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USDA won’t pursue standards changes

(Posted on 03/10/19)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced last week that it will not pursue changes to the U.S. standards for corn and soybeans under the U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA). AMS cited comments from stakeholders, including a joint statement on the soybean standards authored by NGFA and submitted by NGFA, North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), U.S. Soybean Export Council, American Soybean Association and National Oilseed Processors Association, in its decision.

The NGFA and other key national soy organizations in November 2018 urged AMS to suspend further rulemaking on potential changes to the official U.S. grain standards for soybeans. The letter cited “the atypical current soybean market environment, which is characterized by dramatically disrupted trade flows; anticipated heavy carryover stocks of U.S. soybeans, low futures prices, depressed U.S. soybean basis values for growers, weather-induced damage in some geographic areas” and ongoing research and information gathering as reasons for AMS not to pursue changes to the U.S. official soybean standards.

In another joint statement submitted to AMS in December 2018, NGFA and NAEGA said the agency also should make no changes to the current U.S. grain standards for corn and canola.

“Changes to the U.S. grain standards create confusion and uncertainty for market participants and should be avoided unless they can be shown to demonstrably improve or correct significant flaws in the existing standards,” the Dec. 3 joint NGFA-NAEGA statement noted.

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