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NEWS ADMIN

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

DATE

17/12/2002

NEWS PROVIDER

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

NEWS SOURCE

NULL

CATEGORY

HEADLINE

Room for another soybean association?
12/9/2002 (Soybean Digest ) - For some, the start-up of the new SoybeanProducers of America (SPA) is a godsend. But many others, farmers andindustry folks alike, are puzzled by this new organization.What could make this group different from the old standby American SoybeanAssociation (ASA)?Talk with SPA's executive director and former ASA member Harvey Joe Sannerfrom Des Arc, AR."We're disillusioned with ASA and have been for some time," Sanner says."We believe its policies have had more benefits for industry than forproducers. It's just not producer-oriented enough."That's not a new theme by a long shot. In fact, you might think forming anew association that differs from mainstream groups is radical.But the American Corn Growers Association, for instance, provides anopposing view and alternative choice to the National Corn GrowersAssociation.Also, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), a splinter group inthe beef industry, is picking up steam as another choice for cattleproducers rather than the age-old National Cattlemen's Beef Association.Initially, the R-CALF group was formed to fight Canadian border tradeissues.Now, even the National Pork Producers Council expects another porkproducer group could be in its not-so-distant future.So the idea of a new soybean association taking root isn't far-fetched.According to SPA's Sanner, a past president of the American AgriculturalMovement, going head-to-head with ASA "will be tough, but there's a need."And says SPA's president Dewayne Chappell, a soybean grower also from DesArc, "We won't let big agribusiness drive our policy."So far, SPA is comprised of a board of directors from Arkansas,Mississippi, Nebraska, Illinois and South Dakota.SPA's bylaws and policy state it won't accept money from seed and chemicalcompanies. Also, its core membership will be farmers.ASA, on the other hand, already has 26,000 dues-paying members and hasbeen operating over 80 years. "We have a grassroots process thatrepresents soybean farmers well," says Steve Censky, CEO of ASA. "Andwe're going to keep on doing what we're doing -- trying to increase farmerprofitability."Soybean Digest is a stalwart supporter of ASA. But if someone else can bea striking force for more profits, have at it. And if there's any way tomake you more money, then maybe there's room for someone else on theblock.