NAWG Weekly Updates, April 26, 2018

Wheat Attends NAFB Washington Watch 2018|
On April 23, 2018, NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) hosted a table at the National Association of Farm Broadcaster (NAFB)’s Annual Washington Watch Issues Forum held at the Holiday Inn Capitol in Washington, D.C. NAFB had more than 30 farm broadcasters registered. NAWG Vice President Ben Scholz and CEO Chandler Goule acted as official spokesmen and address several topics including: 1. 2018 Farm Bill: Getting it Across the Finish Line; 2. Threats to Crop Insurance: Correcting Misconceptions Around the Policy; 3. National Wheat Foundation Activities: National Wheat Yield Contest and National Wheat Action Plan; 4. Outlook for Congressional Action on Trade; and 5. Funding for MAP and FMD. USW President Vince Peterson and Assistant Director of Policy Elizabeth Westendorf represented U.S. Wheat and spoke to the following topics: 1. Trade Policy Implications for U.S. Wheat Growers; 2. How Growers Benefit from USDA Export Market Development Programs; and 3. Perspectives on Global Wheat Market. For more information visit https://nafb.com/events/washington-watch and follow @NAFB.

Thune/Brown ARC Improvement and Innovation Act Introduced
On April 25th, Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced a Title 1 marker bill, the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) Improvement and Innovation Act, which includes significant changes to ARC, PLC, and base acres. For highlights of the bill, read the Thune/Brown joint release here or read the AgriPulse piece covering the legislation here.

NAWG Comments re: Neonic Registration Review at EPA
On April 20, 2018, NAWG submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s registration review of Neonicotinoid pesticides imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, docket numbers. In its comments, NAWG expressed concern that current EPA assessments are overly conservative and do not represent real-world risks that producers face every day.  Further, NAWG stated that refinements in the assessment are necessary to better represent the real-world situations encountered by wheat growers that should be measured against the benefits of neonicotinoid products. NAWG supports the continued use of neonicotinoids by wheat growers under stewardship protocols and label guidelines that are realistic and sensible, while still protecting the environment in which their use occurs. Read the comments here.

NAFTA Agreement May Come May 4th
The United States, Mexico and Canada may try to announce an agreement in principle on a revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement on May 4, according to The Hagstrom Report. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has proposed withdrawing from NAFTA in order to force Congress to vote on the new agreement, according to Politico. There appears to be no new speculation on the fate of agricultural issues such as Canada’s dairy program or surges in Mexican tomato exports to the United States. But 94 House Democrats expressed fears that the Mexican Senate could pull the rug out from negotiations on labor issues. 

McMorris Rodgers Bill to Protect To Protect Columbia and Snake River Dams Passes House
On April 25th, a bill to protect the protect Columbia and Snake River Dams passed the House by a vote of 225 to 189. Introduced by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) alongside Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Greg Walden (R-OR), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR), H.R. 3144 will protect the dams by codifying the 2014 Biological Opinion, a collaborative agreement on how to manage the river system to protect fish and support clean, renewable energy. NAWG sent a letter to the House in support of this legislation. To learn more about H.R. 3144, read the bill sponsors’ joint release here.

Agri-Pulse Trade Series Kicks Off
Agri-Pulse has kicked off its new trade series “Export or Bust,” dealing with the challenges and opportunities for U.S. agriculture when it comes to selling more commodities and value-added products to overseas customers. Part one looks at the importance of international markets for a wide variety of farmers, ranchers and value-added producers. The first article is sponsored by Farm Bureau, while down the page on the Agri-Pulse Home Page (right side) and the page with the article, NAWG and U.S. Wheat’s sponsorship of the series is also listed. NAWG and USW are the featured sponsors for the third article in the series which is schedule to release during the week of May 30th.

Precision Ag and Broadband Gaps Get Hill Focus
On April 25, 2019, the Senate Commerce Committee acted on a bill today aimed at addressing the gaps in internet access that can slow the adoption of precision agriculture, reported AgriPulse. The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act would create a public-private task force to measure the existing gaps in coverage and make policy recommendations for closing them. The goal is to provide adequate broadband service on 95 percent of U.S. cropland and ranchland by 2025. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn are sponsors of the Bill. Reps. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, have introduced a companion bill in the House.

NWF National Wheat Yield Contest: Winter Wheat Deadline – May 15! 
The National Wheat Foundation’s (NWF) annual National Wheat Yield Contest continues to drive innovation in the industry by spotlighting the best practices among American wheat growers. In its third year, the contest added a quality requirement, raising the bar for what constitutes the greater grain among U.S. wheat growers. For more information on contest guidelines, deadlines and how to apply, visit https://yieldcontest.wheatfoundation.org/. The deadline for Winter Wheat submissions is May 15th!

2017 Census of Agriculture Closing Soon!
The National Association of Wheat Growers wants to remind everyone that The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) participation due date for the 2017 Census of Agriculture is quickly approaching. The Census of Agriculture is the only comprehensive source of agricultural data for the sector and proves as an invaluable tool for agriculturalist, policymakers, trade associations, researchers, agribusinesses, agricultural educators, and especially our current intern Michael Granche who relies on this data for accurate project completion for NAWG. Farmers and ranchers who wish to respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture may do so online at www.agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. NASS will release the current Census results in February 2019. More information can be found at www.agcensus.usd.gov or by calling the toll-free number (888)424-7828.