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Wheat condition update, Wheat Tour & more in the KAWG E-Update

Wheat condition update, Wheat Tour & more in the KAWG E-Update


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

Wheat Tour releases final projections

The 2017 Wheat Quality Council’s Hard Winter Wheat Tour across Kansas wrapped up on May 4, as scouts traveled from Wichita to Manhattan.

The three-day average over the fields that were calculated was 46.1 bushels an acre. While an estimated 7.4 million acres of wheat were planted in the fall, tour participants saw many areas where disease, damage from snow and freeze damage may eliminate those fields. This was accounted for in the final estimates.

The official tour projection for total production numbers of hard red winter wheat to be harvested in Kansas is 281,707,913 bushels. If realized, this would be 185 million bushels less than last year’s crop. This number is calculated based on the average of estimated predictions from tour participants who gathered information from 469 fields across the state. The number of stops was down significantly from 655 fields during the 2016 tour. This was due primarily to snow cover in the western third of the state, where tour scouts weren’t able to take calculations. (Read more.)

Senator Moran speaks about storms affecting Kansas farmers on Senate Floor

Effects of snowfall April 29 & May 1, 2017 on Kansas wheat

From K-State Research and Extension
The weekend of April 29 – May 1 was very challenging to the Kansas wheat crop, especially in the western portion of the state. Over that period, anywhere from 1 to more than 21 inches of snowfall covered the majority of western Kansas (Fig. 1), which corresponds to roughly 40% of the wheat acreage in Kansas.(Read more.)

You can’t kill wheat, but Mother Nature is trying

From American Farm Bureau

The old adage is that “you can’t kill wheat.” Mother Nature may be testing that hypothesis in parts of the U.S. The National Weather Service indicates that heavy snow and freezing occurred over the last week in key winter wheat production areas – eastern Colorado, the western part of Kansas and parts of Nebraska. This adverse weather resulted in damage to the wheat crop, including substantial lodging, or the flattening of the wheat plant.


Lodging can reduce crop yields as much as 1 percent per day and may increase the likelihood of disease. Reports of lower wheat yields are already being confirmed by crop tours currently underway. Ultimately, this recent damage to the crop could further reduce wheat production in 2017/18, lowering ending stock levels and lifting marketing year average prices above the current projection of $4.30 per bushel. New-crop wheat futures climbed as much as 20 cents per bushel following the prior week’s weather events.

(Read more.)

Rep. Jenkins introduces bill to help farmers and ranchers in rural America

From Rep. Lynn Jenkins

Recently, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (KS-02) introduced H.R. 2205, the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America (ECORA) Act which creates a new, targeted tax incentive for agricultural and rural residential lending to help our ranchers and farmers in rural America.

“Agricultural production and the prosperity of farmers is critical to the local economies in rural communities. However, low commodity prices pose a serious threat to agriculture and the thousands of jobs connected to the sector in rural America,” said Congresswoman Jenkins. “That is why I have introduced the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act. This legislation aims to support American farmers, ranchers, and other producers by creating a new, targeted tax incentive for agricultural and rural residential lending, resulting in lower interest rates for qualified borrowers in those rural areas as producers continue to adapt to an environment of challenging commodity prices and other financial constraints.”


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.)

Statement from Sen. Pat Roberts on Kansans affected by snowstorm

From Sen. Pat Roberts 

My thoughts and prayers go out to Kansas farmers and ranchers as they continue to deal with losses from the blizzard that hit Western Kansas earlier this week. Early news reports have stated that upwards of 75% of the country’s total cattle on feed were in the path of this blizzard, while 43% of the state’s wheat acres are located in the impacted area. As the number of cattle lost and wheat damage continues to rise, I urge farmers and ranchers to visit FSA offices and crop insurance agents as soon as possible, to discuss available options. Weather events such as these remind us once again of the need for a strong farm safety net and crop insurance programs.

K-State Sunflower District video on snowstorm

Watch Jeanne Falk Jones, Sunflower District Extension agent, discuss conditions after the blizzard here. 


A Late Season Blizzard Demonstrates the Importance of Crop Insurance

A late season blizzard tore through the Midwest this weekend, bringing as much as twenty inches of snow in some areas. Western Kansas was one of the areas hit the heaviest which had devastating impact on the wheat farmers. 43% of the state’s 7.5 million planted wheat acres for the 2017 crop year was hit with more than a foot of snow – NAWG’s President David Schemm’s wheat farm included. Events like this show the important role that the Farm Bill plays in the livelihoods of farmers by creating such programs as federal crop insurance. The federal crop insurance function is the most important risk management tool available to farmers and the current structure, including the current cost-share levels, has functioned very effectively. It provides a certainty to farmers (and their lenders) who know any given year what their crop insurance coverage is going to be. If a farmer has a loss, they will typically receive a crop insurance payment within 30 days of a claim being finalized through an efficient private-sector delivery system. NAWG supports a strong and fully funded #FarmBill18. Ultimately, farmers need a safety net and an effective risk management system, particularly when prices are low and when disaster strikes.

Update on FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Deal
On April 30, 2017, Congressional leaders reached an agreement to fund the government through the remainder of FY 2017 (through September 30, 2017).  The full bill text of the agreement can be found here, and the report language for the Agriculture Appropriations bill (which provides explanations and some more details about the funding bill than is in the bill text) can be found here.  The agreement includes $20.877 billion in discretionary spending for USDA, which is below the FY 2016 enacted level of $21.75 billion.

It also includes an increase of $1.6 billion in farm operating and ownership loan levels from the FY2016 levels to help meet the growing demand for those programs. For agricultural research, the bill cites a $25 million increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grants program, and it maintains level funding of $243.701 million for the Hatch Act formula fund program for the land grants and of $300 million for the Smith-Lever Extension program.  Included is also report language indicating increases in funding for small grains genomic and the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative – a $1 million increase for the Small Grains Genomic Initiative and a $2 million increase for the Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, no doubt a result of NAWG’s and NWIC’s advocacy efforts.

The bill includes a $5 million pilot program for the Agriculture Risk Coverage County program for the 2016 crop year to address disparities in yields between comparable counties in a state.  This pilot program would set up an alternate calculation method with FSA employees in the state having some flexibility if there is insufficient NASS data in a county or if the available NASS data is significantly disparate. McGovern-Dole Food for Education program would be funded at $201.6 million, which is level with FY 2016.  The Food for Peace program would be funded at $1.6 million, which is $112 million below the FY 2016 level, and included a onetime increase of $134 million to address famine crises around the world. There is $3 million included for the FDA and USDA to promote the acceptance of biotechnology through consumer outreach on “agricultural biotechnology and biotechnology-derived food products and animal feed.” For conservation, the overall Conservation Operations account is funded at $864.474 million.  The Watershed Rehabilitation program is limited to $9 million and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is limited to $1.35 billion (which is a reduction from the $1.65 billion provided in the Farm Bill for FY 2017).  The bill also includes $4 million for the Water Bank program.

The bill was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday on a 309-118 vote and the Senate voted on Thursday to adopt the measure on a 79-18 vote.  It now heads to President Trump for his signature.  Moving forward, NAWG will continue to advocate for these and important programs during the FY 2018 budget and appropriations process.

Ag was a Top Topic Discussed at Branstad Confirmation Hearing  
On Tuesday, May 02, 2017, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a confirmation hearing for the nomination of Terry Brandstad to become Ambassador to China. Politico covered the hearing and stated that Branstad testified that he would promote American interests in Beijing on areas ranging from agriculture to currency. Branstad continued by acknowledging that “the U.S.-China bilateral relationship involves more than just trade, but his deep experience promoting agriculture around the world and the need to maintain a free and open market,” were two areas he returned to most often throughout the two-hour hearing. He first met Xi during the Chinese leader’s visit to Iowa as part of an agriculture delegation in 1985, and “he has also had ‘very frank discussions’ with China’s top agriculture minister.” Additional takeaways from Tuesday’s hearing include that 1) He thinks the U.S. needs to be “more vigorous and serious” about protecting intellectual property rights; 2) He wants to do “everything he can” to stop illegal Chinese practices in the steel industry; 3) He believes China has manipulated its currency but is not doing so now; 4) He respects the long-standing “One China” policy with respect to Taiwan; and 5) He recognizes the need to find ways to stop imports of the synthetic drug fentanyl from China.

Senate Agriculture Committee Holding Farm Bill Hearing This Saturday, May 6
On Saturday, May 6, 2017, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry is holding a field hearing titled Growing Jobs and Economic Opportunity: Perspectives on the 2018 Farm Bill from Michigan. The hearing will feature sixteen witnesses over two panels as well as a separate welcome panel from Dr. Ronald Hendrick, Dean of Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. NAWG’s Board Secretary and Michigan native, Dave Milligan, will be submitting testimony on behalf of the organization.

BMJ Releases Study on Long Term Consumption of Gluten in  High-Risk Adults
This past week BMJ just released a study which examines the association of long term intake of gluten in adults without celiac disease but have a risk of coronary heart disease. Participants included 64,714 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and 45,303 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study without a history of coronary heart disease who completed a 131 item semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire in 1986 that was updated every four years through 2010. The study found that “long term dietary intake of gluten was not associated with risk of coronary heart disease. However, the avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk. The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged.”

H.R. 2321, the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act Introduced
On May 3, 2017, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the bipartisan H.R. 2321, the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act. The CREAATE Act would reassert the importance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) to America’s agricultural producers and economy as a whole, and provide the U.S. agricultural community with the tools needed to retain its edge in an increasingly competitive global economy. The legislation would also double funding for MAP and FMD, incrementally phasing in increases over five years. This increase, while a fractional portion of the USDA and the federal budget.

Doubling funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program is one of several key priorities for NAWG. We appreciate the work that Representatives Newhouse (R-WA) and Pingree (D-ME) are doing on this issue and are looking forward to working with their staff. Additionally, we will continue to work with Congress on pursuing NAWG’s farm program, crop insurance, and conservation priorities as part of the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization process.

National Wheat Foundation Extends Winter Wheat Deadline to May 15th for the National Wheat Yield Contest
The National Wheat Foundation announces an extension for Winter Wheat enrollment in the National Wheat Yield Contest to May 15thGrowers now have until close of business on May 15th to register a winter wheat variety. This is a two week extension from the original deadline of May 1st. Contest Director, Steve Joehl, reasons, “The spring has been delayed by over two weeks across the northern tier states and winter wheat is just coming out of dormancy. Extra time to assess the wheat crop’s yield potential will be beneficial to attract more entries to the Contest from these states. In addition, growers there are up against spring planting deadlines, and are trying to seed at every opportunity. This extension provides those interested in entering some valuable time to complete the process.” The registration process is all online at!


Best Regards,

Kansas Wheat Staff


Source: Kansas Association of Wheat Growers