Protection can Reduce Rejection

vfs imgBy Mike Levin

Protection has increasingly become a word we hear on a regular basis. With COVID-19 dominating how we go about our daily lives, we are constantly taught how to protect our health, protect our children and parents, and protect the businesses that operate in our communities.

What about protection for Illinois soybean farmers? During these uncertain times, farmers are doing all they individually can to try and produce a crop while battling weather, low prices and the unknown impact of a pandemic on future soybean demand.

That is why it is just as important now for Illinois soybean farmers to protect their livelihoods.

Our family farms are stretched thin, no question. We must raise our collective voice and secure our farm policy protection. Because without adequate protection, our generations-old farms face decline – the possibility of losing acres, losing customers and losing risk management tools.

Voice for Soy is the pathway to take action on issues like trade, farm policy and crop insurance.

Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) monitors and advocates for trade expansion and market access for soybeans, sharing updates on Voice for Soy. That includes asking the Administration for resolution to the China tariff situation and pushing for new free trade agreements (FTAs).

We remain hopeful this year that the 2020 U.S.-China Phase 1 Agreement will still produce some tariff relief for soybean farmers and a return to market-driven exports. ISG would like to see an official commitment by China to remove the harmful 25 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. soybeans, as well as fulfillment of the increase in agricultural sales promised in the pact.

At the same time, we ask the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to negotiate new FTAs with countries that have the potential to increase soy and livestock purchases. New, bilateral trade agreements with Japan, the European Union and United Kingdom are positive, but we also need FTA negotiations with other significant importing countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.

In addition to market protection, we require access to tools like ARC and PLC to manage risk and keep food on tables in America and worldwide. The current farm bill offers income support programs that help farmers get through events like the planting delays of 2019 and global pandemic of 2020. To maintain that support, ISG is already discussing ideas to pursue in the 2023 Farm Bill to continue to adequately protect the future of farming in Illinois.

Similarly, with crop insurance, ISG teams up with other farm organizations to maintain support for federal policy and oppose any reduction in funding in annual budgets. We must ward off proposals that make cuts to programs farmers strongly support as a cornerstone for their risk management planning, especially with low prices and volatile trade conditions.

Protection prevents rejection. Visit Voice for Soy and help protect the soybean industry.