NAWG Looks for Wheat to Turn Around

Farm group says it wants a better farm bill, research money for biomass ethanol and progress on development of biotech wheat.

Published on: Mar 2, 2007

The National Association of Wheat Growers hopes it plans for the Farm Bill proposal will stop decline in wheat acres that threatens to reduce wheat to a specialty crop.

"We are facing a crisis of competitiveness," said Dale Schuler, NAWG president and an Oregon farmer, in a press conference Thursday at the Commodity Classic in Tampa, Fla.

Wheat continues to lose acres to corn, soybeans and other crops, he says.

The loss of acreage will soon affect those who buy U.S. wheat.

"We are working to reverse the trend," he says.

In the months ahead, NAWG will be lobbying to increase the direct payment for wheat in 2007 Farm Bill to $1.19 per bushel and the target price to $5.29 per bushel, while maintaining the current structure of the marketing loan. It also supports an increase in payment limits commensurate with the increase in direct payments. Also, NAWG will be supporting more funding for research into cellulosic ethanol production. Wheat straw and switchgrass would be among the top raw materials.

Opening talks with Canada and Australia wheat growers about jointly introducing biotech wheat. "Our board says we have to have progress," says Daren Coppock, NAWG's chief executive officer.