Soybean South :: From the Editor

 - From the Editor -

Offer Input Now
For 2012 Farm Bill

By Carroll Smith
Editor

 
Beginning a project or a task at the last minute is stressful, ineffective and, in many cases, can quickly throw you into panic mode. The obvious solution to avoiding this uncomfortable situation is to get a head start.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) recently gave the agricultural sector a heads up saying that “the nation’s burgeoning budget woes may force dramatic spending cuts and that farmers should brace for that reality. He urged agricultural producers to be proactive in working with members of Congress to help shape future farm policy and avoid deeper cuts to farm programs and announced plans to begin hearings this spring in preparation for the 2012 Farm Bill.”

In fact, the first 2012 hearings began in April.

American Soybean Association (ASA) president Rob Joslin, a soybean producer from Sidney, Ohio, responded to Peterson’s remarks by immediately appointing a 2012 Farm Bill Working Group.

“In establishing the Working Group, I attempted to identify members who will bring experience in key farm policy, crop and revenue insurance, bioenergy, agricultural research, trade and perspectives from all soybean production areas,” says Joslin. “I’ve also included past leaders who have been involved in previous Farm Bill debates to ensure that ASA is fully prepared to offer and advocate meaningful policies.”

The following grower leaders will serve on the 2012 ASA Farm Bill Working Group: Johnny Dodson, Halls, Tenn., Chair; Dan Feige, Goodwin, S.D.; Ted Glaub, Jonesboro, Ark.; Mark Jackson, Rose Hill, Iowa; Ron Kindred, Atlanta, Ill.; Lance Peterson, Underwood, Minn.; Andy Welden, Jonesville, Mich.; Steve Wellman, Syracuse, Neb.; and ASA past presidents Rick Ostlie, Northwood, N.D., and John Long, Newberry, S.C.

Joslin and ASA first vice president Alan Kemper from Lafayette, Ind., who chairs ASA’s Public Affairs Committee, will serve ex officio on the Working Group.

Soybean South was pleased to note that Southern soybean farmers are well represented in the Working Group by chairman Johnny Dodson, Ted Glaub and John Long. Dodson, who has served as Tennessee state president of ASA in the past, brings a wealth of experience to the table, having been involved with a number of Farm Bills since 1995.

“In the first of the 2012 Farm Bill hearings, Chairman Peterson said that he would like to look at the Farm Bill in its entirety,” Dodson says. “He thinks that the old way of providing a safety net is not working for modern agriculture. The charge for the ASA 2012 Farm Bill Working Group is to begin to look at how we might improve the safety net that we have today. We want to develop a consensus of what kind of Farm Bill would best benefit us as U.S. soybean producers.”

The Tennessee soybean farmer also credited Joslin with wanting to make sure that there is balance within the Working Group, that it be inclusive of all of the U.S. soybean production areas to foster a diversity of ideas. Will the Working Group be looking for input and ideas from farmers who are not members of the group?

“Absolutely,” Dodson says. “Whatever position we elect to support or not support, it’s imperative that we have buy in from U.S. soybean farmers.”

To submit your thoughts about the structuring of the 2012 Farm Bill, Dodson urges you to contact him via email at johnnydodson@bellsouth.net.