Both the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association (NWGA) and the Nebraska Wheat Board (NWB) are disappointed in the proposed FY 2018 budget released by the Administration and believe parts of the request would be damaging to Nebraska’s wheat farmers. Two particular areas of concern for NWGA and NWB include cuts to crop insurance and elimination of funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD).
“Agriculture is a key economic driver for the state of Nebraska,” said NWGA president Randon Peters. “Cutting support to programs like crop insurance puts at risk wheat farmers’ ability to feed both domestic and international markets. It also endangers the livelihoods of those whose employment depends on the production, storage, transportation, milling and end product development of wheat. This year alone farmers in Nebraska have lost parts or entire fields to disease, late season freezes and snowfalls, and we can only hope no other weather issues like hail destroy our crop before harvest. Access to crop insurance ensures that, even if we lose a crop to something beyond our control, we will have the means to plant again next year.”
NWB chairman Brent Robertson expressed concerns about the budget as well. “In Nebraska we export half our wheat annually. Access to and development of foreign markets remains a key goal of the Nebraska Wheat Board. Funding for MAP and FMD programs allows us to leverage our checkoff dollars through organizations like U.S. Wheat Associates to promote international marketing. We recognize the Administration’s desire to cut spending and reduce the national debt, but these programs have provided solid returns on investment to both the entire U.S. economy and our farmers. At a time when cost of production exceeds sale price, cutting programs that support our ability to market wheat seems counterproductive.”
“Here at Nebraska Wheat we will continue fighting to support our state’s farmers,” Peters said. “We will work with other state wheat organizations and the National Association of Wheat Growers to ensure our congressional leaders know the importance of supporting crop insurance, MAP and FMD, and other Farm Bill programs.”
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 on state and national policy issues and providing educational opportunities to producers and consumers.
The Nebraska Wheat Board administers the check-off of 0.4% 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.