Farm Bureau Policy Development Fact Sheet No. 7 â€” 2012 SOYBEAN PROBLEMS AND ISSUES FARM PROGRAMS/CROP INSURANCE The U.S. Senate passed their version of the new farm bill on June 21, 2012. The bill eliminates direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, and Average Crop Revenue Election. The bill creates a new Average Risk Coverage (ARC) program which covers planted acres for qualifying crops, including soybeans. Producers can choose to receive either individual coverage or county coverage, and payments would be made when the actual crop revenue for the year is less than the ARC guarantee of 89 percent of the benchmark revenue. The bill calls for a separate guarantee for irrigated and nonirrigated crops. The payment rate equals the lesser of the amount that the ARC guarantee exceeds the actual crop revenue for the crop year or 10 percent of the benchmark revenue for the crop of the covered commodity. The ARC payment rate will be multiplied by a lower rate for those who selected individual coverage: 60 percent for planted acres and 45 percent for prevented planted acres. For county coverage, payments would be made on 75 percent of planted acres and 45 percent of prevented plantings. The total amount of payments under ARC may not exceed $50 thousand, but both qualified spouses on a farm can be eligible. Producers would not be eligible for commodity programs if their adjusted gross income over the three taxable years preceding the actual program year exceeds $900 thousand, including both farm and non-farm income. The Marketing Loan Program was included, but loan rates were unchanged, leaving soybeans at $5 per bushel. The bill also includes a Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). Program and specialty crop producers could purchase a revenue policy on top of their individual crop insurance coverage to cover all or part of their deductible portion of their individual insurance policy. Coverage would be triggered only if losses exceed 10 percent. A minimum of 70 percent of the premium would be subsidized by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. The House version of the bill is not finalized at this writing. Related Policy: Risk Management/Crop Insurance N-225, National Farm Policy N-239
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Does the Senate version of the farm bill provide an adequate safety net for southern soybean farmers? What changes need to be made to the bill to protect southern soybean farmers? Should farmers who irrigate be able to directly receive the money that would pay for insurance premiums under the SCO to “self-insure” and cover the cost of irrigation?
HERBICIDE DRIFT Herbicide drift is an ever-present risk for row-crop agriculture. In fact, with more and more biotech, herbicide-resistant production systems being introduced, the problem of drift has the potential of becoming worse, despite the best efforts of all involved. Among others, soybeans resistant to 2,4-D and soybeans resistant to dicamba are being developed. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture has developed a Flag the Technology program that creates a system of color-coded flags that farmers can place around a field to let neighbors and applicators what technology is planted in that field. The next step in the Flag the Technology program is a smart phone app that will enable farmers to use GPS coordinates to mark locations and the appropriate technology in a database that can be accessed by their neighbors and applicators. Related Policy: Cotton 103, Rice 105, Soybeans 107, 137 State Plant Board 1. 2.
How can farmers be encouraged to participate in the Flag the Technology program? Should the State Plant Board require participation in Flag the Technology or other identification system?
OPPORTUNITIES FOR MARKETING CONVENTIONAL SOYBEANS Conventional beans make up only a tiny percentage of the total soybean crop. However, there are companies that cater to consumer demand that are willing to pay a premium (sometimes a hefty one) for conventional soybeans. The University of Arkansas, funded by the soybean checkoff, has maintained a conventional breeding program and continues to market conventional varieties through the foundation seed program. Related Policy: Soybeans 107 1.
How can Farm Bureau and others help connect farmers planting conventional soybeans with those willing to pay a premium for them?
ANTI-SOY MYTHS For several years, anti-soy rhetoric has gained ground in the United States. The origins of the “theories” on soy are likely traced back to one source, the Weston A. Price Foundation, which is an advocate for what they call “traditional diets,” including the raw milk movement. One of the claims is that being an estrogen-imitator, soy can
cause early onset puberty in young girls, despite the fact that there is no medical evidence to suggest that is true. Related Policy: Consumer relations 102, Soybeans 107 1. What can Farm Bureau and the soybean industry do to combat anti-soy myths?
[If you need additional information on these and other issues concerning the soybean industry or if you desire assistance with your county policy development meeting, contact Brandy Carroll, Soybean Division Coordinator at 501-228-1268 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.]