NAWG Weekly Updates, June 07, 2018

Senate Ag Farm Bill Markup to be Held Next Wednesday
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., have announced that the Senate Ag Committee will mark up a new farm bill on Wednesday. The markup of the five-year bill will be held at 9:30 a.m. in Room 328A of the Russell Senate Office Building. For more information, read the release here.

Farm Organizations Look for Negotiations with China to Achieve Durable Market Access
On Friday, May 31, 2018, U.S. Wheat, NAWG, and sixteen other U.S. agricultural organizations sent a letter to President Trump expressing hope that he will “prioritize negotiations with China to resolve many longstanding obstacles to U.S. agricultural exports while avoiding mutually destructive tariffs. In the letter, the organizations agree that there are certainly major problems in the U.S. trade relationship with China, and they stated that the Trump Administration has “rightfully identified many unfair trading practices by China that harm the U.S. economy.” The groups want to see a “major recalibration of our trade relationship with China” that would result in U.S. producers “receiving the full benefits of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization.” Read U.S Wheat’s release highlighting the letter here.

Mexico Unveils Tarriffs on U.S. Ag
In response to the administration’s trade actions, Mexico has decided to impose tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products.  As farmers across the U.S. prepare what is ahead, many fear these tariffs will be detrimental to the agricultural industry. Larry Kudlow, White House Chief Economic Adviser, has shared that the President Trump is now preferring to work out separate trade deals with Canada and Mexico.

In a related noted, U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) have introduced legislation to require congressional approval of tariffs designated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

USDA Resumes Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment
As part of a 33-year effort to protect sensitive lands and improve water quality and wildlife habitat on private lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will resume accepting applications for the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office between June 4 and Aug. 17, 2018. USDA will not open a general signup this year, however, a one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter with more information. Click here for the official notice and details or read USDA’s release.

White House Rejects RFS Deal Because it will Hurt Farmers
President Trump has decided to block a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) deal that they have stated administration would hurt farmers.  The deal would have allowed exported ethanol to be eligible to receive biofuel credits in return for permitting E15 use year-round. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have continuously argued against the deal, expressing the concern from American farmers about the administrations trade negotiations.  Read more here.

Trump’s Plan to Reorganize Government, Now Includes USDA
The Trump administration is planning a government reorganization report that would include shifting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from the Agriculture Department to the Health and Human Services Department, Politico reported. The Politico piece also said that the report would propose cuts at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department, but it did not mention age-old proposals to move the U.S. Forest Service from USDA to the Interior Department or to combine USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which oversees meat, poultry, processed eggs and catfish with the inspection activities of the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies.

USDA NASS Continues to Accept Submissions for Census
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is collecting data for the 2017 Census on Agriculture. The deadline to fill out the questionnaire is June 15th. The census responses are utilized on the national, state and local level to make decisions that impact farmers, ranchers and rural Americans. To fill the form out online, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

ASTA and NAPB Launch 2nd Annual “Better Seed, Better Life” Student Video Contest
Graduate and undergraduate students pursuing agriculture disciplines are invited to participate in the second annual Better Seed, Better Life student video contest sponsored by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB). The 2018 contest theme is: “Rumor Has It.” Videos should help set the record straight on a common misconception or myth associated with the seed industry and plant sciences. This could include any aspect of the seed industry (from plant breeding, to seed treatments, gluten, organics, GMOs, big corporate, the role of seed in everyday life, etc.). Videos should incorporate “man on the street” style interviews along with your own original content. Video submissions are due August 31, 2018. Videos will be judged by an expert panel, and cash prizes will be awarded for winners. For more information, including video specifications and submission requirements, visit the contest webpage.

NWF National Wheat Yield Contest: Spring Wheat Deadline August 1st!  
The National Wheat Foundation’s (NWF) annual National Wheat Yield Contest continues to drive innovation in the industry by spotlighting the best practices among American wheat growers. In its third year, the contest is working on adding a quality requirement, raising the bar for what constitutes the greater grain among U.S. wheat growers. For more information on contest guidelines, deadlines, and to register, visit https://yieldcontest.wheatfoundation.org/!