NAWG Weekly Update: July 17, 2014
FSA Takes Action on CRP Changes
On July 15, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a draft Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (SPEIS) for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) based on the changes made in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is taking action on the new provisions included in the bill and the few additional administrative actions in the SPEIS. The actions addressed are: continuous enrollment of grasslands, enrollment in other conservation programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program; managed harvesting frequency; routine grazing frequency; targeting enrollment of environmentally sensitive lands through reverse auctions; and expanding the flexibility of emergency haying and grazing in drought designated areas on additional conservation practices. Many of the changes in the farm bill address NAWG policy to increase the flexibility of CRP acres and the frequency of haying and grazing. FSA will be accepting comments until September 8 and will be holding five public meetings.
All five meetings will be from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
- July 21 at Hilton Garden Inn, Spokane Airport, Spokane, Wash.
- July 22 at Holiday Inn, Great Falls, Mont.
- August 4 at Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, Lubbock, Texas
- August 5 at Stillwater Library, Stillwater, Okla.
- August 6 at Courtyard by Marriott and Moorhead Area, Moorhead, Minn.
Senate Approves Chief Agriculture Negotiator for USTR
The Senate approved former USDA deputy undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services, Darci Vetter, to be the new Chief Agriculture Negotiator for the United States Trade Representative (USTR) last week. Vetter, who replaces former negotiator Isi Siddiqui, will be the primary agriculture negotiator in the two ongoing multilateral free trade agreements currently under negotiation, the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Both agreements are of great importance to wheat growers and agriculture as a whole. The TPP negotiations in particular are currently being watched very closely by the agriculture industry, as Japan has refused to offer tariff relief for several protected commodities, including wheat. With the latest round of negotiations concluding in Ottawa, Canada this week, NAWG hopes that U.S. negotiators continue to push Japan to open their market for all agricultural products, including wheat, and ensure the TPP offers good model for similar multilateral free trade agreements in the future. For more on NAWG’s trade policy, visit http://www.wheatworld.org/issues/trade/
Farm Foundation Hosts Briefing on the Soil Renaissance
The Farm Foundation hosted a forum on the Soil Renaissance, an effort to focus on the importance of soil health in land management decisions. The Farm Foundation and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation are leading the Soil Renaissance and have established a strategic plan to focus on measurement of soil health, the economics of conservation practices, education on the importance of soil health, and research on how healthy soils can be created and maintained. Forum participants focused on the efforts underway at USDA through Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) conservation programs and innovation grants, individual experiences of farmers and local outreach, and education efforts. Speaking at the forum were: Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, NRCS, Jimmy Kinder, farmer and rancher from Cotton County, Okla., Klass Martens, an organic farmer from New York state and John Larson, CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts.
Applications for 2014 WILOT Program Due Sept. 19
The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) is now accepting applications for the 2014 Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) program, scheduled for Nov. 15-20. WILOT is an annual program designed for up to 10 wheat growers who want to become involved in association and commission leadership. Workshops at the 2014 event will focus on the structure and priorities of the wheat industry as well as leadership, media and advocacy training. The WILOT leadership development program is funded by Monsanto and held in St. Louis, Mo. giving grower-participants the opportunity to visit Monsanto labs and talk with researchers working on wheat. Growers interested in the program should review and complete the application at http://www.wheatfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/NWF-Leadership-Training-Application.pdf. All completed applications are due to Jinger Eberspacher, firstname.lastname@example.org in the NAWG office by Sept. 19.