NAWG Weekly Updates, June 30, 2022

NAWG NEWS

NAWG Shares 2023 Farm Bill Priorities

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) shares their 2023 Farm Bill priorities as Congress prepares for the next Farm bill. As lawmakers continue to review the 2018 Farm Bill and start crafting the next Farm Bill, wheat growers will be advocating for these priorities with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to develop programs that will help wheat growers manage risk, ensure conservation programs work on the farm and enhance U.S. trade that supports rural America. Priorities include protecting crop insurance, supporting the financial and technical assistance provided through voluntary conservation programs, increasing the reference price for wheat in Title I to cover the cost of production more accurately, and enhancing USDA’s market access and development programs to enhance trade. As the House and Senate Agriculture Committees continue to review the 2018 Farm Bill programs, NAWG will work with Capitol Hill to advance these goals as the committee debates and considers the next Farm Bill. Read NAWG’s full statement on 2023 Farm Bill priorities here.

Joint Statement on FDA’s Drought Tolerant HB4 Wheat Safety Conclusion

NAWG and the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) issued a joint statement on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conclusion, that the FDA has no further questions regarding the safety of drought-tolerant HB4 wheat developed by Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. This FDA conclusion is not approval for HB4 or any other transgenic wheat to be planted for commercial sale in the United States, only for commercial production within a closed system in Argentina. However, the trait has been approved for human consumption in the form of flour in Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and now in the United States. The jointly approved “Wheat Industry Principles for Biotechnology Commercialization”, guide USW and NAWG, which lay out specific steps expected from plant breeding companies if they wish to commercialize transgenic wheat in the United States. Both USW and NAWG support the ability of “domestic and overseas customers to make purchases based on their preferences for specific wheat traits, classes, qualities, and characteristics”. Read the joint press release here.

NAWG Discusses Challenges of Boosting Wheat Production with USA TODAY

NAWG CEO Chandler Goule, President Nicole Berg, and Kansas wheat grower Clay Schemm discussed the challenges of boosting wheat production amid a global food shortage with USA TODAY. Goule shared how the wheat currently being produced from our nation’s largest wheat-producing states is in “very poor to fair” condition as a result of the droughts. He also shared that although wheat prices have been up since Russia’s invasion, wheat farmers are still wary of the volatile market. Berg discussed how the first true picture of the war in Ukraine’s impact on U.S. wheat production will not be known until this fall when farmers make their decisions about the winter harvest in the next couple of months. Despite the challenges, “Farmers, luckily, are internal optimists” said Berg, “We always think we’re going to get the best price”. Read the entire USA TODAY article here.

NAWG Seeks to Hire Communications Intern

NAWG is looking to fill the newly created position of Communications Intern, to assist in marketing and communications efforts. The NAWG Communications Intern’s main role is to assist the Director of Communications and Partnerships in implementing organizational communications and marketing strategies. If you, or someone you know, is interested in this opportunity and would like to learn more, find the description and application here.

GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY NEWS

Senate Ag Committee Urged to Seek More Farm Bill Funding

Representatives of major agriculture groups told leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee at a field hearing in Jonesboro, Arkansas, that existing farm bill programs are inadequate to protect farmers from rising input costs. Across the board, farm group leaders request the Senate Agriculture Committee to seek additional funding resources from the Budget Committee. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow also agreed in an interview after the hearing that it would be “a challenge” to write the next farm bill without additional funding available. Along with farm bill funding, stakeholders also discussed conservation programs, rural development, and broadband funding at the Arkansas hearing. Read more about the field hearing here or watch the hearing here.

President Biden Announces Regional Appointments for USDA

On June 23, Biden appointed several individuals to serve in key regional leadership roles at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The three appointees for USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency were Ronald Guidry Jr., Louisiana, Maureen Wicks, Montana, and Mark Gibbons, Utah. The two appointees for USDA State Directors of Rural Development are Christy Davis, Kansas, and Lillian Salerno, Texas. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster, and farm marketing programs in each U.S. State. State Executive Directors oversee this work, ensuring the needs of local constituents are met and that USDA resources are distributed equitably and fairly. Read more about the appointees here.

Rep. Norman and Rep. Costa Lead Bipartisan Effort Concerning Deficient Rail Service’s Impact on American Farm Inputs

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC-5) and Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA-16) led a bipartisan letter to the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Board Members of the Surface Transportation Board concerning deficient rail service, which has restricted critical shipments of important agricultural inputs to our nation’s farms. Major U.S. railroads, such as Union Pacific, have reduced their capacities in response to significant service problems, attributing it to more broad supply-chain issues and widespread labor shortages are again. As a result, many producers of agricultural input products have had no choice but to throttle or even shutdown production, which has imposed major delays on the delivery of these essential inputs to farms. It is concerning to Representatives Norman, Costa, and the other co-signers on the letter for any major railroad like Union Pacific to restrict its shipping capacity without first consulting its agricultural customers, who play a vital role in our nation’s food supply. Read the entire letter here.

Bayer Hosts Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Stakeholder Convening to Seek Recommendations for White House Conference

Bayer is hosting a virtual Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Stakeholder Convening in preparation for the upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The objective of Bayer’s convening is to identify specific actions to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, through the lens of the farmer/grower and the food value chain. Experiences and recommendations shared during the dialogue will be submitted to the White House and incorporated into the blueprint which will be unveiled at the conference in September 2022. Bayer’s online event will take place on July 7, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM CT. Learn more or register for Bayer’s event here.

USDA Has Issued Over $4 Billion in Emergency Relief Program Payments to Date

On June 29, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that to date, agricultural producers have already received more than $4 billion through the Emergency Relief Program (ERP). This accounts for approximately 67% of the over 6 billion dollars projected to be paid through this first of two phases of the ERP program. The first phase utilizes existing claim data to provide relief expediently, and the second phase focuses on ensuring producers that are not covered by other programs also receive assistance. In late May, the USDA mailed out pre-filled applications to producers with crop insurance who suffered losses from natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Vilsack stated that this program has yielded its desired results by reducing burdens while expediting payments to approximately 120,000 disaster impacted agricultural producers. Producers should check with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) at their local USDA Service Center to confirm eligibility for these relief programs. Commodity and specialty crop producers have until July 22 to complete these applications. Find other resources and learn more here.

U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) Update

Much above-normal temperatures plagued much of the central and eastern contiguous U.S. this week from the Great Plains eastward to the Mississippi Valley and Southeast. The western third of CONUS, the Northeast, and coastal Mid-Atlantic experienced seasonal to below-normal temperatures. Precipitation was lacking in many locations that experienced excessive and, in some cases, record heat, leading to widespread expansion of abnormal dryness and moderate drought conditions along the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, the Southern Plains, and the Southeast. In the Pacific Northwest, below-normal temperatures and recent improvements from an active weather pattern leading up to this week resulted in improvements in some of the long-term drought indicators. Another week of heavy rainfall warranted improvements in Montana. Read the entire U.S. Drought Monitor Update here.

NATIONAL WHEAT FOUNDATION NEWS

National Wheat Foundation Hosts Wheat Farm Tour

The National Wheat Foundation and Maryland wheat grower Eric Spates hosted an educational wheat farm tour for congressional staff on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Congressional staff who attended the event toured the farm, saw wheat being harvested, and listened to speakers from USDA and the EPA on risk management, conservation, pesticide programs, and environmental issues. The tour’s objectives included strengthening participants’ appreciation for the complicated nature of farming, showing participants firsthand, the careful stewardship of the land, water, soil, air uses, and other natural resources that are vitally important to the farm’s success. The National Wheat Foundation would like to thank all the participants, the speakers and experts who came out to Eric’s farm. Thank you to Eric for being so generous with his time and attention. Read the NWF press release here.

National Wheat Yield Contest Opens for 2022 Contest Entries

Spring Wheat entries for the National Wheat Yield Contest are being accepted now until August 1. Don’t forget to get your wheat graded and save a 6 lbs. sample of wheat. Thank you to all our sponsors for the National Wheat Yield Contest. We appreciate your support! Read more about the contest and enter here.

IPP NEWS

Happy Independence Day from FMC

Fourth of July celebrations around the country will be serving an assortment of hamburger and hotdog buns, pasta salads, chips, desserts, and beer. What is the common denominator in these patriotic potluck foods? They are all made with wheat products.

By the numbers, Americans consume approximately 375 million hamburger buns and 150 million hot dog buns as well as spend over $92 million on chips and $1.6 billion on beer for the Fourth of July. For nearly 100 years, wheat products have had a seat at the table to celebrate America’s independence, and that’s a tradition that won’t fade away anytime soon. Thank you to all the wheat growers in America who make this tradition possible. Happy Independence Day!

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Wheat Market Turns to Weather (Mostly) for Direction

 – Farm & Ranch Guide

Future is Now for Milling Technology

 – World-Grain

Analysis: Food Export Bans, From India to Argentina, Risk Fueling Inflation

 – Reuters