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WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) board of directors elected new officers for the 2019/20 (July to June) fiscal year at their meeting Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The board elected Rhonda K. Larson of East Grand Forks, Minn., as Secretary-Treasurer; Darren Padget of Grass Valley, Ore., as Vice Chairman; and Doug Goyings of Paulding, Ohio, as Chairman. These farmers will begin their new leadership roles at the USW board meeting in June 2019 in Montana when current Chairman Chris Kolstad of Ledger, Mont., will become Past Chairman. USW is the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry.

Left to right: Darren Padget, Secretary-Treasurer; Doug Goyings, Vice Chairman; Chris Kolstad, Chairman; and Rhonda Larson, Secretary-Treasurer Elect.
Left to right: Darren Padget, Secretary-Treasurer; Doug Goyings, Vice Chairman; Chris Kolstad, Chairman; and Rhonda Larson, Secretary-Treasurer Elect.

Rhonda K. Larson was raised on her family’s Red River Valley farm and has been engaged in the operation full-time for nearly 30 years. Her father started the farm 50 years ago growing potatoes, wheat and barley. With her two brothers and her son, the third generation on the farm, they currently grow hard red spring wheat and sugarbeets.

Larson has been a board member of the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council for 16 years and served as chair from 2010 to 2012. She served on the Wheat Foods Council board and is a long-time member of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. As a USW director, she served on the Long-Range Planning Committee and the Budget Committee.

Rhonda Larson

“As farmers we need to make a profit and part of the way to do that is to make it a priority to improve wheat quality and continue to bring quality wheat to the world.,” Larson said. “I have always had an interest in being on the U.S. Wheat Associates officer team. My role on the farm has changed and I am now able to dedicate the time necessary to serve. I am humbled by the respect and encouragement I have received from wheat farmers in Minnesota and from the other U.S. Wheat directors and I will do my best to represent them well.”

Larson received a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a juris doctor degree in law from the University of North Dakota. Along with farming, she enjoys reading, swimming, riding horses and spending time with her granddaughter.

Darren Padget is a fourth-generation farmer in Oregon’s Sherman County, with a dryland wheat and summer fallow rotation currently producing registered and certified seed on 3,400 acres annually. Previously, Padget held positions on the Oregon Wheat Growers League board of directors and executive committee for seven years, serving as president in 2010. He chaired the Research and Technology Committee for the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and served on the Mid-Columbia Producers board of directors, for which he was an officer for 10 years.

Doug Goyings’ family has been farming in northwestern Ohio since 1884. Together with his wife Diane, son Jeremy, daughter-in-law Jessica and his twin grandsons, Goyings grows soft red winter wheat and has hosted numerous trade teams on their farm. With more than 35 years of experience representing wheat and Ohio agriculture, Goyings has been a member of the USW board while serving as a director for the Ohio Small Grains Checkoff Board since 2009 and is a past chairman of the USW Long-Range Planning Committee. He is also a past-president of his local Farm Bureau and previously sat on the board of directors for the Ohio Veal Growers Inc., Creston Veal, Inc., and Paulding Landmark, Inc.

Chris Kolstad’s family farm is in Montana’s “Golden Triangle” region. He and his wife Vicki have four children, including their son Cary who is a partner in their operation and the fifth generation of their family to farm. Kolstad grows hard red winter wheat, dark northern spring wheat and durum, barley and dry peas. As a commissioner of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee, Kolstad has represented his state on the USW board since 2012. He is also an active member of the Montana Grain Growers Association and Montana Farm Bureau. His community leadership includes serving on his local school board, as treasurer for his family’s church and has been a regular blood donor since 1972.

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat. For more information, visit the USW website at www.uswheat.org.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are pleased that U.S. wheat growers now have the opportunity to increase efforts to expand export market access with USDA’s Jan. 31 announcement awarding $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agriculture Trade Promotion Program (ATP). USW was awarded $8.25 million, which will be distributed over the next three years.

Administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the ATP is one of three USDA programs within the Trump Administration’s trade mitigation package—created to ease the effects of recent trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. The funds will support export market development programs led by U.S. trade associations, cooperatives and other industry-affiliated organizations.

“U.S. wheat growers are facing tough times right now with the impact of retaliatory tariffs putting a strain on the export market and threatening many decades worth of market development,” said Chris Kolstad, USW Chairman and a wheat grower from Ledger, Mont. “We appreciate the recognition that farmers need help to manage this additional risk. This program is a positive step forward and our people are ready to get to work.”

“With the United States exporting half of the wheat crop it grows, programs like the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) are crucial for our farmers to remain competitive in the global market,” stated NAWG President and Sentinel, OK wheat farmer Jimmie Musick. “We welcome today’s news that our sister organization U.S. Wheat Associates was awarded significant funding for trade mitigation activities. This funding will provide some relief to the adverse impact wheat has felt since U.S. placed tariffs on Chinese goods, opening the door for retaliation. We hope to see these affected markets opened again quickly.”

U.S. wheat growers have a long history of recognizing the value of export market development by supporting the successful public-private partnership between USW’s state wheat commission members and FAS. Each year, growers contribute a portion of their wheat sales which qualifies USW to apply for matching funds through FAS programs like the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program.

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About U.S. Wheat Associates

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

About NAWG
NAWG is the primary representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 21 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at state and national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members and the public.

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact U.S. Wheat Associates at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S. – 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia —  Following several years of low farm prices, trade disruptions and increasing international competition, passage of the 2018 Farm Bill comes at a crucial time for our farmers and ranchers. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) thanks Congress for renewing the long-term investment in export market development programs and urges President Trump to sign the Farm Bill into law as soon as possible.

 

“We also want to thank the National Association of Wheat Growers for working to present our positions on export development funding and we are very pleased that members of Congress and their staff addressed those concerns effectively in this Farm Bill,” said USW Chairman Chris Kolstad, a wheat farmer from Ledger, Mont. “Now President Trump has the opportunity to seal a deal that will help us stay competitive in a world that needs more high-quality wheat.”

 

Productive U.S. wheat farmers fill American tables and still have about half their crop available to export markets every year. They support USW with a portion of their state checkoff funding to build and maintain overseas demand, which allows USW to apply for program funding appropriated by Congress in the Farm Bill and administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. This public-private partnership, initiated in the 1950s, has earned a legacy of success that remains essential to a healthy farm and rural economy.

 

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 establishes the Agricultural Trade and Facilitation Program that provides $255 million per year to fund the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, the Emerging Markets Program (EMP) and the Trade Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC). The new law protects funding for FMD, EMP and TASC that had individual budgets of less than $50 million per year under previous Farm Bills. That is a very important amendment for wheat farmers because FMD funds directly support USW’s ability to maintain bases of operation and local representatives to conduct trade service and technical support activities with buyers, flour millers and wheat food processors.

 

USW is pleased to see additional changes that will help expand its ability to build demand. The legislation now allows Congress to appropriate discretionary funds to cover the cost of administering the export market development programs, rather than covering costs from the appropriated program budgets. The law also establishes a Priority Trust Fund of $3.5 million per year to be used at USDA’s discretion to help meet requests that exceed the appropriated program funds. Another important change now allows qualified organizations like USW to use program funds to conduct market development activities in Cuba.

 

For more information about how wheat farmers, USW and USDA work together to build overseas demand for U.S. wheat, visit www.uswheat.org. For more information about how the U.S. economy benefits from USDA export market development programs, visit www.agexportscount.org.

 

USW’s mission is to develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

 

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — When the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) enters into force Dec. 31, 2018, Japan will grant preferential access to wheat export countries that are in the agreement. This has the potential to slash sales to a crucial market for U.S. wheat farmers. That is why U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson today urged the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to seek a rapid solution to this vulnerability through trade negotiations with Japan.

Testifying Dec. 10 at a USTR public hearing and through written testimony, Peterson thanked the Trump Administration for making negotiations with Japan a priority and explained the risk to wheat export sales without a quick U.S.-Japan agreement.

The CPTPP will grant preferential access to Canadian and Australian wheat exports, he said, by reducing the effective tariff on their wheat. Eventually, this reduction will be about $70 per metric ton, or 45 percent below the current effective tariff applied to U.S. wheat. Because Japan has no obligation to change this tariff reduction schedule, Peterson said it will likely shut most U.S. wheat exports out of the Japanese market and undo decades of market development work.

“U.S. Wheat Associates has had an office in Tokyo for more than 60 years,” he said. “We have invested countless hours and millions of hard-earned farmer dollars and federal export market development program funds building this market. During that time, the Japanese milling industry has become an indispensable partner for U.S. wheat farmers.”

Peterson added that over the last five marketing years, Japan is the largest, most reliable and valuable market for U.S. wheat and consistently returns almost $1 billion per year to U.S. wheat farmers and the grain trade.

“All that is at risk without a U.S.-Japan agreement that quickly ends the preference Canada and Australia gain as members with Japan of the CPTPP,” Peterson said. “We thank you for understanding the plight of these farmers, who already face severe trade disruptions in other markets.”

Looking ahead, Peterson added, “U.S. wheat farmers and Japan’s flour milling industry hope that we can maintain provisional equivalence for U.S. wheat imports while our two countries conduct ongoing, good faith negotiations. And we urge the Administration to act quickly to save our market in Japan.”

For more information about what is at stake for U.S. wheat farmers under the CPTPP agreement, visit the USW website at https://www.uswheat.org/policy/trade-negotiations/ and click on “Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).” Use this link to access USW’s written submission to the USTR on trade negotiations with Japan.

USW’s mission is to develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

 

Vince Peterson, President, U.S. Wheat Associates.

 

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico officially signed the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) applaud the three countries for working together to finalize USMCA.

This agreement includes important provisions for wheat farmers. Most notably, USMCA retains tariff-free access to imported U.S. wheat for our long-time flour milling customers in Mexico. That is a crucial step toward rebuilding trust in U.S. wheat as a reliable supplier in this important, neighboring market.

In addition, the USMCA makes important progress towards more open commerce for U.S. wheat farmers near the border with Canada. Currently under Canadian law, wheat grown in the United States delivered to Canadian grain elevators is automatically designated as the lowest grade wheat. Canadian wheat delivered to U.S. elevators however may enter the system without penalty. This disincentive for U.S. farmers when they would otherwise see higher cash bids across the border is unfair. The updated USMCA agreement would enable U.S. varieties registered in Canada to be afforded reciprocal treatment. While there are remaining challenges, we applaud the Administration for negotiating this critical provision in the USMCA and taking a big step towards reciprocal trade along the U.S.-Canadian border.

NAWG and USW look forward to Congress moving forward in reviewing the agreement through Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) requirements.

In the meantime, U.S. wheat farmers are excited to see the Administration build on the momentum of USMCA by initiating negotiations with Japan (https://bit.ly/2ORCSC1). That is needed to end the threat of major wheat export losses without a new trade agreement. USW and NAWG are anxious for a quick deal and policies that would provide long-term stability in the critical Japanese market.

 

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About NAWG

NAWG is the primary representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at state and national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members and the public.

 

About U.S. Wheat Associates

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

 

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications

In all of its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) names Chad Weigand as Assistant Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, to be based in Cape Town, South Africa, effective Dec. 1, 2018, and announces that current Market Analyst Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann will replace Weigand as Assistant Regional Director for Mexico, Central America and Caribbean, in Mexico City, Mexico, effective Jan. 15, 2019. USW also announces that Claire Hutchins will join the export market development organization as Market Analyst Nov. 30, 2018, in the Arlington, Va. Headquarters.

 

“Our organization continues to evolve. It is great to have opportunities for talented, committed managers like Chad and Stephanie to grow within the company and take on more responsibilities with these promotions,” said USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Mark Fowler. “Chad has effectively represented U.S. wheat farmers in the Mexico, Central America and Caribbean region for several years and will work with Regional Director Gerald Theus and our experienced Sub-Saharan Africa team to fight for market share in that important region. Stephanie’s exceptional work as a Planning and Programs Assistant and Market Analyst have prepared her well to join the team in Mexico City where she will report to Regional Vice President Mitch Skalicky.”

 

“We are very pleased to welcome Claire Hutchins to our communications team,” said USW Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer. “She brings a sincere enthusiasm for the wheat industry developed on her family’s farm in Colorado and for agricultural economics in her graduate work at Utah State University. In her position, Claire will analyze and report on global wheat market supply, demand and price trends.”

 

Weigand joined USW in 2009 as Market Analyst before transferring to Mexico City in 2011. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and business administration from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University. Weigand spent two years in the Peace Corps as an agribusiness specialist in Ecuador and completed an internship with the Office of Trade Programs at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

 

Chad Weigand. (Click for high-resolution image.)

 

Bryant-Erdmann joined USW in 2014. She grew up working on her family’s Nebraska cattle ranch and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her master’s program thesis at Cornell University’s Institute for Public Affairs focused on the economic feasibility of exporting Kenyan cheese to the United Arab Emirates. She also had an internship at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Information Center where she helped create educational materials for U.S. organizations looking to export products and services.

 

Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann (Click for high-resolution image.)

 

Hutchins was raised on an irrigated wheat, soy and alfalfa farm in the high desert near Fruita, Colo. Athletic skill and an interest in Asia brought her to the University of Pennsylvania where she competed in rowing and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chinese language, history and art history. She was recruited to help manage an established organic farm in New Jersey and a start-up community farm of sustainably grown produce in suburban Philadelphia, Penn. Noting the “disconnection between the ideals of the organic movement and practical reality of farm life for large-scale producers,” Hutchins entered a master’s program in agricultural economics at Utah State University, including coursework at the National Taiwan University, Taipei, and will graduate in December 2018. As a research assistant she measured the effects of Russian weather and policy on the rates of return for U.S. wheat producers. In addition, Hutchins worked as a Government Affairs Intern at Syngenta’s Washington, D.C., office.

 

 

Claire Hutchins (Click for high-resolution image.)

 

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service.

 

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications

In all its programs and activities, U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact U.S. Wheat Associates at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S.- 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) welcome the Administration’s decision to move ahead with an updated trade deal with Canada and Mexico and look forward to learning more about the details.

We are pleased that the Administration recognizes the need for policy certainty with some of our top customers. While NAWG and USW must review the language of the new deal, we hope to see provisions that are positive for wheat farmers.

The current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is critically important for wheat farmers who depend on the enormous Mexican market that NAFTA built, but it did have room for improvements, particularly on grain trade with Canada. NAWG and USW called for a fix to the Canadian grain grading system which automatically designates U.S. wheat as the lowest grade simply because it is foreign. This means U.S. farmers producing the highest quality wheat arbitrarily get less value for their crop.

Farmers should understand that nothing has changed yet, but we are pleased to see that USTR has made progress on this issue, with Canada agreeing to grade imported wheat with the same requirements as Canadian wheat. We will follow the implementation of this commitment closely to ensure U.S. farmers can finally have reciprocal access to the Canadian market.

 

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About U.S. Wheat Associates: USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

About NAWG: NAWG is the primary representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 22 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at state and national levels. From their offices in the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members and the public.

 

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

 

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is disappointed that, once again, a new national Farm Bill could not be passed and implemented on time. This all too common outcome is more concerning for wheat growers and our entire agricultural industry this time because the future of a highly successful export market development program hangs in the balance.

 

In the current Farm Bill, 39 programs that received mandatory funding at $50 million per year or less do not have a baseline budget beyond FY-2018 that ends on Sept. 30. If this Congress can’t agree on a new Farm Bill, an extension of the current Farm Bill would have to include additional funding, or these programs would disappear. The Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, has a budget of $34.5 million per year, making it one of these “orphan” programs.

 

“The FMD program is fundamental to our work promoting U.S. wheat around the world,” said Vince Peterson, President of U.S. Wheat Associates, which is one of 23 organizations awarded FMD funding in FY-2018. “We use FMD funding to cover the salaries of more than 40 non-American employees and expenses for 14 overseas offices. With no FMD allocation, we will have to cover costs incurred after October 1 by shifting funds away from our activities or by using reserves from producer funds. That is a short-term bridge that we have used in the past. But it is not sustainable for more than several months; beyond that, we would have to start cutting activities and eventually closing offices.

 

“This comes at a particularly bad time as wheat export markets have been hard hit by the effects of the tariff retaliation that has come from both China and Mexico this year,” Peterson added. “USDA calculated tariff losses to the wheat industry at close to $250 million and that meter is running. Without our cornerstone market development funding program, our ability to limit those losses, prevent further erosion in our reputation and get our exports back on track is severely handicapped.”

 

U.S. Wheat Associates is encouraged that the legislation in conference now includes a long-term fix for the FMD budget issue. And, when budget fights or late Farm Bill passage held up FMD and Market Access Program allocations in the past, retroactive funding was made available. However, USW must now bridge the gap caused by another delay without undermining its work for farmers in the competitive world wheat market — and hope that it is not building a bridge to nowhere.

 

USW’s mission is to develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

 

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is excited to hear that the Trump Administration and the Japanese government are taking formal steps toward trade negotiations. The announcement today to “further expand trade and investment between the United States and Japan in a mutually beneficial manner” has the potential to eliminate a dangerous vulnerability for U.S. wheat farmers.

 

Over the years, Japan has purchased more U.S. wheat than any other country, but also imports wheat from Canada and Australia, which are members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) along with Japan. Once ratified, this agreement will include a gradual reduction of Japan’s effective tariffs on milling wheat imported from TPP member countries. While U.S. wheat farmers have excellent and longstanding relationships with Japanese millers, the higher tariffs on U.S. wheat would force them to purchase significantly more Canadian and Australian wheat within a few years of the new agreement’s implementation. That is a result no U.S. wheat grower can afford, and we are hopeful that the Administration will address this problem as an early achievement in the negotiations.

 

In addition to addressing this specific problem for wheat, we appreciate the emphasis on free, fair and rules-based trade. These negotiations are a positive sign that the United States is again moving toward a comprehensive agreement with Japan and, hopefully, with other countries in the Pacific region and around the world. That would benefit U.S. agriculture and the entire U.S. economy.

 

USW’s mission is to develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

 

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – An on-going series of policies that disrupts global demand for U.S. wheat and does not comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules should disqualify Turkey for eligibility under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) testified to that effect at a hearing Sept. 26, 2018, held by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

 

The GSP program provides preferential access to the U.S. market for developing countries that meet program standards. In 2017, Turkey exported $1.7 billion in goods to the United States under GSP, making it is one of the program’s largest beneficiaries. However, the law authorizing GSP requires beneficiary countries to refrain from engaging in unreasonable export practices. U.S. Wheat Associates believes that Turkey’s inward processing system for wheat and flour functions as an unreasonable export practice.

 

“Farmers have been complaining about Turkish flour for the better part of a decade due to the displacement of U.S. wheat in critical markets,” said USW Vice President of Policy Ben Conner, who represented USW at the hearing. “The fundamental problems are Turkey’s excessive domestic support and high tariffs combined with an inward processing regime that does not meet World Trade Organization standards.”

 

Turkey is the world’s largest flour exporter and in 2017 was the ninth largest exporter of wheat and wheat equivalents. Turkish flour not only displaces U.S. wheat in overseas markets but also harms U.S. wheat customers in local flour milling industries. One of USW’s top policy priorities is to see Turkey bring its wheat policy regime in line with its WTO commitments.

 

To read the full USW submission to USTR, click here.

 

USW’s mission is to develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

 

 

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