June 2, 2017
We hope you enjoy this week’s edition of KAWG E-News.
Pre-harvest weed control in wheat
Recent hail storms and other problems have affected wheat stands in some areas of Kansas. The resulting thin stands in some areas, along with the abundant rains in May, have caused weeds to start showing up in many wheat fields — especially in fields not treated earlier. When broadleaf weeds are given the opportunity to grow rapidly in wheat fields because of wet weather and open canopies at the end of the growing season, these weeds flourish and often grow above the wheat canopy.
This raises several potential concerns, including harvest difficulties, dockage problems, weed seed production, and soil water depletion. No one wants to spend extra money on a below-average crop, but it may be necessary.
Crop Update from CEO
Justin Gilpin, CEO of Kansas Wheat, talked about the upcoming wheat harvest and the overall condition of the crop. Gilpin also talked about the serious problems with wheat streak mosaic virus, which has devastated the crop in western areas of the state.
Interested in attending a plot tour? Check out this schedule from the Kansas Wheat Alliance.
By Chandler Goule, Opinion Contributer
President Trump won 70 percent of the rural America vote, helping him to secure his seat in the White House. Many of these voters were farmers, who are now calling upon the president to reevaluate his FY2018 budget which, if implemented via the Farm Bill or appropriations process, would hurt rural areas of the country that strongly supported the president.
This will be my fourth Farm Bill and throughout my experience, I have seen first-hand how the federal crop insurance program is the most important risk management tool available to producers. Farmers need a safety net and an effective risk management system, particularly when prices are low and when disaster strikes.
The Farm Bill debate should occur during the reauthorization discussions in the House and Senate Agriculture committees and not the annual budget process. If the president is serious about improving the rural economy, it’s disappointing that he would propose policies that would have such a terrible impact on American farmers.
The recent late season blizzard in the Midwest, proves that Mother Nature is unpredictable. In Kansas alone, 40 percent of the state’s wheat crop was impacted by more than 15 inches of snow. These same growers’ crops are now being hit with the wheat streak mosaic virus.
According to the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, many acres in west-central Kansas are severely diseased and could experience more than 70 percent yield loss, if not a complete loss. These conditions, combined with historically low prices, are causing real stress out in wheat country. The safety net provided by the 2018 Farm Bill isn’t going to make a farmer wealthy or even guarantee a return on their investment, but it does give farmers the ability after a disaster, crop failure, or weak market to farm another year. These are real-time examples of why we need to have a stable crop insurance system in place.
Just like any other type of insurance program, producers must pay a premium and they only get an indemnity payment when they suffer a loss. More and more farmers from across the country are joining the crop insurance program, proving that the current structure is working. This large participation means that risk can be spread across a lot of acres. Should Congress attempt to reduce the federal cost-share or restrict participation, risk would then spread over less area, increasing premiums for all producers, big and small, causing them to lower their coverage.
The president’s FY2018 Budget seeks $28.56 billion over 10 years in cuts to crop insurance programs. These cuts will weaken the Farm Bill and are a short-sighted approach to deficit reduction. In fact, the Farm Bill reduces government spending. At time of passage, the 2014 Farm Bill is estimated to reduce spending by $23 billion over ten years. Further, the Congressional Budget Office’s 2017 baseline estimates that the 2014 Farm Bill costs far less than projected and is going to save the federal government $100 billion. Producers are facing some of history’s toughest economic conditions and gutting this critical piece of legislation would only put another hurdle in the path of producers already struggling.
Much has changed since Congress passed the 2014 Farm Bill. The political, policy, and economic dynamics facing Congress are much different this session. Producers are hurting economically with net farm income is at its lowest since 2009 and a multiyear slump in commodity prices. Natural disasters are becoming more unpredictable and harder to prepare for, requiring farmers to have access to a strong federal crop insurance program. Over the coming months, NAWG will be actively working to make sure that Congress doesn’t enact these short-sighted cuts that directly swipe at American agriculture.
MSU alum Norm Asbjornson Donates $2 Million to MSU’s Montana Plant Sciences Chair
Montana State University and the MSU Alumni Foundation has announced that longtime university supporter Norm Asbjornson has given $2 million in support of the Montana Plant Sciences Chair, the first endowed chair in the MSU College of Agriculture. The chair will formally be named the Winifred Asbjornson Plant Sciences Chair in honor of Asbjornson’s hometown of Winifred, where he grew up during the Depression. Asbjornson’s gift brings the university to within $200,000 of its $5 million goal for the endowment. The gift also marks the beginning of the fourth year of the endowment’s five-year fundraising plan. MSU plans to meet the remaining $200,000 through private development, according to Kevin Brown, senior director of development with the MSU Alumni Foundation. Read MSU’s release here.
Montana Ag Summit 2017
The 2017 Montana Ag Summit kicked off Wednesday night with a welcome reception by Montana Senator Steve Daines. On Thursday June 01, 2017, the Summit included several speakers and panels on various issues affecting present and future agriculture. Michelle Erickson Jones, Vice President of the Montana Grain Growers Association and a National Association of Wheat Growers Director, participated in a panel on international opportunities. The panel focused primarily on trade including the upcoming NAFTA negotiations, China, how to make U.S. exports competitive with other countries, and important aspects to focus on now that bilateral agreements are being pursued.
Within the Summit there was great discussion on supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers and the importance of innovation, diversification, technological advancement, and research for the future of agriculture. J. Christopher Giancarlo, Acting Chairman on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, gave a speech on the future of commodity markets, placing emphasis on the need for regulatory reform. He was immediately followed by a panel comprised of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Senator Pat Roberts, and Senator Steve Daines who spoke on the future of agriculture. Access Senator Daines’ Montana Agriculture Summit here.
House Committee on Agriculture Holds Next Farm Bill Hearing
On Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 10:00 a.m., the House Agriculture Committee will hold a Full Committee hearing titled “The Next Farm Bill: The Future of International Food Aid and Agricultural Development.”
National Academies Sets Committee to Study Ag Future, AgriPulse Reports
Scientists at Kansas State University and the University of California-Riverside will chair a panel that’s charged with coming up with a strategy for the future of agriculture research. The committee, being formed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, will have 11 other members, including scientists from Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Dartmouth, IBM, Iowa State University and UC-Davis. Thomas Grumbly, president of the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation, which is helping fund the year-long study, said the committee members are the “perfect set of leaders to produce a research agenda to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
Gluten-Free Food Product Surveillance Sampling Results
On August 2, 2013, the FDA issued a final rule defining “gluten-free” for food labeling to help consumers, especially those living with celiac disease, be confident that items labeled “gluten-free” meet a defined standard for gluten content. The final rule’s compliance date was August 5, 2014. To gauge compliance with one of the major requirements of the rule, the agency conducted a sampling assignment of products labeled “gluten free” from July 2015 to August 2016.
In all, the agency tested 702 individual samples from three commodity groups (cereals, grain bars and flours) and found only one of the products out of compliance. More than 250 types of products were analyzed as part of the assignment. FDA found that more than 99.5 percent of sampled food products labeled “gluten-free” are in compliance with a requirement that such foods contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten.
Kansas Wheat Staff
Source: Kansas Association of Wheat Growers