NAWG Weekly Updates, December 19, 2020

Note that these are the final updates for the year and that NAWG will resume its weekly updates on January 9, 2020. 

House Passes USMCA, NAWG and USW Issue Joint Release
On December 19, 2019, the House of Representatives approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement with a vote of 385 to 41. In a recent joint press release, NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates welcomed the news and thanked Congress for working to get this deal over the finish line. USMCA is now headed to the Senate, where it is expected to receive a vote in early 2020.

JOINT PRESS RELEASE: Wheat Organizations Encouraged by Progress on Phase One Deal with China
On December 13, 2019, NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) issued a release welcoming the news that the United States and China have agreed on the text of a “Phase One” trade deal that apparently would roll back tariffs and re-open China’s important market for U.S. agricultural imports. Read the release in its entirety here. 

NAWG Signs on to Crop Insurance Letter
The Office of Management and Budget has started drafting the FY21 President’s budget. It is expected that the President’s budget will propose drastic cuts to crop insurance. The Crop Insurance Coalition, led by CIRB, sent a letter to the Administration urging no additional cuts to crop insurance in the upcoming FY21 budget process. The letter has 57 signatures, including NAWG and those from farm, lending, ag input, conservation, commodity and insurance organizations. Click here to read the letter.

Congress Passes Fiscal 2020 Spending Packages
On Tuesday, December 17th, the House of Representatives passed two bills constituting a $1.4 trillion spending package that would fund federal agencies through September 2020 and avoid a government shutdown. The package also contains other matters including updates to the tax code known as extenders. On Thursday, December 19th, the Senate voted to send the same funding measures to the President. Of particular note, these funding bills will fully fund the US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative at $15 million, which is an increase of $5.5 million from FY2019 and was a top priority in our appropriations testimony for the record last spring.  Additionally, the bill provides an additional $1.5 billion (repurposed from the first iteration of WHIP) for WHIP+, as well as language directing the quality losses as well as losses resulting from “excessive moisture” be covered.  President Trump is expected to sign both of them into law ahead of the current funding deadline of December 20th.

NAWG Member News: Oregon Wheat CEO Announced
This past week, the Oregon Wheat Commission (OWC) and Oregon Wheat Growers League (OWGL) announced the selection of a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to provide continuing leadership, vision, focus, and unity to their organizations. Amanda Hoey of The Dalles, Oregon will serve as the next Chief Executive Officer of the organizations. “The OWC and OWGL representatives were equally impressed with Amanda’s qualifications and interview, she was very well spoken and has a great deal of experience to take on the role. I have complete confidence she will serve the organizations well,” current CEO, Blake Rowe stated.
2020 Joint USW/NAWG Winter Conference
The 2020 Joint NAWG/USW Winter Conference is scheduled for Monday, January 12th through Friday, January 17that the Grand Hyatt Washington located in downtown Washington, D.C. For details on how to register, visit NAWG’s site here.

Additionally, “Wheat 104” has been scheduled for Thursday, January 16, 2019 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST in the United States Kennedy Caucus room (Russell 325). The Secretary of Agriculture and chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees have also been invited for a special preview of the event at 3:30 p.m. EST.

NWF Scholarship Opportunity for Ag Students – Deadline December 31st!
The National Wheat Foundation is still accepting applications for the Jerry Minore Scholarship. The scholarship opportunity is made available to both high school and college students pursuing a career in agriculture for the 2020-2021 academic year, the deadline for the application is December 31, 2019. This year the Foundation will be issuing two scholarships for $2,500 each. For more details on the scholarships and testimonials from previous winners, check out our latest blog here.

Commodity Classic Housing and Registration
Registration and housing for the 2020 Commodity Classic opened Wednesday, Nov. 13 at CommodityClassic.com. Early bird discounts on registration end January 9, 2020 and additional deadlines can be found here: https://commodityclassic.com/registration. Housing reservations in NAWG’s room block and the trade show registration can be made through this link here.