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New soybean organization launched to put interests of soybean farmers above those of corporate agribusiness

(Thursday, Oct. 24, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- Citing the need to give America’s soybean producers a voice in their own futures, today marks the beginning for a new soybean association that will represent the economic interests of soybean producers first and foremost. The Soybean Producers of America (SPA) today announced that it was formed to promote U.S. farm and trade policies that address the needs of our domestic soybean producers. Putting producers first will be our focus. The President of the new soybean entity is Dewayne Chappell, a 1,100-acre soybean, cotton, rice and winter wheat farmer from Des Arc, Ark. He will be working with an initial board of directors made up of soybean producers drawn from five states-- Arkansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Illinois and South Dakota. The organization Executive Director is Harvey Joe Sanner of Des Arc, Ark. Sanner is a well-known national agricultural leader who is leading the lawsuit against the Chicago Baord of Trade concerning the market manipulation of soybean prices in 1989 that resulted in serious economic losses to soybean producers throughout the United States.

“This new organization is about promoting policies that take care of the farmer’s interest by working for higher market prices,” Chappell said. “Of course this new group will also push for increased soybean demand through new uses, such as soy-diesel, but we will not let increased utilization be a diversion away from the more important issue of using farm policy and farm programs to secure consistently higher soybean prices from the market. We won’t let big agri-business drive our policy.”

In May of 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service forecast that the average total cost of producing an acre of soybeans this year would be $264.35. When that per acre cost number is divided by the average soybean yield of 37 bushels as indicated in the USDA’s October Supply and Use report, it show that the average U.S. cost of production to produce a bushel of soybeans is $7.15.

“USDA’s October forecast indicates that the average farm price of soybeans in this marketing year will range from $5.50 to $5.95 per bushel which means that farmers will get anywhere from $1.20 to $2.10 below their average cost of production. This suggests that there is a great deal of work to do if farmers are going to get a fair shake from the market. It is clear that the farm and commodity organizations that have lined up with the policies of giant agri-businesses haven’t served producers well,” said Sanner, SPA Executive Director.

“This new organization will take a very proactive and positive approach towards improving U.S. farm and trade policy for soybean farmers. Farmers need to consider the fact that the low U.S. soybean price policy intended to stifle competition has not worked. South America will export more soybeans and soybean products than the U.S. this year for the first time ever. U.S. soybean exports are forecast to drop off in this current marketing year (MY 2002/03) by 200 million bushels compared to MY 2001/02, although soybeans are one crop that has seen an increase in exports in recent years,” added Sanner. “But those increased exports have not resulted in a profitable price for farmers. Since MY 1996/97 the average price of soybeans has dropped from $7.35 per bushel and remained below $5.00 for the past four years, averaging only $4.61 during that period.”

To address the needs of soybean growers, the SPA will undertake the following activities:

  • increase the loan rate on soybeans;
  • protect export markets by growing and selling the products our foreign customers demand;
  • prevent market manipulation by agri-business processors, grain traders and the Chicago Board of Trade;
  • work with Congressional leaders who understand the importance of higher commodity prices to the economic well-being of soybean farmers and rural citizens;
  • work cooperatively with other commodity associations to support all agricultural producers.
  • and give America’s soybean growers real choices and new voices in their international representation.

“American soybean producers deserve to have a new voice working on their behalf. The SPA is not about pitting one soybean entity against another. It is about making sure that soybean farmers are treated fairly by government programs and the marketplace. Getting a fair price for what we grow is certainly a worthwhile goal,” Sanner said.

For more information of the Soybean Producers of America, contact Harvey Joe Sanner at (501) 516-7000.