PNW wheat grower associations react to RMA decision on falling numbers reporting

Earlier this week, the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) submitted a letter to the Risk Management Agency (RMA) asking them to waive the reporting rules that require elevators to report falling number discounts. Those discounts are then applied to a producer’s actual production history, even when no claim is filed. In addition to WAWG, that letter was signed by the Idaho Grain Producers Association, the Oregon Wheat Growers League and 33 Pacific Northwest industry supporters. WAWG’s request was bolstered by a letter of support from 12 members of the PNW’s Congressional delegation and letters from the Washington and Idaho State Departments of Agriculture.

Unfortunately, RMA denied the request. This morning, the three grower associations released a statement expressing their disappointment.

“This year, wheat growers in the Pacific Northwest are receiving heavy discounts at the elevator due to low falling numbers. The impact is compounded by the fact that low falling numbers this year will also lower a producer’s Actual Production History (APH) when a producer goes to sign up for crop insurance for next year’s crop, even if no insurance claim had been filed for low falling numbers. This has been a growing concern in the Pacific Northwest. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers, Idaho Grain Producers Association, and Oregon Wheat Growers League are disappointed that the RMA has denied our request to exempt falling numbers from APH calculations this year, despite wide support from PNW industry, state agencies, and Congressional delegations. We are extremely disappointed that RMA offered no other option to address the situation now, when our growers most need the help.

We are aware of the hardship our growers are facing, given historically low prices following several years of drought. Many producers are at risk of losing their farms and the impacts of low falling numbers are making the situation worse. Our organizations are committed to finding a better way to handle falling number discounts and will continue to work with RMA to develop a feasible solution for growers.”

Click here to read the industry letter to RMA.

Click here to read the letter of support from members of Washington state’s Congressional delegation.

Click here to read the letter of support from the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Click here to read the letter of support from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

For more information:

Michelle Hennings, Washington Association of Wheat Growers (509) 659-0610
Stacey Satterlee, Idaho Grain Producers Association (208) 345-0706
Blake Rowe, Oregon Wheat Growers League (541) 276-7330