NAWG Weekly Update: February 18, 2016

­­­­House Agriculture Committee Hears From EPA Administrator
Last week, House Agriculture Committee members held a hearing to consider the EPA’s actions on the rural economy. The committee questioned EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about a variety of regulations and agency actions having adverse impacts on agriculture producers including the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulation and renewable fuels standard. Administrator McCarthy defended the agency’s actions despite the Government Accountability Office report that concluded the Agency violated grassroots lobbying restrictions related to WOTUS. During the hearing, McCarthy also supported voluntary conservation practices, stating that the programs are working, but more can be done, and that EPA is working with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to promote their efforts, but not duplicate them. NAWG joined several agricultural organizations to provide a list of issues impacting producers to the House Agriculture Committee prior to the hearing.

Crop Insurance Association Releases Results of Producer Survey
The Crop Insurance Professionals Association recently released the results of a survey the association conducted seeking farmer attitudes toward crop insurance programs and efforts to undermine federal spending. The survey queried more than 1,300 farmers and showed that 96 percent of respondents oppose funding cuts to the federal crop insurance program proposed in the administration’s FY 2017 budget request. Specifically, the budget request would seek $18 billion in cuts over 10 years by reducing federal premium support for policies containing a harvest price option and for some prevent planting policies. Additionally, the survey found that 94 percent oppose legislation introduced by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) called the AFFIRM Act, which would establish a hard cap on premium support, establish an adjusted gross income threshold for eligibility and cut reimbursements to the crop insurance companies, among other cuts.

NAWG Board Meeting and Commodity Classic Only Two Weeks Away
The 2016 Commodity Classic, the annual convention for the National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Sorghum Producers and Association of Equipment Manufacturers, will be held March 3-5, 2016, in New Orleans. Ahead of the convention, NAWG will be holding policy committee meetings on March 2, its full board meeting the morning of March 3 and a National Wheat Foundation board meeting that afternoon. NAWG reminds our state associations and board members to send any policy resolutions you intend to offer during committee meetings to the NAWG staff at your earliest convenience.

NAWG Participates in National FFA Commodity Breakfast
This week, NAWG participated in a panel discussion for the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) officers who were visiting Washington, D.C., as part of a weeklong advocacy experience. The panel consisted of staff from NAWG, the National Corn Growers Association and National Cotton Council. Discussions centered on each commodity organization’s role in shaping policy on trade and exports, and the agricultural industry as a whole. NAWG provided information on current issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, GMO labeling and how to communicate about these issues with a range of audiences. The officers asked many questions and thanked the commodity groups for taking time to invest into the future of the agricultural industry and the students in agricultural education.