NAWG Weekly Updates, August 31, 2017
NAWG Visits North and South Dakota Wheat Growers
This week NAWG President David Schemm, CEO Chandler Goule, and Director of Communications Caitlin Eannello visited wheat growers in North and South Dakota to talk about the Farm Bill, what is going on in Washington, and the drought conditions in the Upper Plains. On Monday, outside of Bismarck, NAWG met with the North Dakota Grain Growers Association’s Board of Directors to talk about the current conditions for wheat growers in the state and to touch base on NAWG’s 2017 priorities. NAWG then traveled to Pierre, SD on Tuesday and spoke on a drought panel during the South Dakota Wheat Inc. and South Dakota Wheat Commission’s joint meeting. Here, NAWG President David Schemm and CEO Chandler Goule spoke to growers on the importance of crop insurance and where wheat stands in the current Farm Bill discussions. Lastly, on Wednesday and Thursday, NAWG President David Schemm and Director of Communications Caitlin Eannello went to the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL and met with many growers, media, and individuals from across the industry.
Farmer, Rancher, Fisherman Airs Tonight on the Discovery Channel
The Farmer, Rancher, Fisherman “Restoring Kansas” episode featuring Justin Knopf airs tonight on the Discovery Channel 9:00pmEST. Justin Knopf is a fifth generation farmer with around 4,000 acres of Kansas farmland. He practices “no till” farming, which helps to preserve the land. Watch the clip here.
China rejects U.S. Request for Dispute Panel in Grain Quota Case
The United States’ first request to China to establish a dispute settlement panel in a WTO case involving tariff rate quotas has been denied. The panel would address concerns that China has been blocking billions of dollars in wheat, rice and corn imports and was requested following bilateral discussions within the WTO’s agriculture committee which didn’t result in any fixes. The U.S. can now reissue its request for a panel at the next meeting of the WTO’s dispute settlement body where unless all members in attendance agreed not to establish it, would allow the panel to move forward. This sets up what could be a lengthy litigation process with years of appeals.
New Studies Put Dollar Signs on Conservation Practices
Cover crops and no-till soil health practices can reduce erosion and runoff, increase organic matter retention, and enhance biodiversity. The National Association of Conservation Districts and Datu Research, LLC recently released a set of case studies detailing the economic advantage of adopting these practices. After adoption, the case studies found the net farm incomes had increased by up to $110 per acre. Although these studies focus on corn-soybean crop rotations in the Upper Mississippi River Basin (UMRB), these conservations practices can ultimately benefit the fertility and productivity of a wide range of agroecosystems.
The Diaz farm had been a no-till operation since its purchase; however, once erosion had become more prevalent, the Diaz family decided to invest in cover crops. After three years of investment, budgets detailed in the fourth and fifth years generated positive results. By year four, Dan Diaz began receiving significant economic returns and the net change in income was $109.91 per acre by 2015.
The Willis family had been practicing no-till farming since 1986; however, the family wanted to prevent erosion, generate additional organic build-up, and increase water filtration. Their use of cover crops contributed to a net change in income ranging from $16.48 to $18.43 per acre in three of the four years. Additionally, yield improvements and increased soil stability were observed.
The Moore family adopted no-till practices since 1988 which has improved the health of the soil and helped mitigate weather-related costs. By the third year of no-till practices, the Moore family observed improvements in soil health and costs saved in labor and erosion-related repairs.
When the Kuhns family observed poor soil conditions and performed regular erosion-related repairs in the 1990s, they decided to practice the idea of “work smarter, not harder”. The transition to no-till farming took two years to develop and their economic increases ranged from $54.72 to $107.81 per acre above the baseline. Although this required additional investments in expenses and termination, the economic and ecological improvements outweighed the costs.
USDA To Measure Small Grains Production with September Surveys
During September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts two surveys critical to small grains producers around the country, including those growing wheat, oats, barley and rye. The results of the surveys (Agricultural Survey – September and the County Agricultural Production Survey) help determine elements of farm payment and risk management programs. The Agricultural Survey also asks for grain stocks information.
Survey results will be published in several reports, including the annual Small Grains Summary and Grain Stocks on September 29 as well as County Estimates on December 14. These and all NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov/Publications. See how NASS data are used via a video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBW-g1FgLNs.
NAWG Opens Registration for Fall Conference!
NAWG has opened its registration and hotel links for its 2017 Wheat Industry Fall Conference. This year’s conference is scheduled for October 16-20, 2017 at the Embassy Suites North Charleston in North Charleston, SC. For more information and scheduled visit: https://wheatworld.org/newsroom/meetings-events/fall-wheat-conference/