Charles Atkinson

American Soybean Association senior representative

Great Bend, KS

Policy Perspective

The American Soybean Association continues to be the voice for the American soybean farmer in Washington and here in Kansas. Our ASA staff in Washington D.C. have been interacting every day with Congressional staff and agencies that effect our everyday lives, including USDA, EPA, the U.S. Trade Representative and many others. It is never a dull day in D.C.

We are working on the next farm bill with other commodity organizations to determine how we want the farm bill to read. Even though we all have varying interests to advocate for in the bill, protection of crop insurance is one piece we can agree on. Joint work on the farm bill helps build a united front. The biggest challenge that I see as I travel to Washington D.C. to represent you is reaching an understanding with the Congressmen that do not have an agriculture background but still serve on the agriculture committee. These are the individuals we need to build rapport with through sharing our stories because we can provide a different perspective than they might hear in the media.

As our next ASA meeting nears in December, we have scheduled several committee calls to discuss the priorities within each committee and set goals for the upcoming year. One of the committee’s that serve is the Conservation & Precision Ag Advocacy team. We will dive into the conservation section of the farm bill and analyze how the current administration is approaching the climate crisis, how it affects agriculture and how we could benefit from the programs outlined. We hear lots of input from our producers and more than ever need to be at the table for discussion to let the authors of these policies know how we can help without creating a burden to our famers.

Every time we have an election, we know the direction of the policymakers can change and I want you to know that we are staying on top of the committees to speak on your behalf and hold the agencies accountable as they move forward toward the 2023 Farm Bill.

Christy Seyfert

ASA Executive Director of Government Affairs

Washington, D.C.

Election Summary from ASA

With polls showing the majority view that the country is on the “wrong track,” the presidential approval rating at approximately 42%, and historical trends pointing to significant mid-term congressional election losses of the president’s party, election analysts are absorbing the data to understand Election Day 2022. 


ASA provides three brief post-election highlights: 


  1. The 2022 mid-term elections did not produce the U.S. House results predicted by many analysts. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are up 207 to 184 Democrats, with 44 races outstanding. The House GOP is on target to retake a majority (218 seats are needed), but with a razor-thin margin—a far cry from the 20, 30, or even 60 seats predicted as recently as Election Day morning. While the tight margins in the House were not expected, the narrow U.S. Senate result was. The fight for the Senate majority is currently tied 48-48, with two races too close to call (Arizona and Nevada). A third pending race (Alaska) will go to a Republican, though the winner is still unclear, and a fourth race (Georgia) heading to a runoff on December 6. (Data via POLITICO.) 
  2. Several vulnerable House Agriculture Committee members held onto their seats. Going into Election Day, there were expectations that several rural Democrats with seats on the House Agriculture Committee would lose their races. Reps. Angie Craig (MN-2), Abigail Spanberger (VA-7), Sharice Davids (KS-3), Sanford Bishop (GA-2), and Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) all declared victory in incredibly tight races where Republicans were favored to win. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-3), the lone Democrat in the Iowa delegation, did not. Republicans Reps. Don Bacon (NE-2) and Brad Finstad (MN-1) also held onto their seats in competitive races. Many other House agricultural champions will also return in January. 
  3. A number of Senate agricultural champions will return as a result of Election Day. Some Senate candidates faced a greater challenge in the primary than the general, and the reverse was the case for others. Senate champions for agriculture are returning in January, including Senators John Boozman (AR), John Hoeven (ND), Chuck Grassley (IA), Jerry Moran (KS), John Thune (SD), and Tammy Duckworth (IL). 
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Rail negotiations drift off track; shutdown averted for now

While the September Straight Rows was in production, a national railway strike, lockout or slowdown seemed imminent. Just shortly before the Sept. 16 agreement deadline, the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) and 13 railroad worker unions reached a tentative agreement that was still up for ratification, but effectively ended any threat of railway stoppage. That ratification was expected to be determined in full by mid-November.

As November rolled around, the situation had landed nearly right back where it began. Seven unions had ratified the tentative agreement laid out in September and two had rejected it while the other unions were set to vote by Nov. 19.

The potential shutdown has been held off until Dec. 4 as the NCCC and third largest union agreed to extend the current cooling off period – meaning no strike and no lockout – to continue negotiations until that date.

Congress is standing by for intervention, if warranted, as it has the power to step in and prevent service disruptions. The American Soybean Association invites growers to submit a comment in the Soy Action Center to encourage Congress to intervene should a mutual agreement fail between the carriers and unions.

The Association of American Railroads estimates that a railway shutdown would cost $2 billion in economic damage per day and severely harm the agriculture industry’s ability to operate.  

Tell Congress to intervene if railroads and labor unions fail to reach an agreement.

Letter says state pesticide labels should follow federal findings

“Growers and [pesticide] users need reaffirmation from Congress that states have every right to build on the federal government’s baseline regulations but cannot directly contradict the scientific conclusions of the EPA.”

That’s what a recent letter signed on by the Kansas Soybean Association and hundreds of other agricultural organizations asserts. It stems from a situation that unfolded in May when a plaintiff in California alleged that the glyphosate in Roundup caused cancer, though expert consensus contends it is not a carcinogen. Following a back-and-forth in the courts, the case was not ultimately heard. The court’s original opinion that Monsanto was liable in that case stood. The impact from the case was that the federal government had faltered from its position on uniform pesticide labeling, opening up the possibility for increased cases of this nature going forward.

Now, the discussion has come to the surface once more. The November Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act preemption letter outlines state-level actions which have contradicted EPA scientific findings on pesticide safety. It further explains the ways in which pesticides can be an asset in maintaining cover crop and reduced tillage conservation practices, protecting crops from yield-robbing pests and more.

FIFRA governs the registration, distribution, sale, and use of pesticides in the U.S. It accounts for the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of the use of any pesticide. Congress has the power to affirm EPA as the primary federal authority to ensure consistent management of pesticides nationwide and prevent contradictory labels from state to state.

“Congressional action on this important matter will ensure our nation’s farmers and other users have reliable access to these vital tools in the years to come,” the letter concludes.

Soybeans of Other Colors jump in frequency prompts possible changes to soybean grading standards

An increasing amount of “Soybeans of Other Colors” (SBOC) in recent years has prompted the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to reevaluate the grading standards established under the U.S. Grain Standards Act. SBOC serves as a grade-determining factor for describing the quality of soybeans and has classifications such as U.S. No. 1 Yellow soybeans, U.S. No. 2 Yellow Soybeans and on.

The jump in SBOC can be attributed to new genetics varieties entering the marketplace or environmental factors in the field. Natural discoloration is all it is – a study conducted by the Federal Grain Inspection Service found no significant differences in protein or oil content. There is often a preference among international buyers, but quality does not differ.

USDA announced Nov. 8 that FGIS would publish a proposed rule seeking public comment on a proposal to make changes to the U.S. Standards for Soybeans.

More information on SBOC and the proposal:

ILSOY Advisor

USDA SBOC Resource Page and Guide

Progressive Farmer (DTN)

2023 ARC, PLC enrollment opens

Producers have until March 15 to enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for crop year 2023. These safety net programs support farmers who experience significant declines in crop prices or revenue.

Visit the FSA website for more.

Soy Scholarship accepts applicants

The Soy Scholarship is a $7,000 one-time scholarship award presented to a current, eligible high school senior planning to pursue a degree in agriculture at an accredited college or university. The scholarship is managed by the American Soybean Association and is made possible through a grant by BASF Corporation.

See the application on the ASA website.

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Thank you to all of our corporate partners who support KSA's efforts.

Kansas Soybean Association Board of Directors

District 1 Brett Neibling, 2nd Vice President

District 2 Brice Bunck, Treasurer

District 3 Gail Kueser, Secretary

District 4 Matthew Atkinson

District 5 Michael Musselman

District 6 Kim Kohls

District 7 Teresa Brandenburg, President

Atchison Co. Scott Gigstad, 1st Vice President

Brown Co. Greg Strube

Cherokee Co. Roger Draeger

Doniphan Co. Josh Falk

At-Large Jared Nash

At-Large Brandon Geiger

KSRE Sarah Lancaster, Ph.D.

KSU Agronomy Raj Khosla, Ph.D.

Processors Jessie Smith

Commission Bob Haselwood

ASA Charles Atkinson

ASA Andy Winsor

Young Leader Jeremy Olson

Young Leader Kendall Heiniger

Young Leader James Moreland

Young Leader Adam Phelon

Chairman Dwight Meyer