|Soybean Producers of American
Meet In South Carolina -- New Group Moving Forward
February 4, 2003
Soybean Producers of America
P.O. Box 950
Des Arc, Arkansas 72040
Contact: Harvey Joe Sanner
Charleston, South Carolina - Harvey Joe Sanner, Executive Director of the Soybean Producers of America (SPA), announced today, that a meeting of the organization's board of directors, held in Charleston, S.C. this past week, identified several key issues facing the farm community and developed plans to address them.
"We continue to find areas of concern that set us apart from the old soybean association while also confirming a need for the SPA. We support Country of Origin Labeling for food sold in the U.S., while they oppose it. Most farm groups feel that American consumers should have the right to know where their food comes from and an overwhelming majority of consumers agree with us."
Sanner explained another example of the difference in the two groups by stating, "The SPA is engaged and visible in the effort to pass disaster legislation but the other soybean group was noticeable absent during recent Hill visits by 39 other farm groups working for badly needed and long overdue disaster relief. ASA paid lip service to the measure, the others did the work."
Dewayne Chappell, President of the SPA and a farmer from Des Arc, Arkansas, cautions, "I sure hope that farmers don't think that we can lay back and expect this new farm bill to correct the problems we face. There is a host of looming issues that present real danger. The rapid expansion of soybean production in South America and the threatened importation of products from that region that could bring the dreaded Asian Rust disease to our growers is a major concern. We are concerned too with how adequate the USDA monitoring of that issue is."
Chappell went on to say, "Our efforts to promote soy diesel and other renewable fuels are very important. We intend to stay diligent in this area and search for ways that farmers can retain some of the added value that may occur from new uses like bio-fuels."
Sanner added, "We were fortunate to share in the fellowship with the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA), during our directors meeting in Charleston, and to be a part of their very informative convention program." The ACGA has focused much research on trade issues and that research is documenting that some of our farm policy, 'experts', at USDA and on Capitol Hill have made some major blunders in their projections. "For example," added Sanner, "those at USDA and others seeking to liberalize trade and who proclaimed to Congress in 1995 that China would buy more corn and other crops than we could produce in the U.S., should now be asked to explain why China has become a major exporter and competitor for our grain markets."
Sanner concluded by saying that, " The American Corn Growers Association and the Soybean Producers of America had a classic commodity meeting with class in Charleston!"
To address the needs of soybean growers, the SPA will undertake the following activities:
Increase the loan rate on soybeans.
Protect export markets by growing and selling the products our foreign customers demand.
Prevent market manipulation by agri-business processors, grain traders and the Chicago Board of Trade.
Work with Congressional leaders who understand the importance of higher commodity prices to the economic well-being of soybean farmers and rural citizens.
Work cooperatively with other commodity associations to support all agricultural producers.
Give America's soybean growers real choices and new voices in their international representation.
"American soybean producers deserve to have a new voice working on their behalf. The SPA is not about pitting one soybean entity against another. It is about making sure that soybean farmers are treated fairly by government programs and the marketplace. Getting a fair price for what we grow is certainly a worthwhile goal," concluded Sanner.
Source: Soybean Producers of America (SPA)