It’s time to plant soybeans and corn across much of the United States, and the American Soybean Association is encouraging farmers to pick up their cells phones and make calls this from their tractor cabs to promote passage of a retroactive extension of the vital biodiesel tax credit.

“Call your senators and representative and ask them to contact their respective leadership to stress that the biodiesel tax incentive extension must be enacted before the Memorial Day recess,” said ASA President Rob Joslin, a soybean producer from Sidney, Ohio.

“We realize that at this time of year many soybean farmers are spending long hours in their tractor cab planting crops, and this is a perfect opportunity to stop and take a few minutes at the end of a field to call your elected representatives in Washington about the urgent need to extend the biodiesel tax incentive.”

All soybean farmers are urged to participate in ASA’s C.A.B. Campaign: Call About Biodiesel. Contact the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak with your senators’ and representative’s offices.

The biodiesel tax incentive expired Dec. 31, 2009. Since then, biodiesel production and consumption has dramatically declined, biodiesel production facilities have closed, thousands of biodiesel industry workers have lost their jobs, and surplus soybean oil stocks continue to increase as a result of lower demand.

“It now has been over 112 days since Congress allowed the biodiesel tax credit to lapse,” Joslin emphasized. “We need soybean farmers to send a strong message to Congress that the biodiesel tax credit needs to be extended before the Memorial Day recess.”

The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009,
in December 2009, and the Senate passed its version of H.R. 4213, the American Workers, State and Business Relief Act in early March 2010. Both versions of the bill include retroactive extension of the vital biodiesel tax credit through Dec. 31, 2010. The House and Senate must now reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill approved by the respective chambers.

“Please take a few minutes next week to make three phone calls,” Joslin added. “Your two senators and your representative need to know that you care about this issue and how it impacts our economy and your profitability.”

ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 22,500 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.