NAWG Weekly Updates, March 08, 2018

Trump Slaps Tariffs on Steel, Aluminum; Exempts NAFTA Partners
On March 8, 2018, President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on most steel and aluminum imports but agreed to give Canada and Mexico an exemption in the hopes of reaching a favorable deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, reported CQ. “The 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum import fees will go into effect in 15 days, with Canada and Mexico initially exempt, a senior White House official said ahead of the president’s signing of two proclamations that put the tariffs enforcement in motion. Additionally, any country with a defense relationship with the United States is ‘welcome’ to discuss why the tariff levels should be eliminated or reduced to keep those relations strong, the official said.”

NAWG Treasurer Dave Milligan and U.S. Wheat Secretary-Treasurer Doug Goyings contributed an opinion piece to The Hill arguing the damaging impact steel and aluminum tariffs would have on all of agriculture. Read the opinion editorial here.

Wheat Organizations Ask USTR to Work Toward Re-Joining TPP
On Wednesday, March 07, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and 33 state wheat organizations sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer urging the Administration to immediately prioritize accession to TPP to save the valuable Japanese market for U.S. wheat farmers. This letter stresses the market disaster facing wheat farmers who stand to lose much of the vital Japanese market due to TPP-11. The press release and a complete list of organizations can be found here.

NAWG and the National Wheat Foundation Named New Board Officers at the 2018 Commodity Classic
The National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Wheat Foundation wrapped up the 2018 Commodity Classic with a new slate of officers. Both NAWG and NWF have elected female wheat growers to their executive teams. For complete details, read the joint release here.

Senator Roberts Presented Global Nutrition Lifetime Achievement Award
On Wednesday, March 08, 2018, the Global Child Nutrition Foundation presented its Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas. The award recognizes “movers and shakers in the global agricultural and hunger space.”  NAWG attended the event and commended Chairman Roberts on all of his hard work on behalf of wheat farmers. See our tweet here.

U.S. Senate Confirms Bill Northey to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services
On February 27, 2018, the United States Senate confirmed Bill Northey to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the United States Department of Agriculture. NAWG commended the U.S. Senate for confirming the appointment of Bill Northey in our official statement here.

FAPRI-MU: 2018 U.S. Baseline Outlook
University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Initiative (FAPRI-MU) released its summary of 10-year baseline projections for U.S. agricultural markets, farm program spending, farm income and a variety of other indicators. Microsoft Excel tables (coming soon) include historical data for crops, biofuels and aggregate indicators. Read the accompanying press release .

General Mills Commits to Expanding its Organic Line
In a recent release, General Mills announced that they have entered into a sourcing agreement with Gunsmoke Farms LLC to help convert 34,000 acres of conventional farmland to certified organic by 2020. The land will be used to grow certified organic wheat and other rotational crops. The wheat produced will be largely used in Annie’s, a General Mills brand, pasta products. General Mills hopes to make organic ingredients more accessible for consumers, expecting their natural and organic portfolio to reach $1.5 billion in net sales by 2020. In partnership with Midwestern Bio Ag (MBA), 3,000 acres of converted farmland will be pollinator habitats. MBA will provide opportunities for farmers to learn regenerative practices, combating many sustainability challenges the agricultural industry faces.

For more information on General Mills expansion of organic acreage and soil health, visit the  2017 Global Responsibility Report and Taste of General Mills blog.

Trump’s Nominations for Key Administration Posts Beneficial to Agriculture Industry
Last week, President Trump announced the appointment of Patrick Fuchs to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board for a five-year term. Fuchs brings experience and leadership to the committee. During Fuch’s time working under Senator Thune, the Surface Transportation Board was reauthorized for the first time since its creation in 1996 and the first passenger rail reauthorization on over seven years. Fuchs has always managed railroad and maritime regulatory views as a policy analyst and Presidential Management Fellow at the Office of Management and Budget. He holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin, where he has been recognized for his outstanding academic record.

Michelle A. Schultz, deputy general counsel at the Southeaster Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, is to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board for a five-year term. Ms. Schultz was formerly an associate with a law firm in Philadelphia, clerk for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She holds a J.D. from Widener University School of Law and a Master of Governmental Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

NWF National Wheat Yield Contest: Winter Wheat Early Registration, April 1!
The National Wheat Foundation’s (NWF) annual National Wheat Yield Contest continues to drive innovation in the industry by spotlighting the best practices among American wheat growers. In its third year, the contest added a quality requirement, raising the bar for what constitutes the greater grain among U.S. wheat growers. For more information on contest guidelines, deadlines and prizes, visit Enroll in the winter wheat early registration by April 1, 2018!