NAWG Submits Comments on the 2014 RFS
National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the proposed 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The NAWG comments stress that changes to the RFS would send the wrong market signals, impacting agricultural markets and investments in new technology and cellulosic biofuels production. NAWG supports the RFS as passed by Congress and opposes EPA’s proposed 2014 RVO under the RFS. House and Senate leaders also expressed concern about the EPA proposal in letters sent to EPA recently. The RFS has reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased production of domestic renewable energy and energy security, and encouraged economic development and new technology. The EPA is accepting comments on the 2014 RFS RVO proposal until Jan. 28, 2014. You can submit comments at regulations.gov or use this website www.saverenewablefuel.org/submit-your-comment
Farm Bill Moving Slow
Farm bill negotiators hoped to have a draft conference report wrapped up this week, but with Congress in recess and the government shut down on Tuesday due to weather the farm bill progress has once again stalled. Country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) is at the top of the headlines this week as 97 organizations trying to protect the law sent a letter to the conferees this week asking that there be no changes to the current COOL law stating that “the final rules provide clear information to consumers that balances the small cost of implementation”. Organizations on the other side of this issue are concerned that if the program stays in place the industry will risk losing a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge brought by Canada and Mexico. If negotiators are able to get agreements on COOL and other outstanding issues soon they could possibly avoid having public votes at the full conference committee level.
House and Senate Committees Talk Climate
Last week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee heard from the EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and other administration officials regarding the President’s Climate Action Plan released in June. The President’s Climate Action Plan is comprised of three pillars: reducing carbon pollution in the U.S., preparing for the impacts of climate change and leading international efforts on climate change. Federal Agencies are directed to use existing statutes to address the plan. As part of the Action Plan, EPA released a proposed regulation last fall to reduce carbon pollution from future power plants. This hearing and action in the House Commerce committee last week on legislation intended to limit EPA’s proposed regulation mark the start of a year that is expected to be focused on Climate Change. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released several climate mitigation and adaptation plans and is expected to announce regional Climate Hubs very shortly. Information on USDA’s actions on Climate Change can be found here: http://www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/
Wheat Geneticist Honored by Wolf Foundation
University of California, Davis wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky will be honored with the 2014 Wolf Prize in Agriculture for his work in wheat genomics. The prize is awarded annually by the Wolf Foundation to outstanding scientists and artists in the fields of agriculture, chemistry, physics, mathematics, medicine and the arts. In a statement by the Wolf foundation, Dubcovsky was selected for the award for his work “to dramatically improving the nutritional value of wheat, and the impact of the discoveries was increased when they were made available to the scientific community.” During his tenure at University of California, Davis, Dubcovsky has conducted research on wheat genomics and deploying those genes in wheat cultivars. His improved wheat varieties help with disease resistance, protein content, flowering and frost tolerance.
New Hampshire House of Representatives Deny GMO Labeling Bill
The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to deny a bill that would have required foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) to be labeled throughout the state. Critics of the bill, which was voted down 185-162 on Wednesday, said the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not mandated the labeling because it determined the foods are safe. New Hampshire is the latest state to discuss legislation to label foods containing GMO’s following high profile ballot initiatives in other states, such as California and Washington.
NAWG Annual Meeting
NAWG will be holding their annual meeting during Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas from Feb. 25 – March 1. Commodity Classic is an annual convention and trade show of the wheat, corn, soybeans and sorghum industries. Stop by the National Association of Wheat Growers booth to learn the latest in the world of wheat and enter for a chance to win a Go-Pro camera and other prizes. For information on the upcoming NAWG annual meeting and Commodity Classic visit http://www.wheatworld.org/meetings-events/commodity-classic/