Hoosier farmers and ASA delegates discuss policy issues on Capitol Hill

Steve Howell, Phil Ramsey, Cindy Ramsey, Elaine Gillis, and Mike Koehne. Photo courtesy of the Indiana Soybean Alliance

American Soybean Association farmer leaders from Indiana are discussing national policy issues impacting soybean growers with legislators on Capitol Hill as part of the ASA’s annual spring board meeting.

Shelby County Farmer Phil Ramsey says the 2023 Farm Bill remains a top priority for the association.

“We have five main points including protecting crop insurance and keeping it as is and keeping the subsidies that go toward our policies in place. We talked a lot about the farm safety net for soybeans with Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) needing to raise the target price and update our base acres,” he says. “Other priorities are growing investments to promote U.S. commodities globally. We need to keep pushing in that direction. China has been taking a third of our soybeans and we have kind of a rocky relationship and we need to keep developing new markets around the world. Also, enhancing access to voluntary and incentive-based conservation programs. We really stressed that it needs to be voluntary and not to try to tie these programs to insurance or the program to be qualified for insurance. We want to keep it all voluntary and separate because we’re talking about the whole country and there are a lot of differences between southern states and northern states and practices that are in place. It’s tough to set a blanket policy on the conservation programs because (operations) vary so much. Finally, promoting new market opportunities through research, rural development, and nutrition. Soybeans are an amazing product and grain used in so many food products and industrials products. We want to continue to push that forward to use grown soybeans. It’s part of marketing development and moving the pile.”

The timing of farm bill was also a topic of discussion.

“Everybody we talked to seems to be optimistic that it can be done or at least the goal is that it will be done before the end of the year. It might not be September, but they think it will be by the calendar year,” he says. “Speaker McCarthy has expressed that he wants a farm bill signed this year so they’re working on it and having committee meetings. One contention is probably going to be the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because it’s 85 percent of the farm bill and they’re going to continue to push that. The other 15 percent is all the other ag programs which is not a very big piece of the pie.”

Steve Howell, senior director of industry affairs with the Indiana Soybean Association, joined the Indiana farmers and ASA delegates in D.C.

“The read we’ve gotten from committee leadership, both the republicans and democrats in both the Senate and House, is that they’re committed to get the farm bill done on time,” he says. “…the farm bill is one of those few bills that are more bipartisan than other bills, but there is going to be some differences of opinion and it could get contentious given some of the reforms that may be put forward for the nutrition title. How severe that contention will be is to be seen, but I think the farm groups are in agreement that we do want it done on time, but we have to have good policy in the farm bill.”  

Speaking to Indiana farm broadcasters today, Ramsey said the group also discussed the Renewable Fuel Standard and Waters of the U.S.

“We went over top priorities of the American Soybean Association. We talked about the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard and soy-based fuels,” he says. “And, WOTUS which was one of the first things they wanted to talk about besides the farm bill. We had a really good response from all of our congressional staff. Indiana is very fortunate with the caliber of staffers that each one of our congressmen and senators have.”

ASA farmer leaders from across the country are meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill this week.

Other Indiana Soybean Alliance members and ASA delegates in D.C. this week include Mike Koehne and Elaine Gillis.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Stay Up to Date

Subscribe for our newsletter today and receive relevant news straight to your inbox!