USDA makes case for ag research dollars

From Agri-Pulse The leaders of USDA’s research agencies told lawmakers on the House Agriculture Appropriations panel Wednesday why federal investment in agricultural research is critical to protecting the national food system and supporting American producers. In fiscal 2016, Congress approved the highest ever budget – $2.94 billion – for USDA ag research. The Obama administration’s 2017 budget proposal asks for $38 million less in discretionary funds compared to last year, ... Read More »

New NAWG president seeks more wheat innovation, productivity

From the Capital Press The need for more innovation to increase productivity is among the wheat industry’s top priorities, the new president of the National Association of Wheat Growers says. “We’re actually backsliding, we have not made progress,” Outlook, Mt., wheat farmer Gordon Stoner said. He replaces Washtucna, Wash., wheat farmer Brett Blankenship as the NAWG president. Read the rest ... Read More »

Biotech labeling fight heads to Senate floor

From Agri-Pulse The Senate looks to settle the issue of biotech labeling once and for all this week with a historic debate on legislation that would block states from requiring GMO disclosure According to a source familiar with the negotiations, a compromise version of the legislation is likely to be released today. The bill is expected to be on the ... Read More »

TPP negotiator awarded inaugural President’s Award from NAWG

From the National Association of Wheat Growers Last week, Darci Vetter was selected as the inaugural recipient of the National Association of Wheat Growers President’s Award. Vetter serves as Chief Agricultural Negotiator with the rank of Ambassador at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. NAWG President, Brett Blankenship, presented her the award during the Commodity Classic in New Orleans. ... Read More »

Farm Bureau: TPP offers significant benefits

From the Capital Press The American Farm Bureau Federation is bringing numbers to the table in support of congressional ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multi-lateral trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries. Farm Bureau’s economic analysis of TPP shows the agreement has the potential to increase U.S. exports by $5.3 billion annually and boost annual net farm ... Read More »

Senate panel okays labeling bill with Democrat backing

From Agri-Pulse The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a bill to preempt state GMO labeling laws, and there were signs there may eventually be enough Democratic support to get a version of the legislation enacted. Three Democrats on the committee voted to support the bill, and three others, led by ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, expressed optimism that they could ... Read More »

WAWG delegation heads east to advocate on national stage

Just a few weeks after the Washington Association of Wheat Growers’ (WAWG) trip to Olympia, leadership and staff headed east to take their advocacy and outreach to the federal level in Washington, D.C. The early-February trip was made to coincide with the annual winter meeting of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). “Working with our national organization (NAWG) allows ... Read More »

USDA agencies improve web record access

From the Capital Press USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service have both introduced new Internet features to meet a 2014 Farm Bill mandate that they improve electronic record access for their customers. FSA Farm Plus launched in January, offering producers web-based reports on their base acres, planting histories, ownership and rental records, fields in the Conservation Reserve ... Read More »

Crop insurance industry faces continuing challenges

From Agri-Pulse If one headline could summarize the challenges confronting the crop insurance industry in 2016, it might be “No Shortage of Critics,” lamented Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director for congressional relations with the American Farm Bureau Federation, in a speech to industry leaders today. As a result, it will be even more important for all sectors of the agriculture ... Read More »

Wheat faces a double challenge

From Agri-Pulse The 150,000 to 180,000 wheat farmers in America are facing a double-barrel challenge: 1. The declining role and power of agriculture generally; and 2. The declining position of wheat farmers compared to both foreign competition and compared to other major commodities here, specifically, corn and soybeans. If anyone needs any proof of the declining role of agriculture, all ... Read More »