NAWG Weekly Updates, December 6, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates Welcome Official Signing of USMCA, Encourage Repeat with Japan
On November 30, 2018, leaders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico officially signed the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) issued a release applauding the three countries for working together to finalize USMCA. Read our joint release here.

NAWG Attends and Participates in USWBSI Forum and NWIC
From December 2-4, 2018, NAWG Director of Research and Technology Steve Joehl attended the annual US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative Forum (USWBSI) in St. Louis, MO. Shortly after, Joehl participated in the National Wheat Improvement Committee (NWIC) meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 5th. Steve serves in the role of Secretary for NWIC and provided an update on the 2018 Farm Bill and other NAWG activities.

Secretary Purdue Appoints New NRCS Chief
On Monday, Dec. 3rd Sec. Purdue announced Matt Lohr will serve as the new chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Lohr is a Republican farmer and rancher from Virginia. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates, was the Commissioner of Agriculture for Virginia, and a Knowledge Center Director for Farm Credit. Read NRCS’ press release here.

NRCS Action on CSP Contracts Expiring December 31, 2018
When the Farm Bill expired on September 30, 2018, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) lost the ability to enroll and re-enroll growers in its Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Currently, growers who signed CSP contracts in fiscal year 2014 (2014-1 CSP) have contracts that will expire on December 31, 2018. Because CSP contracts are for 5 years, NRCS is taking action to extend those contracts for the full 5 years. For more information, read its USDA’s notice here.

EPA, USDA Encourage Use of Market-based and Other Collaborative Approaches to Address Excess Nutrients
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a letter to state and tribal co-regulators that encourages increased engagement and a reinvigoration of state, tribal and federal efforts to reduce excess nutrients in waterways, with a focus on market-based and other collaborative approaches. Read USDA’s release 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.