Washington, D.C. | The American Soybean Association, representing half a million U.S. soy farmers, vehemently opposes Rep. Victoria Spartz’s (R-IN) amendment to the House agriculture appropriations bill that unduly attacks commodity checkoff programs. Checkoffs are industry-led organizations that exist to promote agricultural products and support America’s hardworking farmers and ranchers, including U.S. soy producers.
Daryl Cates, soybean farmer from Illinois and ASA President said, “Congresswoman Spartz’s amendment is a direct attack on all checkoffs and, close to home, threatens the long-term viability of our industry’s successful program. Our soy checkoff continues to have strong support from hundreds of thousands of soy farmers across the United States, and that is proven time and again when the program comes up for referendum every five years.
Soybean farmers understand the significant role the checkoff plays in developing and protecting markets for their crops, conducting research and promotion to sustain their livelihoods and our environment, and keeping U.S. soy available domestically and competitive globally. This amendment is misguided and ill-informed, and we strongly urge Congress to reject this attack on U.S. farmers and ranchers,” said Cates.
The soy checkoff provides access to promotion, advertising, research, legal and other resources individual farmers may not be able to provide for efforts to promote and sell their product. In place since the early ‘90s, the soy checkoff provides U.S. soybean farmers $12.34 in added value at the national level for every dollar they invest in the soy checkoff. Also determined in the soy checkoff’s 2019 return-on-investment (ROI) study:
• International promotion activities produced $17.95 in return value.
• Demand-enhancing research and promotion returned an average value of $18.18.
• Production research returned an average value of $9.42.
• Farmers received even more value through state checkoff activities.
Checkoff programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and overseen by the farmers and ranchers who vote in favor of checkoff systems to promote specific commodities. By promoting their agricultural products, checkoffs ensure future generations of farmers can build or maintain their livelihoods in agriculture. The soy checkoff’s self-imposed levy applies to all U.S. soybean farmers and is one half (1/2) of 1% of the market price of each bushel of soybeans sold each season. Those funds are used to build demand, find new markets, and improve the profitability prospects for all soy farmers. Soy checkoff dollars are split among the national organization and state checkoff programs, or qualified state soybean boards.
ASA is joined by the 26 affiliated state soybean organizations that represent the 30 primary soybean-producing states. They are united in opposition of the Spartz Amendment alongside agricultural groups including the Almond Alliance, American Beekeeping Federation, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Honey Producers Association, American Mushroom Institute, American Sheep Industry Association, American Soybean Association, American Wood Council, Clean Fuels Alliance America, Corn Refiners Association, International Fresh Produce Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Christmas Tree Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Milk Producers Federation, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Pecan Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Potato Council, National Sorghum Producers, National Watermelon Association, North American Blueberry Council, North American Meat Institute, Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, Soy Aquaculture Alliance, Soy Transportation Coalition, United Egg Producers and U.S. Peanut Federation and 100 state organizations in their opposition to the Spartz amendment.
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. More information at soygrowers.com.