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USDA Reorganization, freeze FAQs, Yield Contest & more in the KAWG E-Update

USDA Reorganization, freeze FAQs, Yield Contest & more in the KAWG E-Update


We hope you enjoy this week’s edition of KAWG E-News.


Trump Plans Massive USDA Reorganization

From DTN –  The Progressive Farmer

The Trump administration is planning a massive reorganization of the Agriculture Department, and key parts of it could be announced as early as Thursday, when Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue makes a trip to Cincinnati that has already been promoted as a reorganization announcement, a Democratic source has told DTN.

Some of the statements by the Democratic source are “off the mark,” a USDA official said, but he declined to provide details on what might be erroneous until later today.

Several sources have said that Perdue will announce the creation of an undersecretary for trade, a position that was included in the 2014 farm bill.

Under the reorganization, the Foreign Agriculture Service, currently under the agriculture undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, would be supervised by the undersecretary for trade.

The proposal would zero out the McGovern-Dole international school feeding program, which was already announced in Trump’s initial “skinny budget,” but would also zero out the P.480 food aid program, which has existed since the 1950s as the U.S. government’s main food aid program, the Democratic source said. (Read more.)

2017 Freeze and Snow in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska FAQs

From RMA

Q: My 2017 wheat crop was planted in acreage that qualified for the continuous cropping practice. Since this crop failed and will not be harvested, can these acres qualify for the summerfallow practice next fall (2018 crop year)?

A: No. Since the 2017 wheat was planted on acreage that did not qualify for the summerfallow practice, the acreage cannot qualify for the summerfallow for the 2018 crop year.

Q: Does the fact that my 2017 failed wheat had reached the headed stage affect whether or not these acres will qualify for the summerfallow practice for the 2018 crop year?

A: No. The fact that the 2017 failed wheat had reached the headed stage has no bearing on whether those acres will qualify of the summerfallow practice for the 2018 crop year. If the 2017 failed wheat had been planted on acreage that qualified for the summerfallow practice, was released by the insurance company and was terminated by June 1 (and any later growth controlled by mechanical or chemical means), the acreage will qualify as summerfallow the next crop year.

Q: Can grazing be used as a form of terminating the failed wheat crop?

A: Termination means growth has ended. If the failed wheat is not terminated by June 1, then the acreage will not qualify for the summerfallow practice the next crop year. Regardless of termination method used, it is the producer’s responsibility to ensure that the failed wheat has been terminated. (Read more.)

Wheat Grower Organizations Welcome Robert Lighthizer as the New US Trade Representative

From Oklahoma Farm Report

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Robert Lighthizer today as the next U.S. Trade Representative. Fair access to international markets is crucial for America’s productive wheat farmers. Our organizations believe Ambassador Lighthizer fully understands that a strong agricultural economy depends on improving free trade opportunities and rules.

“We look forward to working with Amb. Lighthizer to help build new export opportunities for the farmers we represent,” said David Schemm, NAWG President and a wheat farmer from Sharon Springs, KS. “To that end, we also encourage him to quickly name a new U.S. Agricultural Trade Ambassador to represent agricultural interests in the upcoming re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and trade negotiations with Asia-Pacific nations.” (Read more.)

Win Big in Kansas Wheat Yield Contest

Now that the 2017 Kansas wheat crop has received some much-needed rainfall, achieving top yields is on the minds of wheat farmers. With Mother Nature’s help, your best management practices could be just the ticket to earn you a quick $1,750 in cash, if you enter the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest.

The state contest is being held in addition to the National Wheat Yield Contest, which is sponsored by the National Wheat Foundation. Entries for the National Contest are $125 and due by May 1. You must be a member of the state wheat growers association, ages 14 and older, to enter the national contest. The national contest is open to spring and winter wheat, both dryland and irrigated.

Entries for the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest are $50 and due by June 1. The Kansas contest is open to all Kansas wheat farmers, ages 18 and up. Members of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers receive one free entry in the Kansas contest. The contest is open only to dryland fields in Kansas, planted to certified Hard Red Winter or Hard White winter wheat. (Read more.)


NAWG Secretary Submits Testimony on the Importance of the Farm Bill to Michigan Agriculture Before Senate Panel
On Saturday, May 06, 2017, NAWG Secretary David Milligan  submitted testimony for the record as part of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry’s hearing about how the Farm Bill is critical to the growth of Michigan agriculture. The hearing, entitled “Growing Jobs and Economic Opportunity: Perspectives on the 2018 Farm Bill from Michigan,” featured testimony from a wide variety of agricultural producers and Farm Bill stakeholders, examining agriculture, as well as conservation, rural economic development, research, forestry, energy, and nutrition policies that affect Michigan. Read the release here.

NAWG appreciates the Committee holding this hearing, and is looking forward to working collaboratively with the Committee members to write the 2018 Farm Bill.

NAWG and USW Submit Joint Comments on Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits

On Thursday, May 10, 2017, The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associations (USW) submitted comments for the public hearing on an Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits, pursuant to a request for comments from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Commerce. In the comments, NAWG and USW identified policy barriers erected by various countries that limit wheat export opportunities from the United States and stated that if these barriers were removed, U.S. wheat exports would likely grow as a result. NAWG and USW also stated that “ensuring a fair playing field for U.S. producers facilitates wheat exports, resulting in reduced trade deficits and increased revenue and jobs in rural America.” Read the release here and comments are available here:

Senate Ag Committee Holds Full Committee Hearing on PRIA

On Thursday, May 11, 2017,  the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a Full Committee hearing entitled “Pesticide Registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act: Providing Stakeholders with Certainty through the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act.” The hearing examined current pesticide registrations. Panel I consisted of Rick Keigwin, Acting Director, Office of Pesticide Programs at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Dr. Sheryl Kunickis, Director, Office of Pest Management Policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Panel II included Mr. Dale Murden, Past Chair of the National Sorghum Producers and Texas Sorghum Producers as well as President of Texas Citrus Mutual; The Honorable Gary W. Black, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture; Mr. Jay Vroom, President & Chief Executive Officer of CropLife America; and Ms. Virginia E. Ruiz, Director of Occupational and Environmental Health at Farmworker Justice.

USDA Secretary Purdue to Testify to House Ag Committee on the Current State of the Rural Economy

On Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. the House Committee on Agriculture is holding a Full Committee hearing on the “State of the Rural Economy.”  USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue be testifying on the economic outlook in rural America along with his vision for USDA and the role it will play in ensuring that our country continues to enjoy the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food supply in the world.

USDA Production Reports Released

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its monthly crop production report on Wednesday and the Office of the Chief Economist released an updated World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report.  This updated May NASS report estimates that this year’s winter wheat crop will be 1.25 billion bushels, which is 25 percent lower than 2016 production.  The yield forecast for the year as of May 1 is estimated at 48.8 bushels per acre, which is 6.5 bushels per acre lower than last year’s record of 55.3.  At the class-specific level, the report estimates that Hard Red Winter production will be down 32 percent from last year at 737 million bushels.  Soft Red Winter is projected to be down 14 percent at 297 million acres, White Winter is projected down 13 percent at 212 million bushels with 195 million bushels Soft White and 16.8 million bushels of Hard White production.

As background, NASS conducted the survey between April 24 and May 4, asking producers their expected yields as of May 1.  The sample was of approximately 11,300 farmers representing all major production areas.

Federal Register Notice: Availability of an Environmental Assessment for the Field Release of Genetically Engineered Diamondback Moths

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is making available for public comment an environmental assessment prepared in connection with a permit application for the field release of diamondback moths that have been genetically engineered for repressible female lethality and to express red fluorescence as a marker. The purpose of the proposed field release is to assess the feasibility and efficacy of these moths in reducing populations of diamondback moths that are known plant pests and a serious threat to agriculture. Comments are due on or before May 19, 2017.  Read the Federal Register notice to learn how to submit comments.


Despite updated weather and a release of government reports, the best the wheat price action could accomplish was a sideways trading pattern.  This indicates the news was minor and balanced.

On the weather front, wheat traders try to come to terms with the recent cold/snowy weather event.  No doubt the wheat plants sustained damage in the western section of Kansas.  The extent of the damage is up for debate.  This week’s cold and damp condition is a positive to help heal a damaged wheat plant.  A rain event traveled across our Southern Plains this week.   For wheat producers, this was welcomed and should provide the moisture needed to complete the growing process for wheat.

The USDA released their May Grain update on Wednesday.  These reports gave mixed signals for the wheat price.  The U. S. Balance Sheet recorded a 914 million bushel ending stock number.  This was below what the trade expected.  On the world report, the wheat traders projected a lower ending stock number.  The opposite occurred with world ending stock for new crop wheat at 258.3 million metric tons.

The USDA estimated the Kansas wheat crop at 290 million bushels.  This was slightly higher than the estimate from the U. S. Wheat Quality Tour in Kansas.  In recent year, the first number for new crop wheat production in Kansas has been close to the tour number.

Last week’s rally in the wheat price could have been our pre-harvest high.  My suggestion for wheat producers is to price some bushels if we see a rally in the wheat price in the next 2 to 3 weeks.  I would not expect over a 15 to 25 cents gain.



Source: Kansas Association of Wheat Growers