NAWG July 12, 2018 Weekly Updates

NAWG Board Member to Testify at Ways & Means Hearing on Trade
House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) announced on July 11th that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “The Effects of Tariffs on U.S. Agriculture and Rural Communities.” The hearing will address the effects on American agriculture and rural communities of both U.S. tariffs imposed under Sections 232 and 301 as well as retaliation imposed by other countries against U.S. exports. It will take place on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 2:00 PM. NAWG Board of Director and Montana Wheat Grower Michelle Erickson-Jones will be testifying at the hearing on behalf of Farmers for Free Trade and NAWG. The hearing will also be available via webcast here. 

NAWG Board of Director Participates in APHIS Stakeholder Meeting
On Tuesday, July 10th, NAWG Board of Director and Maryland Wheat Farmer Eric Spates, along with NAWG’s Trade Policy Advisor Molly O’Connor, attended an APHIS Stakeholder meeting on trade. Held at the USDA, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the current export of U.S. grain and oilseeds to China and other markets. Representing NAWG, Spates spoke on the importance of trade to growers, the damaging impact of tariffs, and how the Agency can help improve our trade relationship with China.

NAWG Participates in FFA New Century Farmer Conference
On Tuesday, July 10th, NAWG’s Government Relations Coordinator Craig Berning participated in the 2018 Future Farmers of America (FFA) New Century Farmer Conference. This year’s conference was held in Des Moines, IA and allowed participants to network with industry experts, presenters, and other aspiring farmers. Berning talked to FFA attendees on his position at NAWG, the role of the organization, and his experience in the industry as well as what it is like to pursue a career in agriculture.

NAWG and U.S. Wheat Jointly Speak Out on Recent Trade Issues
On Friday, July 6, 2018, the United States’ tariffs on Chinese goods went into effect. NAWG and U.S. Wheat issued a joint release discussing the damaging impact that these tariffs will have on farm-families. In fact, the threat of the tariffs alone has already hurt the wheat industry. In our release, we note that “from March to June over the past three years, Chinese flour milling companies and their importers purchased an average of about 20 million bushels of U.S. wheat, returning well over $145 million to American farm families and grain handlers.” However in 2018, “Chinese customers stopped making new purchases of U.S. wheat last March, after the Chinese government threaten a 25 percent import tariff on U.S. wheat in retaliation to the threat of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.”

Additionally on Friday, Japan became the second country to ratify the CPTPP, which could be implemented in early 2019 after six of the 11 countries that signed the agreement have ratified it. In our joint release, NAWG and USW argued that “once implemented, the agreement calls for incrementally discounting the effective import tariffs that Japanese flour millers pay for imported Australian and Canadian milling wheat from about $150 to about $85 per metric ton (MT). Imported U.S. wheat effective tariffs would remain at about $150 per MT.” Canada and Australia, which are major competitors to the United States in the Japanese wheat market, are also parties to the agreement, meaning implementation would put U.S. wheat farmers at a severe disadvantage in our second biggest wheat market.

U.S.-China Trade War Escalates
This week, President Trump has moved ahead with his commitment to impose additional tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods. This announcement from the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer increases the total to $450 billion on Chinese goods. Read more here.

USDA to Ensure All Have Equal Access to Crop & Livestock Reports
On July 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced new procedures for the release of market-affecting crop and livestock reports from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) to ensure that all members of the public have access to the information at the same time. Under current “Lockup” procedures, information is released to the public at 12:00 p.m. (Eastern), though the news media are allowed access approximately 90 minutes early, with their reports embargoed until the noon release time. Beginning August 1, 2018, USDA will provide media the same access to the NASS and WAOB reports as the public, with the information becoming available to all at 12:00 p.m. on days the reports are released.

NAWG has received some media inquiries around this announcement and responded by stating that we have no current policy on this issue but will monitor it once it is enacted on August 1st.

House Appropriators Look to Defund IARC
As reported in AgriPulse, House Republicans inserted a provision in a fiscal 2019 appropriations bill which could cut U.S. funding to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) following its controversial finding that the herbicide glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. “The provision would block the National Institutes of Health from funding IARC until the NIH submits a report to Congress outlining transparency and conflict-of-interest requirements.’” Critics of the IARC’s review process say it’s antiquated and that the agency used data that supported its conclusion on glyphosate while ignoring other data that didn’t. NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide about $6 million of IARC’s approximately $54 million annual budget.

NWF Blog: Making the Case for Research Funding for Wheat
NAWG Director of Research & Technology, Steve Joehl, was featured in a Farm Journal article about why research funding is important for wheat.  The article analyzes the gap between research funding dollars for wheat in comparison for that of corn and soybeans.  As farmers make production decisions based on yield, research makes an impact on opportunities for the wheat industry in the future. NWF recently published a blog on this interview. 

NAWG/USW Co-Founder Passes
On July 6, 2018, John Sullivan, a wheat farmer from Wallace, Nebraska, passed away at the age of 86. Sullivan was a founding member of National Association of Wheat Growers; and a key member who helped combine Great Plains Wheat and Western Wheat in to what is now U.S. Wheat Associates. He also helped to establish the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association, where his son and grandson are currently members. To learn more about John and his family, a link to his obituary can be found here.

Washington Post: Four of the World’s Largest Food Companies Have a New Plan for Fixing Food and Farm Policy
The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, or the U.S. divisions of Danone, Mars, Nestle and Unilever, says it will fight for progressive food policies — from conservation programs to prominent nutrition labels — that have long been eschewed by major food-makers. In doing so, the new alliance is likely to tangle with the mighty and well-moneyed Grocery Manufacturers Association, which Mars, Nestle, Unilever and seven other major firms abandoned amid high-profile philosophical disagreements in 2017. But with combined annual revenues of more than $200 billion, the four companies in the new alliance — responsible for such well-known brands as Dannon yogurt, Snickers candy bars and Hellman’s mayonnaise — could prompt other food-makers to foreground nutrition and sustainability. Read more in The Washington Post.

Homegrown by Heroes Celebrates Farmer Veterans
The Farmer Veterans Coalition has started a new program, Homegrown by Heroes that pays tribute to farmer veterans.  The program, sponsored by Farm Credit, allows for a label to be put on ag products indicating that the good was produced by a farmer has or is serving in the military.  Homegrown by Heroes provides a way for consumers to support veterans in a unique and creative way.  It also provides opportunities for veterans to get the word out about their products.

Agri-Pulse Trade Series “Export or Bust” E-Book Available
Agri-Pulse has made its five-part series on trade, “Export or Bust,” available in one E-Book. U.S. Wheat, NAWG, Washington Grain Commission, Idaho Wheat Commission and North Dakota Wheat Commission were co-sponsors of the third article in the series which includes a significant amount of background and quotes from USW and NAWG. As a marketing partner of this series, USW and NAWG were able to provide an ad which linked to NAWG/USW Factsheet on TPP.  NAWG encourages you to share this among your growers and your social media platforms.

National Wheat Yield Contest: Spring Wheat Category
As the 2018 National Wheat Yield Contest spring wheat deadline quickly approaches on August 1, the National Wheat Foundation is encouraging wheat growers to aim higher and register their crop in this year’s contest. Think your spring wheat harvest might be a bin buster? Don’t forget you can submit more than one entry to the contest for the chance to become a nationally recognized grower!

Now that your wheat has emerged and is off and running, consider, register before August 1 to be in it to win it! Visit wheatfoundation.org for more details and to register today.