NAWG Weekly Update: September 4, 2014

NAWG Submits Comments to RMA
NAWG submitted comments to the Risk Management Agency (RMA) on Tuesday. Crop insurance has become the number one safety net for wheat farmers, and the 2014 farm bill created new programs and provisions to help strengthen this safety net. One provision, the actual production history (APH) exclusion, will allow producers to “exclude any year from their insurable production (APH) if the county’s yield per planted acre for the crop in that year is at least 50 percent below the previous 10-year average of the yield per planted acre for a crop in the county. This also applies to contiguous counties and allows for the separation of irrigated and non-irrigated acres.” NAWG states “this provision would be very beneficial to wheat growers across the country, primarily in areas where they are dealing with multi-year disasters and will go a long way toward our goal of ensuring a producer is paying for coverage that matches his or her production expectation.” Click here to view the comments NAWG submitted

House Prepares for Action on Waters of the U.S.
The House Rules Committee is scheduled to review H.R. 5078, legislation prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing the proposed Waters of the U.S. regulation. The Rules Committee will establish the rules of debate for H.R. 5078 by the House of Representative, which is expected shortly after the bill clears the Rules Committee. H.R. 5078 addresses both the proposed regulation and the interpretive rule related to exempt agriculture activities and prevents the agencies from directly or indirectly using the documents as the basis for decisions regarding the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA). A vote by the full House of Representatives on H.R. 5078 is expected next week.

Action in the full House comes after the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology released maps of waters and wetlands the EPA has to-date. The maps show waters and wetlands in all 50 states and look to detail the reach of the waters of the U.S. proposal. The CWA was originally intended to allow the federal government to regulate navigable waters; but recent court decisions have questioned the definition of which bodies of water are “navigable” and if the CWA has jurisdiction over them. Due to this uncertainty, the EPA proposed a rule to clarify the waters of the U.S.  and also issued an interpretive rule to explain how the proposed rule would impact CWA exemptions for agriculture.

NAWG submitted comments on the interpretive rule and will prepare additional comments on this regulation; the comment period for EPA’s waters of the U.S. regulation remains open until October.

Garcia Retires from FSA
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that FSA Administrator Juan Garcia is retiring after 38 years of service. In a message to FSA employees Garcia stated, “It is with the highest honor that I hand over this baton, skillfully passed to me by my predecessors, to a new successor, so that our relay race of teamwork continues towards that next sunrise.” Garcia has served in his current role since July of 2012 and has played a pivotal role in implementing the new farm bill. Garcia has always been a friend of wheat and we wish him the best as he heads back to his home state of Texas. Val Dolcini, the current California FSA state executive director has been selected to replace Garcia.

2014 WILOT Applications Due September 19
The deadline for the National Wheat Foundation’s (NWF) 2014 Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) program is fast approaching. NWF is accepting applications until September 19. Scheduled for November 15 – 20 in St. Louis, Mo., WILOT is an annual program designed for wheat farmers looking to become more involved in the wheat industry through association and commission leadership. The program is sponsored by Monsanto and gives grower-participants the opportunity to visit Monsanto labs and discuss wheat projects with their scientists. Interested candidates can submit applications to Jinger Eberspacher at

Fall Wheat Conference Approaching
NAWG and the U.S. Wheat Associates’ Fall Wheat Conference will be held October 29 – November 1 at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa in Santa Ana, N.M. Click here for more information on the conference.