NAWG Weekly Updates, June 29, 2017

U.S. Wheat Organizations Share Positions on NAFTA with USTR
On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) CEO Chandler Goule and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Director of Policy Ben Conner testified to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. Since the Trump administration announced its intention to renegotiate NAFTA, the wheat industry has urged the government to not harm its trade relationships with Canada and Mexico. Read the NAWG/USW joint release here and watch the hearings here.

NAWG Commends Senate Agriculture Committee for Holding a Hearing to Examine the Farm Bill Conservation Programs
Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry held a Full Committee hearing on “Conservation and Forestry: Perspectives on the Past and Future Direction for the 2018 Farm Bill”. Members heard testimony from several USDA representatives including Mr. Tom Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service; Mr. Jimmy Bramblett, Deputy Chief of Programs at the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Ms. Misty Jones, Director, Conservation and Environmental Programs Division at the Farm Service Agency. NAWG President David Schemm submitted written testimony for the record and read our release here.

House Panel Advances FY 2018 Agriculture Spending Bill
On Wednesday, June 28, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee considered and approved its version of the FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill.  Overall, the bill includes a reduction of $876 million in discretionary spending compared to the FY 2017 enacted level.  The bill does not include cuts to crop insurance or farm programs, and no amendments were considered during the markup.  The bill could be considered by the full Appropriations Committee sometime shortly after the 4th of July recess.  In preparation for potential Congressional action on appropriations and a budget, NAWG urges wheat farmers across the country to engage your Members of Congress if they do public events during the recess and talk about the economic conditions in wheat country and the need to maintain strong funding for Farm Bill programs.

NAWG Joins Ag Industry Groups in Urging the Administration to Appoint USDA Leadership Team
On June 28, 2017, NAWG joined more than a dozen other prominent agriculture organizations in signing onto a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to quickly to fill vacancies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Read NAWG’s release here.

California Lists Glyphosate as Cancer-Causing
Effective July 7th, glyphosate will be added to California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer.  Proposition 65 will require companies selling the chemical in the state to add warning labels to packaging within a year.  Monsanto has vowed to continue their legal battle against the ruling claiming that research from the Agricultural Health Study, a large and significant study, led by scientists at the U.S. National Cancer Institute on agricultural workers and their families in the United States, was ignored.

This study is one of the largest to examine the effects of pesticide use in real life investigating about 89,000 agricultural workers, farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina.  Results showed no association of glyphosate exposure with cancer incidence, but the study was ignored because it hasn’t been published yet due to there being too much content to fit into one scientific paper. The linked Reuters article recently appeared questioning the process WHO’s IARC used in its review of glyphosate in 2015 that led to a “probably carcinogen” designation and, eventually, to California’s action next week.

US WTO China Challenge
In the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Challenge of China domestic subsidies in agriculture, WTO has consisted a dispute panel. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2tpbu6T

President of African Development Bank Wins 2017 World Food Prize
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, was announced as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Awarded by the World Food Prize Foundation, the $250,000 prize honors Nigerian Dr. Adesina for his leading role over the past two decades in: significantly expanding food production in Nigeria; introducing initiatives to exponentially increase the availability of credit for smallholder farmers across the African continent; and galvanizing the political will to transform African agriculture. Read the release here.

New Associate Editor of Frontiers in Plant Science Named
Hikmet Budak, Montana State University Winifred Asbjornson Plant Sciences Chair and professor of plant sciences and plant pathology, will serve as an associate editor of Frontiers in Plant Science. According to MSU, Frontiers in Plant Science is a top-ranking research publication and is the most cited science publication and the world’s largest open-access plant science journal.  Budak currently holds several editorial positions with Functional and Integrative Genomics, BMC Genomics, PlosOne, and Scientific Reports.  His duties at Frontiers in Plant Science will include managing the peer review process and aiding in final publication decisions.