The American Soybean Association (ASA) has pointed to an announcement on 2005 crop counter-cyclical payments by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a prime example of why soybean growers need a better income safety net.

The ASA is asking Congress to correct inequities under the current farm bill where target prices for oilseed crops are disproportionately low compared to other program crops.

Earlier, USDA issued a news release that the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) had begun issuing $1.6 billion in final 2005 corn counter-cyclical payments (CCPs). USDA stated that "since the effective price for soybeans exceeds its target price, CCC will not issue any 2005-crop soybean CCPs. The final marketing year price for 2005-crop soybeans is $5.66 per bushel."

"The reason soybean growers didn’t receive a counter-cyclical payment is because the soybean target price is disproportionately low compared to corn and other program crops," said ASA President Richard Ostlie, a soybean producer from Northwood, N. D. "Soybean farmers have never received a counter-cyclical payment under the 2002 farm bill, and this situation needs to be fixed when the 2007 farm bill is written."

An equitable target price for soybeans relative to other program crops will ensure that soybean farmers are not disadvantaged.

ASA has already communicated its concern about the soybean target price to the House and Senate agriculture committees. On Sept. 20, ASA First Vice-President John Hoffman, a soybean grower from Waterloo, Iowa, testified before the House Agriculture Committee on behalf of the National Sunflower Association and the U.S. Canola Association, as well as ASA.

Hoffman said that "oilseed producers have strongly supported the marketing loan as the most effective tool for ensuring the U.S. crops are competitive with foreign oilseed exports and for supporting producer income when world prices decline." He went on to say "the target prices established for oilseed crops in the current farm program are disproportionately low compared to other program crops."

ASA’s Farm Bill Task Force is currently developing specific proposals for the 2007 farm bill that will include a recommendation to increase the target price for soybeans and other crops with disproportionately low support levels. The proposals will be completed before the ASA Board of Directors meets in St. Louis in early December.