President Barack Obama unveiled his budget for fiscal year 2013 on Feb. 13, a proposal that includes a $32 billion reduction in agricultural spending.

American Soybean Association (ASA) President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, Neb., issued the following statement on the president’s proposal: 

“The president’s proposed agriculture budget reduces the deficit by $32 billion over 10 years. ASA has advocated, throughout the entire deficit reduction conversation, a shared responsibility for deficit reduction across all mandatory and discretionary spending programs, up to and including the elimination of Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payments as well as the Average Crop Revenue Election program as part of ASA’s 2011 Risk Management for America’s Farmers proposal.

“However, with the enormous amount of risk farmers are about to undertake by planting a new soybean crop, now is exactly the wrong time to reduce support for the federal crop insurance program.

“The proposal put forth in the president's budget would reduce support to farmers who purchase the highest levels of coverage — a backwards approach that discourages producers from purchasing enough coverage to meet their substantial risk management needs.

“ASA does applaud the president’s request to increase the 2013 funding level for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) to $325 million — an investment targeting areas key to American scientific leadership, including nutrition and obesity reduction, food safety, sustainable bioenergy, global food security, and climate change.

“ASA welcomes the president's proposed increase for competitive agricultural research at USDA, as all soybean farmers recognize the challenges that growing world food needs present.

“Ag research is the key to meeting these needs, and the nation simply cannot sustain any further cuts to its agricultural research infrastructure if it is to address the needs of a global population that will grow to more than 9 billion people by 2050. We hope Congress will fund AFRI at the $325 million level proposed by the president.”

ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 21,000 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.