NAWG Weekly Update 6/2/16


NAWG Comments on New Herbicide Quelex

NAWG recently provided comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the proposed label for Quelex herbicide with Arylex active. Developed by Dow AgroSciences, Quelex is a low-dose, post-emergence herbicide which is the first new active ingredient herbicide brought to the market for wheat crops in over twenty years. Facing increased weed pressure that reduces yields, wheat growers across the country look to new products that will offer greater flexibility in crop rotation, due to the lack of herbicidal residues for crop rotation or double-cropping practices. NAWG wants to ensure that the EPA continue to allow the use of tank mixing, an important practice used by growers across the country. Tank mixing herbicides allows producers to be more sustainable with fewer trips across the field. NAWG supports the development of herbicides which will increase yields for wheat growers and help to eliminate costly practices, while aligning with the conservation efforts that wheat growers already have in place.

NAWG Registers Comments for New Dicamba Products

NAWG has had the opportunity recently to comment on the registration of dicamba products on dicamba-tolerant crops to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In commenting on the registration of the much-needed dicamba products, NAWG reiterates its support for weed control products which address the recent emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds, creating a need for new weed control methods. New dicamba-based herbicides will be critical to help solve the spreading problem of resistant weeds. Dicamba has many benefits, including a brief soil residual, allowing for effective crop rotation, and its compatibility with necessary practices such as tank mixing. NAWG believes that wheat growers need access to new technologies to manage difficult weeds, reduce weed seed density, and increase yield potential, and has urged the EPA to approve the registration of new dicamba products for use on dicamba-tolerant crops.

Deadline for Complying with Actively Engaged Rule Extended

As required by the 2014 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) undertook a rulemaking last year to revise the “actively engaged” requirements for eligibility to receive Title 1 farm program payments for non-family farming operations. USDA finalized its rule on December 15, 2015.  When it was finalized, the announcement stated that the rule would be applicable for the 2016 crop year for producers who only have spring-planted crops and effective for the 2017 crop year for producers who have both spring- and fall-planted crops. For producers with just spring-planted crops, the initial deadline for compliance was June 1st. USDA announced on May 27 a 30-day extension for recording farm organization structures for purposes of “actively engaged” determinations.

As background, the final “actively engaged” rule, which exempts operations comprised entirely of family members, would apply to general partnerships and joint ventures where an operation is attempting to qualify more than one farm manager. The rule would limit such operations to up to three individuals qualifying as farm managers, given certain conditions, and requiring such individuals to make a “significant contribution” of active personal management or a significant contribution of the combination of active personal labor and active personal management. The text of the rule includes additional details describing what constitutes a significant contribution, generally in terms of time commitments.  USDA’s “actively engaged” information page can be found at this link.

USDA Announces Nationwide Streamlining of Crop Reporting

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it was expanding nationwide a streamlined crop reporting program that was previously a pilot program. This program, referred to as the USDA Acreage Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI) is an interagency initiative to enable farmers to file crop acreage reports at either their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office or with participating insurance providers approved by the Risk Management Agency (RMA). Once reported to one of the offices, that information will then be securely and electronically shared with the other location. Through this initiative, 93 percent of all annual reported acres to FSA and RMA will be eligible. Though this information will be shared between the agencies, producers will still be required to validate and sign acreage reports, complete maps, and provide program-specific information at both locations.

In USDA’s announcement, FSA Administrator Val Dolcini also reminded producers that individual FSA farm information, such as field boundaries, farm images, conservation status, and other info, can be accessed electronically through the Department’s new customer self-service portal, referred to as FSAFarm+.

More information about the ACRSI program and the self-service portal can be obtained for your local FSA office or through FSA’s website.

USAAC and GEA Sign Historic Memorandum of Understanding

Last week, the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) and Group Empresarial Agricola (GEA), which is the designated USACC counterpart in Cuba, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate increased cooperation between the U.S. and Cuba on food and agriculture. In signing this MOU, USACC (of which NAWG is a member) and GEA have committed to discuss such topics as agriculture financing and credit, which currently complicates trade with Cuba, two-way trade, production, processing, and more. The GEA, which is an entity of the Ministry of Agriculture that represents 72 entities in every province of Cuba, will interface with USAAC to progress towards a more constructive commercial relationship going forward. USAAC believes that normalizing trade relations between the U.S. and Cuba will open the market for American producers, while driving growth in both countries and addressing Cuban citizen’s food security needs. The current financing restrictions make trade with Cuba difficult for American producers, and USAAC believes that open trade and the elimination of the embargo benefit both countries. The MOU will act as a facilitator of communication, learning, and the potential for growth as the two entities discuss the issues that are necessary to facilitate trade. NAWG supports and encourages USAAC’s work in Cuba and hopes that developments in relations with Cuba will benefit not only U.S. wheat farmers, but Cuba’s citizens as well.

NAWG Continues to Search for Interns

Although it is late into the internship season, NAWG continues to search for a summer or fall intern, and encourages all college sophomores, juniors, seniors, or recent graduates to apply for NAWG’s internship. Responsibilities will include supporting the communications department in social media and press outreach, as well as assisting the policy department in legislative work. The internship is paid, and the start and end dates are flexible. NAWG’s internship would be a great opportunity for any student in an agriculture-related program, or who plans to pursue an agriculture-related career post-graduation. NAWG also requests all recipients of this newsletter to pass on this notice to any interested friends or family members. More information can be found on NAWG’s website here. Please note that the application deadline and start date will be extended to suit the intern’s needs.