NAWG Weekly Updates, October 05, 2017

Fiscal Conservative Groups and Farm Bill “Reformers” Meet on Capitol Hill
On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, a few dozen critics of the farm bill from across the ideological spectrum held a national summit on farm policy reform. In addition to the R Street Institute, the event was co-hosted by National Taxpayers Union, Taxpayers for Common Sense, The Heritage Foundation, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Heartland Institute, Citizens Against Government Waste, Club for Growth, Campaign for Liberty and Taxpayers Protection Alliance. Read NAWG’s release pushing back on this event and these groups’ proposals here.

Wheat Growers Call for New Trade Agreements
Today, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) issued a release strongly urging the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to pivot from re-negotiating existing free trade agreements (FTAs) to negotiating new deals. This comes in light of yesterday’s announecment that the United States and South Korea will begin negotiations around KORUS. Read the release here.

USDA’s Release of Farm Safety Net and Conservation Payments Reflects Need for Reauthorizing the Farm Bill
On October 03, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program payments for the 2016 crop year and conservation payments through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for 2017. USDA is issuing approximately $8 billion in payments under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2016 crop year, and $1.6 billion under CRP for 2017.

NAWG applauded the USDA for announcing these payments so quickly at the beginning of the new fiscal year. This shows that the Agency recognizes the growing economic hardships being faced by farming families in Rural America. Read NAWG’s release and positions on ARC, PLC, and Conservation can be found here.

NAWG Congratulates USDA Nominees on Appointment Confirmation
On October 3, 2017, the Senate confirmed Stephen Censky to be USDA deputy secretary and Ted McKinney for the newly created position of undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Censky and McKinney are the first Senate-confirmed nominees to join USDA since Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue took the helm in April. Read NAWG’S Release congratulating the both Censky and McKinny here.

Trudeau to Meet with Trump, Peña Nieto as NAFTA Round Four Convenes
According to Politico Pro, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will travel to Washington and Mexico City this month for talks with President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto just as negotiators from Canada, the United States and Mexico are holding the fourth round of talks on renegotiating NAFTA, which is scheduled for Oct. 11-15. “The United States is Canada’s top economic partner, and it’s important that we continue to work together to strengthen trade, investment and economic opportunity for people on both sides of our border,” Trudeau said in a statement announcing the Oct. 10-11 visit to Washington. “I look forward to discussing with President Trump how to enhance our mutual prosperity and security.” Trudeau will travel to Mexico City on Oct. 12-13 to meet with Peña Nieto to discuss trade, regional cooperation and ways to further strengthen Canada-Mexico ties.

State Department Expels Cuban Officials from the U.S.
The U.S. Department of State released the following statement in response to expelling Cuban Officials from the United States. “On October 3, the Department of State informed the Government of Cuba that it was ordering the departure of 15 of its officials from its embassy in Washington, D.C. The decision was made due to Cuba’s failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention. This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations.” Read more here.

Jerry Minore Memorial Scholarship Opportunity for Students in Agriculture
Jerry Minore was a longtime friend of the wheat industry and advocate for wheat farmers. To honor his work and life, his company, BASF, has partnered with the National Wheat Foundation to establish a scholarship for students with connections to the wheat industry who are planning careers in agriculture. The Minore Memorial Scholarship will fund four college scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year: two $1,500 scholarships and two $1,000 scholarships. Deadline for applications is December 31, 2017. For more information on how to apply, visit the National Wheat Foundation site.

NAWG Opens Registration for Fall Conference!
NAWG has opened its registration and hotel links for its 2017 Wheat Industry Fall Conference. This year’s conference is scheduled for October 16-20, 2017 at the Embassy Suites North Charleston in North Charleston, SC. For more information and scheduled visit: http://www.wheatworld.org/newsroom/meetings-events/fall-wheat-conference/.