NAWG Weekly Updates, November 09, 2017

NAWG and USW Host Booth at NAFB
On Thursday, November 09, 2017, leaders from the National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates discussed wheat’s priorities around the Farm Bill, export promotion funding, NAFTA and other hot topics at the NAFB Trade Talk in Kansas City, Missouri. Representing NAWG was Ben Scholz, Treasurer and Texas Wheat Farmer; and representing U.S. Wheat was Vice Chairman and Montana Wheat Farmer Chris Kolstad. Follow #NAFB2017 for updates from the Conference and @wheatworld for great pictures and video of Ben Scholz discussing NAWG’s priorities with broadcasters.

APHIS Withdraws Biotech Proposal
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that it will withdraw its proposal to revise biotech regulations and will aim to determine the most effective, science-based approach to regulating the products of modern biotech. Read NAWG’s release here applauding the Agency for their decision.

NAWG CEO Joins Ag Industry Representatives to Speak to Senate Staff on NAFTA
On Tuesday, November 09, 2017, NAWG CEO Chandler Goule, along with several Ag industry leaders, spoke to Senate Committee on Agriculture staff and Senate Ag LAs on the importance of NAFTA for wheat farmers.

NAWG Attends Tri-State Grain Growers Convention
NAWG CEO Chandler Goule and VP of Policy and Communications Josh Tonsager attended and participated in the Tri-State Grain Convention in Spokane, Washington. On Thursday, November 9, Chandler moderated the State Ag Director Panel which included Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison, Oregon State Department of Agriculture Director Alexis Taylor, and Idaho State Department Deputy Director Brian Oakey. Chandler also took part in a panel, moderated by The Hagstrom Report’s Jerry Hagstrom, with U.S. Wheat Associates Chair Mike Miller and Dwight Little, National Barley Growers Association. Each panelist provided attendees with an update on their current organization’s activities. Lastly, Josh Tonsager provided an update on the status of the Farm Bill to the Washington Association of Wheat Grower’s board.

Farmers Seek Changes in House GOP tax bill
Reported in AgriPulse, the American Farm Bureau Federation sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday regarding the tax reform plan that could increase self-employment taxes for many farms. Although the bill may reduce income taxes paid by farmers and ranchers, there is concern that increases in self-employment taxes could cancel out these benefits or increase the total tax liability for some. The potential concern for farmers is that while farms typically don’t have enough net income to benefit from the lower top tax rate, they could be hit by having to pay 15.3 percent self-employment tax income that has previously been exempt. Read here NAWG’s letter to the House Ways and Means Committee outlining some concerns NAWG has regarding to the bill.

USDA is Developing a NAFTA Contingency Plan
On Wednesday, November 08, 2017, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that discussions are underway on a contingency plan to protect U.S. agriculture producers from potential losses if President Trump decides to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, Washington Trade Daily reported. Perdue told reporters he believes the administration will successfully renegotiate NAFTA, but just in case, “we’re talking with the administration and Congress about some mitigation efforts if that were to occur; about how we could protect our producers with that safety net based on prices that may respond negatively to any kind of NAFTA withdrawal,” he said. The fifth round of negotiations is slated to begin November 15 in Mexico City.

FDA Issues Pesticide Residue Report Card
As reported in The Packer, the latest FDA pesticide residue report found that less than 2% of food samples tested were in violation of federal tolerances. The new FY2015 report found no pesticide chemical residues in about 52% of domestic food and about 57% of the imported food. The 47-page report, available online, examined pesticide residues in domestic and imported food tested between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015.

Wheat U Coming to Spokane, Washington
On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, Wheat U will be in Spokane, Washington. Wheat U is an educational event with experienced farmers and industry partners. The featured speaker is Dr. Pete Berry, a crop physiologist and 14-year veteran of ADAS UK Ltd. For more information or to register for this FREE event, visit www.wheatu.com. Follow #WheatU2017

USDA Measures Final 2017 Row Crop Production and Grain Stocks Via Two Surveys
USDA’s NASS is encouraging producers to accurately respond to two end of the year surveys – the December Agricultural Survey and the County Agricultural Production Survey – that will help determine the structure of the 2017 farm payment and risk management programs administered by FSA and RMA. The county survey will begin November 3rd and are due by January 15, 2017 while the December surveys  will begin November 29th and are due by December 21, 2017.