ASA Presses Vice President Gore for Action on Soy Food Aid
The American Soybean Association is requesting personal intervention by U.S. Vice President Albert Gore to move forward a soy food aid program that will assist the most needy countries in the world with much needed food aid while helping to improve prices paid to farmers for their soybeans. ASA’s proposal has been tied up for months in disagreements between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Office of Management and Budget, and other government agencies. ASA has recently learned that this inter-agency dispute cannot be resolved without the involvement of the White House.”This is a tremendous opportunity for Vice President Gore to clearly demonstrate his concern for farmers by using his influence to break through the red tape that is delaying the soy food aid initiative,” said ASA President Marc Curtis, a producer from Leland, Miss. “It would be most appropriate for the Vice President to show his leadership on this issue this week while he is in Iowa, our largest soybean production state.”For the past eight months, soybean producers have been urging USDA to announce an initiative under which up to $1 billion worth of soybeans, soybean oil, and soybean meal would be purchased and donated under food aid programs. ASA has worked with U.S. soybean processors and with private voluntary organizations in developing this soy food aid program to ensure minimal displacement of U.S. or foreign commercial sales.”Soybean farmers are facing the lowest prices in 27 years,” Curtis said. “Unless current heavy surpluses of soybeans and soybean products are reduced, soybean prices and soybean producer income will remain at depressed levels. This food aid program will help improve prices for farmers and it will also help develop new markets for U.S. agricultural products by introducing soy to areas of the world that currently cannot afford to purchase them.”USDA is authorized to carry out the soy food aid initiative under the CCC Charter Act, Section 416(b), and other food aid programs—the same authorities used under President Clinton’s wheat initiative last year.”ASA is asking Vice President Gore to intervene on this issue to assure approval and announcement of this vital initiative,” Curtis said.