Update on National Wheat Yield Contest
The National  Wheat Yield Contest enrollment is in full swing. Entering its second year, the contest is sponsored by the National Wheat Foundation. The Contest is entirely web based and growers can enter at http://yieldcontest.wheatfoundation.org . The Foundation has streamlined the entry process, making it simple and easy. “Growers are excited about the contest because it provides them the opportunity to showcase their management ability for wheat production, while encouraging them to think creatively about changes to their methods in order to improve productivity”, said Steve Joehl, the contest Director and NAWG’s Research & Technology Director. “It is a vehicle for growers to learn new practices that can be adopted on their own farms as well.”  Deadline to enter for winter wheat is May 1st, and August 1st for spring wheat.

In addition, the NWYC management team has begun development of a quality component to add to the contest for future years. Growers and wheat production specialists believe wheat yields can be increased and quality maintained or improved when production is managed under sound practices. Wheat growers know that quality is an essential component to carry out successful farming practices which is why the Foundation is working with all sectors within the wheat industry to identify the key quality points to base the contest on. Mr. Joehl states, “the goal is to improve wheat productivity, which is comprised of yield and quality. We are hopeful to have this component included in the Contest for the 2018 crop year.”

With Congress in Recess, Engage Your Lawmakers at Home!
NAWG continues to take proactive steps to engage our membership, particularly given the importance of the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization process.  As Congress continues to hold hearings in the countryside and in D.C. to get input about how programs are working, it’s very important that we hear from farmers across the country to help inform our advocacy efforts.  And while Congress is in recess this week and next, NAWG strongly encourages growers to attend public events of your elected officials and share with them how the current state of the ag economy is affecting your operation.

NAWG Addresses California Association of Wheat Growers
On Wednesday, April 12, 2017, NAWG’s CEO and Board President addressed the California Association of Wheat Growers and California Wheat Commission on NAWG’s policy priorities as well as provided on overview of the National Wheat Foundation. Specifically, the presentation focused on NAWG’s Farm Bill priorities, trade, tax reform, infrastructure investments, FY 2017/18 Ag Appropriations, commodity markets, transportation, and environmental regulations. NAWG’s President also discussed several dynamics affecting the 115th Congress and received input about policy issues of importance to California growers.

2017 CTIC-SARE-ASTA Cover Crop Survey
The 2017 Cover Crop Survey is now available. The survey is sponsored by USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Agency (SARE), the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA).  NAWG encourages you to distribute this link to farmers within your networks, and to others who can also distribute the link to farmers in their networks.  The goal is to reach out to farmers in every state, both those using cover crops and those who are not.

House Ag Committee Chairman Responds to GAO Report on Food Aid
On April 10, GAO published a report examining the changes made to the Food for Peace program in the 2014 Farm Bill which provided additional flexibility in emergency funding known as Section 202(e). This increased the tools that USAID has available to address emergency situations using cash, vouchers, local or regional procurement and monetization. The report takes a comprehensive look into the extent USAID is using the new authority to reach those in need across the globe. In response to the report, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway released a statement criticizing USAID for using its new authority on cash, vouchers, and LRP and avoiding monetization of U.S. commodities to the greatest extent possible. Read Conaway’s statement here in its entirety.