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Brief Updates around the U.S. Wheat Industry

On July 25, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced further details of the $16 billion package aimed at supporting farmers who are being harmed by the current U.S.-China trade war. “Payments will be made by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) under the authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act to producers…MFP assistance for those non-specialty crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings of MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per-acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019.”


A Complicated Web of Ideas. Conservationist in the Pacific Northwest have long advocated for opening federally owned dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers to benefit salmon and other wildlife. Yet the lock and dam systems are essential for the highly efficient barge transportation system that benefits wheat farmers and their overseas customers. Boise (Idaho) Weekly examines this challenge in an article posted online here.


U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends. Farmers and overseas food processors may be interested in Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) 45th edition of U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, an annual look at grocery shopper attitudes and behavior. The 2019 report, prepared by The Hartman Group, Inc., studies what consumers want from their retailers when personalizing their grocery shopping. “One third of households have at least one family member following a non-medically prescribed diet, and this rate is higher for younger generations,” said the CEO of FMI. “In an effort to meet their idea of eating well, households are eating in increasingly personalized ways, challenging the food shopping experience.”


Joint Statement from USW and NAWG on New Discovery of GE Wheat Plants

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are aware that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the discovery of genetically engineered (GE) wheat plants growing in an unplanted said agricultural field in Washington State. APHIS says the GE wheat in question is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.

We believe APHIS is well prepared to identify additional information about this discovery and has confirmed to us that:

  • there is no evidence suggesting that this wheat event, or any other GM wheat event has entered U.S. commercial supplies or entered the food supply;
  • there are no GE wheat varieties for sale or in commercial production in the United States at this time, as APHIS has not deregulated any GE wheat varieties;
  • there is no health risk associated with glyphosate resistance events in wheat based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration evaluations

We appreciate that USDA is collaborating with our organizations and our state, industry and trading partners to provide timely and transparent information about their findings as they investigate this discovery. We understand samples of the wheat plants from the field in Washington were sent to the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service lab in Kansas City, MO, as well as USDA Agricultural Research lab in Pullman, WA, for testing and confirmation.

We cannot speculate or comment about any potential market reactions until we have a chance to discuss the situation in more detail with overseas customers. Based on what we know today from APHIS, we are confident that nothing has changed the U.S. wheat supply chain’s ability to deliver wheat that matches every customer’s specifications.



Agriculture Groups Submit Comments to EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the comment to September 3rd of their registration review of glyphosate. The EPA is required to conduct these periodic reviews of every pesticide. As part of the registration review, EPA holds a public comment period where the public can go online and submit comments.

Glyphosate is used by land managers in agriculture, forestry and urban environments. It is critically important that we have comments submitted by applicators to ensure the EPA hears a balanced perspective.

OFS has created an Action Alert with a draft letter that you can directly submit to EPA here.


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