During the Commodity Classic held in Anaheim, Calif., last week, the 130 delegates of the American Soybean Association set the guidelines for the organization's policy direction for 2010-2011. Several additions and modifications were made in several areas during the voting session last Saturday.
ASA opposes cuts to the Federal crop insurance program that reduce agriculture baseline funding for the 2012 Farm Bill. They are urging the Risk Management Agency and Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to reinstate Group Risk Plan and Gross Revenue Insurance Plan policies where they are no longer available.
The delegates also supported the reinstatement of the biodiesel tax credit and expansion of the USDA's bio-based product preferred list. Also support for biotechnology and nanotechnology was voiced and they believe the development of biotechnology-enhanced and nanotechnology crop varieties and products will benefit farmers, consumers and the environment. ASA believes biotechnology and nanotechnology are key tools that will help meet growing world food, health and energy needs. Production-oriented research should be pursued in both these areas.
In the area of climate change, ASA is against cap-and-trade and supports any actions to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from having the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
ASA also wants the Clean Water Act amended so producers will not require a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit when they can certify that the pesticides have been used in a manner that complies with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. They also oppose any attempt to regulate dust.
Finally, ASA supports establishment of an estate tax exemption of $5 million per individual with a 100% spousal exemption, indexed to inflation with continuation of stepped up basis, and with a maximum tax rate of 30% for small businesses. Special use valuation should include all land staying in production agriculture for minimum of 15 years.