NAWG Weekly Updates, May 24, 2018

Scalise Announces Plan for Immigration, Farm Bill Votes Third Week of June
As reported in Roll Call, “the farm bill, which failed on the House floor Friday, will get a second vote June 22 after a vote on a conservative immigration bill earlier that week,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said Monday. The immigration bill by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas that leaders have scheduled a vote on includes border wall funding, security and enforcement provisions, cuts to legal immigration and a process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients to obtain three-year renewals of their work permits. “We’re looking at moving the farm bill on June 22 and having the Goodlatte-McCaul bill come up the third week of June,” Scalise told reporters. For NAWG’s most recent statement on the Farm Bill, read NAWG Press Release: 2018 House Farm Bill Failed to Receive Needed Vote to Pass.

Ag Approps Bill Moves Through Committees
On Thursday, May 24th, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY19 Agriculture Appropriations bill which advanced in subcommittee on Tuesday.  The need for further bipartisanship was emphasized as well as a communal push for the support of agricultural research. This year is $225 million above last year’s enacted level but still falls $922 million less than the previous year’s mandatory funding. The bill currently fully funds the commodity supplemental food program as well as the emergency food program all while investing $425 million into rural broadband. Visit here for more information.

Farm Foundation Holds Forum on Trade
On Tuesday, May 22, the Farm Foundation held a forum at the National Press Club titled “A Conversation with the Ambassadors: Trade War or Rhetoric”. Panelists included Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud; Darci Vetter, Vice Chair for Agriculture, Food and Trade at Edelman; Dr. Richard Crowder, Professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech; and Allen Johnson, President of Allen F. Johnson & Associates. These experts discussed trade with China, the impact of tariffs, and TPP while providing industry insight. In regards to wheat, the panel noted that 52% of the world’s residual wheat is in China and, as a communist country, it lacks a futures market which is costing both U.S. farmers money as well as farmers across the globe. The panel concluded by stating that as WTO negotiations continue, so does the importance of pairing between market access and domestic support. The audio of the event can be found here.

GAO Report on Farm Subsidy Payments
As covered in Hagstrom, “in 2015, the U.S. Agriculture Department made $2.7 billion in entity payments to actively engaged farmers according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.” This report was requested by Senator Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to the report summary, the top 50 farming operations received an average of $884,495 in payments, and USDA paid $3.7 million to one such operation; and USDA generally made the highest payments to partnerships (or farming operations consisting of two or more people and formed under state law). In response to the report, Chairman Chuck Grassley commented that the definition of “actively engaged” in farming is a “glaring loophole in the law” and urged for it to be addressed in the Farm Bill.

2018 Bayer Bee Care Young Beekeeper Award – Deadline Extended to May 31, 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. For more information and to apply, visit: https://beehealth.bayer.us/what-is-bayer-doing/bayer-bee-care-center/young-beekeeper-award.

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/!