NAWG Weekly Update: January 21, 2016

NAWG Officer Joins Field to Market Board
NAWG Treasurer David Schemm joined the board of Field to Market: the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture this month, taking one of the three grower representative slots on the board. Field to Market includes grower groups, food companies, processors, retailers, environmental organizations and others working to define and promote agriculture sustainability. NAWG has been involved in Field to Market for several years to promote the sustainability of U.S. Wheat production.

President Vetoes WOTUS Bill, Senate Override Fails
On Tuesday, the President vetoed S.J.Res 22, a joint resolution of disapproval of the Water of the United States regulation developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The White House had signaled that the President would veto the bill last fall when the Senate passed the bill. The Senate on Thursday attempted a cloture vote to override the veto, but that vote failed to achieve the 60 votes necessary to move to a final vote to override the President’s veto. Court cases regarding the regulation are still pending with 29 states and others filing suit against the EPA and Army Corps. NAWG will continue to work for a legislative solution to protect farmers from this overreaching regulation.

Senate Committee Acts on NPDES Fix
This week the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the NPDES “fix” bill as part of a package of Sportsmen’s bills. The NPDES bill addresses the duplicative regulation of the application of certain pesticides by both the Clean Water Act and the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. NAWG has long supported passage of legislation to fix this over regulation. The legislation will now proceed to the full Senate for consideration.

USDA Announces Microloan Program Changes
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers a number of programs intended to assist new and beginning farmers and ranchers, including a microloan program. The microloan program, which was initiated three years ago, has traditionally been used to assist new and beginning farmers with their operating expenses, with loans being capped at $50,000. USDA announced this week that the Department would expand the program by offering farm ownership microloans as well, citing the fact that access to land is one of the biggest challenges facing new and underserved producers. Those interested in learning more about the microloan program can visit USDA’s program page or by visiting your county FSA office.

­­­­Wheat Yield Contest Highlights Sustainable Practices
The National Wheat Yield Contest will be conducted for the first time in 20 years, and winners will be announced at the 2017 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. All state wheat organization grower-members are encouraged to participate. Through the contest, NWF is encouraging growers to achieve the best yields and quality from their crop, and highlight the sustainable practices America’s wheat farmers use every day to provide a consistently healthy product to the world. NWF hopes that by participating in the contest farmers will share knowledge to drive further innovation in sustainability for the entire industry. Early registration deadlines are April 1 for winter wheat and June 15 for spring wheat. The entry fee for early registration is $100 per seed entry. After the early registration deadline, the entry fee is $125 per seed entry. All completed entry forms and contest fees must be submitted online by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on May 1 for winter wheat or August 1 for spring wheat to be eligible to compete. For full contest rules and to enter the 2015-16 National Wheat Yield Contest visit wheatfoundation.org