NAWG Weekly Update: August 6, 2015

Internal Memos on Waters of the US Regulation Released
The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee posted internal memos from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that express concern over the Environmental Protection Agency’s action on the Waters of the U.S. regulation. The documents, marked “Litigation Sensitive” show concern from within the Corps about the use of agency data and economic analysis in the final regulation. It is also clear from the information that the Corps was not consulted on many of the final decisions with Corps staff concerned about the final regulation being presented as a joint effort between the two agencies.

The memos also identify many questions from the Corps staff regarding the meaning of several terms and interpretation of the regulation. This information appears to contradict a memo from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Secretary for the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy that the agencies will not be issuing formal guidance to agency employees on the implementation of the regulation, but instead will issue a question and answer document.  A copy of that memo can be found here.

The 12 lawsuits filed against the EPA and Army Corps have been consolidated into action in the 6th District Court in Ohio. The regulation is set to go into effect on August 28, and Congress has headed home for the August work period without taking action on efforts to stop the regulation. Wheat growers are encouraged to express your concern over this regulation at any town hall or meetings with your Congressional Representatives during the August Recess.

Senate Committee Approves Pesticide Bill
On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved S. 1500, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act of 2015. S. 1500 addresses duplicate regulation of pesticide applications, clarifying that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act is sufficient regulatory review of pesticides and that Clean Water Act permits are not needed. Currently, certain pesticide applications require NPDES permits. NAWG supports S. 1500 and believes that all pesticide applications should be done in accordance with federal and state pesticide label requirement. The label is the law and wheat growers comply with label requirements. NAWG encourages continued action on this legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Applications for 2015 WILOT Program Due Sept. 18
NWF is now accepting applications for the 19th Annual Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) program, scheduled for November 14-19, 2015 in St. Louis, Mo.

The WILOT program is an unique opportunity for 10 wheat growers to come together to hone and develop the skills necessary to become more involved in state grower associations and state wheat commissions. The NWF WILOT leadership development program is funded by NWF industry partner, Monsanto, and is held in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to the outstanding educational sessions, this program also gives participants the opportunity to visit Monsanto labs and talk with researchers working on wheat innovation.

If interested in the program, growers should review and complete the application here. All completed applications are due to Preston Millard (pmillard@wheatworld.org) by September 18, 2015. Read more here.

NAWG Attends Virginia Ag Expo
Today the Virginia Grain Producers Association partnered with the Virginia Soybean Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, to host the annual Virginia Ag Expo at Brooke Farms near Locust Grove, Va.  Brooke Farms is owned and operated by Bob and Missy Chambers, and is a 2,600 acre diversified operation where they raise corn, wheat, barley, soybeans, grain sorghum, straw, hay, as well as cattle and firewood.  The Virginia Ag Expo is the largest one-day agricultural field day in Virginia, with over 150 exhibitors and sponsors. NAWG staff attended the event, which included field tours and presentations by Virginia Cooperative Extension staff about new corn and soybean varieties, precision ag technologies and of the incorporation of sorghum into a double-cropping system.  More information about the event can be found here.

NAWG Attends USBCA Meeting
Last week, NAWG joined other U.S. Biotech Crop Alliance members in Montreal, Canada for their annual meeting. Paul Penner, immediate Past President, attended with staff as USBCA discussed pressing issues in the biotech realm. The group reviewed current trends in global grain marketing, low level presence and regulatory constraints. NAWG is a member of USBCA and continues to support and contribute to their efforts to work on biotechnology issues within the supply chain.

Congress Takes Recess
With the Senate officially in recess today, Congress has started their annual month long recess. During the month of August members of Congress are heading home to visit with their constituents. Town halls and other events will be held across the country. NAWG encourages wheat growers to get out and engage with their Congressional delegation during this time. Be sure to visit the NAWG website to review the latest information about the issues affecting wheat growers today.