NAWG’s leaders have had a busy week including meetings, a hurricane and an upcoming election. Here’s a quick update on major happenings; even more from NAWG is always available at www.twitter.com/wheatworld and www.facebook.com/wheatworld.
Sandy Strikes Rural and Urban Areas Alike; Wheat Offices Unharmed
Hurricane Sandy’s landfall on the East Coast dominated the national news this week and kept much of Washington, D.C., including the NAWG offices, closed Monday and Tuesday. The storm left little lasting damage in the District, and NAWG staff members and the Wheat Growers Building weathered it well. U.S. Wheat Associates also reports its offices and staff made it through the storm with minimal problems. Many farmers and urban dwellers alike were not as lucky. USDA has condensed its disaster resources at www.usda.gov/disaster; Sandy-specific information from the federal government is at www.usa.gov/sandy.
Fall Wheat Conference Concludes in Houston with Board Meetings
The 2012 Fall Wheat Conference ended Saturday in Houston, topped by Board of Directors meetings for both NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates. The fall meetings are the first of three in a series for NAWG, with the next two sessions scheduled for January in Washington, D.C., and at Commodity Classic. The NAWG Board adopted a number of new and revised resolutions, which are available at http://www.wheatworld.org/wp-content/uploads/about-resolutions-mission-from-fwc-20121101.pdf. Audio reports from the meetings are at http://www.wheatworld.org/newsroom/audio-updates/.
Election Day on Tuesday; Outcome Will Likely Determine Farm Bill Path
The long-awaited fall elections will be over Tuesday evening, determining control of the White House and Congress and, perhaps, providing some insight into the path for the 2012 Farm Bill. FarmPolicy.com, a widely-read blog about politics and agriculture, offers a glimpse at the latest in relevant elections at http://farmpolicy.com/2012/09/17/snapshot-an-election-year-farm-bill/. While NAWG does not endorse candidates for any races, and works closely with Members of Congress of both parties, we strongly encourage all of our farmer-members to vote Tuesday and continue to discuss wheat priorities, including the farm bill, with their legislators.
Glimmer of Hope from Majority Leader Cantor Fizzles Out
Farm policy watchers experienced a surge of hope for successful completion of a 2012 Farm Bill when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) seemed to suggest at a campaign stop late last week that the farm bill would be taken up in the lame duck session. News of these comments quickly circulated through the farm press and social media, and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) released a statement saying she was “very pleased” at Cantor’s “commitment.” However, Cantor’s office later clarified that his comments were intended to go no farther than similar ones made by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has said the House will “deal with” the vital legislation in the post-election period.
Commodity Classic Prep Underway; Entertainment Announced
Preparations for the 2013 Commodity Classic are already under way, with Classic planners announcing this week the entertainment booked to cap off the convention’s events. The Monsanto Evening of Entertainment at next year’s Classic will feature World Classic Rockers, a group of standout performers from legendary rock bands. Classic 2013 is scheduled for Feb. 28 until March 2 in Kissimmee, Fla. The event is the largest farmer-led, farmer-focused conference and trade show in the country and is the annual meeting for NAWG, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association and the National Sorghum Producers. More about Classic will be available online at www.commodityclassic.com and in this publication in the coming months.
Documentary “Harvesting the High Plains” Debuts Next Week
A documentary that brings to life the story of a farm that overcame the Dust Bowl to harvest one of the largest wheat crops ever raised is premiering next week in Kansas, Nebraska and Virginia and will be available on DVD by the end of the month. “Harvesting the High Plains,” uses historic films and recreations, and is narrated by Mike Rowe, creator and host of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs.” The piece is directed by Jay Kriss and produced by Sydney Duvall of Inspirit Creative, based in Williamsburg, Va. NAWG and the National Wheat Foundation have supported the film’s production and encourage wheat growers and wheat stakeholders to learn more about it at www.harvestingthehighplains.com.
NYC Food Dialogues to Tackle Media and Food, Antibiotics, Biotech
The next installment of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s (USFRA’s) Food Dialogues is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15, in New York City and live online via web streaming. The daylong conversation about food will include panels on media, marketing and healthy choices, antibiotics and food and biotechnology. Space is still available to participate in the event in-person or it can be watched via the web. More details and RSVP links are at http://www.fooddialogues.com/ny-food-dialogues.
Farm Broadcasters to Meet in Kansas City; Wheat Industry at Trade Talk
Grower-leaders from NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates will be at the Trade Talk interview fair next Thursday in Kansas City. The annual event is a highlight of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s (NAFB) convention. NAWG President Erik Younggren, who farms in Minnesota, and USW Vice Chairman Dan Hughes, who farms in Nebraska, are set to be at the wheat booth (#27), along with NAWG Director of Communications Melissa Kessler and USW Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer. Reporters who would like to pre-schedule interviews should contact mkessler (at) wheatworld.org and/or smercer (at) uswheat.org.
Extra Credit: NAWG Policy Committee Audio Reports Online Now
As noted above, audio reports from NAWG policy committee meetings associated with the Fall Wheat Conference are now available at http://www.wheatworld.org/newsroom/audio-updates/. NAWG issues these updates from policy committee chairmen after each regular Board meeting. We encourage wheat growers to use them to catch up on national association actions, particularly ahead of planned state wheat organization meetings. The reports can also be used by members of the media with appropriate attribution.