– Gameness til the End
Posted: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 1:55 pm | Updated: 2:00 pm, Tue Mar 6, 2012.
Dale Hildebrant, Lee Agri-Media
NASHVILLE — Delegates to the American Soybean Association’s annual membership meeting took resolution action on a wide variety of topics during their gathering at Commodity Classic. Issues considered on March 3, the final day of the classic, ranged from trade to crop insurance and transportation to animal welfare.
Here are some of the more significant actions taken by the delegates:
ASA decided to oppose any proposal to merge the Office of U.S. Trade Representative with other trade agencies, noting that the USTR should remain an independent agency within the Executive Office of the President and should focus on trade negotiations and agreements, and trade rule enforcement.
The group also passed a resolution strongly supporting the swift implementation of the Columbia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements. ASA also went on record opposing any currency legislation or action by Congress to unilaterally regulate the value of foreign currencies.
Domestic issues and farm policies
ASA delegates went on record opposing the actions of HSUS, PETA and all other radical animal activist rights groups whose efforts are to destroy American agriculture and to support education of the public as to the actions and agenda of these groups.
It was also decided to oppose broad-based federal legislation that defines livestock and poultry housing requirements.
They also agreed to recognize the importance of child safety, but oppose the Department of Labor’s proposed changes that limit the types of work minors could perform in agriculture.
Delegates also supported the implementation of a national traceability system in the U.S. that is built on private sector animal identification and verification programs backed by the USDA. This system needs to:
- Fully meet expectations of foreign governments and customers overseas;
- Is consistent with the World Organization for Animal Health (OEI) guidelines;
- Produces equivalent outcomes to the live animal tracking systems that importing countries have in place;
- Recognizes existing USDA programs for beef and pork exports in the EU and beef exports to Japan.
Delegates decided to support the education to local and state NRCS that improves the profitability of farmable wetlands through subsurface drainage systems such as tiling, which will also benefit conservation and erosion of farmland and improve productivity by establishing more surface residue.
The development of a voluntary, farmer led stewardship that recognizes productivity as the foundation of conservation was also encouraged and the ASA opposed the depletion of productive, irreplaceable and essential natural resource of farmland for the sole purpose of establishing urban growth in areas prone to flooding.
Delegates approved a resolution that 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.
Looking at specific transportation modes, the groups voted to support the Missouri River master plan alternatives that keep navigation and inland drainage as top priorities and oppose action by FEMA to expand flood plain designations. Support was also give to 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. Finally, it was decided that producers should be made whole when the government chooses to intentionally flood farmland and farm property.
Delegates supported expanding the truck weight limits on federal Interstate highways to a minimum of 97,000 pounds provided there is a sixth axle.
ASA went on record strongly supporting biodiesel as the only commercially available biomass-based diesel fuel that meets EPA’s definition of an advanced biofuel to meet the RFS2 obligation.
In terms of crop insurance, a resolution was amended to note that crop insurance should not be tied to conservation compliance. In the past that resolution only listed specific environmental issues or cultural practices. In addition a resolution ensuring that the soybean industry will be represented on the government appointed Federal Crop Insurance Board.
Soybean research and production inputs — After discussion, delegates supported the full disclosure of all information concerning variety name, number, traits, germination, vigor and quality.
In light of the recent MF Global scandal, the group called for the improvement of federal oversight of commodity hedge funds to ensure the integrity of the futures trading system.
The group voted to oppose the acquisitions of adjacent band width by any company that would compromise the effectiveness of GPS technology for farmers.
ASA delegates called on Congress and the current administration to develop and implement a comprehensive energy policy that is sustainable for agriculture and in a separate resolution supported the routing and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, along with others, as a way to fully utilize North American energy sources.