NAWG Weekly Update, January 17, 2019

PRESS RELEASE: NWF Officially Opens 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest
The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) has officially announced that it is accepting grower enrollment for the 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest! The deadline for Winter Wheat entries is May 15th with an early registration deadline of April 1st. The Spring wheat entry deadline is August 1st, with an early registration deadline of June 15th. To register for the contest, visit here.

The 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest sponsors include AgriMaxx, Ardent Mills, BASF, Corteva Agriscience, Indigo Ag, Grain Craft, John Deere, LimaGrain Cereals, Syngenta, and WestBred.

USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Limited Services During Government Shutdown
On January 16, 2019, USDA Secretary Perdue announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The Agency has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

Executive Director of the Minnesota Wheat Council and Growers to Retire
The Board of Directors of the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council and the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers recently accepted Dave Torgerson’s request for retirement as Executive Director of both organizations. Dave will be retiring March 31, 2019. Dave has served wheat growers through the two organizations for over 30 years. He began his employment in June of 1987 as a Marketing Specialist and in 1990 he accepted the Executive Director position.

As a member of NAWG, the Minnesota Wheat Growers have played a large role in the overall success of the national organization, and much of this can be attributed to Dave’s leadership.

WTO Set to Rule Against China Ag Subsidies
As reported in Politico, in October 2016, then-U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman alleged that China had exceeded international limits on ag subsidies by $100 billion in 2015. U.S. officials say Beijing’s grain subsidies (and other policies) distort global trade and unfairly restrict the Chinese market for American farm goods.

On January 16th, it was reported that the World Trade Organization is expected to side with the U.S. in this longstanding dispute over Chinese government subsidies for wheat, corn and rice growers. The confidential WTO ruling was circulated to parties before Christmas and could be made public in late February — just as Washington and Beijing could be in the final stages of trade talks — or in early March.

Gene Editing Campaign “Innovature” Launched
For the past two years NAWG has been a part of an informal coalition led by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) regarding gene editing and the regulatory and consumer perceptions around gene editing. Today, BIO and ASTA launched Innovature, “a new platform to engage people in an important and thoughtful dialogue around innovation in food and agriculture. Innovature, through Innovature.com and parallel social media channels, aims to cultivate broad-based partnerships and fully realize the potential that innovation, such as gene editing, has to address society’s most urgent challenges that affect our planet, our health and our food.”

NAWG is scheduled to have staff from BIO present to the Joint Wheat Breeding Innovation Committee at the joint NAWG/U.S. Wheat Winter Conference and overview this campaign they just launched.

Roberts to Hold Trade, Climate Change Hearings
As reported in Hagstrom, Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said that the Senate Agriculture Committee will soon hold hearings on trade and on climate change. Roberts, who has announced he will not run for re-election in 2020, told reporters after receiving an award from the American Farm Bureau Federation that he will be “just as ornery and tough” for the next two years as he has been throughout his lengthy career in the House and the Senate. At the trade hearing, Roberts said, he hopes to hear from interests beyond the commodity and export groups. He said that Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Gregg Doud, who heads the agriculture section at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, might be among the witnesses he will call.

2019 NAWG/U.S. Wheat Winter Conference Housing and Registration Open!
Housing and registration has officially opened for 2019 NAWG/USW Winter Conference scheduled for February 12-15, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt Washington in downtown Washington, D.C. Register and reserve your rooms here. The deadline to reserve your room is MONDAY, JANUARY 21, 2019.

Register Today for the 2019 Commodity Classic!
There is still time to register for the 2019 Commodity Classic, which is scheduled for February 28th – March 2nd in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center. NAWG has been assigned to the Rosen Centre hotel (9840 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32819) which is located right next to the Convention Center. Visit here to register for the conference.