American Soybean Association Board Meets in Washington- Will Lobby for GMO Labeling Bill and TPP While In TownMon, 14 Mar 2016 09:57:24 CDT
Legislation that sets a national standard for the labeling of bioengineered food, as well as the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and its impact on soybean producers across the country are among the top issues that the Board of Directors of the American Soybean Association (ASA) will address with lawmakers during its annual spring meeting in Washington. ASA's meeting coincides with the introduction of the Senate floor of S.2609, a bill from Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts that would avoid a potential patchwork of state-level GMO labeling statues by establishing a nationwide framework, and farmers will met with senators and leadership from both parties this week to urge its passage.
"The Roberts bill is the top priority of soybean farmers this spring and the closer we get to the July 1 implementation of the Vermont labeling law, the more important it becomes for Congress to step up and pass a national standard to avoid the convoluted and expensive patchwork that state-by-state solutions present," said ASA President Richard Wilkins, a farmer from Greenwood, Del. "The message we're taking to the Hill this week is one of urgency. Research shows that the Vermont law alone will add an additional $1,050 to the average American family's grocery bill, which is reason enough to take action, but add to that the unwarranted stigmatization of safe and sustainable modern agricultural practices, and it's clear that the time for the Senate to act is now."
Wilkins also pointed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its benefits to soybean producers in a down farm economy as key points ASA will take to the Hill.
"We recognize that with an election in November, we're facing a difficult political climate in Washington, but that doesn't subtract from the critical importance of moving the TPP forward in 2016." he said. "The TPP means jobs, it means increased exports and it means growing demand in 11 extremely important developed and emerging economies for the meat proteins that demand our soybean meal to produce. It's too important to let Congress get to it when it's convenient; we have to press now."
The Board will also relay in its meetings the urgency to act this year on other issues, including funding in the FY17 Energy & Water Appropriations bill for operations, maintenance, and upgrades to inland waterways infrastructure as well as harbors and ports; and co-sponsorship of House and Senate bills that will be re-introduced to extend and reform the biodiesel tax credit; and normalization of relations with Cuba.
This week's meeting is the first of three annual meetings of the ASA board, and runs today through Wednesday.
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