The Trans-Pacific Partnership and its impact on the soybean growers of this nation is a top issue for the American Soybean Association. Their annual spring meeting is being held this week in Washington D.C. and President Richard Wilkins has taken the opportunity to highlight what the agreement will mean to producers in a down farm economy.
“We recognize that with an election in November, we’re facing a difficult political climate in Washington, but that doesn’t subtract from the critical importance of moving the TPP forward in 2016.” he said. “The TPP means jobs, it means increased exports and it means growing demand in 11 extremely important developed and emerging economies for the meat proteins that demand our soybean meal to produce. It’s too important to let Congress get to it when it’s convenient; we have to press now,” Wilkins said.
The meeting also coincides with the introduction of Senator Pat Robert’s food labeling bill, making it a priority as farmers head to the Hill.
“The Roberts bill is the top priority of soybean farmers this spring and the closer we get to the July 1 implementation of the Vermont labeling law, the more important it becomes for Congress to step up and pass a national standard to avoid the convoluted and expensive patchwork that state-by-state solutions present,” said Wilkins. “The message we’re taking to the Hill this week is one of urgency. Research shows that the Vermont law alone will add an additional $1,050 to the average American family’s grocery bill, which is reason enough to take action, but add to that the unwarranted stigmatization of safe and sustainable modern agricultural practices, and it’s clear that the time for the Senate to act is now.”
Other issues the Board of Directors will be addressing in the near future include:funding in the FY17 Energy & Water Appropriations bill for operations, maintenance, and upgrades to inland waterways infrastructure as well as harbors and ports; and co-sponsorship of House and Senate bills that will be re-introduced to extend and reform the biodiesel tax credit; and normalization of relations with Cuba.