Working for You

Working for You

Each month we provide some key areas where MGGA leaders and staff have been working on your behalf. Here is a sampling of important issues and activities for January 2020:

  • Executive Vice President Lola Raska joined a conference call with NAWG Policy Director Josh Tonsager, Gordley Associates’ Tom Hance, former RMA Administrator Ken Ackerman and DC-FSA personnel Bill Beam, Deputy Administrator Farm Programs; Brad Karmen, Assistant Deputy Administrator Farm Programs; Steve Peterson, FSA Associate Administrator; and Dana Peterson, FSA Chief of Staff, to discuss initial ideas for implementing the excessive moisture and quality loss provisions in WHIP+ that were authorized by the FY2020 appropriations package.
  • MGGA officers and staff were in Washington, D.C. for committee and board meetings of the National Association of Wheat Growers. One day of this annual event is always reserved for hill and agency visits and this year, the group presented wheat awards to Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, and Representative Greg Gianforte and their respective staffs for their support of the wheat industry over the past year. We also met with USDA FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce, Deputy Administrator Bill Cobb and Chief of Staff Dana Peterson where we discussed roll out of WHIP+ for excessive moisture and quality losses, farm loan programs, FSA staffing and farm program signup efficiences among other issues.
  • A highlight of meetings in Washington, D.C. is the opportunity to hear from a range of experts on federal policy issues.
    • Ambassador Gregg Doud, Chief Ag Negotiator for the US Trade Representative, told wheat growers they have spent ‘hundreds of hours’ having ‘truly extraordinary conversations’ with Chinese negotiators while authoring the US-China Phase 1 trade agreement. He commented that the Ag Minister from China said, “We have never done anything like this with any other country.” The two wheat classes expected to be most positively affected by changes to China’s Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) allocations are SWW and HRS.
    • Georgetown University Professor Marc Busch said the WTO appellate body, with only 1 remaining judge, has now ceased to function but is critically needed for effective enforcement of new trade agreements.
    • The American Seed Trade Association said they have seen positive movement by Japan toward acceptance of gene edited products.
  • MGGA exhibited at the 2020 Montana Agricultural Industrial Expo (MAGIE) in Great Falls where staff members and Director Steve Sheffels, Great Falls, manned the association’s booth, visiting with members and others about agriculture and MGGA policy.
  • National Barley Growers Association President Buzz Mattelin, Culbertson, and MGGA EVP Lola Raska joined an executive committee call to discuss the organization’s budget and policy priorities prior to upcoming board meetings in Washington, D.C.