In a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees today, the American Soybean Association (ASA), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the U.S. Canola Association (USCA) made it clear that their position in favor of more market-oriented farm policies would not change as both chambers prepare their respective bills for a potential conference in September, and that the organizations would oppose any bill containing a risk management program that would tie planted acres to fixed reference or target prices.
In the letter, ASA, NCGA and USCA made it clear they would oppose any program that “would distort planting decisions in years when prices fall below support levels, resulting in surplus production of certain commodities, reduced acreage for smaller crops, depressed domestic and international market prices, and potential WTO actions against the U.S.”
“Soybean farmers simply cannot afford a farm bill containing a risk management program that, through its own design, could actually create more risk for growers by distorting market signals,” said ASA President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss. “There is no question that this is a job that needs to get done, and there are many programs in each bill with which we agree, but we can’t let the need to pass a farm bill be an excuse for policies that place farmers at greater risk.”
“While we are pleased the process is moving forward, NCGA remains extremely concerned about a fixed-target-price program recoupled to planted acres that moves U.S. farm policy away from the market-oriented reforms that have made possible a robust rural economy,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson, a corn farmer from Floyd, Iowa. “Our goals have always been to ensure that the federal crop insurance program remains the cornerstone of the farm safety net and that there are market-oriented risk management tools that best complement the federal crop insurance program.”
“Canola is one of many crops that producers in the Northern Plains can choose from, and we want to preserve that diversity. Conversely, after years of investment in research and infrastructure, canola has emerged as one of very few alternatives to winter wheat in the Southern Great Plains.” said Ryan Pederson, a canola farmer from Rolette, N.D., and USCA President. “But this effort would be at risk if prices fall and support prices are tied to current year plantings, because farmers will likely revert to the crop they know rather than the crop they are learning to grow.”