NAWG Weekly Update: October 2, 2014
APHIS Report Shows Source of Unapproved GM Wheat Inconclusive
NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) were notified Friday, Sept. 26 that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) completed its investigation into the May 2013 discovery of an unapproved Roundup Ready (RR) trait in isolated volunteer wheat plants. APHIS has determined that the source of the Roundup Ready trait is inconclusive but reconfirmed that there is no indication that any wheat with this regulated trait has entered the commercial supply chain. APHIS’ findings are consistent with the results of independent testing by both Japan and Korea that did not identify a single event among all classes of U.S. wheat exported to those countries. APHIS also noted that in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that the Roundup Ready trait in wheat did not pose a health risk in food or animal feed.
“As we have said before, nothing is more important than the trust wheat growers have earned with our customers,” said Paul Penner, NAWG president and wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kan. “We appreciate the thorough and diligent investigation that APHIS has conducted and we accept its findings.” Like many other farmer organizations from the United States, Canada and Australia, NAWG believes that innovation in wheat varieties is needed in the years ahead. The organization applauds the increasing private and public research investment in hybridization, high through-put genetic screening and in biotechnology that will help farmers responsibly grow more and better wheat with less impact on the environment. For more information on NAWG’s biotechnology policies, click here.
Cotton Case Ends Threat of Retaliation on U.S. Wheat Exports
The announcement this week that Brazil and the United States negotiated a settlement in a long-running trade dispute will help U.S. wheat growers remain competitive in one of the world’s largest wheat importing nations. In 2005, and again in 2008, Brazil won a case against U.S. cotton support programs and export credit guarantees in the World Trade Organization (WTO), giving it the right to impose retaliatory measures on U.S. products. Brazil’s government published a long list of U.S. goods, including U.S. wheat and potentially cross-retaliation rights, against which it might retaliate. After many years of negotiation, the agreement ends the threat of retaliatory tariffs to U.S. wheat exports to Brazil.
“NAWG applauds the Administration’s efforts to settle this ongoing dispute, which will allow U.S. wheat growers to continue their strong trading partnership with Brazil. In addition, NAWG is pleased that negotiators found a path forward with Brazil that decouples trade opportunities for both countries from policy disagreements.” said Paul Penner, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and farmer from Hillsboro, Kan. In the final settlement, Brazil also agreed not to launch future disputes over U.S. farm programs for the life of current U.S. farm legislation. In return, the United States will make a reparation payment to Brazil’s Cotton Institute and place new disciplines on the GSM-102 program. NAWG and USW believe the GSM-102 program remains a vital option to our customers to ensure the smooth operation of agricultural export markets. The agreement means that this important program will continue operating, though its features will be substantially modified.
Walking Tour Highlights Wheat
On Saturday, Oct. 11, the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, National Gallery of Art and U.S. Botanic Garden will be teaming up to present the second encore presentation of their popular moving exhibit: “Walking with Wheat: A Journey through History, Botany and Culture.” The tour, which begins in the Capitol Visitor Center, will cover the life and discoveries of Nobel Prize Laureate and Wheat Pioneer Dr. Norman Borlaug, who was recently honored by the State of Iowa with the addition of his statue into the National Statuary Hall, which can be viewed here. The tour then moves to the U.S. Botanical Garden’s Amber Waves of Grain exhibit, where the history, science and importance of wheat will be discussed. Finally, the tour will conclude in the National Gallery of Art with a viewing of Vincent van Gogh’s “Green Wheat Fields: Auvers,” where guests are invited to dwell on the importance of wheat and its great impact on human art and civilization. Dates and tour times can be found here.
NWF Announces WILOT Class of 2014
The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) has announced the 2014 Class of the Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) Program, funded by a generous grant from Monsanto. This year’s program will take place in St. Louis, Mo. from November 15 – 20, and is designed to provide current or potential state and national wheat grower leaders enhanced leadership skills. Participants will engage in interactive sessions encompassing group dynamics, establishing consumer trust, wheat industry structure, media interaction, the power of social media, wheat industry issues and advocacy as well as a tour of Monsanto’s research facilities. The 18th annual class nominated by their respective states includes: Tom Butcher (Mont.), John Daly (Minn.), Michael Howe (N.D.), Steve Lacey (Minn.), Sally McConnachie (MI), Jody Pollock-Newsom (Mich.), Lucas Spratling (Idaho), Michael Thomas (Neb.), Dana Tuckness (Ore.), Gayle Veum (Colo.), and Ken Wood (Kans.). NWF congratulates all nominees on their selection to participate in the 2014 WILOT program.
Farmland Now Streaming on Hulu
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Moll’s feature length documentary, Farmland, is now available to stream on the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus subscription service. Beginning Thursday, Oct. 2, Farmland will be available exclusively on the platform for four weeks. Farmland takes the viewer inside the world of farming for a first-hand glimpse into the lives of six young farmers and ranchers. Through the personal stories of these farmers and ranchers, viewers learn about their high-risk/high-reward jobs and passion for a continually evolving way of life. Farmland was made with the generous support of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance®, of which NAWG is an affiliate. Check out the official trailer for the feature length documentary at farmlandfilm.com and be sure to watch Farmland in its entirety on Hulu.