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With Midterms over, farmers look to future with hopes of new Farm Bill

By Wendy Brannen • Nov 9, 2018 at 9:00 PM

The polls are closed, the votes are in. No matter the final tally of D’s or R’s, the soybean industry is eager to work with the new Congress in January and, meantime, see the 115th Congress conclude with a successful swan song, one note of which it hopes is a new farm bill.

Agriculture has always depended on support from both sides of the aisle, and now that the midterm elections are over, the American Soybean Association (ASA) expects that longstanding bipartisan cooperation to be renewed. ASA reiterates its request for the now lame-duck 115th Congress to pass a new five-year bill that can provide greater certainty and long-term stability during a down farm economy and time of trade strife. It is also important to reaffirm our commitment to conservation practices, invest in agricultural research and work to expand new markets for soybeans.

John Heisdorffer, ASA president and soybean grower from Keota, Iowa, said, “The Farm Bill is our greatest risk management tool. With the economic challenges facing all farmers today, tools such as crop insurance, as well as ARC & PLC, are invaluable.” Heisdorffer went on to explain, “In addition to support from farm programs, funding for the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and Market Access Program (MAP) is needed. FMD funding has already lapsed, and MAP funding will run out at year’s end. These programs are critical to the soybean industry, particularly with the need to open and expand markets to offset sales lost to China.”

ASA remains positive that Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees can resolve differences between their respective bills and agree on a compromise version in December. A Conference Report that both chambers would then approve before adjourning rather than extending the 2014 farm bill would be a welcome parting gift from the 115th Congress to the ag community.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Wendy Brannen serves as communications director for the American Soybean Association (ASA), represents U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international policy issues important to the soybean industry. ASA has 26 affiliated state associations representing 30 soybean producing states and more than 300,000 soybean farmers. Brannen can be reached at 202-684-6070 or wbrannen@soy.org.

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