NAWG Weekly Update: July 30, 2015

TPP Ministerial Conference Held in Hawaii
Top negotiators from countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks are meeting this week in Maui, Hawaii. Though the content of the negotiations have remained secret, press reports have indicated that some of the major remaining issues being discussed include currency manipulation and dairy policy. It is possible negotiations could conclude yet this week.

Congress Acts on Transportation Reauthorization Extension
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 385-34 to pass a three-month extension of transportation programs and funding in order to provide more time to develop a long-term reauthorization. The Senate followed by approving the thee-month extension on a 91-4 vote on Thursday.   In the weeks leading to this point, the Senate has been working on a long-term six-year reauthorization bill, which would be paid for over three years, and which passed the Senate on a 65-34 vote on Thursday. With passage of the short-term extension, the two chambers are expected to establish a conference committee in September to attempt to develop a long-term bill that could pass through both the House and Senate.

EPA Faces New Criticism of Water Rule
This week Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe questioned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about internal documents that identify concerns with the recently published Waters of the U.S. regulation. In a letter to the Corps, Senator Inhofe referenced documents that indicated that the Corps was kept out of final decisions regarding the joint regulation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The letter asked for clarification on the inclusion of additional waters coming under regulation because of the new rule, and a new request for the Corps’ basis for conclusion that prairie potholes, Carolina and Delmarva bays, pocosins, western vernal pools in California and Texas coastal prairie wetlands should also be included in the regulation. Chairman Inhofe’s letter to Jo Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, can be found here.

National Wheat Foundation’s Wheat Harvest 2015 Photo Contest
Wheat harvest 2015 is well underway and so is the National Wheat Foundation’s Photo Contest. On June 16, the National Wheat Foundation launched a photo contest to celebrate and showcase America’s dedicated wheat farmers during this year’s harvest season.

Contest entries have been pouring in from across the country and the photos are displayed on the National Wheat Foundation’s Facebook page. Entering the contest is simple. Email your wheat harvest 2015 pictures to and for your chance to win an iPad. The contest closes August 28 and the National Wheat Foundation Board of Directors will select the winners.

Visit the National Wheat Foundation’s website to learn more and view the contest submissions.

NAWG Participates in Maryland Commodity Classic
The Maryland Grain Producers Association, in collaboration with the Maryland Soybean Board, Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board and the Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association, held their annual Commodity Classic on July 23, at Queen Anne’s 4-H Park near Queenstown, Md. The event featured presentations from the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland, Dr. Craig Beyrouty, National Corn Growers Association Chief Executive Officer Chris Novak, NCGA President Chip Bowling and John Ade, Senior Vice President of North American Grain at Perdue. The Peterson Farm Brothers of Kansas provided the keynote address, where they talked about their efforts to inform the general public about the importance of agriculture and to clear misconceptions of modern day farming. NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates staff attended the Commodity Classic, and hosted a booth to answer questions about the organizations, federal farm policy and trade.

Wheat Industry Attends Ag Media Summit
This week NAWG Vice President, Gordon Stoner, staff and U.S. Wheat Associates, attended the 17th Annual Ag Media Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz. During the InfoExpo, Stoner had the opportunity to talk to several industry partners, farm broadcasters and other ag media. Stoner focused on the National Wheat Yield Contest that will be in its first year along with NAWG policy efforts. Ag media Summit is a joint meeting of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, the Livestock Publications Council and the American Business Media Agri-Council. The event is the largest in the U.S. of the ag industry’s top writers, editors, photographers, publishers and ag communicators. More than 600 attendees joined the event and more than 75 booths participated in the InfoExpo.