Farm Bill Negotiators Make Progress
The four principals negotiating the farm bill met Wednesday morning to continue working toward merging the House and Senate bills. After the meeting, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said they made “great progress” and plan to continue working diligently toward a deal. Time is running out if they want to broker a deal before the end of the year. The House is set to adjourn for the Christmas Holiday on Friday, December 13, leaving only one full work week during which both the House and Senate will be in session simultaneously. Earlier this week Congressman Lucas did an interview with Mike Adams on AgriTalk stating that he felt confident that a final draft of the bill could be completed this week, but final drafting of the full conference report and scoring could take the remainder of December. This would mean the final vote could come in January, after the holiday recess. If so, Congress may need to pass a short-term extension in order to avoid the “dairy cliff”, but no details of a possible extension have been shared, and the four principals continue to work out the details. NAWG is encouraged by the efforts of the conference committee to complete a bill in a timely manner in order to give our growers a much needed comprehensive five-year bill as soon as possible.
Ag Groups Outline Priorities in Joint Letter to WRRDA Conferees
NAWG joined several other agriculture groups in a letter to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) conferees who are currently negotiating the bill for final passage. The letter—which was also signed by several labor groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—asks the conferees to support a final bill that will help modernize the nation’s aging lock and dam system, and reform the processes to deliver navigation projects on time and on budget. NAWG supports the passage of the WRRDA bill as it funds development for waterways such as the Columbia River system in the Pacific Northwest, where wheat is shipped to port before being exported. A copy of the joint letter is available at http://waterwayscouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/WRRDA-WCI-letter-to-conferees.pdf. NAWG’s position on WRRDA and other transportation issues can be found at http://www.wheatworld.org/issues/transportation/.
EPA holds Public Hearing on the 2014 RFS Proposal
Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public meeting to hear comments on the proposed 2014 volumetric renewable fuel requirements. Attendees offered their support or opposition to the proposed reduction in cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and renewable fuel requirements for 2014. Members of the Virginia Grain Producers Association spoke in opposition to the EPA’s proposal. NAWG also opposes the proposed reduction and will be preparing comments regarding the EPA’s proposal prior to the January 28, 2014 deadline. You can submit comments regarding the proposed changes via the Fuels America website at www.fuelsamerica.org/comments.
2014 Wheat Organization Leadership of Tomorrow (WOLF) Program Dates Announced
The National Wheat Foundation’s (NWF) Wheat Organization Leadership of Tomorrow (WOLF), supported once again by a generous grant from Bayer CropScience, is scheduled for January 28-29, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The program will provide new national wheat organizations’ board members with an in-depth orientation. Topics will include national wheat organizations’ structure and relationships, director responsibilities, issues important to the U.S. wheat industry and guidance on being an effective wheat industry leader. The 2014 WOLF program is being conducted adjacent to the Winter Wheat Conference at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, January 30- February 2, 2014. If you are interested in participating in the 2014 WOLF program, please contact Jinger Eberspacher at jeberspacher (at) wheatworld.org.
Bayer CropScience Seeks Applicants for Young Farmer Sustainability Award
If you are a grower, 40 years or younger, who demonstrates sustainability on your farm, Bayer CropScience is looking for you! Now through Jan. 17, 2014, you can apply for the crop science company’s fourth annual Young Farmer Sustainability Award. The 2014 winner will be selected by a group of industry experts and Bayer leaders, and will be recognized in February at the 2014 Ag Issues Forum held in conjunction with Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to the trip, he or she will win a new 4th Generation iPad with Retina display, Wi-Fi + Cellular (Verizon) 128 GB, Griffin Survivor brand military-duty case, and an all-expense paid trip to a Farm Journal learning event of the winner’s choice during 2014. Learn more at http://bit.ly/RaPVzh.
NWF Seeks Minore Scholarship Applications
The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) is seeking qualified applicants for the Minore Scholarship, which funds four college scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year. Two $1,500 scholarships and two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to students with connections to the wheat industry who are planning careers in agriculture. The Minore Scholarship was established by NWF and BASF to honor longtime BASF employee and wheat champion, Jerry Minore, who passed away in 2012. More information about the program and application materials are available at http://www.wheatfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/2013-Minore-Scholarship-Application.pdf. Applications are due to the NWF office by Dec. 15.