WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2016 - The National Association of Wheat Growers isn’t waiting to get started on the next farm bill. Times are tough for wheat farmers thanks to strong domestic yields and bumper crops worldwide that are keeping prices low, making it more important than ever to secure a stronger federal safety net.

Threats to weaken crop insurance subsidies and Title I programs in the 2014 farm bill are already rising, the group said, so it’s time to take action. NAWG is now distributing its Farm Bill Survey to member farmers and the group is hoping to get a sense of direction on what is needed in the next farm bill.

“Rural communities and farmers’ livelihood are both in danger if this downward trend continues, which makes it ever more important that a functional and successful Farm Bill is developed and implemented in 2018,” NAWG said in a statement released Monday. “With the threat of continued low prices, it is increasingly important that growers’ priorities are heard and listened to as NAWG works towards an effective farm bill which will improve farm safety net programs, as well as maintain the already successful programs.”

NAWG says much of the survey centers around farmers’ satisfaction the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage subsidy programs.

“The planning and implementation of a functional 2018 Farm Bill depends on the active and insightful input from wheat growers, to clarify the successes and miss-steps from previous farm bills, improve programs that are not as effective as they could be, and maintain and improve the programs that benefit wheat growers,” NAWG said.

FDA extends comment periods for sodium reduction plans. The FDA said Monday that, after pressure from industry and consumer groups, it has decided to push back the deadlines for the comment periods on its Draft Guidance to Industry for Voluntarily Reducing Sodium. The first comment period on the FDA’s two-year goal for reducing sodium in processed food will now be extended to Oct. 17 and the second comment period on the agency’s 10-year goal will be open through Dec. 2.

After years of advocating that people consume less sodium, the FDA said it realized that it was too difficult for consumers to change their diets without food manufacturers reformulating the ingredients in their products.

The 2-year proposal aims to reduce the average sodium intake to 3,000 milligrams per day and the 10-year proposal’s goal is to lower that further to 2,300 milligrams per day, according to the FDA. 

“Americans consume almost 50 percent more sodium than what most experts recommend,” the FDA said Monday. “One in three individuals has high blood pressure, which has been linked to diets high in sodium and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.”

Peru’s drive to improve aquaculture is a boon for U.S. soy. Peru’s drive to increase production and exports of trout, tilapia, shrimp and other seafood is good news for U.S. soybean farmers that are already seeing increased demand from the South American country.

Peru’s recent publication of new regulations aimed at providing structure for the country’s aquaculture is expected to help boost seafood exports by 20 percent over the next five years. That means the country will need to import more soybeans to feed the fish, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a new report.

Peru produced 85,000 metric tons of farmed seafood last year, pushing imports of U.S. soybeans to a record-high $60 million.

USDA announces $18.9 million in research grants. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) on Monday awarded the funds to 19 historically black land-grant colleges and universities. NIFA highlighted $1.12 million of the grant money that will go to North Carolina A&T University, saying the funds will be used to build a new research facility as well as establish a student farm.

USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Joe Leonard, who spoke Tuesday at North Carolina A&T, said, “These awards help colleges and universities make improvements that support cutting-edge academic research and foster 21st century innovation that will shape the future of American agriculture." 

Agri-Pulse at the Farm Progress Show. If you’re at the show this week in Boone, Iowa, make sure you don’t miss the panel talks entitled “Farm to Fork Politics: What’s on the Horizon for the Farm Economy?”  Agri-Pulse is moderating the talks in the Case IH tent each day and there will be an all-star roster speaking today:

Tuesday, Aug. 30

Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture;

Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Director of Congressional relations, American Farm Bureau Federation;

Nick Tindall, Senior Director of Government & Industry Relations, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

More shows to come on Wednesday and Thursday.

Comments? Questions? Tips? Email comments to bill@agri-pulse.com


For more news, go to: www.Agri-Pulse.com