NAWG Weekly Updates, October 26, 2017

NAWG Participates in NAFTA Day in the Senate
As part of the Chamber of Commerce Senate Hill Day on NAFTA, business and agricultural groups mounted a lobbying push targeting key Senators this week to discuss NAFTA priorities for the industries. NAWG’s Molly O’Connor participated in these lobbying efforts around NAFTA and met with Senators Daines (MT), Johnson (WI) and Hassan (NH). She also met with Senator Feinstein (CA)’s trade staff.

Farm Bill and Trade Hot Topics at 2017 Fall Wheat Industry Conference
The National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates held their annual fall conference in Charleston, South Caroline from October 17th to October 20th. NAWG’s Committees discussed the 2018 Farm Bill, NAFTA renegotiations, wheat research and quality, trade, and conservation. With trade being the forefront for this Administration, NAWG and USW placed a strong agenda involving NAFTA, KORUS, MAP, and FMD. The next NAWG/USW conference is scheduled for February 6-11, 2018 in Washington D.C. and will include hill visits with our growers. For more information, read the release here.

 

Senate FY18 Budget Resolution Passes House; Next Steps Tax Reform
Today, the House took final action on the FY 2018 Budget Resolution. With this action, NAWG issued a statement about the importance of a strong Farm Bill and effective tax reform. Read the release here.

 

Heitkamp, Ernst introduce ARC fix for new farm bill
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. introduced a bill on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, that would shift the data used for ARC-County and change how payments are determined based on where a farm is physically located. Additionally, they want to give state FSA committees more discretion to change county yields and the bill will require the FSA to use crop-insurance yields reported by farmers and insurers to the RMA as the first data used to yield calculations in ARC-CO. Another change in the bill would be to calculate ARC-CO payments for farmers based on the physical counties where farms are located and not just the single county where a farmer files with FSA. The proposed changes to ARC-CO are backed by NAWG, American Farm Bureau, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sunflower Association, USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, and US Canola Association. This announcement was reported in AgriPulse, DTN, Nebraska Farmer, and other publications.

 

October 25, 2017 Ag Group Letter to Commerce Secretary Ross re NAFTA
On October 25, 2017, 86 organizations signed on to a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in response to his recent “observation that there is ‘not a world oversupply of agricultural products’ and that hard to the American food and agriculture interests from a potential NAFTA withdrawal is an ’empty threat'”. Read the letter here.

 

Northey Nomination on Hold
On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee put a hold on the nomination of Bill Northey to a senior USDA post, reported Politico. “Despite some issues with his official title last week, Northey’s nomination had been expected to breeze through the chamber.” According to a spokesman for Lee, “the Senator had lifted his hold as of Wednesday afternoon, but a Republican Senate aide said Cruz’s hold was still on as of late in the afternoon.”

Sierra Club wants EPA to Analyze Environmental Impacts of RFS
In its recent lawsuit filed against the EPA, the Sierra Club has claimed that the Agency has not completed required reports on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of increased renewable fuel volume mandates. Under the Renewable Fuel Standard program, EPA was supposed to submit to Congress reports in 2013 and 2016, but it has not done so…In addition, from 2008 to 2012, during the first four years of the expanded renewable fuel mandate, 7.3 million acres were converted into crop land, the lawsuit said. AgriPulse covered the story “Widespread cultivation of corn for ethanol ‘has significant impacts on water quality and aquatic habitat,’ the lawsuit continues. ‘Corn production is associated with high levels of nutrient loss and soil erosion, leading to contamination of water supplies.’ The Sierra Club is seeking an order that would require EPA to complete the impact report by May 31, 2018.

 

Jerry Minore Memorial Scholarship Opportunity for Students in Agriculture
Jerry Minore was a longtime friend of the wheat industry and advocate for wheat farmers. To honor his work and life, his company, BASF, has partnered with the National Wheat Foundation to establish a scholarship for students with connections to the wheat industry who are planning careers in agriculture. The Minore Memorial Scholarship will fund four college scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year: two $1,500 scholarships and two $1,000 scholarships. Deadline for applications is December 31, 2017. For more information on how to apply, visit the National Wheat Foundation site.