OWGL visit Washington DC. Tackle crop insurance

Oregon Wheat Grower’s League
Oregon Wheat Newsletter 5/2009

The OWGL recently traveled to Washington, DC to begin again the building of relationships within both the offices of our Congressional Delegation and the numerous agencies that implement policies affecting this industry. With every change in Administration, there are new relationships to be built and old friends to renew acquaintances with.

The delegation was comprised of Craig Reeder, Secretary/Treasurer and Chair of the Research and Value Added Committee; Lisa Rietmann, Chair of the Federal Programs and Transportation Committee; Mike Noonan, Past President and Chair of the Marketing Committee; and Tammy Dennee, Executive Director. Meetings with the US DOT, Offi ce of Management and Budget, the new Chief of the Natural Resources Conversation Service, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Risk Management Agency, Farm Service Agency, Department of Interior and the seven Oregon Congressional Offices filled the three days carved out for this mission.

One of the hot topics on the Hill was crop insurance. The OWGL delegates spoke in strong support of the existing crop insurance tools and the importance of these tools for today’s producers. Craig Reeder articulated the point that crop insurance is a tool that is available to every producer across every crop sector. These tools allow growers and their bankers to mitigate some of the risks incurred in the farming industry while holding growers accountable for their management decisions. He enthusiastically underscored the importance of the retention of crop insurance deliverables through the Risk Management Agency to every person we met with.

The meeting with the USDOT Officials was to discuss the “Farm to Market” exemption from Interstate Commerce regulations with an emphasis on safety compliance and weight limits under the “Intrastate Commerce” statutes in every state. Lisa Rietmann and Mike Noonan led the discussion together with members from the Oklahoma Growers Association. Senator Merkley (OR) and Senator Inhofe (OK) are drafting legislation to address the issues that arise for farmers complying with Interstate Commerce to provide for a very simple “Farm to Market” exemption for farmers delivering their goods to the fi rst point of sale. As many of our readers know, this has been an ongoing topic for more than a decade and we continue to seek solutions to this very complex issue.

USDA Agricultural Research Service and their work on Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration were highlighted in our meetings. Policymakers are currently discussing the merits of a Cap and Trade system and our intention is to encourage policymakers actively engage the scientifi c community from ARS in these discussions to ensure the best policies are crafted. The Farm Service Agency meet-

ing was very benefi cial and informative. We appreciated the willingness of the lead staff charged with drafting the rules to implement the new farm bill to sit down with our team to discuss the suggestions from our organization. We believe the intent of the FSA is to deliver the program as directed by Congress. The FSA staff continues to listen to grower community concerning implementation issues and concerns. During our Congressional meetings, each of the team members stated the importance of allowing this new bill to be fully implemented and funded. Additional policy changes should be deferred to the next Farm Bill debate. All in all this was a benefi cial mission.

There are always numerous issues to address and what seems like limited time to incorporate the volume of topics in the 20-30 minute window of time allotted to us. We will continue to engage our policymakers and agency offi cials on your behalf. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated. See you at the Joint OWC/OWGL meeting in June.

the United States, and an Oregon resident. Additional qualifi cations may apply. All qualifi ed candidates will be considered for appointment.

No commissioner may serve on more than one state board or commission. Those interested in being a commissioner should contact Kris Anderson at 503-872-6600 or visit www.oregon.gov/ODA/ADMD/cc_oversight.shtml.

Application and Qualifi cation forms are available at the Oregon Wheat Growers League/Oregon Grains Commission and the Oregon Wheat Commission offices.

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