American Soybean Association eBean News April/May
Soy Exciting! “Doing Good Through U.S. Soy” Premieres on America’s Heartland
The American Soybean Association and the United Soybean Board are sharing soy’s story so people hear it, see it and are moved by it. Yesterday, after a much-anticipated wait, the all-soy episode of America’s Heartland titled “Doing Good Through U.S. Soy” debuted on RFD-TV. The episode explores soy sustainability on five farms across the growing region, demonstrating how American farmers are not only the world’s most efficient and productive, but also are deeply committed to sustainability.
ASA president Brad Doyle (AR) and board member Wayne Fredericks (IA)—ASA’s reigning National Conservation Legacy Award champion—are among the five farm families featured in the show. Doyle appeared live on RFD-TV yesterday morning along with other “cast members” to promote the episode’s premiere. He shared with anchor Janet Adkison how his family is conserving and recycling rainwater in northeast Arkansas, an example explained in the America’s Heartland episode.
ASA and USB are pleased to partner for America’s Heartland, episodes of which can be seen nationwide on RFD-TV and soon on PBS affiliates. Find out more about the show by clicking here.
Watch Doyle’s interview on RFD-TV here.
EPA Releases ESA-FIFRA Workplan
On Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its Endangered Species Act-Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Workplan. EPA states the first-of-its-kind, comprehensive workplan is intended to tackle challenges the ESA poses to the pesticide program and provide regulatory certainty for U.S. farmers. The agency’s workplan describes four strategies and multiple actions to adopt ESA protections while providing farmers, public health authorities, and others with access to pesticides.
- The first strategy is for EPA to meet its ESA obligations for all FIFRA actions that invoke ESA. Because EPA does not have the capacity or scientific processes in place to meet all these obligations immediately, it has identified the FIFRA actions that are the highest priority for fulfilling its ESA obligations. These include actions with court-enforceable deadlines and new registrations of conventional pesticides.
- The second strategy is to improve approaches to identifying and requiring ESA protections, especially for species facing the greatest risk from pesticides.
- The third strategy is to improve the efficiency and timeliness of the ESA consultation process for pesticides, in coordination with other federal agencies.
- The fourth and final strategy is to engage stakeholders more effectively, to better understand their pest control practices and implement species protection measures.
In a statement to Farm Progress yesterday, ASA said that, while the association is still reviewing the workplan, soy growers appreciate that EPA is considering the issue and its impact on grower access to these much-needed tools.
“Pesticides are not only necessary to protect crops, but also for enabling important conservation practices, such as no-till and cover crops,” ASA states, adding that the association looks forward to continuing a dialogue with EPA to ensure implementation works for U.S. soy growers. Read the full article and ASA’s stance here.
Read EPA’s release here.
Soybean Growers Appreciate EPA Denying Backlogged Waivers, Need Ongoing RFS Support
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that close to three dozen small refinery exemptions granted by the previous administration in 2019 and later remanded by the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. back to EPA have been denied.
Over the past few years, soy growers and biofuel leaders have repeatedly voiced concerns over the abuse of small refinery waivers and that excessive use of small refinery waivers undercuts the purpose of the RFS.
ASA president Brad Doyle (AR) commented on behalf of the organization, saying, “We appreciate EPA denying these waivers from 2018. While we wish the SRE petitions were resolved sooner, we are very glad EPA is working to remove the backlog of pending waiver requests and is requiring refineries to comply with more stringent hardship and economic impact reporting requirements.”
While the announcement was on face value positive, EPA is allowing an alternative option for the 31 refineries impacted to meet their new 2018 compliance obligation without any further need to procure or redeem additional compliance credits. Those 31 SREs represent roughly 1.3 billion gallons of biofuels, demonstrating that SRE volumes can quickly add up and risk undermining the integrity of the RFS—and why EPA continuing to deny waivers is important to the biofuels industry.
The agency is still working through 69 pending SRE requests from refineries dating from 2016 to 2021. The Biden administration is also working to finalize renewable volume obligations under the RFS for 2020, 2021 and 2022 by this summer.
Read ASA’s release here.
ASA, USSEC Submit Comments for Indo-Pacific Economic Framework
On Friday, the American Soybean Association and the U.S. Soybean Export Council provided comments to U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai regarding the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). The U.S. soy industry welcomes efforts within the Indo-Pacific region to expand market access through the resolution of non-tariff barriers (NTB). NTBs are increasingly causing uncertainty for U.S. soybean exporters, and the IPEF provides an opportunity to address these barriers and improve the regulatory processes that lead to them.
The comments point out that NTBs are sometimes imposed to satisfy domestic demands for protection or in response to misplaced safety concerns, but many NTBs inadvertently restrict trade because of more benign issues like regulatory misalignment, regulatory uncertainty, or unclear and opaque processes. These barriers can have devastating effects on trade, and robust negotiating objectives for the IPEF should include efforts to resolve these NTBs. The U.S. soy groups reference trade agreements such as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as successful examples of how economic cooperation can promote science-based sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, good regulatory practices, and appropriate regulation of agricultural biotechnology.
Read the letter here.
ASA, Ag Groups Voice Support for Current U.S.-Panama TPA
The American Soybean Association and fellow agricultural organizations are urging the administration to support the current U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. This letter is in response to the March 16 request to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture from the government of Panama, requesting a renegotiation of agricultural provisions in the agreement.
In a letter sent today, the agriculture groups argue the agreement is still in the process of being fully implemented with gradual annual tariff reductions and small growth in tariff rate quotas (TRQs). Panama’s TRQs for pork and pork products, chicken, dairy, potatoes, onions, kidney beans, corn, rice, and processed tomatoes have been in place for 10 years and were negotiated to slowly transition and minimize potential negative impacts.
Additionally, making modifications to an implemented TPA would be an alarming precedent to set. With the lack of any current new free trade agreement negotiations taking place, uninterrupted implementation of the current market access opportunities secured through existing FTAs is more vital for American farmers and food manufacturers. Panamanian consumers welcome high-quality U.S.-grown and produced goods, and the TPA helps U.S.-origin products be cost competitive with other foreign suppliers.
Read the letter here.
#SoyHelp for Farm Stress
Farm stress is real—but hearing from industry peers who have shared similar experiences can often be the first step toward finding help.
Knowing others shoulder similar burdens on the farm, hearing how they relate to mental health challenges that can stem from farm stressors, and understanding that they have come through or overcome those situations can encourage someone else to navigate what may feel like an impasse.
As the American Soybean Association and the United Soybean Board look toward Mental Health Month this May, we are collecting stories—anonymous is perfectly okay—to convey next month that farmers, their families, and farm industry friends truly are not alone.