural use.
ASA supports reauthorization and funding of the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program, the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, and the Biobased Market Program in the Energy Title of the 2012 Farm Bill. ASA recognizes that energy programs do not have baseline funding beyond 2012. However, the benefits provided by the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program and the Biobased Market Program have been worth their relatively low cost, and warrant their continuation with an increased level of mandatory funding.
ASA supports reauthorization of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) to expand competitive research at USDA, as well as reauthorization to maintain research capacity at our land-grant universities.
ASA supports reauthorization of the Foreign Market Development (Cooperator) Program and the Market Access Program and continued annual funding of these export promotion programs at $34.5 million and $200 million, respectively.
ASA supports an infrastructure funding framework that allows for public and private investment in the U.S. commercial transportation system to ensure U.S. soybeans and soybean products will be delivered to domestic and international markets in a timely and cost effective manner.
ASA supports legislation to require that all funds collected for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund are used for the intended purposes of waterways dredging and port maintenance.