A record 6,014 people attended the 2012 Commodity Classic last week in Nashville, Tenn., to discuss farm policy, learn about important issues facing the ag community and see the latest equipment and technologies in the Classic trade show.
The new record represents a whopping 25 percent increase over the previous one, set last year in Tampa, Fla. Similar to past years, more than half of total attendees were members of farm families, including producers, spouses and children.
Commodity Classic is also the site of NAWG’s annual meeting, where NAWG policy committees meet for the final time before the busy planting and harvesting season begins.
Some highlights from this year’s Classic for wheat attendees included:
A rousing speech at the Classic general session from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who discussed the importance of an adequate crop insurance program and creating a greater understanding in government of the real world impact of regulations to farming operations. To resounding applause, Vilsack also called for reauthorization of the farm bill this year.
An illuminating presentation from Environmental Protection Agency agriculture counselor Larry Elworth at a learning center session sponsored by the NAWG Foundation. For more on that, see related story in this issue or visit http://www.wheatworld.org/audio.
The establishment of the Jerry Minore Memorial Scholarship, a partnership between the NAWG Foundation and BASF to honor longtime wheat friend and BASF employee Jerry Minore, who passed away in February. The scholarship will be available to family of NAWG members; more details will be available in late spring from the Foundation.
A Wheat Industry Booth in the Classic trade show that challenged visitors to guess which of the six classes of wheat was which or to answer educational trivia questions about wheat. The booth was sponsored by NAWG, U.S. Wheat Associates and the Wheat Foods Council.
Election of Minnesota farmer Erik Younggren as the next NAWG president. The NAWG Board of Directors also elected and installed Bing Von Bergen as first vice president; Paul Penner as second vice president; Brett Blankenship as secretary-treasurer; and Wayne Hurst as immediate past president. For more, see http://www.wheatworld.org/news-events/2012/03/younggren-elected-nawg-president/.
Election of a new Board of Directors for the NAWG Foundation, which will begin doing business as the National Wheat Foundation, effective immediately.
A full slate of NAWG’s policy committee meetings covering domestic and trade policy, environmental issues and research priorities. NAWG’s policy committees review the bulk of existing resolutions at the annual meeting, resulting in a large quantity being renewed or allowed to expire. New resolutions approved by NAWG policy committees and the NAWG Board of Directors at Classic include:
- NAWG supports the current crop insurance programs and delivery system. NAWG encourages the private sector to work with FSA on reporting acreage and losses.
- NAWG opposes linking conservation compliance to crop insurance program participation.
- NAWG urges the U.S. Trade Representative and Foreign Ag Service to pursue aggressive enforcement of existing trade agreements.
- NAWG seeks enforcement of legislation for segregated commodity traded funds to be protected and remain segregated.
- NAWG supports the Regulations from Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This support is contingent on the term “regulation” referring only to involuntary mandates and not to any contractual agreements that an individual farmer chooses to enter into.
- NAWG supports that CRP land is under the same regulations as cropland for the purposes of water management.
- NAWG supports the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the development of E-15.
A full, updated resolutions document is available online at http://www.wheatworld.org/wp-content/uploads/about-resolutions-after-classic-2012.pdf.
News, audio and photos from Commodity Classic’s wheat activities are available at NAWG’s Classic news hub, http://www.wheatworld.org/2012classic/.