NAWG Weekly Updates, June 04, 2020
NAWG Sends USDA Secretary Perdue Letter re CFAP
On June 1, 2020, NAWG sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue asking the Agency to enable all classes of wheat to be eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). NAWG looked at several options for justifying eligibility of all wheat classes and demonstrated them in its letter.
NAWG Provides Federal Update to MGGA Board
On June 7, 2020, NAWG Vice President of Policy and Communications Josh Tonsager provided an update to the Montana Grain Growers Association (MGGA)’s Board of Directors. In his remarks, Tonsager discussed NAWG’s current activities, including collaborations with other organizations, around COVID-19, and congressional priorities for the upcoming months.
Hagstrom: SBA Publishes PPP Chart Including Ag Loans
As reported in the Hagstrom Report, “the Small Business Administration has published a chart detailing loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program as of May 30. The chart shows that in the category of ‘Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting,’ SBA has made 127,465 loans totaling $7,578,090,541, or 1.49% of the total. The chart also notes that 54 Farm Credit lenders have made 13,851 loans totaling $1,258,709,206.”
Trump to Sign Order to Waive Environmental Reviews for Key Projects
As reported in The Washington Post “in effort to speed up federal approval for new mines, highways, pipelines, and other projects during the current ‘economic emergency,’ President Trump will sign an executive order instructing agencies to waive long-standing environmental laws. The order will also accelerate civil works projects overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and instruct the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense departments to use their authorities to speed up projects on federal lands.”
USDA Issues First Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced on June 4, 2020 that the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The FSA has already made payments to more than 35,000 producers. USDA releases updates on data of the application progress and program payments every Monday at 2:00pm ET. The latest information about CFAP can be found here.
USDA’s National Appeal Division Sides with Farmer
As reported by Progressive Farmer, for almost a decade, USDA’s Natural Resources Service (NRCS) insisted that 22 acres of Kurt Wilke’s (Springfield, IL) 80-acre farm was wetlands. NRCS continued to make this claim even after courts disagreed in four different case rulings. Wilke applied for a direct review of his case by the USDA National Appeals Division in August 2017 and waited for 32 months to receive a ruling. In April, the case was ruled in his favor, finding that he is eligible for reimbursement of hundreds of thousands of dollars in engineering and legal fees. This story highlight the struggles farmers have had working with NRCS on wetland determinations.
The Ninth Circuit Vacates Three Dicamba Registrations
As reported by Progressive Farmer, on June 3, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision vacating the registrations of three dicamba herbicides that are used for weed control, XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF), and FeXapan (Corteva). This ruling creates implications for farmers this summer, as around 60 million acres of dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans were planned for 2020 planting with the expectation that farmers could use dicamba. This ruling came from a lawsuit brought against EPA and Monsanto (now Bayer) in 2017. As more information on product use becomes available from USDA NAWG will share that information with members.
Corteva Releases Sustainability Goals
On June 1, 2020, Corteva Agriscience announced its 10-year commitments to advance sustainability through the global food system. The goals reflect the company’s size and scope, total focus on agriculture, and deep relationships with farmers and collaborators across the ag value chain, said Corteva Agriscience SVP External Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer Anne Alonzo. Corteva aims to improve soil health, on-farm productivity, climate action, water stewardship, biodiversity, supply chain transparency, and worker safety through 14 specific and measurable goals that range of initiatives for farmers, the land, communities where employees and customers live and work, and its own operations. Specific goals can be found here.
NAFB Photo Contest — Now Open!
The National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) is accepting entries for its 2021 NAFB Membership Directory cover photo contest. The winning entry will receive $100, and the photo will be featured on the cover of the 2021 NAFB Membership Directory. To review contest information or to enter your photo(s), please click here
Rural Attitudes Towards the Environment and Conservation
U.S. Farmers and Ranchers (USFRA) recently hosted a webinar with Robert Bonnie, from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy at Duke University, to discuss the results of their study on rural attitudes towards the environment and conservation in America. The recorded webinar can be found here and the slide deck that was presented can be found here.
CFI Blog re Social Media
The Center for Food Integrity recently posted a blog highlighting seven simple tips for social media posts during a time of social distancing. Read the blog here: https://foodintegrity.org/blog/2020/04/09/tips-for-social-media-while-social-distancing/.
NATIONAL WHEAT FOUNDATION NEWS
2020 National Wheat Yield Contest
June 15th Early Bird Registration for Spring Wheat
On February 18, 2020, the National Wheat Foundation officially opened the 2020 National Wheat Yield Contest! The Contest is divided into two primary competition categories: winter wheat and spring wheat, and two subcategories: dryland and irrigated. The Foundation is currently accepting entries for the Spring Wheat category. The deadline to submit it August 1st with an early registration date of June 15th.
GUEST BLOG: Growing Cover Crops In Difficult Places Podcast
On June 2, 2020, the National Wheat Foundation posted a guest blog from the Soil Health Partnership (SHP). Mike Jordan, a wheat farmer in Kansas, joined the Soil Health Partnership to gain access to expertise and see if he could make cover crops work on his farm after a few years of trying it on his own with only minimal success.
During his interview with John Mesko in this podcast, he explains his dad’s interest in conservation that began when he gave up the plow in the early 1960s. In later years, Jordan says that he was building terraces and waterways long before farm programs required him to.
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Boosts Producer Optimism, Agri-Pulse, June 03, 2020
China Halts Some U.S. Farm Imports, Threatening Trade Deal,Bloomberg, June 01, 2020
Survey Highlights Farmers’ Concerns About Live Events, AgWeb, May 29, 2020
NAWG TWEET OF THE WEEK
Looking at the past seven days, this NAWG tweet had the most impressions and engagements.