Week of April 26, 2021
We completed interviews for the OWC Program and Office Coordinator position, extending an offer to a candidate. Discussions on the ‘American Families Plan’ proposal was an important part of the week given the potential implication for our producers. I attended a town hall for Senator Wyden, Chair of Senator Committee on Finance, with a discussion question on those tax issues. We completed updates to Oregon grain facilities to support revisions to the Plains Grains Institute map. As drought conditions persist throughout the state, I furthered discussions on agency resources. I prepared materials for the OWC meeting and working with our agent for OWGL Directors and Officers insurance renewal.
Week of April 19, 2021
The League Board met this week with updates on the status of state legislative session items, a review of FSA programs and a confirmation on funding of educational efforts, among other administrative business. We began interviews for our Commission Program/Office Coordinator position. I presented an update at the PNW Grain and Feed Association on Commission and League activities. I attended a meeting with Senator Merkley to provide highlights on League and program areas: from research to farm bill. I participated in a Sanitary/Phytosanitary update meeting, Crop Conditions call and other regular meetings.
Week of April 12, 2021
This week the Commission held its April meeting for initial budget consideration and to receive funding requests from the Western Wheat Quality Lab and Wheat Marketing Center. The legislature passed its first significant deadline on Tuesday which narrows the focused to final form on some bills, final death of others and a clearer trajectory for those remaining. The Commission audit is underway and we reviewed candidates for our Project/Office Coordinator position. I participated in House and Senate ag committee meetings with the Food Aid Working Group. NAWG policy meetings kicked off this week with a review of concerns with the STEP Act, comments to USDA on climate, the status of CFAP and proactive bill approaches. I attended the Global Warming Commission meeting to provide comments on ag and working lands concerns, among other regular weekly meetings. We sent the mailing for the OWGL board meeting which has a heavy agenda on state and federal legislative issues.
Week of April 5, 2021
With the necessity to continue some international market engagement virtually, US Wheat hosted a virtual South Asia crop update this week. With week twelve of state legislative session and the first significant legislative deadline next week, Dalton Advocacy has been engaged actively on all remaining bills. USDA reopened CFAP signup and is extending the additional $20 per acre payments under the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative this month. I attended the ‘Celebrate Trade’ event hosted by the Oregon Consular Corps and the spring Sherman station liaison meeting. I advanced discussions related to CBARC physical facility requirements. I addressed operational items related to the close of the job solicitation for the OWC Project/Office Coordinator, preparations for upcoming Commission and League meetings and the OWC audit.
Week of March 29, 2021
The League hosted our final Wheat Talk in the second series: featuring Chris Mundt discussing stripe rust. A significant portion of the week involved preparing materials for April meetings of the League and Commission. I participated in the US Wheat Food Aid Working Group meetings and in activities planning for the Soft White technical conference. Finally, legislative session: week eleven continued the frantic pace for the League and Dalton Advocacy leading up to the next major deadline of April 13th: the point at which Bills must have advanced out of policy Committee in Chamber of Origin.
Week of March 22, 2021
USDA announced release of additional Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funds for producers. NAWG and OWGL had advocated for the inclusion of wheat in CFAP payments, and we are pleased to see the release of these additional funds. I attended the China Market overview, as part of the USW Unified Export Strategy and the Wheat Marketing Center board meeting, among other regular weekly meetings. With week ten of legislative session, the League and Dalton Advocacy had significant activity in coalition one pagers, hearings and advocacy work on behalf of producers. I joined the National Wheat Improvement Council (NWIC) meetings to discuss continued funding for the wheat/barley scab initiative and a request for new funding for the Wheat Resiliency Initiative to address wheat rusts, sawfly, hessian fly and bacterial leaf streak. We moved the OWGL board meeting to April 20th in Pendleton/virtual. I held discussions with ODA pesticides division regarding products pending annual renewal registrations, prepared for the Commission audit and met with our representative for the initial risk assessment outline.
Week of March 15, 2021
USW presented a South Asia market overview as part of their Unified Export Strategies. For the river system, the Army Corps of Engineers hosted a brief informative meeting to provide updates on the status for anticipated reopening of The Dalles navigation locks. Finally, at the end of this week many bills were posted for hearings/work sessions. PNW Wheat Commission CEOs met to advance the soft white technical conference concept with USW-Portland staff. ODA pesticides team met with OWGL and OFS regarding definitions used in past rulemaking. Commission position openings closed this week for Handler #2 and Producer #2 positions. OWGL provided a letter of support for candidates. The last of the OWGL “Wheat Day on the Capitol” DC Hill visits took place. OWC finalized execution of the Task Order to providing funding support for the research bake lab expansion.
Week of March 8, 2021
We officially posted our OWC job opening for a Project/Office Coordinator, with applications for first round consideration requested by April 8th at 5 pm. OWGL held virtual DC Hill visits as part of the NAWG Wheat Day at the Capitol, visiting with the offices of Senator Wyden, Representative Schrader, Representative Bentz, and Representative Defazio. We entered the eighth week for the state legislature which included a hearing on ag overtime, ag coops and multiple others. OWF Scholarship notices went out this week, with five awards made this year. I attended the CBARC liaison meeting to discuss climate/ soil health research and facility needs and the Oregonians for Food and Shelter Board meeting, in addition to the regular weekly meetings. Finally, the US Wheat Food Aid Working Group met to hear about cargo preference requirements.
Week of March 1, 2021
The annual Oregon Wheat Commission research reviews took place this week, offering an opportunity for the Commission to provide feedback and guidance to researchers. State legislative action alerts circulated to OWGL membership, and while we were scheduled to testify on HB 2674, that hearing ended up being deferred. OWGL was very pleased to see SB 590, which would expand options for cropland fire protection, pass out of committee with strong support. I participated in Commodity Classic, prepared for virtual Washington DC Hill ‘visit’ which will take place next week and finalized release of the OWC Project and Office Coordinator position.