Arkansas may no longer print the slogan on its license plates, but the state is indeed the “land of opportunity” for gathering farm bill insight important to growers.
On June 17, the Senate Agriculture Committee’s second field hearing, 2023 Farm Bill: Perspectives from the Natural State was held in Jonesboro. American Soybean Association President Brad Doyle of Weiner, Arkansas, testified there on the soy industry’s behalf.
In written testimony, Doyle emphasized the need for increased budget resources to write the next farm bill, commenting, “Soybean growers have legitimate needs for improving farm safety net programs for our crop. Meaningful conservation programs have greater farmer demands than resources that are available. As we work to diversify markets globally, trade promotion programs need greater investment.
The same is true with energy, rural development, research and other programs. And we want to preserve, protect, and perhaps even enhance programs like crop insurance that are so important. We also want to maintain both agricultural and nutrition titles in the next farm bill.”
During his oral testimony, Doyle shared several key objectives important to producers of soybeans, the crop with the highest acreage and highest value of production for Arkansas in 2021, according to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Those objectives include:
• Improving the farm safety net for soybeans, such as increasing the soybean reference price for calculating ARC and PLC and providing the option to update base acres
• Protecting crop insurance, which is the most effective risk management tool that soybean farmers have and lenders value
• Enhancing accessibility of conservation programs and maintaining the voluntary, incentive-based approach that farmers appreciate
• Growing investments in the promotion of U.S. commodities globally, including MAP and FMD, as we continuously seek new markets
• Building opportunities for biofuels and biobased products, both of which hold great market potential for our versatile crop
As in the written testimony, Doyle noted, “Improving, protecting, enhancing, growing, and building all require additional resources. As you prepare to write the next farm bill, we respectfully request that you seek additional funding resources from the budget committee to enable these and the priorities of others to be possible.”
The objectives shared by Doyle mirror priorities outlined in soy’s recently released initial 2023 Farm Bill Priorities [ https://soygrowers.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/ASA-2023-Farm-Bill-Initial-Priorities-5.24.22.pdf ] , which include, among other priorities, improving the Title I farm safety net for soybeans; continuing the voluntary, incentive-based, flexible approach to conservation programs; investing into promotion of U.S. commodities globally; building biobased and biofuels opportunities; and ensuring broadband coverage is accessible throughout rural America.
Doyle joined fellow Arkansas commodity and agricultural organization leaders to provide input as the process of writing the 2023 Farm Bill begins. He noted ASA looks forward to working with Congress throughout the farm bill reauthorization process to craft meaningful and comprehensive farm policy and that he was thankful for the opportunity to share testimony on farm bill perspectives from his home state.
To read ASA’s full report click here.
About American Soybean Association
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 500,000 soybean farmers.