Weekly Update for
Weekly Update for
NAWG Hiring Government Relations Representative
The National Association of Wheat Growers is hiring a policy representative to manage a diverse policy portfolio in Washington, DC. The junior government relations role would work with and support the staff at NAWG in executing the organization’s policy objectives. Additionally, this role would manage a diverse policy portfolio, encompassing issues like crop insurance, appropriations, transportation, crop protection tools, taxes, labor, broadband, research, and technology. The role would also manage the organization’s Political Action Committee (WheatPAC). The application will close June 2, 2023.
NAWG CEO Joins Agri-Pulse Newsmakers
NAWG CEO Chandler Goule joined Agri-Pulse's Newsmakers last week with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Chelsea Good with the Livestock Marketing Association. Chandler provided insight into NAWG's farm bill priorities and the debt ceiling. "The ability to write an effective farm bill that has programs that are fully funded is completely dependent on resolving the debt ceiling issue... If we go over the debt ceiling, all programs are cut. The U.S. government can only spend up to 75 percent of its expenditures in each program. That means all of our conservation programs, our Title I programs, and so it’s definitely going to make or break the ability to write a farm bill if we do not resolve this issue this month." Chandler Goule said.
Annual Hard Wheat Winter Tour 2023
This week, the Wheat Quality Council is hosting the 65th Annual Hard Winter Wheat Evaluation Tour in Kansas. The tour attracted 106 attendees from the U.S. Mexico, Canada and Colombia. Participants calculate yields at each stop based on three different area samplings per field. Individual estimates are averaged with the rest of their route mates and eventually added to a formula that produces a final yield estimate for the areas along the routes. Drought, freeze damage, higher-than-normal abandonment, and disease has lowered expectations for Kansas’ winter wheat production.
New CBO Report
On Friday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their new 10-year cost estimates for all government programs, including the Farm Bill programs. CBO’s May baseline confirms that the 2023 farm bill, upon enactment, could potentially be the first trillion-dollar farm bill in U.S. history. Total spending is projected at $1.51 trillion, $31.5 billion higher than CBO’s February baseline (this total includes outlays from the Inflation Reduction Act). The new estimates expect that commodity program payments will increase to $66 billion, up from the $56.7 billion, and conservation spending will increase to $67.7 billion, up from the $64.9 billion forecasted in February, thanks to lower estimates for future prices as well as some technical revisions. The estimates for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits also increased thanks to higher participation expectations and higher average benefits. The CBO forecasts SNAP to increase $18 billion to $1.223 trillion over the next ten years with participation averaging 39 million people per year.
USDA Secretary Sends Letter to the STB
Last week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) regarding ongoing rail issues facing Ag Shippers. In the letter, Vilsack expresses his appreciation for the efforts of the STB over the past year in addressing rail service issues. However, Vilsack acknowledged that rail service remains inadequate and unreliable for many agricultural shippers. He highlighted the need for sufficient labor and assets to handle unexpected demand spikes and ensure worker safety and urged the STB to strengthen the rail system and improve service for agricultural shippers before it becomes a national issue. Vilsack calls for the STB to counteract negative trends in rail transportation and to increase competition, enhance oversight through data collection, and ensure railroads fulfill their duty to provide high-quality rail service to the nation.
USDA Releases Black Sea Trade Vulnerability Dashboard
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) released a dashboard highlighting the significance of Black Sea grain and oilseed trade. The dashboard utilizes data from FAS's Production, Supply and Distribution database and the Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales to demonstrate the potential impacts of disruptions in Black Sea trade on food access in various countries. The analysis focuses on key commodities such as barley, corn, soybean oil, sunflower seed oil, and wheat. It highlights the largest suppliers for each country, emphasizing the potential repercussions of Russia's war in Ukraine. According to USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor, Russia's conflict in Ukraine has had a substantial impact on grain and oilseed exports from the Black Sea region. As the Black Sea Grain Initiative is being renegotiated, these reports and the dashboard offer data-based insights into trade dynamics within the region.
USDA Wheat Data Webinar
Join USDA’s data training webinar on May 24, 2023, led by ERS Economists Andrew Sowell and Bryn Swearingen, to explore the USDA Economic Research Service's Wheat Data product. This product offers a detailed view of U.S. wheat production, supply, and disappearance statistics for the five wheat classes, along with import/export data and price series. Notably, U.S. wheat consumption for food use is expected to reach a record high, while exports are at their lowest level in 50 years, with prices reaching a historic peak in 2022/23. The webinar will showcase the product's various uses, demonstrate how to access it on the ERS website, and highlight the new Wheat Data Visualization tool for creating graphical displays. By attending, participants will gain valuable insights into the wheat market and learn how to effectively analyze and visualize key data related to production, trade, and consumption trends in the United States.
Stabenow, Thompson, Boozman, Scott Joint Statement on White House Farm Bill Meeting
On May 11, the four corner leaders, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR), House Agriculture Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson and Ranking Member David Scott met with President Joe Biden and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the White House to discuss the Farm Bill. The four corners released this statement: “Today, the four leaders of the Agriculture Committees had a conversation with President Biden and Secretary Vilsack on the importance of passing a bipartisan Farm Bill this year. The Farm Bill is a jobs bill. It is a safety net for farmers and consumers, and it is an investment in our rural communities and the health of the American people. The Agriculture Committees have a long tradition of bipartisan cooperation, and we look forward to continuing that tradition through our work on the 2023 Farm Bill.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Advances Deputy Secretary Nominee
Yesterday, the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously voted to advance Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico to serve as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Currently, Torres Small serves as the Under Secretary for Rural Development at USDA and had previously served in the House of Representatives as part of the New Mexico delegation. In a press release, Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Boozman praised Torres Small and urged swift Senate confirmation. The nomination now awaits consideration by the full Senate.
Ranking Member Boozman Expresses Disappointment in Supreme Court Decision Upholding California’s Prop 12
On May 11, Ranking Member of the Senate Ag Committee Senator John Boozman (R-AR), expressed his disappointment with the Supreme Court's decision to uphold California's Proposition 12. He considers it a setback for all Americans, as it allows one state, particularly a liberal one, to impose regulations on industries outside its borders and potentially increase prices for the entire nation. Boozman highlights the negative impact on consumers during a period of high food inflation, as California's decision means Americans will have to pay more for animal protein products while posing a threat to family farms nationwide.
House Republicans Advance USDA Spending Bill Amidst Democratic Opposition
Republicans on the House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee advanced a fiscal 2024 spending bill for USDA and FDA. Democrats accused it of being a "sham proposal" relying on unlikely funding recissions. The bill includes major USDA cuts and restricts Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's use of the Commodity Credit Corporation. Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (R-MD-1) defended the bill, prioritizing essential functions and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Democrats criticized the bill's rescissions, suggesting they would not take effect in time. Excluding rescissions, the bill provides $17.2 billion to USDA in FY24, the lowest spending level since 2006 and $8.7 billion less than FY23. It falls $11.7 billion below President Biden's FY24 request. House Republicans were accused of slashing nondefense programs, and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack called the bill "pathetic" and "petty." Democrats expressed concern over the impact of the CCC restriction on agricultural producers. The bill's advancement sparked debate on funding cuts, USDA restrictions, and their effects.
The 2023/24 outlook for U.S. wheat is for reduced supplies and exports, increased domestic use, and smaller stocks compared with 2022/23. U.S. wheat supplies are forecast lower than last year with smaller beginning stocks and only slightly larger production. All wheat production is projected at 1,659 million bushels, up modestly from last year on increased harvested area. However, the harvest-to-plant ratio is down from last year with above-average abandonment in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The all wheat yield, projected at 44.7 bushels per acre, is 1.8 bushels lower than last year. The first survey-based production forecast for 2023/24 winter wheat is up 2 percent from last year as higher Soft Red Winter production more than offsets a decline in Hard Red Winter and White wheat. The global wheat outlook for 2023/24 is for lower supplies, trade, consumption, and ending stocks compared with 2022/23. Global production is forecast at a record 789.8 million tons, up 1.5 million.
Bayer Leadership Program
A special thanks to Bayer, a valuable partner with the Foundation who helps facilitate our leadership training programs. The dates for the 23-24 class will be November 9-10, 2023, in Cincinnati, OH, and January 21-23, 2024, in Washington, D.C. You must commit to attending both sessions. Interested growers should work with their state association to put in an application. Applications will be due July 1, 2023. Usually, only one person per state is selected. Please get your application in early. Space is limited. Contact Anne Osborne (AOsborne@wheatworld.org) with any questions.
Northern Crops Institute Summer Ag Academy
Northern Crops Institute Summer Ag Academy is now accepting applicants in grades 10-12. The NCI Summer Ag Academy is a free, immersive career exploration experience in food science, animal science, and international trade and policy. Participants will be exposed to world-class professionals, facilities, and activities. High school students can earn college credits. There is no cost to the students to attend. Please share this with any students who might be interested. The National Wheat Foundation is a bronze sponsor of this excellent educational opportunity.
NWF Board Member Attends Wheat Tour
Brian Walker, a National Wheat Foundation director, attended the Wheat Quality Council’s 65th Annual Hard Winter Wheat Evaluation Tour and shared some comments after day two. When considering the comments and the USDA projections, here are some general considerations: Wheat was planted on 8.1 million acres in Kansas. Projections of 18 percent abandonment have been stated. This will equate to the 191 million bushel crop. The tour calculated yield formula after 2 days is between 28 and 29 bushel per acre for each of the first 2 days. If this holds true, the tour results are very close. At this stage, it is debatable if rain can improve this situation. There are areas in NW and NC Kansas that are at the flag stage and some think this could help. Most other areas are too late. The accuracy of 18 percent abandonment projection is the question. Either way, the Kansas production prospects have not been this low since 1963.