NAWG Weekly Update, March 07, 2019

PRESS RELEASE: NAWG and the National Wheat Foundation Named New Board Officers at the 2019 Commodity Classic
The National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Wheat Foundation wrapped up the 2019 Commodity Classic with a new slate of officers. NAWG President and Southwest Oklahoma farmer Jimmie Musick has passed the gavel down to Vice President Ben Scholz, a farmer from Texas. Michigan wheat farmer Dave Milligan moved up the ranks of leadership becoming NAWG’s new Vice President. Nicole Berg, wheat farmer from Paterson, Washington, becomes NAWG’s new Treasurer. Oregon wheat farmer, Brent Cheyne will now serve as NAWG’s new Secretary. Jimmie Musick will remain on the officer team as Past President.

Additionally, the National Wheat Foundation welcomed a new Board of Director to replaced Past President Phil McLain. Bernard Peterson is our new grower representative, who farms in Loretto, KY. Read our release in its entirety here: http://bit.ly/2TrpDh3.

JOINT RELEASE: Leading Agriculture Organizations Endorse USMCA
On March 1, 2019, The National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Sorghum Producers announced their support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during the General Session of the 2019 Commodity Classic. Read the release in its entirety here: http://bit.ly/2EC5hbq.

Soil Health Partnership Call for Proposals
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) announced it is accepting proposals for partnerships and collaboration for 2019. SHP encourages any organization or individuals who have an interest in working together to submit ideas. Deadline for proposal submission is March 15, 2019. Visit their site here for more information: https://www.soilhealthpartnership.org/news-releases/.

WTO Dispute Panel Confirms China’s Domestic Agricultural Support Exceeds Limits, Distorts Trade
On February 28, 2019, the US Wheat Associates (USW) issued a statement welcoming the ruling by a WTO dispute panel that Chinese government payments to farmers for wheat exceeded China’s aggregate measure of support (AMS) commitments and significantly distorts global wheat trade. USW President Vince Peterson stated, “US farmers have been hurt by China’s overproduction and protectionist measures for too long at it’s past time for China to start living up to its commitments.” Read the release in its entirety here.

Senate Finance Committee to Hold Hearing on WTO
On Tuesday, March 12, 2019, Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on reform of the World Trade Organization. The hearing, entitled “Approaching 25: The Road Ahead for the World Trade Organization,” will be held at 10:15 a.m. in Room 215 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will testify.

New Signals Of Weakness In Farm Economy
In a recent report by the USDA, the agency forecasts that net farm income will rise 10 percent in 2019. However, the report also says liquidity measures are weakening while farm debt-to-asset ratios continue an upward trend that started in 2012. Working capital levels are expected to fall nearly 25 percent this year, while farm sector debt is forecast to rise nearly 4 percent.

AgriPulse: USDA Continues to Host Farm Bill Implementation Sessions
The Department of Agriculture will host at least nine more webinars and listening sessions as it moves ahead with farm bill implementation.

Next week, USDA will host three webinars: one March 13 on hemp production and the farm bill language concerning it, one March 13 on The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and a March 14 chat on Rural Development programs. The following week, USDA will host another five sessions: A March 19 webinar on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); two sessions on March 21 will discuss Research, Education, and Economics programming as well as Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service items; two more discussions will be held the next day, when officials hear about Natural Resources and Environment provisions as well as Trade and Foreign Ag Affairs programs included in the farm bill. Things are scheduled to conclude with a March 28 teleconference on the Federal Swine Eradication and Control Program. More information about the events can be found here.

EPA Moves Closer to E15 Approval
According to Agri-Pulse, regulatory changes necessary to allow for summertime use of E15 this year have been sent from the EPA to the White House for further review. This is the final step before the EPA releases the proposed rule. This action comes just days after EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler promised the rule would be finalized by June 1.

Report Looks at Worst-Case NAFTA Scenario
A new analysis from Purdue University illustrated U.S. farm exports could drop as much as approximately $22 billion annual in a new worst-case scenario for North American trade. This is contingent on the following factors: all three North American countries failing to ratify USMCA, the Trump administration pulling out from NAFTA, the continuation of US steel and aluminum tariffs, and the failure of the US to rejoin the TPP.

Tariffs Hang Over Crop Insurance Decisions
As reported in Agri-Pulse, “with prices for soybeans and other crops currently depressed due to tariffs, the Harvest Price Option could be more attractive for farmers this year as they decide on their crop options in the upcoming harvest season.” According to RMA’s Crop Insurance Price Discovery tool, the spring crop insurance price for soybeans is down 62 cents from a year ago, but prices could rise if President Trump seals a trade deal with China. Producers who buy the Harvest Price Option will be paid the higher of the spring planting price or the harvest-time price.

Federal Agencies Release Framework for Advancing the Bioeconomy
The federal Biomass Research and Development (BR&D) Board today unveiled a multi-agency strategy to accelerate innovative technologies that harness the nation’s biomass resources for affordable biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. The Bioeconomy Initiative: Implementation Framework (PDF, 2.3 MB) was developed by the B&RD Board – an interagency collaborative which is co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – to guide such efforts.

Ag Day – March 14, 2019
There are over seven billion people in the world today – that’s over seven billion mouths to feed every day. Show your appreciation for the individuals that make this feat possible on Ag Day. The 2019 Ag Day theme is “Food for Life” and official hashtag is #AgDay19. For more information on how you can promote Ag Day, visit https://www.agday.org/.

Agri-Pulse Food & Ag Summit
The Ag and Food Policy Summit is an educational event organized by Agri-Pulse, the nation’s leading media company for farm and food policy information. The event will be held at the National Press Club on March 18, 2019, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a reception to follow at the same location. The theme for this year’s Summit is “Shaping Farm and Food Policy Strategies for 2040.” Investors are pouring billions of dollars into new agricultural and food startups at the same time as some of the more traditional players are going through consolidations and retirements. Who will survive and thrive? What will the food production and consumption landscape look like over 20 years from now as we work to feed over 9 billion people in a sustainable fashion? How should farm, food and rural policies be modified to facilitate these changes? Click here to register.