As Congress prepares for the next Farm Bill, the National Association of Wheat Growers is out with their priorities for the 2023 edition.
Jake Westlin with NAWG says their top priority remains the protection of crop insurance, making sure the critical risk management tool is available to growers.
“You know, when growers are planting out there, and you have Mother Nature to deal with, you have to have to have that assurance in the back of your mind, so we don’t want to see any further cuts to the program, because there are always those efforts made on a year-to-year basis as part of the budget appropriations process. But to continue to protect that is one of our most important priorities for growers.”
Westlin says it’s not enough to just protect crop insurance. NAWG he pointed out is looking at ways to enhance crop insurance, making sure it remains both effective and affordable.
Another priority that Westlin said will be of particular interest for growers across the PNW is the expansion and growth of overseas trading opportunities, and two of the best ways to do that is via MAP [Market Access Program] and FMD [Foreign Market Development].
He pointed out these programs help U.S. Wheat Associates and others to continue to find and develop trade opportunities.
“That program has been there for a long time; however, the funds have been pretty stagnant, and there have been more cooperators added to it. So, think of it as a pie. The pie has stayed the same, but there are more slices that have been cut into that pie, so we need to kind of grow that pie so that those dollars that have a significant return on investment can continue to be used adequately to help grow our market export opportunities overseas.”
Other NAWG 2023 Farm Bill priorities include support of voluntary conservation programs, and increasing the reference price for wheat in Title I.