First Step To Support Farm IncomeThe American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased with the direction taken by Republican congressional leaders to provide a $3.9 billion farm-aid package that includes ASA’s biodiesel legislation, disaster assistance, and income support as long as Congress and the Administration continue to work to boost agricultural exports. ASA First Vice President Marc Curtis said, “ASA supports this package because it begins to provide badly needed disaster assistance for producers who have suffered crop losses, and it provides some income support to offset low prices and lost export market opportunities. We know that most of our soybean farmers also grow program crops, either corn or wheat or cotton, so this will help them. ASA also is very pleased that our EPACT biodiesel legislation is included in this package, and that tax relief provisions are also being considered.”Soybean farmers couldn’t be more pleased that our biodiesel legislation, which has been one of ASA’s top priorities during the last two years, is being included in the package. This legislation will allow vehicle fleets regulated under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to earn credits toward meeting EPACT requirements by operating on a 20/80 percent blend of biodiesel/diesel fuel (B-20). Use of B-20 blends by diesel-powered vehicles in EPACT fleets would add 11 cents per bushel to soybean prices. We understand that the House Commerce Committee version of the legislation has been included in the package,” stated Curtis, who Chairs ASA’s Public Affairs Committee.”While this is a big step in the right direction, there is a lot more that Congress and the administration must do in the next few weeks to make good on commitments made during the farm bill process. The most critical of these is renewal of Fast Track authority, funding for the International Monetary Fund at $18 billion, sanctions relief and increased soybean and soy product donations abroad. Since half the value of the U.S. soybean crop is exported, these issues are critical to soybean farmers and must be in place or the situation will only get worse,” according to Curtis.”ASA is also supporting a farmer-friendly tax relief package passed by the House Ways and Means Committee this week. It includes expediting the expanded health insurance deduction to make 100 percent deductibility effective immediately, an immediate $25,000 small business expense deduction, establishes permanent income averaging, accelerating death tax relief immediately for 100 percent of the $1 million death tax credit, and increasing the net operating carry back period for farmers. Each of these provision will help support farm income. ASA will continue to promote Farm And Ranch Risk Management (FARRM) accounts to enable producers to better manage annual variation in their cash flow,” Curtis said.