Drought Campaign Wrap-Up
Last week, NAWG launched a social media campaign highlighting the severe drought that is impacting farmers in the West and High Plains. NAWG and wheat growers from across the country posted images of wheat crops, articles relating to the drought, and drought monitoring resources. Thank you to everyone who participated in the campaign and helped shine a little light on some of the situations farmers find themselves in so we can all be a little more aware and appreciative of the work they do to feed everyone. Even though the campaign is over, we still want to encourage you to engage with NAWG on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
NAWG Submits Fiscal Year 2022 Outside Witness Testimony
As Congress looks towards drafting a FY 2022 Agriculture Appropriations bill, NAWG was able to submit an outside witness testimony to key appropriations subcommittees in the Senate and House of Representatives advocating for numerous agricultural priorities. In the testimony, notable priorities included maintaining full funding for the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, a request to fund a Wheat Resiliency Initiative at $5.66 million to address new and emerging challenges to wheat production, and continued support for ancient crop genetics research conducted at public-private consortiums – like the Wheat Genetics Resource Center – to enhance yields, fight diseases and pests, and adapt to changing climates and reduce global food insecurity.
Bayer’s Announcement of Five-Step Plan with Roundup
Recently, Bayer announced the possibility of removing the company’s well-known lawn and garden product, Roundup, from the market. While Bayer affirmed it would continue to make the herbicide available for agricultural purposes, a recent federal judge’s rejection of a settlement to deal with future claims of harm from the product sets a precedent. In a recent Agri-Pulse article, NAWG CEO, Chandler Goule, commented on the decision saying, ”It’s unfortunate to see that our legal system does not take science into consideration.” Read more here.
GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY NEWS
House Ag Committee Chair and Senate Ag Committee Members Send Separate Letters to the Administration on Taxes
In a letter to President Biden, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott showed support of the American Jobs Plan and American Family plan but emphasized the importance of protecting farmers and ranchers from financial burden with an increase in inheritance tax. Separately, Republican members of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee reflected this sentiment to protect agriculture, and are pressuring USDA to provide details on how American agriculturalists will be impacted by the Biden administration’s proposed tax increases. The committee has requested Secretary Vilsack provide details and explanations on how the tax increase will directly affect farm estates in order to help protect the economic wellbeing of rural America. Read more about Chairman Scott’s letter here, and the Senate committee’s request for information here.
Biden Administration Releases Fiscal Year 2022 Budget
Last Friday, as we headed into Memorial Day Weekend, President Biden released the administration’s full fiscal year (FY) 2022 federal budget. Of the proposed $6 trillion budget, USDA’s overall budget request of $29.9 billion is a 9 percent increase over FY 2021’s budget. As it relates to NAWG and the agricultural community, this year’s proposed budget includes continued funding for crucial programs such as the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development Program (FMD). In addition to this continued funding, there were no cuts to the Federal Crop Insurance Program. The budget provides for an increase in funding for research, rural broadband, infrastructure, and more. To view USDA’s 2022 Budget Summary, click here. To view the Biden Administration’s official budget proposal, click here.
New Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP)
Earlier this week, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced a new cover crop program. The program will provide premium support of $5 per acre for spring crops with most insurance policies and planted a qualifying cover crop during the 2021 crop year. Spring crop means insured crops reported for the 2021 crop year with a Federal crop insurance acreage reporting date of April 15, 2021, to August 15, 2021, in accordance with the crop insurance policy. In order to receive these benefits, producers must file a Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) for cover crops with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) by June 15, 2021. The normal acreage reporting deadline with FSA has not changed, but to receive the premium benefit, producers must file by June 15. See the press release here and FAQ here.
Quantifying Climate Benefits of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Contracts
The USDA and Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the initiative of a multi-year effort to target CRP toward positive climate outcomes and conservation tools while still focusing on putting American agriculture at the forefront of climate-smart solutions. Specifically, FSA is investing $10 million to Monitoring, Assessment and Evaluation (MAE) projects to monitor the soil carbon sequestration and other benefits of conservation practices through CRP contracts. Read more about CRP and USDA’s initiative here.
Feds Feed Families Initiative
This week marks the start of USDA’s 12th annual government-wide Feds Feed Families (FFF) campaign. The campaign focuses on encouraging federal employees in all federal departments and agencies to give in-kind contributions to food banks and pantries. Since the debut launch of the campaign in 2009, 99 million pounds of food have been donated to those in need. To find ways to participate, click here.
U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) Update
Precipitation this past week was most active in the southern Plains and the Mid-Atlantic into the Northeast, helping to ease and improve drought in those regions. Some precipitation also occurred in the South and portions of the Midwest, but the Southeast and Southwest remained dry through the week. For the time of year, temperatures were well below normal over most of the country, with departures of 9-12 degrees below normal in the Dakotas. Portions of the Southeast and Southwest did have pockets of above-normal temperatures, but even those areas were close to normal. To view the U.S. map and regional reports, visit the website here.
NATIONAL WHEAT FOUNDATION NEWS
Early Registration for National Wheat Yield Contest Spring Wheat Closes Soon!
National Yield Contest spring wheat is open. Get your entry in by June 15 for the early entry cost of $100. Spring Wheat entries are accepted until August 1. The wheat contest is administered entirely online, and growers can register at yieldcontest.wheatfoundation.