NAWG Weekly Updates, September 07, 2017

NAWG President David Schemm to Speak at Ag Forum at Kansas State Fair
On Saturday, September 09, 2017, from 11:00am-12:00pm central, NAWG President David Schemm will be sitting on a special agricultural forum with Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, and Dr. Roger Marshall (KS-O1-R) at the Kansas State Fair. The Special Agricultural Forum will be hosted by WIBW Radio and The Kansas Agriculture Network and held at the Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers Arena. NAWG President David Schemm will talk briefly on NAWG’s priorities around the 2018 Farm Bill and then answer questions from the audience.

U.S. Wheat Organizations Urge Administration Not to Withdraw from KORUS
On September 4, 2017, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) sent out a release strongly urging the Trump Administration not to withdraw from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

In the statement, NAWG President and Sharon Springs’ farmer David Schemm stated “we think this trade agreement, negotiated in good faith and strongly supported in Congress, reinforces the Administration’s stated goal to sell more agricultural products overseas. We support finding ways to improve any agreement, but let’s do that in a reasoned and respectful way, with input from all stakeholders so U.S. wheat farmers can gain greater access to world markets.”

Mike Miller, USW Chairman and a wheat grower from Ritzville, Washington, continued by affirming David’s remarks. “We believe it would be irresponsible to unilaterally walk away from this or any other trade agreement. Withdrawing raises the specter of retaliation against agricultural exports and creates unnecessary uncertainty in the market. Any disruption in the relationship wheat growers have built in Korea over more than 60 years gives Australia, Canada and even Russia an opening to move in and take business away from us at a time when we are all struggling to stay profitable. KORUS, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, has been very good for American agriculture.”

Read the joint release here.

FY18 Ag Appropriations, Debt Ceiling Recap and Next Steps
On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, the House Rules Committee considered the rules for floor consideration of a minibus appropriations bill concerning two amendments filed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). One would set an AGI limit of $500,000 for eligibility of commodity and conservation programs and the other would set a payment cap of $125,000 for all commodity, conservation and crop insurance premium discounts. Fortunately, the Rules Committee adopted a rule for consideration that did not include either of these amendments.

On Wednesday, September 6, 2017, the House completed action on amendments related to the Agriculture section of the Make America Secure and Prosperous Act. By voice vote, the House added amendments to appropriate $1.5 million for Oriental fruit fly research, increase funding for Specialty Crop Pest Program by $1 million and increase funding of the Grassroots Source Water Protection Program by $500,000.

On Thursday, September 7, 2017, the Senate passed legislation that would temporarily lift the nation’s debt ceiling and fund the government, while delivering the first installment of emergency aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Trump could sign the bill, which not will go to the House as early as Friday. Congress faces a Dec. 8 deadline to strike another deal to avert those fiscal cliffs.

Senate Ag Committee to Set Confirmation Hearings for USDA Posts
According to Politico Pro, the Senate Agriculture Committee expects to hold confirmation hearings this month for key USDA posts. “The committee has received all official paperwork for Steve Censky, the nominee for deputy secretary; Ted McKinney, the administration’s pick for undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs; and Sam Clovis, the nominee for undersecretary for research, education, and economics, committee spokeswoman Meghan Cline said today. The committee also recently received official nominations from the White House for Greg Ibach, the nominee for undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs; Stephen Vaden, the pick for USDA general counsel; and Bill Northey, the nominee for undersecretary for farm production and conservation. The White House announced those three picks on Friday.”

Read the Politico Pro article here.
NESARC Comments on Streamlining Regulatory Processes and Reducing Regulatory Burdens
Earlier this year, NAWG joined the National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition (NESARC), and the coalition recently provided comments and recommendations regarding improvements that should be made to regulations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Since the ESA’s creation in 1973, the statute has remained mostly unchanged and NESARC recommends a holistic review of the regulatory structure. Both the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) can incorporate 40 years of ESA implementation into the revision, especially to alleviate negative economic impacts on the ESA regulated communities that are limited by the listing of endangered and threatened species and critical habitats. The current ESA  consultation process has proven to be unwieldly, being too complex for simple permits and inadequate for application to complex regulatory actions such as pesticide registrations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The comments also encouraged greater involvement of state and local governments to include their expertise on the management, protection and conservation of species and habitat within their jurisdiction. NESARC strongly urges the encouragement of voluntary conservations efforts by creating new means for states, local governments, private property owners, and other non-federal entities to participate in species recovery efforts.

Dow DuPont Merger Successfully Completed
On September 01, 2017, DowDuPont™announced the successful completion of the merger of equals between The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) and E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (“DuPont”). The combined entity, called DowDuPont, is now operating as a holding company with three divisions: Agriculture, Materials Science and Specialty Products. With the merger now complete, focus is on finalizing the organizational structures that will be the foundation of these intended companies. The separations are expected to occur within the next 18 months. The intended Agriculture Company will be a U.S.-based global leader.

Senate Ag Committee to Hold Hearing on the Farm Bill’s Nutrition Title
On Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 9:30am, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will hold its next 2018 Farm Bill hearing on the Nutrition Programs. Witnesses for the Full Committee Hearing will be announced 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/