NAWG Weekly Updates, January 04, 2018

NAWG Press Release: Wheat Farmers Experience Extreme Winter Conditions Calling for for Swift Reauthorization of the Farm Bill
Recent extreme winter conditions in major wheat-producing states re-affirm the need for a 2018 Farm Bill and strong federal crop insurance program. According to Radiant Solutions, a data collection and analysis company based in Herndon, Virginia, “solid snow cover in the northern Plains and Midwest gave wheat fields enough protection from the bitter cold conditions, but temperatures that dipped as low as 40 degrees below zero did plenty of damage this past week in the central and southern Plains and southern Midwest.” Read NAWG’s release calling for swift reauthorization of the Farm Bill here.

NAWG Press Release: Attorneys General from Across U.S. Take Action Against California’s Flawed Prop 65 Regulation on Glyphosate
Attorneys General in Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin have filed an amicus brief in support of the preliminary injunction sought by agriculture groups against California’s flawed Prop 65 regulation. In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the California Chamber of Commerce filed their own amicus brief in support of the preliminary injunction to halt the regulation. For more information, read NAWG’s release here.

CBO Report Suggests Cuts to Crop Insurance
Despite the lower indemnities, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is outlining ideas for Congress to cut the cost of the federal crop insurance program, reported AgriPulse. Shortly before Christmas, CBO issued a 38-page report that provides background on the program and a series of options for possible reforms.

Among the options CBO offers: Capping annual premium subsidies at $50,000 a year. CBO says that would save $3.4 billion over 10 years while having a relatively modest impact on participation. Enrollment would be reduced by 500,000 acres and producers would choose lower coverage levels on 2 million acres, CBO says. CBO currently projects that the program will cost $77 billion over the next 10 years.

“NAWG believes this study fails to take in account that the risk in the business of agriculture is different from risk in other businesses.

“In agriculture, farmers face lower rate of returns, weather related risks, and market risks due to a global market distorted by high foreign subsidies, tariffs, and non-tariff trade barriers. They are also up against unfair playing field with countries like China who aren’t hoping up to their end of the deal.

“NAWG continues to oppose any efforts that would undermine the current structure of the federal crop insurance program.”

Crop Insurance Cuts Modest in 2017
Despite the severe drought in North Dakota and hurricanes that damaged crops in Texas and the Southeast last year, it appears that crop insurance premiums are once again going to easily exceed the claims that will be paid, according to AgriPulse.

The latest weekly report shows that the program has paid out less than $3.7 billion in indemnities so far, compared to premiums of more than $10.1 billion. That works out to a loss ratio of 0.37.  Economists say payments will rise in coming weeks as claims continue to be paid but indemnities should still be well under 1.0 for the fourth year in a row.

USDA’s chief economist, Rob Johansson says “they will likely wind up in the range of $6 billion to $7 billion on premiums of $10.1 billion.” That would put the loss ratio around 0.60 to 0.70. The last time losses exceeded total premiums was in 2013 when $12.1 billion in indemnities were paid out on $11.8 billion in premiums. Texas leads the nation in indemnities paid so far on 2016 crops at $529 million, followed by North Dakota at $487 million.

Registration and Housing Has Officially Opened for 2018 Joint USW/NAWG Winter Meeting
The 2018 NAWG/USW Winter Meeting is taking place February 6-10, 2018 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. To register for this year’s conference, visit here. Hotel reservations under the NAWG room block can be made herePlease note the CUT-OFF DATE for making hotel room reservations is Friday, January 12, 2017. You can also view the schedule and register for the conference on NAWG’s website.

Registration and Housing Has Officially Opened for the 2018 Commodity Classic
The 2018 Commodity Classic is taking place from February 25-March 02, 2018 in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Convention Center. Wheat growers can register and book housing online: www.commodityclassic.com/registration or via phone: (800) 465-0482. Tours may be reserved online at http://www.commodityclassic.com/optional-tours. If you have questions regarding tours, please direct them to: Hello! California at (619) 785-5828 or email: cc2018tours@hello-dmc.com. They are available 8:30 am – 5:30 pm Pacific Time, Monday-Friday. Tours may not be reserved by telephone. For more information on Commodity Classic, visit the conference site: http://www.commodityclassic.com/home.

Study: Millennials Favor Veggies Over Meat
A recent study by the Economic Research Service (ERS), shows that Millennials are demanding healthier and fresher food and spending less of their expenditures on food at home (FAH). The report “focuses on associations between generation and food purchasing decisions using 2014 as a representative year.” Among all generations, millennials spend the smallest share of their food budgets on grains, white meat and read meat.

Millennials do spend more on red meat as their income rises. However, economists found a clear trend: There are “consistent generational differences in meat consumption; each expenditure trend for white and red meat decreases with each younger generation.” Visit the ERS USDA site for more information.