Following the announcement last night of a Continuing Resolution (CR) spending package to fund the government through April 28, 2017, NAWG is pleased to see that Congress has allocated resources for the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) direct and guaranteed operating and ownership loan programs, which have been in abnormally high demand following an extended period of low prices for wheat farmers.
Section 146 of the CR includes language to ensure sufficient funding to cover the FSA loan programs “up to the rate for operations necessary to fund loans for which applications are approved”. NAWG applauds Congress’ attention to this important issue, particularly since funding through those programs ran out several months before the end of FY 2016. With commodity prices expected to remain at the current low levels, it is important that sufficient funding for these programs are available throughout the year.
“It is critically important that Congress works to address the likely growing demand for these programs, given the difficult economic challenges wheat growers are currently facing,” said NAWG President Gordon Stoner, a wheat grower from Montana. “With wheat prices far below the cost of production, these financing options are vitally important for growers to continue to produce quality American wheat.”
As Congress works to finalize the FY 2017 appropriations once the upcoming CR expires, assuming successful passage this week, NAWG will continue to work with them on priority issues, as well as working to develop FY 2018 funding bills, to ensure a long-term solution to the funding shortfalls these programs have faced. NAWG believes it is crucial to provide a helping hand to wheat farmers across the country who are suffering from difficult economic conditions.
NAWG will also work to ensure fully authorized funding is authorized for critical research programs for wheat, including the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative and the Small Grains Genomic Initiative, as well as others that will help wheat growers.