During testimony before the House Agriculture Committee today, American Soybean Association (ASA) President Marc Curtis called on Congress to support an expanded food aid program to Russia in FY-2000. Curtis urged immediate action on ASA’s food aid proposal to utilize soybeans and soy products, and for the U.S. government to accept Russia’s request for one million metric tons of soybeans and soybean meal, and 100,000 tons of soybean oil.The food aid programs are key to a government response to low prices for soybeans and other farm commodities. The last U.S. Department of Agriculture Supply and Disappearance Report projected a near record soybean crop of more than 2.8 billion bushels, and an increase in soybean carryover stocks to more than 500 million bushels in September 2000.”Soybean prices are now sliding toward harvest low levels,” said Curtis, a Leland, Miss. soybean grower. “From our perspective, there is no reason to delay announcing a substantial food aid program to expand soy exports in the coming year.”Curtis called on the Administration to act immediately on the food assistance proposal that ASA presented to Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman last March. The 21-page proposal identified potential markets where $1.0 billion in soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil could be sold on concessional terms or donated under existing U.S. Department of Agriculture authorities. ASA and the National Oilseed Processors Association developed the list to ensure that commercial exports would not be significantly displaced.In support of Russia’s ability to utilize U.S. soybeans, Curtis cited the findings of ASA Board member Corwin Fee, a soybean producer from Knoxville, Iowa, who recently returned from Russia where he met with several oilseed processors in Moscow. Some of the Russian processors told Fee that U.S. soybeans allowed them to run their plants and put people to work for the first time in more than a year.”Without U.S. government financial assistance, there would be no exports to Russia,” Curtis said. “Without these substantial exports to Russia, more soybeans will remain in the United States, depressing market prices and soybean producer income. This is clearly a win-win situation for both Russia and U.S. soybean producers.”In FY-1999, Russia received 200,000 metric tons of soybeans and 300,000 metric tons of soybean meal as part of the 3.1 million ton U.S. food aid package for Russia. Prior to its collapse, the Soviet Union was a major importer of soybeans, averaging 1.2 million metric ton annually in the 1980s.