Josh Tonsager Joins House Agriculture Committee
House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott announced several staffing additions and promotions for the Democratic staff of the House Agriculture Committee on Monday, April 26. Former NAWG Vice President of Policy and Communications Josh Tonsager will serve as the Subcommittee Staff Director for the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee. Read the press release here.
NAWG Responds to Joint Session Speech
Wednesday night, President Biden delivered his remarks before a Joint Session of Congress. NAWG CEO Chandler Goule said “While the President addressed many issues of importance to the American people, we are eager to hear more about agricultural-related policies, specifically how we can improve farm program delivery and advance a trade agenda that ensures a level playing field for wheat growers. However, what our farmers saw in President Biden’s American Families Plan earlier today includes changes in the stepped-up basis, which raised a lot of questions in wheat country.” NAWG continues to engage with the White House and Capitol Hill about our tax policy positions.
The American Families Plan Tax Proposal
The White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released statements stating that farms and family businesses would be exempt from tax changes; however, details and legislative text for the proposal have not been released. The USDA notes President Biden’s American Families Plan promises that capital gains taxes will not be collected at death for family farms and 98 percent of farm estates will not owe any tax at transfer. Read more here.
Cover Crop Flexibility Act Introduced in Congress
The bipartisan Cover Crop Flexibility Act was reintroduced Thursday, April 29 by Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). This legislation would remove the prohibition on harvesting or grazing cover crops for hay or silage, allow USDA to include cover crop seed costs when it sets the factor that is used to calculate the prevented planting indemnity, and direct USDA to conduct a study to examine the extent that cover crops reduce risks of prevented planting and other crop insurance losses. Read the press release here.
GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY NEWS
2020 Census Apportionment Results Released
On Monday, April 26, the U.S. Census Bureau released initial results from the 2020 Census, including the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Six states will gain seats (Texas +2, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon) and seven states will lose one seat (California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia). More details here.
USDA Nominations and Key Staff Appointments
President Biden announced his intent to nominate Jennifer Moffitt for the USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Moffitt currently serves as the Undersecretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. As a farmer and policymaker, Moffitt has engaged with agricultural stakeholders on the critically important balance of sustaining our environment, strengthening our rural economies, and building healthy communities. The USDA also announced the names of individuals who will hold senior positions in Washington, D.C. Read the press release here.
NIFA Invests Over $8.65M for Plant Breeding
On April 26, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the investment of over $8.65 million in 22 plant breeding research projects through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program. The Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production grants include a co-funded project by the Kansas Wheat Commission through the Farm Bill commodity boards topic provision, as well as five cultivar development projects aimed at accelerating testing, evaluating and releasing publicly-finished wheat, triticale, sorghum, and canola cultivars for farmers. Read the press release here.
Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate Launched
At President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate on April 23, 2021, the United States and United Arab Emirates, with endorsement from the United Kingdom’s COP 26 Presidency, and with support from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Israel, Singapore, and Uruguay, announced plans to launch the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate). The goal of AIM for Climate, which will be advanced at the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021 and launched at COP26 in November 2021, is to increase and accelerate global innovation research and development (R&D) on agriculture and food systems in support of climate action. Read more here.
Agri-Pulse Hosts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Webinar
On Friday, April 23, Agri-Pulse hosted a webinar on “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Agriculture: Ideas for Improvement.” Speakers included Chairman David Scott (D-GA-13), House Agriculture Committee; Ms. Kathryn Unger, Vice President of Cargill’s North America government relations team; Mr. H.R. Bert Peña, former Staff Director for the House Committee on Agriculture; Ms. Patricia Sheikh, former Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) Deputy Administrator; and Mr. P.J. Haynie III, Chairman of the National Black Growers’ Council. Chairman Scott announced that future legislation in the committee will list discriminatory actions and make them illegal and provide tax incentives to Black farmers. Watch the full webinar here.
NATIONAL WHEAT FOUNDATION NEWS
NWF is Hiring a Summer Intern!
The National Wheat Foundation is looking for an intern to research the profitability of high management wheat production. The intern will work on their own computer researching existing studies by universities and farm management programs in the wheat-producing areas of the United States. The job will include directly calling farmers, state grain grower organizations, and university personnel to obtain production records, input costs and yield information. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. 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.