Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers

“BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR WHEAT GROWERS TO INCREASE PROFITS”

VALUE ADDED AND TRADE

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers . . .

  • Should empower growers with information and communication technology that allows them to remain independent while working together in the marketplace, to improve net income.
  • Supports the creation and financing of integrated, farmer-owned processing and marketing systems that allows farmers to produce, process and directly offer the food and non-food products that customers around the world demand.
  • Supports state and federal funding for assistance in the continued support and development of rural value-added projects i.e. AURI.
  • Supports increased government funding and enhanced government policies for all export and Ag programs that maximize net income, including wheat donations to keep the food in Food Aid.
  • Supports increased funding of Foreign Market Development (FMD) and Market Access Program (MAP).
  • Supports overseas market development programs carried out by the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council and U.S. Wheat Associates both funded by check-off dollars.
  • Supports biotechnology and encourage millers, bakers, and consumers to accept the use of biotechnology to improve wheat production and wheat end use qualities.
  • Urges that the U.S. and the World Trade Organization (WTO) resolve non-uniform standards (i.e. chemical registrations/prices, Genetically Enhanced Organisms [GEO] issues), and unreasonable sanitary/phytosanitary tolerance levels used to obstruct international grain trade. (i.e. the Canadian Food Inspection Agency new rules.)
  • Supports the continuation of the Hard-Red Spring Classification.
  • Supports strong and decisive trade negotiations that eliminate unfair trading practices.
  • Supports the use and education of renewable energy i.e. bio-diesel, ethanol, wind, and their byproducts.
  • Supports the State of Minnesota purchasing multi-fuel vehicles and using ethanol blends (E-15/E-85) and bio-diesel.
  • Opposes individual state mandatory government labeling of biotech-derived products and support the HR1599 legislation that pre-empts state legislation.
  • Supports changes in the delivery specifications of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange Spring Wheat Contracts, to make it reflect the milling and export specifications currently in use.
  • Urges MGEX to designate additional out-state delivery points within wheat growing areas that farmers can deliver to.
  • Supports improved settlement methods on wheat futures contracts that allows for better convergence of cash and futures markets.
  • Support the state certification of equipment that is used to determine grain quality and grade.
  • Supports reinstating the grain inspection and sampling dispute resolution process at the Minnesota Department of Ag.
  • Urges U.S. trade negotiators to demand that other countries have fair and equitable trade agreements. MAWG opposes the inclusion of any commodity in any bilateral trade negotiations, which fail to address the market and trade distorting policies and programs that are prevalent in the world market. MAWG believes true reform of market distorting policies of other countries should properly occur as part of the World Trade Organization negotiating process.
  • Supports permanent funding for Minnesota Department of Agriculture international marketing activities.
  • Supports increasing the state funding for the Northern Crops Institute.
  • Applauds the National Wheat Foundation for commissioning ROI studies outlining threats and opportunities in the wheat industry and encourages NAWG to determine the best ways to move wheat forward.

FARM PROGRAMS AND CROP INSURANCE

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers…

  • Supports RMA working with the wheat industry to find accurate quality loss data that can be used to reform quality adjustment factors.
  • Supports crop insurance reform that addresses producer APH reductions due to multi-year natural disasters.
  • Supports additional crop insurance funding to help make higher levels of coverage affordable.
  • Supports that all rule and appeal committees shall accept input from all county NRCS and FSA offices and committees.
  • Shrinkage should be standardized and based on FGIS actual shrink charts.
  • Supports greater bonding and oversight requirements for grain warehouses and grain merchandisers which includes annual audits by independent parties.
  • Opposes the closing of any Minnesota FSA or NRCS offices that provides service to a significant number of producers.
  • Supports allowing the state FSA committee to set quality adjustment factors on disaster assistance that accurately reflect market conditions at the time of harvest.
  • Supports crop insurance policies that ensure that the insurable yields for new landowners/renters more accurately reflect the productivity of the newly acquired land.
  • Supports increasing the crop insurance loss levels that triggers an audit.
  • Opposes limits on how much the Revenue Protection (RP) harvest price can fluctuate from the RP spring price.
  • Supports reinstating the harvest option price increase for prevented plant claims.
  • Supports October 1st crop insurance billing date.
  • Supports a Farm Bill which supports a strong safety net.
  • Supports having Preventative Plant available for land that has been planted, harvested and insured in one out of the last four years. (Similar to 2013 crop insurance program.)
  • Supports a crop insurance premium reduction on tile drained land.
  • Supports continued funding for the Farm Business Management Program.
  • Supports an affordable, available, and viable federal crop insurance program.
  • Opposes any reduction in federal crop insurance premium subsidies.
  • Opposes any limitation in federal crop insurance premium subsidy available to an individual farm or operation such as a premium subsidy limited by Adjusted Gross Income or a premium subsidy cap.
  • Opposes any negative change to the projected rate of return for crop insurance companies.
  • Supports using yield data from RMA, instead of NASS, as the first choice in yield calculations for the ARC-CO program.
  • Supports the reestablishment of the 10% buy-up on preventative plant.

RESEARCH

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers…

  • Supports the establishment of a wheat industry and consumer alliance that increases productivity and crop quality through long-term research.
  • Supports university research in variety development for the benefit of consumers and producers.
  • Supports the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council’s research programs and its mandatory non-refundable check-off.
  • Supports continued research into wheat diseases and pests.
  • Supports the NAWG/USW Wheat Breeding Innovation Committee goals and policy statement.
  • Supports legislation that mandates producer input on U of M research programs and priorities.
  • Supports state funding for the Ag special at the University of Minnesota provided it is only used for agricultural purposes. I.e. experiment station, extension, 4-H
  • Supports a legislative initiative to increase base funding by $10 million for critical agricultural research programs and agricultural extension programs at the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.
  • Supports maintaining production agriculture as a component of the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.
  • Supports a regional winter wheat breeding program jointly funded by the State of North Dakota and the State of Minnesota and other potential funding sources.
  • Supports an in-season pest and disease survey.
  • Supports making producer-driven production research a priority activity of the AGRI fund and that broad-based producer representation become part of the oversight and awarding process.
  • Urges oversight hearings be held for federal regulators (i.e. USDA, FDA and EPA) on causes and reasons for the slowdown in the approval process of biotech traits to attain oversight and accountability.
  • Supports the education on the safety of gluten in our diets.
  • Supports full funding for the national US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.
  • Supports keeping Agriculture prominent in name and structure of any proposal merging College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and College of Biological Sciences (CBS) at the University of Minnesota.
  • Supports the right of farmers to replant public and university seed varieties for their own use.
  • Opposes unreasonable restrictions on the use of drones for agricultural purposes.
  • Supports continuation of the Ag Fertilizer Research and Education Council.
  • Supports AURI’s continued research of growing industrial hemp as a cash crop.

MEMBERSHIP

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers…

  • Will promote and expand the cooperation among all Ag groups in Minnesota to enhance the image of agriculture and to educate consumers on the importance of agriculture.

GENERAL ENVIRONMENT

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers…

  • Supports voluntary Best Management Practices and opposes regulatory policies that reduce the net income of production agriculture and weaken individual property rights.
  • Supports the strengthening of Minnesota’s Right to Farm Law.
  • Supports an environmental tax credit, which would provide an income tax credit to offset costs associated with implementing soil conservation and other environmental practices, including conservation tillage equipment.
  • Supports stronger enforcement of noxious weed control on public and private land. i.e. ag land, CRP, RIM, DNR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Canadian Pacific Rail, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, State of MN roads and Watershed Districts, road and rail right of ways and other public lands.
  • Supports and encourages direct producer participation in Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Watershed District working groups and NRCS local working groups, which will have a major role in determining how conservation and environmental initiatives are implemented at the local level. i.e. notification of meetings by email, text message, and/or mail.
  • Supports the use of common sense and peer-reviewed science when considering climate change legislation.
  • Opposes greenhouse gas legislation or regulation that has a negative impact on production agriculture. MAWG will strive for a net economic benefit to farmers.
  • We urge that NAWG and MAWG request that the U.S. Congress and the appropriate committees conduct oversight hearings on legislative intent regarding the application of the “Clean Air Act” and the “Clean Water Act” by the Environmental Protection Agency including but not limited to the following: use of fracking in oil production, fuel tank storage enclosures on farms, and energy savings on appliances.
  • Opposes efforts by activist groups to limit accepted crop or livestock production practices.
  • Supports the work of Discovery Farms Minnesota.
  • Opposes any attempt to reinstitute the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Advisory Board with their prior authority.
  • Supports legislation allowing a farmer to protect crops and livestock from wildlife destroying or attempting to destroy or injure crops or livestock.
  • Opposes legislation that would give state agencies regulatory authority over nonpoint sources of pollution.
  • Supports reestablishment of the state apiary regulatory program at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

CONSERVATION AND LAND USE

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers

  • Supports reform of Minnesota’s eminent domain law to ensure that eminent domain is used only for public infrastructure & utility purposes and not for private economic development, conservation, habitat, or recreational purposes.
  • Endorses an adequately funded, incentive-based, long-term conservation fund, which enhances the environment and removes fragile and marginal acres from production, such as CRP and other long-term programs that idle acres at comparable commercial rental rates. And believes additional CRP Environmental points should be given to areas which have been frequently flooded and which could temporarily hold water at different times throughout the year.
  • Opposes permanent easements on agricultural land.
  • Supports worthy conservation practices such as voluntary buffer strips, wildlife habitat, wetland restoration, and flood control/mitigation; and MAWG will work with USDA to enhance adoption of these practices under the Continuous CRP and other such programs that do not rely on permanent easements.
  • Urges that CRP continue to be classified as agriculture land so that it does not have to be posted.
  • Urges that CRP qualifying criteria take wind and water erosion into equal account and that adequate ranking be given for wildlife habitat benefits.
  • Urges the rules of Conservation Stewardship Program should take into consideration the regional differences and county needs in all management practices. I.e. Winter Cereal Incentive Program
  • Opposes any waiver of penalties on land that is taken out of CRP early.
  • Supports a voluntary DNR hunter “walk-in” program on private land provided the landowner is exempt from liability.
  • Supports Lessard funds be used for working lands conservation efforts.
  • Opposes land acquisition with Lessard funds.
  • Opposes federal and state agencies from funding non-profit organization purchases of real property or easements for wildlife or conservation purposes, and the housing of these organizations in government offices.
  • Supports an increase in the national CRP acreage cap.
  • Supports efforts by counties and townships to limit further acquisition of private land by government or non-profits.
  • Supports continued funding for Conservation Stewardship Program.

CROP INPUTS

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers…

  • Opposes pesticide label removals that are not based on sound science.
  • Opposes legislation that would give local units of governments the authority to regulate the use of fertilizer or pesticide products.
  • Opposes the legislature or any local units of government passing any law preventing farmers from planting seed approved by the federal government.
  • Opposes efforts to restrict state registration of, or require state environmental review of, pesticide products approved by the EPA.
  • Opposes legislation that places limits on or requires record keeping of commercial (non-manure) fertilizer applications.
  • Opposes legislation that requires pesticide applicators to provide notice of application or that application records be made public.
  • Opposes on-farm inspection or permit fees of any kind regarding on-farm liquid fertilizer storage.
  • Supports application of pesticides by licensed applicators with no additional restrictions beyond the label.
  • Pesticides applied according to label directions should not be considered point source pollutants.
  • Supports maintaining exclusive authority for the common detection program, pesticide registrations, and the regulation of pesticide and fertilizer use with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and not the Minnesota Department of Health.
  • Opposes efforts to require verification of need prior to the use of any registered pesticides.
  • Opposes legislation that would give state agencies regulatory authority over the use of treated seeds.
  • Opposes efforts by individual states to use information from international non-governmental entities to require unjustified, false or misleading warning labels on products. (i.e. glyphosate listing in California)
  • Supports best management practices and opposes mandatory restrictions of fall application of commercial fertilizers.

WATER, WETLANDS, AND DRAINAGE

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers…

  • Supports that all water quality and drainage issues be based on sound scientific research in the formulation of data that will be uniformly used at all levels of government.
  • Support the original determination and classification of wetlands on CRP land at the time the contract was entered into.
  • Opposes the re-delineation of wetlands by NRCS and supports the use of the original wetland determinations for certification by local NRCS offices.
  • Urges that all private wetlands should be under the jurisdiction of NRCS and not the Army Corp of Engineers.
  • Supports the retention of water monitoring activities in the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
  • Supports legislation that would add major commodity group representation to the Board of Water and Soil Resources.
  • Opposes expanding the powers of the Federal Government under the U.S. Clean Water Act.
  • Opposes DNR’s and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s ability to obstruct ditch maintenance projects initiated by local ditch authorities.
  • MAWG supports a volunteer program that provides financial incentives to temporarily hold water on land for the purpose of reducing stream flow and flooding.
  • Supports flood control in the Red River Valley (RRV) being accomplished through basin-wide retention projects which provide local benefits, dikes and levees through urban areas and limiting urban development in natural flood plains.
  • Supports legislation that changes Swamp Buster enforcement to a system that provides a notice of violation before enforcement action is taken, with a reasonable time to cure the violation, before penalties are assessed. MAWG further supports legislation that changes the current penalty provision to a scaled system that is in proportion to the violation, with a 3-year look back limitation.
  • Opposes further licensing, regulation, and fees for field drainage.
  • Opposes mandatory buffer strips along private ditches.
  • Supports using Lessard funds to compensate land owners under the 2015 buffer law.
  • Opposes state or local governments to enact any portion of the Waters of the U.S rule as currently written.
  • Supports a per acre annual payment for mandatory buffer strips using dedicated clean water funds.
  • Supports developing and allowing local alternative practices within the 2015 buffer law.

TAXES AND FEES

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers…

  • Opposes new taxes, surcharges or fees that decrease net farm income and supports tax incentives that increase net farm income.
  • Believes that the DNR, Fish & Wildlife Service, Nature Conservancy and entities that own land should be required to pay taxes on an equal basis to that of private landowners. Require land acquired with Lessard funding have permanent funds set aside for payments in lieu of taxes. I.e. ditch assessments & property taxes.
  • Supports a farmer IRA for liquidation of assets at the time the farmer exits the farming operation.
  • Supports reinstating and increasing the maximum valuation for Ag Homestead tax credit.
  • Supports legislation that would eliminate the requirement that farmers annually file a Special Ag Homestead credit certification.
  • Supports state legislation that would mirror the federal section 179 depreciation schedules and estate tax exemption.
  • Supports maintaining Federal section 179 depreciation schedules and estate tax exemption at the 2018 level or higher.
  • Supports that the minimum state level of school funding be indexed to the 2002/2003 level. The State should re-implement the constitutional provision of equal funding for education.
  • Supports a larger percentage of the bonding bill to go toward roads & bridges throughout the state instead of DNR land acquisitions.
  • Supports no additional taxes on off-road fuel.
  • Supports state conformity with Federal regulations that exempt overtime pay for ag workers.
  • Supports property tax relief on agriculture land.
  • Opposes any attempt by any governmental entity to enact a sales tax on agricultural products to pay for infrastructure that is used by all Minnesota.
  • Supports a conservation tax credit for farmers whose agricultural land has been planted into buffer strips.
  • Supports reform to the federal health care law that will expand options and lower premiums.

TRANSPORTATION

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers…

  • Supports efforts by U.S, state, county and township transportation agencies as well as private transportation companies to develop strategies that will ensure long-term efficient use of our infrastructure.
  • Supports legislation that would provide for competition in the rail system.
  • Supports maintaining and enhancing water transportation systems that move U.S. grain to export markets.
  • Supports an increase in the mileage exemption for heavy highway vehicle use tax from 7,500 miles to 20,000 miles for agricultural vehicles.
  • Supports maintaining the current ag exemptions in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules.
  • Supports federal legislation that would recognize reciprocity between states for interstate agricultural transportation.
  • Supports an exemption of interstate rules within 20 miles.
  • Supports changes in state law that will establish guidelines and parameters for roadside inspections and weighing so as to minimize both officer discretion and grower inconvenience and insure the safety of those involved.
  • Supports changing MN law to allow tractor trailer trucks to pull a pup trailer behind.
  • Supports increasing truck weights to 105,500 pounds on seven (7) axles.
  • Supports maintaining and working to strengthen the federal Renewable Fuels Standard created under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
  • Supports expansion of the Sandpiper pipeline.
  • Supports expansion of the Keystone pipeline.
  • Supports the current biodiesel mandate of B20 during the summer and B5 during the winter and the move to B20 during the summer in 2018 and encourage similar policies in other states and become a federal law.
  • Supports legislation to ensure that weight enforcement is conducted in a legal manner.
  • Supports an increase in the farm license mileage allowance from 20 to 50 miles.
  • Opposes restrictions and or permits from MnDOT or other government entities to mow or hay roadway rights of way.

POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES

The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers…

  • Supports and encourages all wheat producers to contribute to the Minnesota Federal Wheat PAC’s.