It is a busy week in Washington, D.C., for wheat industry leaders. They have gathered to participate in joint board meetings between U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), and for an educational event on Capitol Hill Feb. 8 (see separate story).
Official USW business was called to order Feb. 7 at the organization’s headquarters office in Arlington, Va., with a budget committee meeting and a comprehensive orientation for new farmer directors. USW and NAWG farmer directors are meeting in joint committee meetings to learn more about plant breeding innovation and international trade policies that affect wheat farmers and their customers. USW’s individual committees are also meeting on long-range planning, sanitary and phytosanitary issues affecting wheat trade, hard white (HW) wheat production and export demand, and topics related to wheat quality.
Of significant interest is the status of three-country negotiations between the United States, Mexico and Canada on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). USW and NAWG strongly support maintaining NAFTA rules that have benefitted U.S. wheat farmers as well as their customers primarily in Mexico, while improving parts of the agreement. Many directors are also learning more on the real concerns about the sustainability of U.S. wheat imports by Japan under the new Trans-Pacific Partnership recently negotiated by 11 of the original member countries without the United States.
Committee meetings continue on Feb. 9, followed by a joint meeting of USW and NAWG governing boards. USW will hold its own board meeting Feb. 10 to review committee actions and recommendations and to hold its annual election of officers for the 2018/19 fiscal year (July to June).