Nebraska wheat farmers visit Washington DC
Members of the Nebraska Wheat Board (NWB) and the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association (NWGA) recently returned from a four-day trip to Washington, DC where they discussed the challenges facing the wheat industry with congressional leaders and national wheat organizations.
Each year NWB and NWGA participate in the U.S. Wheat Associates and National Association of Wheat Growers Winter Wheat Conference held in Washington, DC. Both state and national wheat issues ranging from trade policy, to research support to environmental issues are discussed. The organizations also take time to visit with each of the state’s five congressional representatives on Capitol Hill about the challenges facing Nebraska wheat farmers. This year the six members representing NWB and NWGA were: Bob Delsing, Hemingford; Larry Flohr, Chappell; Brent Robertson, Elsie; Kent Lorens, Stratton; Von Johnson, Cambridge; and Randon Peters, McCook.
Delsing, Flohr, Robertson, Lorens and Johnson all participated in meetings with U.S. Wheat Associates to discuss international marketing, the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program, hard white wheat, and the effects of changes on trade agreements may have on wheat markets.
“It’s important that we participate in these meetings so Nebraskans’ voices and issues are heard on the national level,” said NWB chairman Brent Robertson. “Half of our state’s wheat is exported, so supporting international marketing efforts is vital to maintaining our industry.”
Peters participated in meetings with the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) ranging from Farm Bill conversations to research policy and environmental regulations. He currently serves as the chairman of NAWG’s domestic trade and policy committee, where meeting attendees and wheat farmers from around the country discussed concerns and priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill. “The wheat market and all commodity markets are down right now, but costs and regulations are up,” said Peters. “It’s a privilege to represent Nebraska’s farmers and farmers from around the country to help guide meetings where we can discuss what needs to change and how we can help make those changes happen.”
All six representatives visited with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill. Each office was presented with information on the wheat industry as well as a map showing the wheat production areas and wheat-related industries that had an economic impact in each congressional district.
“What Nebraska wheat farmers are doing has a much broader reach and a greater impact than many people realize,” said Robertson. “Having supportive ag policies coming out of Washington, DC will benefit farmers, consumers, rural and urban economies in our state. That’s why it was important for us to take the time to discuss issues with our leaders.”
The Nebraska Wheat Board administers the check-off of 0.4 percent of net value of wheat marketed in Nebraska at the point of first sale. The board invests the funds in programs of international and domestic market development and improvement, policy development, research, promotion, and education.
The Nebraska Wheat Growers Association is a non-profit, membership-based organization that works to improve and stabilize the profitability of the Nebraska wheat producer. NWGA works to do this by representing Nebraska’s wheat producers in state and national policy and providing educational opportunities to producers and consumers.