NAWG Weekly Updates, March 29, 2018

Opinion Editorial – Jimmie Musick: Crop Insurance Protects Farming for Future Generations
In his recent op-ed in the The Oklahoman, NAWG President Jimmie Musick discusses how crop insurance is helping wheat growers get through the current tough economic times. Musick mentions how his five-generation family farm in Sentinel shares a similar story with many wheat growers dealing with extreme weather conditions and low commodity prices. Read his piece here.

PRESS RELEASE: Agriculture Coalition Launches ‘Fix Prop 65’ Site in Effort to Halt California’s Unsound Glyphosate Regulation
NAWG and the Ag Defense Alliance have launched a new website providing resources and information about its case against California’s unjustified Prop 65 listing of glyphosate. The Fix Prop 65 website provides research and background on the case, testimonials from farmers, information about glyphosate, how it is used, and what the scientific community has stated about this safe-for-use, environmental sustainable herbicide. For more information, visit  FIXPROP65.COM and read our release here.

U.S. and South Korea Update Trade Deal
In a recent joint statement, USTR Ambassador Lighthizer and Minister Kim announced that the United States and the Republic of Korea have reached an agreement in principle on the general terms of amendments and modifications to the United States-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). The amended deal will boost exports of cars, trucks and auto parts to South Korea; the country agreed to lift its cap on imports of U.S. trucks and allow the U.S. to extend its 25 percent tariff on Korean trucks.

Additionally, the amended deal also settles the issue of U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. The proposed U.S. tariff of 25 percent won’t be applied to South Korean steel, but the country did agree to a new quota that’s expected to cut U.S. imports from the country by 30 percent. South Korean aluminum exports won’t be exempt from the 10 percent tariff. CNBC and the LA Times are just a few of the many outlets that covered this announcement.

USDA Announces Loan Rates
On March 29, 2018 the USDA announced the schedule of base county loan rates by wheat class. The national average rate totals $2.94, as set in the Farm Bill. Market assistance loan rates for feed grains, oilseed, rice and pulse crops were also included. Rates for pulse crops varying by region and rough rice varying by state. To view all rates visit the Farm Service Agency (FSA) website at www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/price-support/commodity-loan-rates/index.

Secretary Perdue Issues USDA Statement on Plant Breeding Innovation
On March 28, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a statement providing clarification on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) oversight of plants produced through innovative new breeding techniques which include techniques called genome editing.

Specifically, the guidance clarifies and reaffirms the agency’s existing policy that if products of gene editing are similar to or undistinguishable from products obtained through  more traditional plant breeding they should be treated in the same way from a policy perspective. For complete details, read the release here.

GUEST BLOG: Letter from Alex McGregor, The McGregor Company, on the Importance of Trade
The National Wheat Foundation published its latest guest blog from Alex McGregor of The McGregor Company. In his blog, Alex discusses his journey as a grower to owner of his own company. He also details the importance of why wheat growers need to reach out to Congress and the Administration and urge them to rejoin TPP and to keep vibrant NAFTA and KORUS, with South Korea. Read his blog here.

Secretary Perdue Announces Third “Back to Our Roots” RV Tour
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will kick off his third “Back to Our Roots” RV tour next Tuesday, April 3rd to hear ideas and concerns from local farmers, agriculture students and researchers, business owners, community leaders, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees. Secretary Perdue will also be joined by Administrator Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration (SBA), for part of the tour. The tour spans from Tuesday to Friday and includes stops in Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. For complete details, read the release here.

2018 Bayer Bee Care Young Beekeeper Award: Deadline May 15, 2018
The 2018 Bayer Bee Care Young Beekeeper Award provides entrants between the ages of 12 and 18 the opportunity to win a $3,000 (1st place), $2,000 (2nd place) or $1,000 (3rd place) prize to support honey bee-focused initiatives in their schools or communities or to be applied toward college tuition. Any student under 18 who has approval from a legal guardian as well as a sponsoring mentor, such as an apiarist/beekeeper, grower, community leader, teacher, school official, etc., may apply. To enter online, review application requirements and expectations of the award winner and/or learn about former award recipients, please visit https://beehealth.bayer.us/young-beekeeper-award.

NWF National Wheat Yield Contest: Winter Wheat Early Registration, April 1! 
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 added 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 prizes, visit https://wheatfoundation.org/rules-and-registration! Enroll in the winter wheat early registration by April 1, 2018.