ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, U.S. — The American Soybean Association (ASA) President Danny Murphy said the organization welcomed several comments made by President Barack Obama during his state of the union address on Feb. 12. Most notable was the president’s mention of reducing dependence on foreign oil, fixing transportation infrastructure and growing trade relationships.
Murphy said the ASA and soybean farmers remain committed to bearing their share of the budgetary responsibility, provided that cuts to agricultural programs are proportionate to those programs benefiting other industries.
“We remind the president that the agriculture community came together to propose more than $23 billion in voluntary cuts within a comprehensive, five-year farm bill, which was passed by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees as well as the full Senate, yet did not see an opportunity for a vote on the House floor,” he said.
Obama also mentioned multiple times the need to reduce dependence on foreign oil, noting that Americans are purchasing less of it today than at any point in the last 20 years.
“The success of renewable fuels like soy-based biodiesel is part and parcel to that success. More than half of all biodiesel produced in the U.S. — more than a billion gallons worth last year alone — is produced from soy grown by American farmers in communities nationwide,” Murphy said.
The president’s proposed improvements in infrastructure are vital to soybean farmers who grow the nation’s largest and most valuable agricultural export commodity, he said.
As part of his ‘Fix-It-First’ program, President Obama proposed much-needed repairs to our transportation infrastructure, including the ports we need to ship our soybeans to our trading partners around the world. We would encourage the president to remember, however, that our waterways infrastructure including our locks and dams on the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri Rivers are also in critical need of repairs, while the channel depth issues on the Mississippi River continue to threaten that waterway’s continued viability as a commercial route,” Murphy said. “These waterways serve as a vital artery for the movement of soybeans and other essential commodities, and investments in maintaining that infrastructure have immediate benefits in creating jobs and restoring market confidence, and the long-term benefits of maintaining and improving global economic competitiveness of soybeans and other major U.S. commodities and products.”
ASA said it was also encouraged by the president’s comments on growing trade relationships. The organization said it applauds the president’s commitment to completing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“This is a key priority for American soybean farmers, who ship their product to many of the countries in the TPP. Additionally, ASA welcomes the president’s announcement of talks on a potential trade agreement with the E.U.,” Murphy said. “We hope that these talks will take into account the unique nature of agricultural trade and provide solutions to many of the barriers that soybeans and other American agricultural exports face in the European marketplace.”