NAWG Weekly Updates, May 10, 2018

NAWG Press Release: As Farm Bill Heats Up, NAWG Officers Hold Annual Fly-In
This week, NAWG officers are traveling to Washington D.C. for their annual Fly-in to meet with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss the importance of passing a Farm Bill this year. A few NAWG state associations are also hitting the Hill with the officers including the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, Texas Wheat Producers Association, and Washington Association of Wheat Growers. NAWG held meetings with nearly the entire Senate Ag Committee and their staff. Read NAWG’s release highlighting the Fly-In here and follow us on Twitter @wheatworld, #WheatinDC and Facebook!

NAWG/USW Respond to USTR Challenge to India’s Farm Subsidy Report
On Wednesday, May 9th, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the United States has challenged India’s report to the World Trade Organization on its levels of market price support for wheat and rice. In a joint release, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) commended the Administration on this move and consider the counter notification “an appropriate and welcome step that further brings transparency to countries’ farm support programs.” Read the release in its entirety here.

NWF Blog: NAWG’s Craig Berning Shares His Experience of the 2018 Kansas Wheat Quality Tour
Last week, NAWG’s Coordinator of Federal Government Relations Craig Berning participated in the Hard Red Winter Wheat Quality Tour of Kansas. Hosted by the Wheat Quality Council, the tour left Manhattan on Monday, swinging west to the town of Colby on Tuesday and then south to Wichita on Wednesday, before ending back in Manhattan. Berning provided updates of the tour along the way through his posts on @wheatworld and #WheatTour18 but also recapped his experience in a recent National Wheat Foundation blog.

House Ag Approps Approves FY19 bill
The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday approved the fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill for the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Farm Credit Administration. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the bill next week. Total discretionary funding in the legislation is $23.27 billion, which is $14 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. In total, the bill allows for $145.09 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding — $922 million below the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. Bill text can be found here and highlights are here.

House Panel OK’s Bill to Ax WOTUS
As reported in AgriPulse, the House Appropriations Committee’s energy and water subcommittee advanced a spending bill for fiscal year 2019 that would increase funding for the Army Corps of Engineers and repeal the “waters of the U.S.” rule…EPA and the Corps have not finalized their proposal to rescind the rule, which means they also have not offered a replacement. The energy and water spending bill would repeal WOTUS until the agencies come up with a new rule. The bill would fund the Corps at $7.28 billion, an increase of $451 million from the current fiscal year.

On another note, a new WOTUS rule won’t be final until September 2019, nine months later than EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has told Congress the agency would come up with one. That’s according to the latest regulatory agenda released by the Trump administration. EPA plans to issue a proposed rule in August and a final rule in September 2019, according to the agenda.

House Ag Releases Farm Bill Report, Dissenting Views
House Agriculture Committee Michael Conaway, R-Texas, filed report language on the farm bill that the committee recently passed, along with dissenting views. The report can be found here.

Agri-Pulse Publishes Fourth Article in “Export or Bust” Trade Series
Agri-Pulse has published its fourth in a new series of Agri-Pulse in-depth stories, “Export or Bust,” dealing with the challenges and opportunities for U.S. agriculture when it comes to selling more commodities and value-added products to overseas customers. This piece focuses on  Brazil’s “agricultural revolution” and the steps its taking to boost exports. Read Brazil, Other Competitors Aim to Win U.S. Export Markets.

Ag Groups Urge Trump to Support Farmers and Biofuels
On May 7th, NAWG, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, and the American Soybean Association sent a letter to the President expressing concerns about how farmers have been negatively impacted by recent EPA actions in light of the lowest net farm income in over a decade expected this year. They asked the White House to allow sales of E15 all year, halt the abuse of “small refinery exemptions,” and uphold a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), without “causing additional harm to the farm economy.” Read here for more details.

NWF National Wheat Yield Contest: Winter Wheat Deadline – May 15! 
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 how to apply, visit https://yieldcontest.wheatfoundation.org/. The deadline for Winter Wheat submissions is May 15th!