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ACGA: Halt imports of Brazilian soybeans and soybean meal until all international safety regulations are met

(Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2002 -- CropChoice news) --"Imports of Brazilian soybeans and soybean meal must be blocked from entering U.S. ports immediately and not a pound should be allowed into the country until it can be proven that the products meet all phytosanitary requirements", says Dan McGuire, Policy Chairman of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA). "If calling for these measures to protect U.S. farmers and consumers makes me a ‘protectionist’ that’s just fine. Protection of domestic crops from diseases is a very good reason to block these imports. Another good reason would be to protect American farm families from transnational agribusiness corporations who will use soybean imports to hold down soybean prices. But, since there are no laws left to prevent economic exploitation of U.S. farm families, we can at least protect our crops and the rural economy from these diseases", McGuire added.

McGuire was especially concerned with the possible importation of the Asian Soybean Rust (phakopsora pachyrhizi) identified in soybean production areas of Brazil and in Paraguay. "North America is the only continent free of this serious disease according to Iowa State University. And according to USDA, the disease could cause yield losses as high as 40 percent and economic losses up to $7.2 billion if it enters the U.S.," explained McGuire.

Larry Mitchell, CEO of the ACGA, stated, "These importers/exporters have no loyalty to the American economy or American farm families. They have and will import Brazilian soybean meal into Southeastern U.S. ports, claiming it’s cheaper, just like they did in 1997 when they imported a few cargoes of Brazilian soybeans. Unfortunately, U.S. consumers will see no benefits at the grocery store even though American farmers will see lower commodity prices as these imports displace our domestic markets for soybean meal and corn gluten feed. Since we have no way of dealing with these unnecessary and economically devastating imports to protect the domestic markets of America’s farm families, at least we can protect them from further damage from the importation of foreign pestilence."

Mitchell added, "It is interesting to hear the public outcry of some of the other commodity and farm groups agribusiness entities and port facilities in Wilmington, N.C. importing Brazilian soybean meal and possibly importing European feed wheat or corn from other sources. What did these hypocrites expect when they supported throwing our borders wide open through the U.S./Canada Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and similar policies? They have only the agribusiness ‘free trade and globalization’ farm and trade policies they’ve been promoting since the 1985 farm bill to thank for this situation. These same groups are, all of sudden, acting surprised or alarmed but they’re the identical ‘experts’ that erroneously told the U.S. Congress and American farmers that low ‘competitive’ commodity prices would increase exports and ultimately raise prices to farmers. Could they possibly have been so naïve as to think that free trade was a one-way street? They continue to promote the low price grain policies that enhance the wealth of agribusiness multinational corporations while putting family farmers out of business and increasing the cost of federal farm programs while damaging support for farm programs among American taxpayers!"

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. Please visit the ACGA website at http://www.acga.org