NAWG Holds Virtual Hill Week, Talks Priorities
This week the National Association of Wheat Growers and its state associations virtually hit the Hill to talk with policymakers about the organization’s 2021 policy priorities. Participants discussed farm support programs, trade & market access, and climate, sustainability & regulatory policy. As part of its work, NAWG’s officers and staff met with majority and minority staff for the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, and throughout the week, NAWG and it’s state associations met with over 45 Congressional offices. THANK YOU to our members that participated this week and to the Members of Congress and their staff who met with us.
NAWG/USW Applaud Break in U.S.-EU Dispute
Last Friday, NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates issued a joint press release on a four-month agreement between the United States and European Union to set aside retaliatory tariffs that arose from the Boeing/Airbus dispute. While this is not a permanent resolution, the four-month suspension will provide immediate relief for U.S. hard red spring wheat imports by EU countries. In terms of next steps, it is critical that a long-term agreement be found to avoid future disruptions.
COVID Relief Package Includes $800 Million for International Food Aid
A key provision included in the American Rescue Plan Act is $800 million in funding for the Food for Peace Act. Since the onset of COVID-19, NAWG and other food and agricultural organizations have sought additional international food aid funding. Most recently, on January 25, 2021, 40 food and agriculture organizations – including NAWG – sent a letter to appropriators requesting additional funding to procure U.S. commodities through food aid programs to address the immediate global hunger crisis that COVID-19 has exacerbated. The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law earlier today.
Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program Sign-up Deadline Extended
Last Friday, FSA had 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.
GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY NEWS
REMINDER: ARC, PLC Enrollment Deadline March 15th
On February 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) issued a reminder to producers about the deadline for completing enrollment for 2021 Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs on March 15th. As of Monday, FSA had indicated that about 1.4 million farms had enrolled, about 81% of expected participation. For additional information about ARC and PLC and access to web-based decision tools, visit http://farmers.gov/arc-plc.
Senate Confirmed Regan as EPA Administrator
The U.S. Senate confirmed President Biden’s nominee to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Michael Regan, on Wednesday on a 66-34 vote. NAWG had joined with other organizations in sending a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on January 20, 2021, in support of his nomination and looks forward to working with him now that he has been confirmed.
Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Climate Hearing
Today the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing to address opportunities for farmers and foresters to lead in tackling climate change. The Committee heard from representatives from the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, National Council of Farmers Cooperatives, USA Rice, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Each of these groups are members of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, a group that recently released recommendations on climate policy. NAWG submitted a letter to the committee with recently approved climate resolutions that will guide NAWG’s engagement in these policy issues. The hearing can be viewed here and Agri-Pulse has published an article on the hearing.
US ITC Phosphate Determination Announced Today
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today “determined that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and Russia that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined are subsidized by the governments of those countries.” The announcement goes on to state that “…Commerce will issue countervailing duty orders on imports of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and Russia.” More information on the ITC’s announcement can be found here.
USDA NASS Announces New Soil Moisture Portal
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced on Monday that “Farmers, researchers, meteorologists and others now have access to high resolution NASA data on soil moisture data…” The tool was developed by NASS in collaboration with NASA and George Mason University. More information about this new tool is available here.
NGFA Posts “Grain Bin Safety Saves Lives” Fact Sheet
The National Grain and Feed Association has create a flyer on the importance of adhering to grain bin safety procedures to prevent potential grain engulfments and entanglements. The document is preceded by a cover letter and includes best practices for safe grain bin entry and implores anyone working around grain bins to adhere to basic safety precautions if they find it necessary to entry a bin.
NATIONAL WHEAT FOUNDATION NEWS
Michigan Wheat Program Holding Two Remaining 2021 Wheat-Tastic Wheat Wisdom Wednesday Webinars
Due to COVID-19 challenges, the Michigan Wheat Program’s 2021 Winter Grower Meeting is has been turned into a series of six weekly Wednesday morning webinars that began in February. There are two webinars remaining. Each 90-minute session including a distinguished wheat researcher or expert from around the U.S., plus Canada and the United Kingdom. The web series allows the state’s wheat farmers and industry friends to tune in from home and gain more wheat wisdom from renowned presenters in their home locations. Click here for the full agenda and to register.
REMINDER: The National Wheat Foundation 2021 National Wheat Yield Contest is OPEN
The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) is officially accepting grower enrollment for the 2021 National Wheat Yield Contest! The Contest is divided into two primary competition categories: winter wheat and spring wheat, and two subcategories: dryland and irrigated. The Foundation is accepting entries for Winter and Spring Wheat. The deadline for Winter Wheat entries is May 15th with an early registration deadline of April 1st. The Spring wheat entry deadline is August 1st, with an early registration deadline of June 15th. The wheat contest is administered entirely online, and growers can register at www.yieldcontest.