NAWG Weekly Update: August 27, 2015

WOTUS Regulation Takes Effect on Friday
The implementation date of the Waters of the U.S. regulation is Friday, August 28. Lawsuits are pending and states have requested an injunction to stop the regulation from taking effect, but as of the time this was published, no decisions have been made. NAWG urges members to continue to contact congressional offices expressing concern over this regulation. WOTUS expands the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and does not provide any clarity to growers to help them understand which waters are subject to Clean Water Act regulations. NAWG supports Senate passage of S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, and provisions in the FY2016 appropriations bills to restrict implementation of the regulation.

NAWG Files Comments on Monarch Butterfly Risks
The Environmental Protection Agency released a document outlining a risk management approach for identifying options to protect the Monarch butterfly and has been soliciting public comments. EPA indicated the release of the document was just the first step in a process to engage stakeholders to identify information and activities impacting monarch butterfly populations and milkweed habitat. EPA’s actions follow the White House National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators. NAWG submitted comments, stressing the importance of working with wheat growers and the impact restricting access to herbicides, such as glyphosate, would have on agriculture operations including weed control, soil health and soil erosion. NAWG serves on the steering committee of the Monarch Collaborative, a group helping to frame the issues surrounding milkweed habitat for monarch butterflies. A copy of the letter can be found here.

EPA Proposes New Pesticide Restrictions to Protect Bees
The Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposal to Mitigate Exposure to Bees from Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products and will be accepting public comments until Friday. The proposal places restrictions on the use of pesticides when bees are in fields under contract for pollination services. EPA will look to State Managed Pollinator Protection Plans to address other pollinator related issues and crops not using pollination services. NAWG submitted comments urging the EPA to use their existing regulatory process to review pesticides for the health and safety and not to rush action. States should also ensure that local grower groups are involved in the development of state pollinator protection plans. To view NAWG’s comments click here.

The Truth About Glyphosate, Part 3: How does USDA collect farm data?
The National Wheat Foundation is doing a series of blogs, titled “The Truth About Glyphosate”, sharing the facts about glyphosate and its use in wheat. This week, the third part in the series was posted on The Word on Wheat blog.

Our country has the safest, most abundant food supply in the world. Other countries rely on the U.S. to set safety standards that impact people globally. Wheat growers raise their crops with care to ensure it is as safe for families everywhere as it is for their own.

As discussed in a previous blog, herbicides are one tool for any grower to manage weeds in any crop and produce the best quality product possible in any given year. U.S. wheat growers are no exception. After mandatory pesticide training to obtain an applicators license, wheat growers follow EPA approved label directions when applying any type of crop protection material.

The USDA surveys U.S. wheat growers about their agronomic practices including the use of herbicides such as glyphosate. USDA conducts personal interviews with growers across the country to understand which pesticides are used in wheat production. The examination of pesticide use trends is their objective and is critical for an informed pesticide policy debate and science-based decisions. These surveys have been done in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2012. In 2009, 3,699 farms were chosen at random from a list of farms reporting wheat plantings to USDA. Data were collected for a single field at each farm rather than the farm as a whole. Read the full post here.

National Wheat Foundation Photo Contest Closes Friday
America’s wheat harvest is something to celebrate. The National Wheat Foundation is proud to sponsor a photo contest recognizing wheat farmers and showcasing this year’s harvest season. Entering the photo contest is simple. Email your best 2015 wheat harvest picture to kbullerman@wheatworld.org before the contest closes on Friday, August 28. Photos will be posted on the National Wheat Foundation’s Facebook page. The Foundation directors will vote to determine the winning photo. The winning photos will be displayed in the Wheat Growers office in Washington, D.C.
Be sure to send in your best harvest photos for a chance to win an iPad! Three runners up will receive $50 gift cards.

Apply NOW for the 2015 WILOT Program
The National Wheat Foundation’s (NWF) WILOT Program, funded by a grant from Monsanto, is now in its 19th year and is open to 10 selected U.S. wheat growers interested in serving in a leadership position at the state or national level. The 2015 Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) Program is set for Saturday, November 14 through Thursday, November 19 in St Louis. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, September 18. Speakers include: Joyce Schaeffer (Myers-Briggs; Working Productively with Others), Jana McGuire, Center for Food Integrity (Trust in the US Food Supply and Communicating with the Public), Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, Kansas State (Ag Economics and Policy) and the Standing Partnership (media training/messaging) who will be sharing some of their experience prepping WILOT class members for the media and the podium. The class will also be involved in discussions about current and forthcoming Monsanto wheat innovation. Participants will be selected by Friday, September 25, so don’t delay in submitting your application. Visit www.wheatfoundation.org/projects-programs/ to apply.