Crop insurance, property taxes and transportation are critical issues affecting agriculture and will be discussed when directors and delegates gather for the Iowa Soybean Association's annual meeting and policy conference Wednesday, Dec. 12 in Ankeny, north of Des Moines.
ISA President Mark Jackson says the meeting is the culmination of district advisory council meetings held earlier this fall. The goal is to effectively adapt soybean policy to changing times. "I find it to be an exciting time to express our opinions to other soybean farmers while establishing direction for ISA's legislative, regulatory and trade efforts," says Jackson, who farms near Rose Hill in southeast Iowa. "Getting involved is the best way to achieve our mission of expanding opportunities for Iowa's soybean growers."
Several keynote speakers are scheduled to address ISA leaders on timely topics important to their farms and businesses. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sharon Bomer will highlight trade issues and Stephen Frerichs, lobbyist with AgVantage LLC, will discuss the status of federal legislation affecting agriculture, including the farm bill. Erin Herbold-Swalwell, chair of the Iowa State Bar Association Agricultural Law Committee, will examine estate tax issues.
Petroleum Industry targets biodiesel with latest RFS challenge
In other news from the soybean association, the American Petroleum Institute (API) filed a lawsuit Monday, November 26 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over EPA's decision to require 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel to be used in the U.S. in 2013. API and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) also filed petitions directly with EPA asking them to reconsider the 2013 requirement. The National Biodiesel Board indicated they are reviewing the lawsuit and the petitions and will vigorously defend the program.
EPA previously denied another AFPM petition for reconsideration of the 2011 cellulosic and advanced biofuel volume requirements, and recently confirmed the biomass-based diesel volumes for 2012-2013 in denying the RFS waiver requests. Any court battle will last well into 2013, which means the volume of 1.28 billion gallons will go into effect on January 1, 2013. The statute creating the RFS mandated minimum annual biomass-based diesel volumes of 1 billion gallons from 2012 through 2022 and gave the EPA discretion to set annual targets higher.
In its petition challenging the decision, AFPM claimed that the decision would increase consumer fuel prices. AFPM also contends that the biomass-based diesel volume requirements will not help U.S. energy security because the country is a net exporter of diesel fuel. As part of the announcement of the lawsuit and petition, API said it will launch a full-scale effort to repeal the RFS in 2013. The Iowa Soybean Association and the American Soybean Association are strongly opposed to efforts to repeal or reduce the biomass-based diesel volume requirements under the RFS.