<HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>96 Lend Your Voice for Strong Farm Policy, Jim White, WAWG President, Wheat Life</TITLE> </HEAD> <body bgcolor="FFFFFF" text="000000" link="0000FF" vlink="FF0000" alink="0000FF"> <basefont face="Arial, Tahoma, Times New Roman" size="3" color="#000033"> <TABLE border="0" width="100%" cellspacing="0"> <TR align="left" valign="top"> <td><small> <A href="https://sgi25.netservers.net/bluefish.org/thefilm.htm">the film</A><br> <A href="forum.htm">forum</A><br> <A href="library.htm">library</A><br> <A href="tutorial.htm">tutorial</A><br> <A href="contact.htm">contact</A> </small></td> <TD> <A href="economic.htm"><img src="images/economic.gif" border="0" width="110" height="110" align="center" alt="Economic and dam related articles"></a> <TD> <CENTER><FONT FACE="Arial, Helvetica" COLOR="0000FF"> <strong><BIG><H2 align="center">Lend Your Voice for Strong Farm Policy</H2> </BIG></STRONG></FONT><FONT COLOR="FF0000">by Jim White, WAWG President <BR>Wheat Life, January 2007</FONT></CENTER> </TABLE> <HR> <P align="left"> WAWG has hit the ground running for 2007 activities. After an outstanding 2006 PNW Grain Conference in Portland with great speakers and workshops, growers should be ready to confront the issues we face in the wheat industry. I will be accompanying Washington Wheat Commission Chairman Randy Suess to Olympia opening day, January 8, of the state legislature for the "Ag Business Day." We will be representing the wheat industry with an information booth and meeting with the new leadership of the House and Senate for the 2007 legislative session.

WAWG will be going to Washington, D.C. early this year-January 22-26-to discuss national issues with the Washington delegation. I encourage the counties to send a wheat grower to help us tell our story. The farm bill, opposing dam breaching, trade, renewable fuel, conservation, risk management and research, along with other issues will be presented to the our U.S. representatives and senators.

The most important of these issues is the 2007 Farm Bill. The farm bill proposal from NAWG-that WAWG does support-states that effective farm legislation is essential, not only for wheat growers, but also for rural economies and American consumers. Farm programs were designed to cushion the boom and bust cycles that are inherent to agricultural production and to ensure a consistently safe, affordable and abundant supply of food and fiber for the American people. These programs have accomplished the goal of providing benefits to American consumers, who continue to pay less for their food than citizens of any other developed country. In addition, these programs provide stability to American agriculture, an industry that contributes about 15 percent of our country's gross domestic product.

The safety net provided by multi-year farm legislation is largely responsible for the food security our country enjoys, which has a variety of societal and economic benefits. Americans know that their food supply is the safest and most reliable in the world, a knowledge that fulfills a basic human need and allows citizens to be productive and happy.

Federal farm policy is also essential to continue agriculture's legacy of land conservation and stewardship. American farmers and ranchers care for the vast majority of America's land, which they know intimately. Responsible growers treat the land well because they know it is their most precious resource. Federal farm legislation has a responsibility to help these men and women maintain and improve the areas they and their ancestors have cared for over generations.

Agriculture is also increasingly providing Americans the opportunity to get their fuel from the Midwest rather than the Middle East. The federal government can help make this goal a reality in a variety of ways, some of which are outlined in this document. For the infant biofuels market to grow to maturity, it is essential for growers to stay on the land. Cellulosic ethanol and other renewable fuels that could revolutionize our energy economy cannot be commercialized if farmers are not on the ground to produce the necessary crops.

As farm legislation, the Food Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 has strong points, and the membership of the National Association of Wheat Growers believes that the next farm bill should build on these strengths. But, while wheat growers generally support current policy, much of the "safety net" provided by the 2002 bill has not been effective for wheat farmers. The 2007 Farm Bill needs to correct these imbalances.

The 2007 Farm Bill is also a chance to ensure that conservation programs are appropriately funded, to create incentive programs and provisions for the development of a renewable fuel sector and to provide for a wide variety of other important measures to wheat growers.

NAWG recommends that the direct payment for wheat be increased to $1.19 per bushel and that the target price be increased to $5.29 per bushel, while maintaining the marketing loan program as currently structured. NAWG also supports an increase in payment limits commensurate with the increase in the direct payment.

The decision of the NAWG board of directors to support the above proposal came about as a result of reviewing data on trends in the wheat industry including historical prices, historical cost of production and historical yields as determined by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service and USDA's Economic Research Service. NAWG's Domestic Policy Committee also obtained data from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute and the Agricultural and Food Policy Center that helped determine what it would take to keep wheat growers on the farm.

According to USDA data, historical input costs for 2005 and 2006-the most representative of forecast production costs over the term of the next farm bill-averaged $215.79 per acre.

  1. The average yield, on the other hand, has stayed around 38 to 42 bushels.
  2. Using these numbers, the average cost to produce a bushel of wheat is around $5.29 while the average market price over the term of the 2002 Farm Bill has been approximately $3.40 (2003-2005).
  3. While most wheat growers purchase crop insurance and rely on it heavily, affordable coverage is typically limited to 65 to 70 percent of expected yield.
Wheat growers expressed concern about ensuring that a safety net exists for the other 30 to 35 percent of the crop. By providing a safety net to wheat growers of $1.19 per bushel in the form of a direct payment, federal farm policy can assure growers, their families and their bankers that they have a predictable and dependable safety net.

This proposal also took into consideration our current World Trade Organization obligations. This proposal is based on historical information and, in part, relies on a direct payment that is decoupled from current production.

The benefits of this proposal echo Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns' view of Farm Bill priorities, as stated publicly many times and specifically in an interview on Aug. 2, 2006: ". . . but it seems to me we should be talking about, how do we make our farm program predictable and beyond challenge and equitable for that matter?"

I hope you can join us in Washington, D.C. the week of January 22, 2007 to tell our story.

<HR> <strong>Jim White</strong>, WAWG President<br> <A href="http://www.wheatlifemagazine.com/0107/pg03-0107.pdf"> <I>Lend Your Voice for Strong Farm Policy</I></a><BR> <strong>Wheat Life</STRONG>, January 2007 <HR> <P align="center"><CENTER> <BIG><strong>See what you can learn</STRONG></BIG><P> <A href="topic.htm">learn more on topics covered in the film</A><BR> <A href="https://sgi25.netservers.net/bluefish.org/video.htm">see the video</A><BR> <A href="script.htm">read the script</A><BR> <A href="songs.htm">learn the songs</A><BR> <A href="forum.htm">discussion forum</A><BR> <IMG src="salmon_swimming_md_wht.gif" width=150 height=70 alt="salmon animation"> </CENTER> </basefont> </body> </HTML>