KAWG takes to the Hill to convey Farm Bill needs of Kansas wheat farmers

Posted February 1, 2023

Now is the time for wheat farmers to make their priorities known as negotiations for the next Farm Bill kick into high gear. That was a clear message from lawmakers and association staff alike during the 2023 Kansas Commodity Classic. As the calendar turns to a new month, Kansas Wheat is carrying forward that call to action as staff and board members join counterparts from across the country for the joint meetings of U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers.

“If you are participating in KAWG, your voice is being heard,” said Shayna DeGroot, KAWG director of membership and governmental affairs. “We’re the ones relaying messages to our Congressional offices and our national association. So if you are a part of KAWG, you can have that discussion with us to ensure you have all the tools you need in your operation, especially to stay afloat in times of need.”

The 2023 Kansas Commodity Classic — the annual convention of the Kansas corn, wheat, soybean and grain sorghum associations — on January 27 in Salina, farmers from across the state heard a market update from Dan Maltby with Maltby Risk Management, a U.S. Agriculture in 2023 projection presentation from AgriPulse Communications Publisher Sara Wyant, U.S. Senate updates from Senators Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall, a virtual House Update panel featuring all four members of the Kansas Congressional delegation, and a Farm Bill and Farm Programs Update from national association staff.

The agenda was packed with valuable information, but DeGroot highlighted the need for educating staff or Congressional members that are unfamiliar with agricultural issues and the potential difficulties of the current political situation in passing the next Farm Bill.

“There are fewer and fewer agriculture leaders working on the Farm Bill, so we have a lot of education to do,” DeGroot said. “There may be a struggle to agree on some issues and get everything pushed through, so we need to be sure our voices are heard and we’re relaying information for our farmers.”

As an important part of that gather-and-convey policy process, KAWG members met one day ahead of the state-wide event to discuss and debate policies impacting wheat growers, including approving two new resolutions passed by the KAWG Board of Directors:

· RC.9 The KAWG supports efforts to improve crop insurance performance for farmers through the separation of enterprise units by fallow and continuous, while still offering combined units to those who it would benefit.

· E.9 The KAWG recognizes the soil and environmental benefits of wheat in a crop rotation and therefore wheat that is intentionally seeded and harvestable should

have the option of being classified as a cover crop for purposes of NRCS and other climate-smart programs.

Both resolutions are intended to help provide additional flexibility and benefits to Kansas wheat farmers, especially during drought or other adverse conditions. Read the full set of KAWG resolutions at https://kswheat.com/kawg-resolutions.

“KAWG is proud to help address wheat farmers’ needs in the upcoming growing season and Farm Bill negotiations,” DeGroot said.

DeGroot and Kansas wheat farmers carried these resolutions and concerns with them to Washington, DC, this week - where they and Kansas Wheat Commissioners are participating in the joint winter meeting for USW and NAWG. As part of those meetings, the Kansas group will meet with the entirety of the Kansas Congressional delegation to provide additional insights on priorities for Kansas wheat growers for the next Farm Bill, including the new resolutions passed last week.

“We’re excited to get on the Hill,” DeGroot said. “It’s really important that you are involved in your state organization - like KAWG - so we can lobby for issues like protecting crop insurance and work on issues affecting farmers in different areas of the state. We urge you to become a part of KAWG so we can ensure your voice is heard by the folks writing the policies that will directly impact your operation.”

Renew or sign up for a KAWG membership today to stay informed as Farm Bill negotiations progress. Membership benefits include a weekly update with state and national news in addition to a weekly market analysis, the monthly Wheat Farmer/Row Crop Farm newsletter and the annual guide to wheat varieties for Kansas and the Great Plains. Learn more or pay for your membership at kswheat.com/kawg.


Written by Julia Debes for Kansas Wheat