MN Wheat Weekly Update
National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) Update
NAWG, USW Welcome Confirmation of Tai to USTR
- On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted 98-0 to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as U.S. Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, to that post. During her confirmation hearing, Tai said she understands the values and rules that guide global commerce and the importance of enforcing those terms ‘vigorously.’ Following the Senate vote, NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates issued a joint statement applauding the action. “We appreciate the bipartisan support from the Senate in confirming Ms. Tai to this important position,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Fair and clear access to international markets is crucial for U.S. wheat farmers, and we look forward to working with her and her team on taking an aggressive stance on prioritizing agricultural trade efforts.” Click here to see the full release
USDA Seeks Public Comment on Climate Strategy
- On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a Federal Register notice with the intent of gathering public comment on a climate-smart agriculture and forestry strategy. The process seeks input on four topics: climate-smart agriculture and forestry; biofuels, bioproducts, and renewable energy; catastrophic wildfire; and meeting the needs of disadvantaged communities through USDA’s climate strategy. The Department will be seeking comment through April 30, 2021. At NAWG’s recent annual conference, the organization adopted several policy resolutions regarding climate issues, which will be used as a base for the organization moving forward, including in developing comments for this notice.
Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program Sign-up Deadline Extended
- As a reminder, FSA recently announced an extension of the deadline to sign up for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) program to April 9, 2021 and indicated that the agency had clarified policy. The program is intended to provide assistance to growers suffering poor quality as a result of extreme weather conditions in 2018 and 2019. NAWG has been working with other stakeholders on some issues related to the documentation required for the program, and seeking additional information from the agency about the policy clarifications that were noted as having been announced.
US Wheat Associates Weekly Price Report
- All wheat futures prices fell on the week due to heavy precipitation across the Great Plains (see below) and technical selling. CBOT soft red winter (SRW) futures fell 10 cents to close at $6.28/bu. KCBT hard red winter (HRW) futures slipped 18 cents to end at $5.85/bu. MGE hard red spring (HRS) futures dropped 7 cents to close at $6.27/bu. CBOT corn futures jumped 19 cents to end at $5.58/bu. CBOT soybean futures gained 3 cents to close at $14.16/bu
- Commercial Sales This week’s commercial sales of 390,000 metric tons (MT) for delivery in 2020/21 were up 19% from last week’s 329,000 MT and in line with trade expectations of 150,000 MT to 500,000 MT. Year-to-date sales of 24.5 million metric tons (MMT) are 2% ahead of last year’s pace. USDA forecasts total U.S. wheat exports will reach 26.8 MMT in 2020/21, 2% ahead of last year, if realized.
- View the most recent USW Commercial Sales report here.
U.S. Drought Monitor
Despite the heavy rain and snowfall, much of South Dakota and North Dakota did not receive drought relief, and some areas of North Dakota are now experiencing extreme drought. Abnormal dryness expanded across eastern Washington, but other parts of the PNW saw no expansion of drought conditions despite below-normal precipitation.
(MN Farm Bureau Federation IMPACT)
MFBF Submits Comments on Clean Cars MN Rule
Minnesota Farm Bureau submitted comments to the administrative law judge (ALJ) in response to the proposed Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)’s Clean Cars MN rule. MN Wheat also submitted comments along these same lines. The comment period closed on Monday, March 15, 2021.
Based on our policy we focused on three main points:
- We oppose linking to California standards. We raised concerns with the language in the SONAR about incorporating the California rules as amended. The agency is restricted to what they can adopt, but we had specific concerns we would like addressed with any changes that may happen in California that could then be adopted in Minnesota without going through the rulemaking process.
- Federal uncertainty: the Biden administration has made it clear they want to address this language on the federal level. In addition, the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficiency (SAFE) vehicles rule withdrew California’s 2013 waiver and is currently undergoing litigation. Both of these scenarios provide uncertainty here in Minnesota.
- MFBF policy also opposes the state of Minnesota adopting vehicle emissions standards that would have a long-term negative impact on the production and use of renewable fuels. While this rule does not explicitly impact the use of biofuels in Minnesota, we have significant concerns about the long implications this could have. MFBF strongly encourages the use of policies and programs to increase the use of biofuels as the leading way to reduce greenhouse gasses.
PPP Eligibility for LLCs and Joint Ventures
- The Small Business Administration has granted Paycheck Protection Program eligibility using the gross receipts test to single-member Limited Liability Corporations and qualified joint ventures. Partnerships were not included in the eligibility expansion.
- On March 12, the Small Business Administration (SBA) granted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility using the gross receipts test to single-member Limited Liability Corporations (LLC) and qualified joint ventures. Unfortunately, partnerships were not included in the eligibility expansion.
According to the IRS, a qualified joint venture is a business where (1) the only members of the joint venture are a married couple who file a joint return, (2) both spouses materially participate in the trade or business, and (3) both spouses elect not to be treated as a partnership.
Ag Workers Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine
- Governor Tim Walz announced that Minnesota is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include a segment of Minnesota’s food and agriculture sector.
Starting Wednesday, March 10, vaccine eligibility will expand to the next two phases which will include farmers, farmworkers, food processing plant workers and other essential agriculture workers.