NAWG Weekly Update: September 17, 2015

Senate Ag Committee Approves Grain Standards Act Bill
Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee considered legislation to reauthorize a number of programs, including the Grain Standards Act, which establishes the framework for the functioning of the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS). This markup followed Committee action earlier this summer on a different bill to reauthorize the GSA. The bill offered this week would hopefully enable a smooth path forward through the full Senate and through the House of Representatives before the GSA expires at the end of September.

“NAWG is very supportive of this bipartisan bill. We need to prevent port disruptions like that which we saw at the Port of Vancouver last year. It is vital that we remain the world’s reliable supplier of wheat. This bill will establish more transparency and will help ensure there is no disruption in inspection services should a delegated state agency discontinue providing services. NAWG urges Congress to act on the bill to prevent a lapse in authorization,” said NAWG president Brett Blankenship.

NAWG sent a letter with the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Barley Growers Association, and National Corn Growers Association to the Senate Agriculture Committee supporting the bill and urging swift action through the rest of the reauthorization process. NAWG has continually advocated for maintaining delegated State authority for inspections and has pushed for more transparency in the function of those agencies and FGIS. Additionally, NAWG pushed for inclusion of directive language to USDA to ensure that, should a delegated State agency discontinue inspection services, FGIS steps in immediately to avoid any disruption in inspections. View the letter here and NAWG’s statement here.

Wheat Leaders Reveal Domestic Support Study
At a press conference on Monday, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) unveiled the results of an econometric study showing that excessive farm support in several advanced developing countries could cost U.S. wheat farmers nearly $1 billion in revenue every year. Author of the study, Dr. Dermot Hayes, spoke at the press conference. “The results confirm that if domestic support were removed wheat prices in the countries modeled would go down and farmers would plant less wheat, but domestic consumption would go up,” Hayes said. “The lower supply would lead to higher global wheat prices, which tend to benefit wheat exporting countries including the United States.”

“Wheat prices have plummeted more than 30 percent since last year, a significant portion of which is due to these countries’ market distorting policies, which send the wrong signals to their farmers. This hurts American family farms like mine even more,” said Brett Blankenship, NAWG President and wheat grower from Washtucna, Wash. WTO records show that the United States has consistently met its commitments, never exceeding its Aggregate Measure of Support (AMS) limit of $19.1 billion. Click here to read the complete release and here to view the study.

NAWG Files Comments on CRP
NAWG submitted comments to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) regarding the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) this week. The 2014 Farm Bill included several changes to CRP and NAWG’s comment provided input on the modifications to the program and additional program changes that FSA is undertaking. NAWG supports many of the Farm Bill changes, including modification of haying and grazing provisions but is concerned about administrative provisions that include restricting use of the CRP program if a grower is required to take action by state, local or tribal law and modifications to the state priority areas. To view a copy of the letter, please click here.

NAWG also joined with several other commodity groups including the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association and the National Cotton Council to file joint comments on CRP. These comments also supported many of the Farm Bill changes to CRP and stressed the need to work with growers to design conservation practices that can be successfully implemented by growers and expressing concern with requirements for establishing pollinator habitat through CRP. To view a copy of the joint letter, please click here.

NAWG participates in Field to Market Meetings
Field to Market: the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, held working group meetings in Washington, D.C. this week. NAWG attended to represent wheat growers. NAWG Treasurer, David Schemm, participated in the Technology working group that focused on data retention through the field print calculator and the link with additional software programs.   NAWG Environmental Policy Advisor is participating in the Information, Communication and Engagement working group that will be meeting today and Friday. The working group will be discussing education and outreach efforts and receive an update on the development of new curriculum for certified crop advisors. 

The Word on Wheat Blog Welcomes, Registered Dietician, “Healthy Holly”
The Word on Wheat Blog is partnering with Hy-Vee Registered Dietician, Holly Ellison. Holly be a regular contributor to the blog and will share fun facts about food, health and wellness tips and delicious recipes.

My name is Holly Ellison, RD, LD, a.k.a “Healthy Holly” and I am a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian at Hy-Vee grocery store in Mankato, Minn. As a Hy-Vee dietitian I aspire to help make people’s lives easier, healthier and happier. Along with being a registered dietitian I am also a wife, foodie, CrossFitter, dog lover, adventure, lover of the outdoors and a child at heart.

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics and exercise science from Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN and I completed my postgraduate dietetic internship through the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, WI. I am truly passionate about sharing my love and knowledge of food, nutrition and wellness with others. I enjoy teaching others about new foods and cooking techniques and I love sharing delicious and nutritious recipes. Read the full post here.

Sawyer Brown to Headline Commodity Classic Evening of Entertainment
When the record-breaking Commodity Classic convention and trade show wraps up next March in New Orleans, it’s going out in style – with an Evening of Entertainment, sponsored by Monsanto, spotlighting the multiple-award-winning country band Sawyer Brown. Since the band was founded in Florida the early 1980s, Sawyer Brown lead vocalist Mark Miller and crew have put in more than 4,500 shows and counting, spotlighting a stunning discography of 23 albums and more than 50 chart singles.

Commodity Classic takes place March 3-5, 2016, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Visit www.CommodityClassic.com for more information.