NAWG Weekly Updates, January 31, 2019

Field to Market Announces Three-Year Strategic Plan, Welcomes New Board Members
On January 29, 2019, Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture launched a new three-year strategic plan. The 2019-2021 Strategic Plan builds on more than a decade of Field to Market’s role as the leading multi-stakeholder organization committed to defining, measuring and advancing sustainability in commodity crop production in the United States. A major premise of the new plan involves leveraging the collective influence of Field to Market’s diverse membership to meet this challenge and drive continuous improvement in environmental outcomes.

On January 30, Field to Market will welcome new members to its Board of Directors, comprised of three representatives from each of the five membership sectors of Field to Market: Affiliate, Agribusiness, Brands & Retail, Civil Society and Growers. NAWG’s Environmental Policy Advisor Keira Franz represents NAWG on this board. Read Field to Market’s release here.

USDA Awards Agricultural Trade Promotion Program Funding
On Thursday, January 31, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets. The ATP is one of three USDA programs created to mitigate the effects of unjustified trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) accepted ATP applications between September 4 and November 2 – totaling nearly $600 million – from U.S. trade associations, cooperatives, and other industry-affiliated organizations. U.S. Wheat Associates is one of the funding recipients who will be receiving more than $8.2 million.

USDA Plans to Release February WASDE on Schedule
According to AgriPulse, USDA will be able to get the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report out on the scheduled date of February 8th. The January report was cancelled due to the shutdown. Other reports like Crop Production will also be coming out, but specific dates have not been set. The USDA has failed to produce dozens of reports that farmers and ranchers depend on for market information since the government shutdown began on December 22nd.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service to Delay Ag Census
On January 30, 2019, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) Agricultural Statistics Board announced that it will begin rescheduling reports that were affected by the lapse in federal funding. The 2017 Census of Agriculture was among the reports listed.

Senate Committee on Environment to Vote on EPA Administrator Nomination
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote on February 5th on Andrew Wheeler’s nomination to be EPA administrator. Wheeler has been serving as acting head of the agency since July.

Secretary Purdue Selects Three Senior Leaders at USDA
On January 28, 2019 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue selected three highly-qualified individuals for senior leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Perdue named Dr. Mindy Brashears as Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, Naomi Earp as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and Dr. Scott Hutchins as Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. Perdue stated, “At USDA, we’ve been engaged in fulfilling our mission without all of our players on the field, so we want to get these strong, qualified leaders in the game”. Brashears, Earp, and Hutchins will begin working at USDA on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.

CBO Forecasts Payments to Farmers at Highest Level in More Than a Decade
Government payments to farmers are forecast to hit their highest level in more than a decade because of the trade assistance being provided to producers this year, and the total could go even higher if Congress, as expected, authorizes a new round of disaster aid. According to the Congressional Budget Office, commodity payments are currently expected to reach $17.2 billion for this fiscal year, due to the $9.8 billion in trade assistance producers are expected to receive. That would be the highest level of government payments since 2006, when payments totaled $18.2 billion, and 2005 ($18.8 billion).

NWF Officially Opens 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest
The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) has officially announced that it is accepting grower enrollment for the 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest! The deadline for Winter Wheat entries is May 15th with an early registration deadline of April 1st. The Spring wheat entry deadline is August 1st, with an early registration deadline of June 15th. To register for the contest, visit here.

The 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest sponsors include AgriMaxx, Ardent Mills, BASF, Corteva Agriscience, Indigo Ag, Grain Craft, John Deere, LimaGrain Cereals, Syngenta, and WestBred.

2019 NAWG/U.S. Wheat Winter Conference Housing and Registration Open!
The 2019 NAWG/USW Winter Conference is scheduled for February 12-15, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt Washington in downtown Washington, D.C. To see the agenda and register for the conference, visit U.S. Wheat Associates’ site here.

NAWG’s Policy Committees Meet at the 2019 Commodity Classic!
There is still time to register for the 2019 Commodity Classic, which is scheduled for February 28th – March 2nd in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County 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.

Visit here to register for Classic’s trade show. If you plan on attending NAWG’s committee meetings, please register with us here.