NAWG Weekly Update: March 27, 2014
NAWG Celebrates National Ag Day
NAWG staff participated in National Ag Day activities this week held across Washington, D.C. Official activities commenced with a standing-room only Agri-Pulse-hosted event on Mon., March 24, with Agri-Pulse editor Sara Wyant interviewing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden about the implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill. Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). also shared her perspective on the new legislation.
The statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug was installed in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, and will serve as one of the two statues for Iowa. The Mix and Mingle Luncheon, emceed by noted farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson, featured the four national Outstanding Young Farmers and FFA state and national student leadership. The United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) sponsored a panel on “The Next Generation of Farmers & Ranchers.” The sold-out National Ag Day Celebration Dinner in the Atrium of the USDA Whitten Building featured Deputy Secretary Hardin as the guest speaker. The final activity was on Wednesday evening with a private screening of Farmland, a documentary supported by USFRA of which NAWG is the wheat industry affiliate.
The Great American Wheat Harvest Documentary Premieres on Ag Day
The Great American Wheat Harvest premiered on Ag Day at the National Museum of the American Indian. The theater was full with attendees ranging from Members of Congress and their staff, agribusiness representatives, agricultural commodity and farm organization leaders, farmers, ranchers and members of farm youth organizations. The film tells the story of custom harvesters who travel the U.S. and southern Canada harvesting the wheat that feeds our country and the world. For more information visit http://www.greatamericanwheatharvest.com/.
EPA Releases Proposed Clean Water Act Regulations
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the long-awaited proposed regulation to clarify which waters are subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. EPA has indicated that previous agriculture exemptions will remain. The agency has included over 50 conservation practices that will not be subject to regulation, if consistent with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service practice standards. The regulation will be printed in the Federal Register, which begins a 90-day comment period. NAWG will be reviewing the proposal thoroughly and preparing comments on behalf of wheat growers. Additional information on the regulation, as well as a list of the exempt agricultural conservation practices can be found on EPA’s website http://www2.epa.gov/uswaters.
CYMMT Announces Partnership to Boost Wheat Yields
The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center also referred to as CIMMYT, where Dr. Norman Borlaug conducted the research that developed the high-yielding semi-dwarf wheat that launched the Green Revolution, met this week to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Dr. Borlaug’s birth and discuss the problem of stem rust. At the Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security, CYMMT announced a new international partnership that seeks to increase wheat yields by 50 percent by 2034. Initiators of the partnership include the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food of Mexico, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as the lead implementer of the United States Feed the Future initiative. For more information about CIMMYT and wheat improvement visit http://www.cimmyt.org/en/what-we-do/wheat-research.
Wheat Featured at Budget Hearing
The House Appropriations Agriculture subcommittee met on Wednesday with the USDA Research, Education and Economics (REE) leadership regarding their budget and program funding, during which several discussions concerning wheat research took place. Testimony was given by Dr. Catherine Wotecki, Under Secretary for REE, as well as officials from several different agencies under REE, including the Agriculture Research Service (ARS), National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Economic Research Service and National Agriculture Statistics Service. While questioning the witness panel, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) asked the USDA officials to confirm their commitment to continuing the U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative, as well as inquiring about ARS’ plans to upgrade the four Regional Small Grains Genotyping Labs, which conduct research to accelerate the wheat breeding process, to the latest technology in gene sequencing. NAWG strongly supports federally funded wheat research; for more information visit http://www.wheatworld.org/research/.