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American Soybean Association comments on ‚ÄėState of the Union‚Äô address

American Soybean Association president, Steve Wellman, issued the following statement on President Barack Obama’s "State of the Union" address and relation to the soybean industry: "ASA applauds the president’s emphasis on international trade, including the passage of free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea.

American Soybean Association president, Steve Wellman, issued the following statement on President Barack Obama‚Äôs ‚ÄúState of the Union‚ÄĚ address and relation to the soybean industry:

‚ÄúASA applauds the president‚Äôs emphasis on international trade, including the passage of free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. We encourage the administration and Congress to redouble its efforts to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of export markets for American agricultural products. These increased opportunities create not only valuable customer bases abroad, but jobs here at home. According to USDA, every billion dollars in agricultural exports creates an additional 8,000 domestic jobs. ASA hopes that the administration will help continue this progress with the expedited conclusion of negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership, and the prompt inclusion of Japan in the TPP, which will expand opportunities for increased U.S. meat, dairy, and exports to this affluent market. 

‚ÄúASA also cheers the president‚Äôs commitment to domestic energy production, but we hope that both the administration and Congress will recognize the vast potential of biodiesel. The American biodiesel industry produced approximately 1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2011 and aims to surpass that total in 2012. This success resulted in no small part from the foresight, work and investment from the soybean industry, and the support provided through the biodiesel tax incentive and Renewable Fuel Standard. ASA calls on Washington to continue the biodiesel success story by immediately renewing the biodiesel tax incentive and continuing the commitment to the RFS. 

“The president’s acknowledgement of the need for repairs on America’s interstates and highways is both necessary and admirable, but we urge the administration not to forget the nation’s waterways. An investment in increased dredging and updates to the locks and dams along the Mississippi River is a critical down payment on the agriculture industry’s ability to move its product to market more economically and efficiently.

“Farmers are concerned about increasing regulatory requirements that impede their freedom to operate in producing safe and nutritious food. ASA applauds the president’s statements about farmers not needing a government agency to look over their shoulder, and we urge the administration to require that agencies review existing regulations with the view to reduce the regulatory burdens on farmers.

“Soybean farmers, like all Americans, recognize the need to put the nation’s financial house in order, and they, like all Americans, are ready to do their fair share to contribute to a slimmer and more efficient budget. However, ASA urges that all areas of spending be addressed, including entitlement programs, and that our nation’s investments in agriculture not be cut disproportionately.

‚ÄúThe soybean industry is a vital component to our country‚Äôs ability to produce food, fiber and fuel. We remain committed to working with our partners in Washington and in our own communities to ensure the continued viability of American soybeans, and the sustained success of our country,‚ÄĚ Wellman said.

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