NAWG Weekly Updates, December 5, 2019

House Ag Committee to Hold Farm Bill Implementation Hearing
On December 10, 2019, the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture is scheduled to hold a hearing titled “The Implementation of Farm Bill International Food Assistance and Development Programs.” The hearing will begin at 10:00am and stream live. Witnesses have not been announced.

New CRP Regulation Released
On December 5, 2019, USDA posted the new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) regulation on the Federal Register’s Public Inspection website with a plan of printing the regulation in the Federal Register on Friday.  This means the regulation will become effective on Friday and allows USDA to move forward with a CRP general sign up.  The 2018 Farm Bill made significant changes to CRP and USDA has been working to incorporate those changes into this new regulation and train FSA staff.  Most notably, CRP acreage cap was increased 27 million acres, up from the previous cap of 24 million acres and CRP rental rates will be capped at 85% of county rental rates for general sign-up and 90% of county rental rates for continuous sign up. This reduction in rental rates allowed for the increase in the acreage cap. The Farm Bill also made changes to the haying and grazing provisions in CRP, and created a two new pilot programs Clean Lakes Estuaries and Rivers 30 (CLEAR) program and the Soil Health and Income Protection Pilot Program. The NAWG Environment and Research Committee will be reviewing the regulation and developing comments for NAWG to submit.

FFT Release: Democratic Ag Leaders and More Than 2,200 Small Farmers Nationwide Urge Congress to End Delays and Pass USMCA
On December 3, 2019, Farmers for Free Trade hosted a call with Michelle Erickson-Jones, a wheat farmer from Montana; Former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and current President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council; and Coalition Spokesperson, Former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) to discuss the need to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). On the call, the participants also spoke about a new letter from more than 2,200 farmers nationwide that was sent to House and Senate leaders, calling for swift passage of the modernized trade agreement, which was signed nearly a year ago. The release in its entirety can be found here.

2020 Joint USW/NAWG Winter Conference
The 2020 Joint NAWG/USW Winter Conference is scheduled for Monday, January 12th through Friday, January 17th at the Grand Hyatt Washington located in downtown Washington, D.C. For details on how to register and book housing, 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 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 Extended!
The National Wheat Foundation is officially 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.

USFRA Annual Report for FY19
U.S. Farmers and Ranchers (USFRA ) has completed an annual report for FY2019. Within the annual report, the top accomplishments of the year are highlighted, as well as financial information and a listing of USFRA’s board of directors and funders.

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. States should send their housing requests to Caitlin Eannello at ceannello@wheatworld.org by Wednesday, December 18, 2019.