Grower-leaders from NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) held their fall meetings at the Hilton Minneapolis last weekend, considering new and continuing business in areas including trade, research and biotechnology, farm policy and more.
More than 25 wheat producers and wheat association staff members visited wheat research facilities at the University of Minnesota Friday afternoon, prior to the start of business meetings on Saturday morning.
Participants toured a number of labs housed at the University, including the USDA/Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Cereal Disease Lab, and talked extensively with scientists there working to breed new varieties and tackle the threat of virulent stem rust Ug99.
Growers were offered the opportunity to do some hands-on activities, extracting DNA and viewing machinery used in the lab. Three short videos of this experience are available online at www.youtube.com/wheatworld.
NAWG staff arranged the tour with the gracious assistance of University staff and Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers staff and grower leaders.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) joined producers to talk about trade and other policy priorities at the meeting of the NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates Joint International Trade Policy Committee held Sunday.
Klobuchar spoke to the group and the standing-room crowd about issues as diverse as farm policy, economic recovery and the importance of agriculture to the U.S. economy.
She was warmly received by the crowd and got particular applause for comments about the need to pass pending legislation easing trade and travel restrictions with Cuba.
She also took grower questions and was generous with her time following the session, talking individually with grower-leaders from both organizations.
For pictures from the session, please visit NAWG’s photo gallery at http://www.wheatworld.org/newsroom/photo-gallery/.
Audio reports covering key actions at each NAWG and joint NAWG/USW committee are available in NAWG’s online audio gallery at http://www.wheatworld.org/newsroom/audio-gallery/.
These reports, done at each NAWG Board meeting throughout the year, give committee chairmen the opportunity to discuss their groups’ actions in some depth and in an easy-to-access format.
The NAWG Board accepted the following new resolutions:
- NAWG recognizes the importance of protecting water bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay and other waters from nutrient and sediment loadings. We support voluntary measures, including conservation programs to achieve desired environmental goals but oppose [Environmental Protection Agency] efforts to impose mandatory and enforceable requirements for non-point sources of pollution from agriculture lands. NAWG supports the collection of robust data from ongoing voluntary conservation practices to ensure that state and federal agencies have a more accurate accounting of water quality impacts from agriculture.
- With regards to the estate tax, NAWG supports a $5 million exemption and a 35 percent rate with indexing.
The Board also deleted an existing resolution regarding the estate tax and amended a separate existing resolution to read:
- NAWG supports raising the minimum reporting level on Form 1099 and opposes any further expansion of current reporting requirements.
Further, the Board approved the following motions originally raised by the NAWG/U.S. Wheat Joint Biotechnology Committee (JBC) at its summer meeting:
- JBC urges NAWG to develop a producer education program regarding value of certified seed and seed with novel traits for presentation during the 2010/2011 winter grower and certified seed meetings and state grower publications.
- USW-NAWG commended Monsanto and Kansas State University for entering into a wheat research collaboration that is consistent with the “Principles for Collaborations in Wheat Breeding and Biotechnology” and for recognizing the importance of public wheat breeding programs and the producer investment and ownership in those programs.
- USW-NAWG urged the biotech providers to use the quality targets developed by the USW Wheat Quality Committee as the standard for the commercialization of non-biotech and biotech wheat varieties.
- USW-NAWG urged the National Wheat Improvement Committee to select a chairman of this very important committee as expeditiously as possible.
The Board also accepted recommendations from the NAWG Operations and Planning Committee on a number of administrative matters, including to:
- expand the membership of the existing joint trade committee with U.S. Wheat;
- streamline the NAWG Board Policy document;
- rework the NAWG resolution recordkeeping process; and
- establish a joint policy with U.S. Wheat with regards to fall meeting locations.
U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance
The NAWG Board of Directors voted affirmatively at its meeting Monday for NAWG to join the newly-formed U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. NAWG staff has informed the Alliance of this intent and looks forward to working with the new group.
Foundation Strategic Plan
At its meeting Monday, the NAWG Foundation Board of Directors took up a draft strategic plan put together following a September brainstorming retreat. The Board passed the executive summary of the plan and directed staff to create action plan steps associated with it by the next NAWGF meeting.