NAWG Weekly Updates, October 31, 2019

NAWG will not be sending out weekly updates next week as it will be holding its 2019 NAWG/USW Fall Conference. Weekly updates will resume on November 14, 2019. 

NAWG CEO Chandler Goule Participates in Agri-Pulse Briefing on USMCA
On Thursday, Oct. 31st, Agri-Pulse, in partnership with NAWG, held a breakfast briefing on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) for congressional staff and media. The briefing was held on Capitol Hill and focused on the timeline, opportunities, and challenges associated with passing of the USMCA. Additional panelists included Jim Costa, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture; Jim Mulhern, CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation; Nick Giordano, Vice President and Counsel, Global Government Affairs of the National Pork Producers Council; Lesly McNitt, Director of Public Policy of the National Corn Growers Association; and Hanna Abou-El-Seoud, Washington Representative, American Soybean Association.

Farm Policy Facts published a piece authored by NAWG CEO Chandler Goule to coincide with the briefing.

Voting Begins for 2019 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections
October 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots on November 4 to eligible producers across the country for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections. County committee members help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility. To find out if your local administrative areas is up for election, or for more information, please visit here.

Agri-Pulse: Look to the Soil, Committee Told
House lawmakers who are searching for ways farmers can help address climate change are focusing on the potential benefits of increasing soil carbon. “Soils store two to three times more CO2 than the atmosphere and two to five times more carbon than that stored in vegetation,” Jennifer Moore-Kucera, a climate expert with American Farmland Trust, told the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis at a hearing. Former National Corn Growers Association President Fred Yoder said improving soil health benefits the environment and the grower. Another witness, Tina Owens, director of agriculture at Danone North America, put it this way after the hearing: “Soil health is central to climate change mitigation.” But the witnesses and panel members also emphasized the need for reliable metrics to accurately measure reductions in ag emissions of nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide.

What’s next: A House committee that’s focused on climate change issues is accepting comments until Nov. 22 to help it craft recommendations for Congress by March. Asked after the hearing how large a role agriculture would play in those recommendations, committee chair Kathy Castor of Florida said, “Stay tuned.”

News: Commodity Classic Educational Sessions Focus on Clarity During Uncertain Times
The 2020 Commodity Classic will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29 in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s theme is “See Your Future Clearly.” More than 40 educational sessions are on the schedule in San Antonio. They will cover a wide range of important topics including soil health, grain marketing, farm policy, farm succession planning, nutrient stewardship, weather trends, mental health, fertility programs, rural broadband access, on-road ag equipment regulations, ag technology, international trade, African Swine Fever and more.

Registration and housing for the 2020 Commodity Classic opens Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 10:00 a.m. Central at CommodityClassic.com. Early bird discounts on registration end January 9, 2020.

USFRA Sustainability Metrics Report
A new report from the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) finds that farmers, ranchers and food companies all have a great deal at stake when it comes to food metrics reporting, but much work needs to be done to co-create a data collection and reporting mechanism that works for everyone.

The report confirmed belief that the increased demand for on-farm data is being driven by companies’ desire to manage risk in their supply chains as well as stakeholder pressure for more transparency around food production. This data helps tell the bigger story around farms’ and ranches’ resiliency to the impact of climate change, and how farmers and ranchers are safely and sustainably meeting the needs of a growing population. But the cost of collecting this data and the time to manage the needs across disparate asks across food makers, is creating a challenge on the farm and ranch level.

USFRA is calling for an industry-wide approach to coordinated metrics to ease the burden but also drive more measurable results toward increasing the sustainability of our food systems. Learn more about the report at www.usfarmersandranchers.org/usfra-metrics-report.

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.