NAWG Weekly Update: May 1, 2014
NAWG and NWF Officers Come to DC For Spring Meeting
The Executive Committees, known as officers, for both NAWG and the National Wheat Foundation (NWF) were in Washington, D.C. this week for their annual spring fly-in. The NAWG officer team visited 15 Congressional offices, including the Majority and Minority offices for both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, in addition to numerous meetings at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Meanwhile, the NWF officers spent much of their time in our nation’s capital enhancing the wheat industry’s relationships with corporate partners within the agriculture community. “This annual meeting gives the new NAWG officer team a great opportunity to hit the ground running by establishing relationships in the policy arena on Capitol Hill, as well as with industry partners around Washington, DC,” said NAWG President Paul Penner, a farmer from Hillboro, Kans., “It also provides NAWG leadership an opportunity to sit down with staff and establish a framework for the direction of the Association over the coming year.” For information on more upcoming NAWG meetings and events, visit http://www.wheatworld.org/meetings-events/.
NAWG Attends Sustainable Products Expo
NAWG attended the Sustainable Products Expo and workshop on Fertilizer Commodity Optimization in Arkansas this week hosted by Walmart. The Expo featured more than 150 booths bringing together buyers, suppliers, and nonprofits to highlight innovation in products and collaboration aimed at making sustainable products more readily available. Eight companies that attended made sustainability commitments including Cargill who will double the acres in their NextField precision agriculture platform; Monsanto who will introduce new plant varieties and hybrids developed through biotechnology and advanced breeding and improve nitrogen use efficiency on at least 1 million acres by 2020; PepsiCo who will deploy its Sustainable Farming Initiative to 500,00 acres of farmland in North America by 2016; and General Mills who committed to increase the acreage in the Field to Market Fieldprint calculator to 2.5 million acres by 2015. For information on all the commitments please visit http://news.walmart.com/walmart-sustainable-product-expo-supplier-commitments. For more information on NAWG’s policies on sustainability visit http://www.wheatworld.org/issues/sustainability/.
NAWG Comments on EPA’s Pesticide Policy
NAWG joined several members of the Pesticide Policy Coalition (PPC) to file comments on two proposed guidance documents related to pesticide spray drift. The EPA issued the proposals earlier this year and was accepting comments until April 30. The comments expressed concern that the models would overestimate exposure from spray drift and do not take into account Drift Reduction Technologies (DRT) and standard operating procedures. The coalition recommends that the EPA implement a DRT Program for verification of drift reduction technologies. The PPC is a coalition of food, agriculture, pest management and related organizations that support transparent, fair and science-based regulation of pest management. PPC members include nationwide and regional farm, commodity, specialty crop and silviculture organizations; cooperatives, food processors and marketers; pesticide manufacturers, formulators and parties. To view the letter visit http://www.wheatworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Group-Spray-Drift-Letter_4-30-14.pdf.
Congress Closing in on Water Resources Deal
Congress seems to be close on deal that would bring the Water Resources Development Act (WRRDA) to the House and Senate floors for final passage in the coming weeks. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill, which aims to improve the nation’s waterways system, were passed last year with overwhelming support, but talks had since slowed down during conference negotiations. WRRDA seeks to increase funding for waterway development projects, such as deepening waterways and lock and dam repair and upgrades. NAWG supports the passage of the WRRDA bill as it funds development for on waterways such as the Columbia River system in the Pacific Northwest, where wheat is shipped to port before being exported abroad. More on NAWG’s position on WRRDA and other transportation issues can be found at http://www.wheatworld.org/issues/transportation/.
Census Report to be Released
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will publish its 2012 Census of Agriculture full report on Friday. NASS will be hosting a press conference of the final Census data release on Friday, May 2 at 12:00 p.m. EDT. This press conference will provide information on the latest data at the national, state and county levels on various topics from agricultural practices, conservation, demographics and organic production as well as traditional and specialty crops down the county level. The web-cast event will be posted online. For more information visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.
Senate Agriculture Committee to Meet on Farm Bill Implementation
The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold a hearing next Wednesday on 2014 farm bill implementation. The hearing will feature testimony from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. For more information or to view the hearing live via webcast visit http://www.ag.senate.gov/.