NAWG Weekly Updates, May 23, 2019

Dallas Tonsager Passes After Battle with Lymphoma
Dallas Tonsager, the chairman of the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) since 2016 who earlier served as an undersecretary for rural development at USDA, passed away on Tuesday May 21st at the age of 64. Dallas is father to NAWG VP of Policy and Communications Josh Tonsager, thus a part of the wheat family. A funeral service will be held in his honor in South Dakota and a memorial service will be also be scheduled in Washington, D.C. Read the FCA’s release for more information. 

NAWG Responds to USDA Announcement of $16 billion in Trade Aid to Farmers
On May 23, 2019, Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a $16 billion package of trade aid to farmers whom the Trump administration says have suffered damage “from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption” from China, the European Union and Turkey. According to the release, the President has authorized “USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. These programs will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.”

NAWG President Ben Schloz attended the White House ceremony today where President Trump delivered more remarks around the assistance package. NAWG statement in response to the announcement can be found here.

JOINT PRESS RELEASE: Wheat Leaders Pleased to See Sec. 232 Tariffs Removed, Call on Congress to Approve USMCA
On May 17, 2019, the Administration announced that the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and Canada will be removed. NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates issued a statement in support of the news stating that this “is an important step toward approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Trade (USMCA)”. Read our release here: http://bit.ly/2HwOc44.

Disaster Aid Deal Covers Prevented Planting
On May 23, 2019, the Senate Appropriations Committee released the text of emergency supplemental appropriations legislation. The measure provides $19.1 billion in relief for states and territories recently ravaged by tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, volcanoes, typhoons, and other such events. Additionally, the package expands payments for producers who are unable to plant their crops this year as well as to growers whose stored corn and soybeans were damaged by flooding. Under the biil, the combination of disaster payments and crop insurance benefits or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) payments would be limited to 90 percent of a farmer’s loss.  

House Appropriations Committee Approves FY20 Ag Bill
On May 22, 2019, the House Appropriations Committee released the draft fiscal year 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies funding bill, which was unanimously approved by voice vote Thursday, May 23. The draft includes $24.310 billion in total discretionary funding which is $1 billion above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. In total, the bill allows for $155.3 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding – $3.2 billion above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. The bill includes language blocking USDA’s proposal to relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside the National Capital Region. Read more here.

USDA FSA Report: China Raises Tariffs on U.S. Agricultural Products
On Friday, May 17, 2019, the Agriculture Department’s Foreign Agricultural Service issued a formal report on China’s decisions to raise tariffs on U.S. agricultural products after President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese products. “The announcement includes four annexes and specifies tariff increases to 25, 20, 10, and 5%, affecting over 300 U.S. agricultural products valued at approximately $3 billion in 2017,” FAS said. “This brings the total number of U.S. agricultural and related products targeted by additional Chinese tariffs since April 2018 to over 1,000 products, valued at approximately $22.6 billion in 2017.”

World Food Prize Ceremonies Announced
On May 16, 2017, Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, announced the opening of registration for the 2019 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium Pax Agricultura: Peace Through Agriculture. The conference, which will take place on October 16-18 in Des Moines, Iowa. Read the release here.

NWF Accepting Entries for 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest
The National Wheat Foundation (NWF) is currently accepting grower enrollment for the 2019 National Wheat Yield Contest! The Contest is divided into two primary competition categories: winter wheat and spring wheat, and two subcategories: dryland and irrigated. The Foundation is currently accepting entries for Spring Wheat. The Spring wheat entry deadline is August 1st with an early registration deadline of June 15th.