NAWG Weekly Updates, June 06, 2019

WHEAT INDUSTRY JOINT PRESS RELEASE: Tariffs as Political Weapons Cause Collateral Damage

On May 31, 2019, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) issued a joint statement in response to President Donald Trump’s unilateral step to impose a five percent tariff on all Mexican goods imported by the United States. NAWG and USW argued that “this action threatens to undermine approval of the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and puts crucial wheat demand in Mexico at great risk.” Read the release in its entirety here.

 

PRESS RELASE: NAWG Submits Comments to EPA’s Review of a Petition to Modify the Tolerance and Product Labels for Glyphosate with Regard to Oats

On June 05, 2019, the National Association of Wheat Growers submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s request for comments on a petition filed by several special interest groups to reduce the tolerance of glyphosate in or on oats and requiring glyphosate-containing product labels to explicitly prohibit preharvest use on oats (Docket Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2019-0066).

 

Read NAWG’s release and comments requesting the EPA to reject the petition.

   

NAWG Provides Policy Update to MGGA

On Wednesday, June 5, 2019, Josh Tonsager, NAWG’s Vice President of Policy and Communications, provided a policy update to the Montana Grain Growers Association (MGGA)’s Board of Directors via conference call. Tonsager discussed the upcoming legislative calendar for Congress and NAWG’s focus and priorities for the upcoming months.

 

NAWG Attends and Speaks During 2019 Southern Illinois Winter Wheat Tour

On May 29, 2019, NAWG Research and Technology Policy Advisor, Steve Joehl, attended the 2019 Southern Illinois Winter Wheat Tour. Hosted by NAWG Associate Member, Illinois Wheat Association, the tour started at Siemer Milling Company in Teutopolis, IL and concluded with an evening report session at Southern Illinois University Belleville Research Center in Belleville, IL. Joehl participated in the tour providing a brief policy update and overview of NAWG’s recent activities to attendees during the evening report session.

 

NWF Blog Series on Wheat and Gene Editing
NAWG Summer 2019 Intern Merrick Irvin is drafting a five-part blog series on the advancement of wheat since it was first cultivated, to its current state, and to its future through using technology. The first blog in the series takes a high-level look at the history of wheat. The second blog in the series will focus on “What is gene editing?” and provide a general overview of the process and how it could help move the wheat crop forward.

 

USDA Solicits Commodity Board Topics and Contribution of Funding under AFRI

On June 5, 2019, USDA issued a solicitation on behalf of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for Federal and State-level commodity board entities to be considered for inclusion in future Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grants program. These commodity board topic entities will be co-funded equally with NIFA and must relate to the established priority areas of AFRI when submitting a Requests for Applications (RFAs). Frequently asked questions for commodity board topics are found here on the NIFA website. To submit your own commodity board topic, visit the link found here.

 

USDA Announces a New Proposed Rule on Genetically Engineered Organisms

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proposed a rule titled the “Movement of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms” to update the department’s biotechnology regulations. In preparing this proposal, APHIS was guided by the following principles: Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform, Responsible, Efficient, or SECURE for short. The SECURE rule will modernize the Department’s biotechnology regulations with a balanced approach that continues to protect plant health while allowing agricultural innovation to thrive. The Federal Register notice can be found here and begin accepting comments for 60 days starting on August 5th, 2019.

House Passes $19 Billion Disaster Aid Bill

On Monday, June 3, 2019, the House passed a $19.1 billion aid bill by a vote of 354-58. The purpose of the bill is to assist states and territories hit by natural disasters since 2017. The legislation specifically outlines $3 billion for the Department of Agriculture to cover losses to producers affected by natural disasters. The agriculture spending in the bill, including direct payments to farmers, is expected to total $5.5 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

 

According to Agri-Pulse, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. said the prevented-planting provision was added to the disaster bill because USDA’s trade assistance excluded unplanted acres from being eligible.

 

On Thursday, June 6, 2019, President Trump signed the disaster aid bill into law.

 

House Appropriations Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2020 Ag Bill

On June 03, 2019, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill on a vote of 29 to 21. Appropriation bills for the fiscal year 2020 are expected to go through the House starting on June 12th. The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet considered the agriculture bill with the fiscal year 2020 Defense bill being the primary focus.

 

Judge Orders Anheuser-Busch To Pull Beer Corn Syrup Ads

On May 25, 2019, U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled that Anheuser-Busch is to stop advertising content suggesting MillerCoors’ light beers contain corn syrup. According to AP, MillerCoors sued its rival in March, saying St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch has spent as much as $30 million on a “false and misleading” campaign, including $13 million in its first commercials during this year’s Super Bowl.

 

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NWF Accepting Entries for 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest

The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) is currently accepting grower enrollment for the 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest! The Contest is divided into two primary competition categories: winter wheat and spring wheat, and two subcategories: dryland and irrigated. The Foundation is currently accepting entries for Spring Wheat. The Spring wheat entry deadline is August 1st with an early registration deadline of June 15th.