NAWG Weekly Updates, December 13, 2018

2018 Farm Bill Passes Both House and Senate; Off to President Trump for Signature
On Tuesday, December 11th, the Senate passed the 2018 farm bill conference report in a vote of 87-to-13. One day later, the House voted to pass the bill 386-47. NAWG commends both the House and Senate for working together to finalize a conference report, and for moving the bill swiftly through both chambers. Read NAWG’s release highlighting the bill here. 

NAWG Responds to New WOTUS Proposed Rule
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. NAWG ERR Committee Chairman and Maryland wheat farmer Eric Spates, along with NAWG environmental policy advisor Keira Franz attended the official signing. NAWG welcomed the new proposed rule in its press release. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated its website with fact sheets and other helpful information on the new proposed rule.

WOLF Nominations Needed
The Wheat Organization Leaders of Tomorrow (WOLF) Program for upcoming NAWG leaders will be taking place at the beginning of Winter Conference from Monday, February 11th– Tuesday, February 12th, 2019. The WOLF program is sponsored by Bayer through a partnership with the National Wheat Foundation and will come at no cost to participants or your state association. All participants flights to and from DC will be covered, as well as meals and hotel rooms for Monday and Tuesday. We do encourage participants to stay through the full NAWG Board meeting, however hotel rooms after Tuesday night will be at the cost of a state association. We are asking for all WOLF applications to be returned to Craig Berning, cberning@wheatworld.org, by Friday December 21st, 2018. 

White House Delays MFP Payments
The White House is delaying additional payments from a $12 billion aid package for farmers stung by President Donald Trump’s trade war with China because it expects Beijing to resume buying U.S. soybeans. The move comes despite a lack of evidence in agricultural markets of any return by China to the U.S. soy market. China last year purchased about 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports, but it has not inked any new soybean deals since Beijing imposed tariffs on U.S. supplies in July. Reuters covers the story here. 

USDA Updates Wetland Determination Guidance to Increase Consistency, Timeliness
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is improving the process by which it makes wetland determinations, updating guidance to improve consistency and timeliness as well as to responding to feedback from farmers and other stakeholders. The updates do not change the definition of a wetland for USDA program participation purposes, but rather provide greater clarity and uniformity in how NRCS makes determinations nationwide. On December 7, 2018, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) posted an updated guidance in the Federal Register as an interim final rule. NRCS is accepting comments on this rule through Feb. 5, 2019. Review or comment on the interim final rule on the Federal Register by Feb. 5, 2019. Learn more about conservation compliance on the NRCS website. 

Former NAWG President and Nebraska Farmer Passes
Mr. John “Frank” Franklin Johannsen passed away at age 92 on December 9, 2018 at Heritage Estates, Gering, Nebraska. Johannsen helped found the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association and his subsequent service on committees and served as State President in 1975 and 1976. He became active in the National Association of Wheat Growers serving as Secretary-Treasurer, Vice-President and President in 1989. While serving as president, he made a number of trips around the United States and abroad for wheat market development, including one trip around the world. He also served on the Board of Directors for U. S. Wheat Associates, a market development group. His obituary can be found here. 

Soil Health Partnership (SHP)’s Annual Soil Health Summit
As the pursuit of improved soil health as an on-farm business and environmental strategy continues to grow, the Soil Health Partnership  is taking a new step to foster that interest. For the first time, the organization has opened to the public the annual Soil Health Summit, January 15 – 16 in St. Louis, and encourages growers and agronomists to attend. Registration is open from the Soil Health Summit website. The registration fee for the two-day event is just $100 for farmers and educators. The cost for other attendees is $250. This registration fee includes the event meals, all sessions, and a reception. 

Housing and Registration Opens for 2019 Commodity Classic
Housing and registration has officially opened for the 2019 Commodity Classic, which is scheduled for February 28th – March 2nd in Orlando, Florida at the Orlando 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. To register and book a hotel room, use the NAWG room block here.

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. Please remember to register your spouses and select the correct room block on the LAST PAGE of your registration. The deadline to reserve your room is MONDAY, JANUARY 21, 2019.