NAWG Weekly Update: September 24, 2015

Senate Approves Grain Standards Act Legislation
On Monday, the Senate passed H.R. 2051, the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015, by unanimous consent. The legislation includes three titles, including a reauthorization of the Grain Standards Act through 2020. This action follows Senate Agriculture Committee approval of the legislation last week. NAWG supported the bill, and sent a letter to the Committee with the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Barley Growers Association, and National Corn Growers Association outlining provisions of the bill that would expand transparency of the operations of the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and help to avoid any future disruptions in grain inspection operations. Following Senate action, the bill heads to the House of Representatives, where Committee and floor action will occur.

NAWG Urges President Obama to Speak on Biotechnology During President Xi Visit
Last week NAWG, along with other members of the U.S. Biotechnology Crop Alliance, sent a letter urging President Obama to discuss biotechnology during the visit from China’s president. The letter requests a conversation that will prioritize on “practical, trade facilitating measures to ensure increased Chinese access to the products of U.S. agriculture.” With concern over China’s approval and import of biotechnology products the letter specifies the need to discuss a “transparent, predictable and practical approach.” In coordination with the visit, today the U.S. Trade Representative is hosting a full day meeting of the first U.S.-China Strategic Agricultural Innovation Dialogue. Industry, academics and government officials are in attendance to discuss policy and regulatory issues in biotechnology, big data and other areas of agriculture.

Wheat Foundation Accepting Applications for Jerry Minore Scholarship
The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) is accepting applications for the Jerry Minore Memorial Scholarship. Four scholarships will be awarded to students who have a personal connection to the wheat industry and a planned career path in agriculture.

The scholarship is named in honor of Jerry Minore, a longtime friend of, and an active participant in, the wheat industry. To honor Jerry’s life and work, the Minore Memorial Scholarship will fund two $1,500 scholarships and two $1,000 scholarships for the 2016-2017 academic year. All applications must be post-marked on or before December 11, 2015. Applications can be emailed to PMillard@wheatworld.org.

Application Extension for 2015 WILOT Program
The deadline for submitting applications for the Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) Program has been extended through September 30. The National Wheat Foundation’s (NWF) WILOT Program, funded by a grant from Monsanto, is now in its 19th year and is open to 10 selected U.S. wheat growers interested in serving in a leadership position at the state or national level. The 2015 Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) Program is set for Saturday, November 14, through Thursday, November 19, in St Louis. Speakers include: Joyce Schaeffer (Myers-Briggs; Working Productively with Others), Jana McGuire, Center for Food Integrity (Trust in the US Food Supply and Communicating with the Public), Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, Kansas State (Ag Economics and Policy) and the Standing Partnership (media training/messaging) who will be sharing some of their experience prepping WILOT class members for the media and the podium. The class will also be involved in discussions about current and forthcoming Monsanto wheat innovation. Click here to apply.

Celebrate National Whole Grains Month
The leaves are starting to change colors and football games are scattering the calendars. September marks the beginning of fall, but it is also a time to sink your teeth into whole grain goodness. Originally established in 2007 by the Whole Grains Council, Whole Grains Month celebrates the nutritious and delicious foods American wheat farmers work so diligently to produce.

According to an infographic by the Grain Foods Foundation, grains account for 15 percent of the average 2,110 calories consumed by Americans, and contrary to popular belief, whole grains provide many essential nutrients that are important for a healthy, balanced diet. Grains are the largest source of Fiber in the diet for most Americans and a good source of other key nutrients, such as: iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E and potassium. The valuable nutrients and antioxidants found in whole grains have also been found to reduce the risks of coronary heart disease, the number one cause of death in the U.S. Read the full blog post here.