NAWG Weekly Updates, October 24, 2019

Media Advisory: NAWG CEO to Participate in Agri-Pulse Briefing on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement
Agri-Pulse is hosting a breakfast briefing on Thursday, Oct. 31st for congressional staff and media, in cooperation with the National Association of Wheat Growers. The briefing will focus on the timeline, opportunities, and challenges associated with passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement before the end of the year. The panel includes NAWG CEO Chandler Goule, Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa (CA-16), and other industry leaders. For complete details, read Agri-Pulse’s media advisory here.

Bipartisan Mental Health Bill Introduced
On October 21, 2019, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced the Seeding Rural Resilience Act. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate is 45 percent higher in rural America than in urban areas. Americans in rural communities face isolation, distance from basic health care services, lack of broadband access, stigmas against receiving counseling, and financial burdens due to stagnant crop prices. Through the Act, the Senators plan to curb the growing suicide rate of rural America  by implementing a voluntary stress management training program to Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency, and National Resources Conservation Service employees.

USDA Opens Registration for the 2020 Agricultural Outlook Forum
On October 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it has opened registration for the 96th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), the largest annual meeting and premiere event of the USDA. The two-day Forum will take place on Feb. 20-21, 2020, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va. This year’s theme is “The Innovation Imperative: Shaping the Future of Agriculture” and sessions will focus on innovations in agriculture, global trade trends, food loss and waste, frontiers in conservation, and the science of food safety. More information on the Forum will be released at the beginning of November.

USDA Encourages Affected Producers to Contact Agents for Delayed Harvest
On October 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that producers who currently participate in Federal crop insurance and are experiencing a delay in harvesting their crop should contact their Approved Insurance Provider (AIP) to file a Notice of Loss and request more time to harvest. Producers in several states, including Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, have been affected by extremely wet and snowy conditions early this fall. Read more here.

House Ag Committee Holds Hearing on Precision Ag
October 22, 2019, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry held a hearing to look at the Conservation Benefits of Precision Agriculture. Questions were answered by Mr. Dustin Madison, a Virginia farmer; Dr. Heather Karsten, an Associate Professor of Crop Production and Ecology from Pennsylvania State University; and Mr. Don Cameron, the Vice President and General Manager of TerraNova Ranch in California. Serious concerns surrounding the lack of broadband internet in rural communities took up the majority of discussion of the hearing. Specifically, the lack of internet can affect a producer’s ability to plan for the next season, maintain their land, and use their equipment more effectively. The Committee also addresses the use of technology in conservation and environmental stability.

NWF Opens Scholarship Opportunity for Ag Students – Deadline December 1, 2019
The National Wheat Foundation is officially accepting applications for the Jerry Minore Scholarship. The scholarship opportunity is made available to both high school and college students pursuing a career in agriculture for the 2019-2020 academic year, the deadline for the application is December 1, 2019. This year the Foundation will be issuing two scholarships for $2,500 each.

Farmers & Ranchers Sign-On Letter
Earlier this summer, Farmers For Free Trade launched a sign-on letter to Congress from farmers, ranchers, and other individuals in ag in support of the USMCA. So far, this effort has generated more than 2,000 signatures. Please continue to share this letter with your networks as appropriate to ensure maximum participation from farmers and ranchers. Please note that this letter is focused on individual producers and ag business owners and employees – we are not seeking signatures from ag. organizations which would be duplicative of the previous letter that all of us signed.