NAWG Weekly Updates, September 27, 2018

US, Japan Agree to Free Trade Agreement Talks
On Wednesday, September 26, 2018, the U.S. and Japan announced that they have agreed to enter into talks for a free trade agreement. In response, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue released a statement welcoming the news and stated that “export income is critical to the financial health of agriculture and is a key contributor to rural prosperity.”

NAWG welcomes the talks and is pleased to see the Administration moving forward with new trade agreements. U.S. Wheat Associates issued a release in response, which can be found here. NAWG supports this statement. 

Wheat Represented at “Tariffs Hurt Heartland” Roundtable
On Thursday, September 27th, Ohio Corn and Wheat’s John Torres, participated in Farmers for Free Trad “Tariffs Hurts the Heartland” roundtable at the Columbus Convention Center. Joined by a variety of representatives from the ag community, John spoke on the impacts that tariffs have had on his business as well as his fellow wheat growers. Additionally, he touched on how the tariffs have impacted his community and the region.

House Passes Continuing Resolution for Agriculture, Other Departments
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a minibus appropriations bill for several federal agencies, which also includes a continuing resolution for, among others, the Department of Agriculture, which will enable USDA operations to continue at FY 2018 spending levels through December 7, 2018.  House action follows Senate passage last week, sending the measure to the President for his signature. The CR is intended to enable more time for conferees on a separate minibus appropriations bill that includes the FY 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill to conclude working out a conference report. NAWG has been engaged with appropriators throughout the appropriations process and has advocated for full funding for the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, among other discretionary funding priorities.

 KORUS Reinstated
On Monday, September 24, 2018, the Korean-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) was renegotiated and signed off by South Korean President Moon Jae-In and President Trump. KORUS is responsible for increasing trade for several agricultural commodities including wheat. Though in regards to this announcement, no changes were made to wheat, the original deal created the increased market access which is being maintained.

Farm Groups Call on Federal Judge to Prohibit WOTUS
A federal judge from Georgia has been asked by several farm groups to help prohibit the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule from being enforced in the 22 states where it still applies. The American Farm Bureau Federation and other groups recently filed the brief with the Georgia court. Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget has been looking into repealing WOTUS since June.

Chlorphyifos Decision to be  Appealed
The Justice Department has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to take another look at its decision ordering EPA to ban chlorpyrifos by Oct. 8. By requesting the rehearing of the Aug. 9 decision, the Justice Department is effectively postponing the date by which EPA would have to cancel registrations for the widely used insecticide. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue praised the decision to ask for a rehearing, saying that the 9th Circuit’s decision “appears to be based on a misunderstanding of both the available scientific information and EPA’s pesticide regulatory system.”

NAWG was part of a group who requested the EPA/USD action on Chlorpyrifos. Read the letter here.

Housing and Registration Opens for the 2018 NAWG/USW Fall Conference
NAWG and U.S. Wheat will be holding their 2018 Fall Conference at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay, Florida from October 30th to November 2nd. NAWG’s schedule of events, registration, and information on housing can be found here. Visit this link to go to straight to the registration page.