Weekly Update for
Weekly Update for
NAWG/USW Winter Conference
Thank you to all who attended the NAWG/USW Winter Conference last week in Washington, D.C. NAWG welcomed Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow, and Ranking Member Boozman, along with staff members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees during the conference. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Alexis Taylor, and Doug McKalip, Chief Agricultural Negotiator from the Office of United States Trade Representative, gave trade updates to wheat growers.
NAWG Job Announcement: Director of Communications and Partnerships
The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) seeks a dynamic, self-starter to manage the association’s communications and media relations and work to strengthen and enhance our industry partnerships. Additionally, this position will serve as NAWG’s lead staff person for our fall, winter, and annual conferences. The Director of Communications and Partnerships’ main role is to oversee all media requests, publish the weekly newsletter and monthly podcast, communicate conference responsibilities, and help cultivate industry partnerships. The Director of Communications and Partnerships will work independently and in a team to fulfill organizational goals and initiatives. Applications need to be submitted to NAWGDC@gmail.com by February 14, 2024.
WheatPAC Registration is Live!
WheatPAC registration is open for Commodity Classic! The auction will take place on Thursday, February 29, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. in Houston, Texas, at the Downtown J.W. Marriott, directly following the NAWG President's Reception. Ticket sales and auction items go directly to support WheatPAC. WheatPAC serves to advance the policy interests of wheat growers before Members of Congress through helping to elect pro-wheat, pro-agriculture candidates. The WheatPAC accomplishes this by being nonpartisan and supporting candidates for Congress that will be champions for wheat on Capitol Hill. We look forward to bringing in the new President with style and would love your support and participation in this year’s Auction and Reception.
NAWG Joined Crop Insurance Coalition Letter
The National Association of Wheat Growers and numerous agriculture organizations sent a letter on January 22, urging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Director Shalanda Young of the Office of Management and Budget to protect crop insurance from harmful cuts in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget proposal. The letter recognizes the protection crop insurance had in the FY2024 budget and asks for similar protections in next year’s budget proposal. The letter states, “Even in good years, farmers need access to a strong and secure Federal crop insurance program, a program that farmers have described time and again as a critical element of the farm safety net. The strength and predictability of the program is only more critical given the uncertainty that characterizes the production agriculture sector.”
Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Hearing: "Exposing President Biden’s Plan to Dismantle the Snake River Dams and the Negative Impacts to the United States"
On January 30, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing to discuss and examine the management of the federal dams on the Columbia River and the Snake River, and the actions taken by the Biden administration to plan for the removal of the Lower Snake River Dams. Washington Grain Commission CEO, Casey Chumrau testified during the hearing, saying, “Grain growers in the Pacific Northwest rely on the Columbia Snake River System, and the Lower Snake River Dams in particular, for their livelihoods. The Columbia Snake River System is the top wheat export gateway in the nation.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5) began the hearing with her statement, saying, “Dozens of stakeholders and utility companies practically begged to be heard in this process, only to be turned away, shut out, and ignored. I have heard from many who the administration didn’t talk to, and here are 40 letters representing individuals and organizations that represent thousands in the Pacific Northwest." Among the letters was a letter from NAWG that highlighted the important role the navigable river system plays in supporting farmers and helping them get their products to overseas markets. The committee also heard from Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, John Hairston, Administrator and CEO of the Bonneville Power Administration, and Jeremy Takala, from the Yakama Nation’s Tribal Council.
Wheat Industry Comments on USDA’s Proposed Genetic Engineering Exemptions
On January 19, NAWG joined 60 agricultural organizations in response to USDA’s public comments on proposed exemptions for gene editing regulations, and why they should be expanded to allopolyploids. The coalition response comes after NAWG, US Wheat Associates, and the National Wheat Improvement Committee submitted wheat-specific comments that sought to ensure wheat breeders are able to take full advantage of innovations in plant breeding. The U.S. wheat industry would like to see these new technologies used in wheat if it does not disrupt commercial trade. U.S. farmers and the environment would benefit greatly from these new technological advancements in agriculture, while also feeding a growing population and economy.
Check out the Newest Specialty Products in Ag
The 35th Annual Farm Innovations for Today's Top Farm Operator features the newest specialty products for the farmer. Quickly and easily get information about the products and technologies covered in this issue and previous editions. See pages 18-19 for an article about NAWG!
Farmers, Ranchers Now Can Make USDA Farm Loan Payments Online
On January 29, the USDA announced that in early February, most farm loan borrowers will now be able to submit payments for their direct loans online. The Pay My Loan feature will be available on farmers.gov/loans, to streamline processes in the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and make services more flexible for farmers. USDA Service Centers process more than 225,000 farm loan payments each year, and the online payment feature will both save farmer's and FSA farm loan employee’s time. Producers must have a USDA customer account and a USDA Level 2 eAuthentication account or a login.gov account to submit payments online. The online feature is not available for borrowers with jointly payable checks at this time.
Biden-Harris Administration Invests $207 Million in Clean Energy and Domestic Fertilizer Projects to Strengthen American Farms and Businesses as part of Investing in America Agenda
On January 22, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA will invest $207 million in domestic fertilizer and renewable energy projects, through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. The $207 million will be distributed to 42 different states, through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program (FPEP). The FPEP program includes $50 million for seven projects, in seven states. One example of a FPEP project is a fully automated fertilizer facility in Nebraska, that will create custom products based on plant and soil samples. Another is an anaerobic digestion facility in North Carolina that will produce 50,000 tons of fertilizer and ammonium sulfate each year, along with 55,000 megawatts of energy annually.
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Meeting with China’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian
On January 18, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack the People’s Republic of China Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Tang Renjian. Secretary Vilsack released the following statement regarding his meeting, “Today I hosted a meeting with my counterpart from the People’s Republic of China, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian. In addition to addressing outstanding market access issues and other U.S. agricultural stakeholder concerns, we discussed approaches to tackling climate and food security challenges. I emphasized the importance of an enabling environment for innovative technologies and practices to ensure productive and sustainable agriculture systems and to facilitate trade. I look forward to further exchanges and cooperation as we continue to forge a relationship that expands and improves market access opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers in China, an important agricultural export market.”
Senator Debbie Stabenow Receives Conservation Champion Award
On January 26, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), was honored with the Conservation Champion Award by the Pheasants Forever organization. “Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have been such fantastic partners with me in passing historic conservation initiatives that will impact generations to come,” Stabenow said. “Michigan’s wildlife and natural resources are part of our DNA, which makes this honor especially meaningful to me.” Stabenow helped create the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) in the 2014 Farm Bill and is a long-time advocate for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP). The 2024 Farm Bill will be Chairwoman Stabenow’s sixth Farm Bill during her time in office.
House of Representatives Passes Tax Deal
On January 31, the House of Representatives passed Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act (H.R. 7024) by a vote of 357 to 70. The bill serves as $79 billion family and business tax break bill designed to bridge to next year’s scheduled expiration of a number of provisions in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Among other things, the House bill would restore 100 percent bonus depreciation through 2025 and expand the existing Section 179 expensing allowance. The legislation now awaits consideration in the Senate.
GAO Releases Report on Foreign Ownership of U.S. Farmland
On January 18, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on foreign ownership and investment in U.S. farmland. Included in the report, were six recommendations the GAO made to the USDA, which called upon the agency to share detailed and timely AFIDA data with CFIUS agencies, improve the reliability of AFIDA data, and assess its ability to adopt an online submission system and public database. The report noted that USDA generally agreed with the GAO’s recommendations.
Thank you, Attendees and Exhibitors of Wheat 101!
One week ago today, the National Wheat Foundation held its 8th annual Wheat 101 reception! Thank you, BNSF, for your continued sponsorship of this reception. We appreciate Texas A&M, FMC, Farm Credit, American Bakers Association, North American Millers' Association, Wheat Foods Council, Grain Foods Foundation, U.S. Wheat Associates, BNSF, FMI - Food Industry Association, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers for sharing about the wheat industry as exhibitors at Wheat 101.
National Wheat Yield Contest Winner’s Reception at Commodity Classic
The National Wheat Foundation will be hosting its Winner’s Reception at Commodity Classic on Wednesday, February 28, from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Come to celebrate the National Wheat Yield Contest Winners and Quality Award Winners! Please email National Wheat Foundation Project Manager, Anne Osborne (firstname.lastname@example.org), for questions and additional details.
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