NAWG Weekly Updates, April 11, 2019

Capital Press Publishes NAWG OpEd on Glyphosate
On April 8, 2019 Capital Press published an opinion editorial under the byline of NAWG President and Lavon, TX farmer Ben Scholz. The purpose of the piece was to present the facts on how wheat farmers use glyphosate on their crop. Glyphosate is an “active ingredient in many herbicide brands such as Roundup and is one of the most effective tools to combat weeds prior to planting or after wheat is harvested,” argues Scholz. “It is a safe and effective product, allowing farmers to manage their crops without bringing risk to themselves, their families, their workers and the environment.”

2017 Census of Agriculture Data Now Available!
On April 11, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture which now includes new data about on-farm decision making. According to results, farm numbers and land in farms have ongoing small percentage declines since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. Further, the average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise. For more information, read USDA’s release here.

New WOTUS Proposed Rule Comment Deadline – April 15th
On Tuesday, December 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers released a new proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule which redefines the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act more narrowly and provides clarity to what is required of landowners. The proposed rule can be found in the Federal Register (FR) with supporting resources located on the EPA’s site here. The 60-Day public comment period will close on April 15, 2019; NAWG will be submitting comments.

REMINDER: NRCS Seeks Comments on Conservation Practices
As part of the 2018 Farm Bill Implementation, USDA NRCS is requesting public comments on how to improve conservation practice standards that support programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, which help producers cover part of the costs for implementing these practices. More information can be found in the Federal Register; the comment period ends April 25, 2019. NAWG is currently solicitating feedback from its member states to submit comments.

Senate Appropriations Committee Holds Subcommittee Hearing on USDA FY2020 Budget Request
On April 11, 2019 the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture held a hearing on the FY2020 budget request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The witness list included USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson, and USDA Budget Officer Erica Navarro. The hearing focused on a variety of topics, including USMCA, implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill, rural development, and natural disaster prevention and mitigation. The Subcommittee also approached cell-based meat, food aid programs in Kansas and Maine, and mental health programs for farmers. Note that earlier in the week, Secretary Perdue testified to the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture on USDA’s 2020 Budget Request.

Groups Send Food Aid Letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committees
More than 75 groups, including the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), sent a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees advocating on behalf of international food aid programs. In the letter, the groups stated their support for P.L. 480 Title II Food for Peace, Food for Progress, and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education programs, and called on the Committees to ensure that they are robustly funded in the FY 2020 appropriations. The letter to the House Appropriations Committee can be found here and the accompanying letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee can be found here.

Secretary Perdue Statement on Vietnam’s Ban on the Importation of Glyphosate
This week Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department has announced that it has asked businesses to stop signing new import contracts for glyphosate-based herbicides (the product itself). In response, USDA Secretary Perdue issued a statement expressing disappointment in Vietnam’s decision to ban glyphosate. “On numerous occasions, USDA has shared scientific studies with MARD from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other internationally recognized regulatory bodies concluding that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans. This ban flies on the face of that scientific evidence. Furthermore, Vietnam has sidestepped its obligation to notify this regulatory change to the World Trade Organization.” Read USDA’s release in its entirety here.

American Bakers Association Unveils Most In-Depth Study on Gen Z Consumers Habits; Reveals Millennial Perceptions of Baked Goods
On April 8, the American Bakers Association released a report revealing that baked goods have promising future as their spending and influence increase over time. “Millennials are now the trend drivers in the baked goods category,” said Jason Dorsey, President of the Center for Generational Kinetics and the author of this report.

Some of the key findings include:

  • 78% of Gen Z and Millennials eat carbs in their regular diet
  • 75% are not concerned about carbohydrate consumption when consuming baked goods
  • When it comes to bread, food waste in the main concern that inhibits purchases
  • The most important nutritional descriptors for baked goods are “whole grains”, “freshness”, and “natural ingredients”

REMINDER: Farmers for Free Trade Launches 11 State, 3,500 Mile RV Tour Across the Midwest in Support of USMCA
On April 3, 2019, Farmers for Free Trade announced that it will be executing a Motorcade for Trade tour. This tour is an 11 state, 3,500 mile RV tour across the country in support of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The tour will begin at Kreider Farms in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Friday, April 12 and end in Billings, MT on Friday, April 26th.  NAWG Vice President Dave Milligan’s farm will be a location on the tour and former Board of Director Michelle Erickson-Jones’ farm will conclude the tour. Additionally, a grower of Minnesota Wheat is also being consider to host a farm event during the tour, and a farmer from Ohio Corn and Wheat will be hosting an event. For more details and if you would like to participate, read their release here.

NWF Accepting Entries for 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest
The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) is currently accepting grower enrollment for the 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest! The Contest is divided into two primary competition categories: winter wheat and spring wheat, and two subcategories: dryland and irrigated. The Foundation is accepting entries for Winter and Spring Wheat. The deadline for Winter Wheat entries is May 15th. The Spring wheat entry deadline is August 1st with an early registration deadline of June 15th.