NAWG Weekly Updates, January 6, 2022
With the Winter Conference next week, NAWG will not be sending out weekly updates on January 13, 2022.
Wheat Industry Winter Conference Next Week!
Next week the 2022 NAWG/USW Winter Conference will take place at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The Conference will begin with Part II of the Bayer Leadership Program, followed by committee meetings, a hill day, and conclude with our board meeting on January 14. While in D.C., states will meet with their Members of Congress to discuss policies to advocate for growers, and then the Foundation will host its sixth annual wheat educational event – Wheat 106 – on Thursday, January 13, from 4:30pm to 7:00pm. To learn more about the conference and review the schedule of events, click here.
Biden Administration Lifts Travel Restrictions from South Africa
The Biden Administration announced they will lift travel restrictions from South Africa after originally imposing a travel ban. On December 13, NAWG joined a coalition letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas asking them to create flexibility in the restrictions that take H-2A workers into account. The most recent data indicates that almost 7,000 of these workers originate from South Africa, the majority of which arrive in the U.S. in February, March, and April. NAWG applauds the Administration for lifting the restrictions to ensure travel for these individuals who are essential in the agriculture community. Read more about the announcement here.
GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY NEWS
USDA Announces Assistance for Farmers Impacted by Recent Weather
On December 16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced additional assistance for producers affected by the extreme weather that ripped through the central and upper Plains in mid-December. USDA has aggregated links to various existing resources and posted a separate brochure for farmers and ranchers. This aid is separate from the $10 billion in disaster relief passed by Congress as part of the Continuing Resolution in September. Read more about the announcement here.
GAO Issued a Report on USDA’s Implementation of MFP
On December 20, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report that showed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) overestimated trade damages and was marked by regional payment disparities among farmers growing the same crops. Specifically, the GAO found that the USDA overpaid corn farmers by around $3 billion in 2019 during the implementation of the Market Facilitation Program. The GAO then recommended that the USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) be more transparent in its methodology process. The OCE disagreed with the findings. View the Senate Agriculture Committee’s press release here.
USDA Announced two Additional Tranches of Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors
On December 17 and January 4, the USDA announced additional regional positions, including seven Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Directors and seven Rural Development (RD) State Directors. In particular, these announcements appointed FSA State Executive Directors for Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas. To learn more about the directors, read the press releases here and here.
Small Business Administration Holds Environmental Roundtable Meeting
The Small Business Administration will be holding two WOTUS roundtable discussions on January 6 and 10, 2022. The EPA and Army Corps will be providing an overview of the proposed regulations defining “the waters of the United States” with an emphasis on the applicability of the new regulation to members of the agricultural community. Time will be available for discussion and questions directed to both EPA and Army Corps. These meetings are open to the public and information can be found here.
Congress Begins Second Half of 117th Congress
Both chambers of Congress released their 2022 Congressional Calendar before Christmas. View the joint calendar here.
NATIONAL WHEAT FOUNDATION NEWS
Join the National Wheat Foundation’s Wheat 106
Join the National Wheat Foundation’s Wheat 106 event next week! Wheat 106 will start at 5:00 pm on January 13, 2022 and will be held in the Amenities Center in NAWG’s office building. The Amenities Center is located on the ground floor at 25 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Grower leaders from all over the country will be present. The event is meant to inform Members of Congress and their staff about how vast and important the wheat value chain is to the economy and our food supply. Please be sure to invite your Congress members to this event! Share this registration link with your hill contact and DC contacts. NAWG states and BOD members are not required to RSVP. For any questions, please see the media advisory here or contact Anne Osborne, NWF Project Manager, at AOsborne@wheatworld.org.
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
The Washington Post