November was a very busy month for the Washington Association of Wheat Growers’ (WAWG) leadership team. Besides participating in the annual convention, including a day-long strategic planning session, the team also traveled to Denver, Colo., to take part in the National Association of Wheat Growers’ (NAWG) Fall Wheat Conference.
Both NAWG’s and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) policy committees met and discussed priorities, heard from several speakers and held joint and individual board meetings. Members of WAWG’s leadership team serve on committees, including Ben Adams on the Environmental & Renewable Resource Committee; Nicole Berg on the Budget Committee; Marci Green on the Domestic Trade and Policy Committee; and Kevin Klein on the Joint International Trade Policy Committee.
Committee updates included:
The Domestic Trade & Policy Committee heard from Dr. Art Barnaby and Dr. Dan O’Brien, both from Kansas State University, about nonconvergence in the hard red winter wheat futures market. Nonconvergence is when the local cash price doesn’t match the futures market. The committee also heard a presentation from NAWG staff about farm bill survey results to date.
The Environment and Renewable Resources Committee heard from Michelle Marrone, of the Italian bio-based chemistry and fuels firm Beta Renewables, about how the company’s commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant can be used to allow wheat farmers to add value to straw residue. NAWG policy staff also updated the committee on several policy issues, such as Waters of the U.S., which NAWG opposes; the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure; and pesticide regulation issues.
The Joint International Trade Policy Committee heard updates from USW staff on trade policy issues in China and the current efforts for World Trade Organization enforcement of China’s domestic subsidy program. Staff also presented on current efforts to get TPP passed in a lame duck session and encouraged all members to write to their congressional representatives to urge the ratification of TPP.