U.S. Grain Standards Act Reauthorization

NAEGA has accepted an invitation from the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry  to testify at a hearing entitled, “Perspectives on Reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act.” on July 31, 2019  in Washington, D.C NAEGA will be represented by the Chairman of the NAEGA Grades and Inspection Committee, Nick Friant of Cargill. More information, including a link to watch the entire hearing live on July 31 at 9:30 am Eastern Time, can be found through this link. Nick’s written testimony will be posted to that site at the time of the hearing.

U.S. House Passes Farm Bankruptcy Bill

On July 25, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that eases Chapter 12 bankruptcy limits for farmers.

The bill, H.R. 2336 (116), would expand the debt cap covered under Chapter 12 bankruptcy to $10 million from the current debt limit of $4.15 million. The bill would enable farmers to qualify for Chapter 12 bankruptcy if their total debt is less than $10 million.

The measure passed by voice vote and was sponsored by House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and committee members Representatives Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.), Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and T.J. Cox (D-Calif.).

A similar bipartisan version has been introduced in the Senate S. 897 (116), backed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). However, the measure has yet to be marked by the Judiciary Committee.

USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee to Meet

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted a notice that the AMS Grain Inspection Advisory Committee will meet in Kansas City, MO on August 15 and 16, 2019.  The Inspection Advisory Committee meets twice annually to advise AMS on the programs and services it delivers under the U.S. Grain Standards Act. This will be the first meeting of the Committee since September 2018. Recommendations by the committee help AMS to better meet the needs of its customers who operate in a dynamic and changing marketplace. The agenda will include updates an AMS rulemaking, discussion of organic labeling on Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) documents, and update and exemption on boundary exemptions and other relevant topics.

The current makeup of the Advisory Committee is as follows:

Ms. Janice Cooper (Chair) Mr. Chad Becnel
Ms. Sarah Sexton-Bowser Mr. Randall Burns
Mr. Nicholas Friant Mr. John Lindgren
Ms. Kia Mikesh Mr. John Morgan
Mr. Rick Robinette Mr. Bruce Sutherland
Ms. Linsey Moffit-Tobin Mr. Terry Peach
Dr. Errol Turnipseed Mr. Mark Watne
Mr. Jimmy Williams Mr. Aaron Anseuw (Alternate)
Ms. Patricia Dumoulin (Alternate)  

Details on Second Trade Aid Package

On July 25, 2019, the USDA released details on the new $16 billion trade aid package for farmers, which is intended to offset losses producers have experienced as a result of President Donald Trump's ongoing trade dispute with China.

The package directs $14.5 billion in direct payments to farmers and will be distributed in three installments. For the first round, farmers will receive at least $15 an acre, or 50 percent of their total estimated payout—whichever is greater. The maximum payment rate will be $150 an acre. Additionally, $1.4 billion will be allocated towards commodity purchases; and another $100 million is being devoted to assist food and farm groups in developing new export markets. The department has said direct payments will be made to farmers at rates based on their county, rather than per commodity—a change from the 2018 trade-relief program.

The first installment will be sent out in mid to late August, with the next two payments following in November and January, if needed.

Potential Change in European Union Phytosanitary Regulations

A notice has been posted on the APHIS Phytosanitary Export Database (PExD) System regarding potential changes to European Union phytosanitary regulations beginning in December 2019. Changes include:

  • All plant parts and plant products will require a phytosanitary certificate unless indicated otherwise in a commodity summary;
  • Ananas comosus, Cocos nucifera, Durio zibethinus, Musa spp., and Phoenix dactylifera fruit will be the only commodities that will not require a phytosanitary certificate;
  • The European Union additional declarations will change from their current format to plain English statements.
  • Beginning in December 2020, the option to fumigate with Methyl Bromide will not be allowed for any commodity.

NAEGA is investigating the changes and may refer to the Grades and Inspections Committee for consideration. 

London Grain Week MAP Trip Report

NAEGA has completed and submitted to USDA/FAS a Market Access Program (MAP) trip report for Gary Martin, Sam Bonilla and Katy Lee’s travel to London for Grain Week from June 8-14, 2019. As reported in the June 13, 2019 edition of OUTREACH, the trip included meetings with IGTC, International Grains Council (IGC), the United Kingdom’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and the Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA).

The trip report for this mission can be found here.

Clause 20 Certification

This week NAEGA provided a Clause 20 certification.  The NAEGA certification followed the recommendation of a NAEGA volunteer Clause 20 panel.  A valid cause, related to an external benzene gas release from a neighboring facility not under the control of the applicant and several related official emergency actions, was found that included the interruption in the normal course of labor due to employee safety concerns, exceptional impediments to transportation and official actions by government.


The NAEGA Special Interest Group (SIG) on the Peru’s self-initiation of a countervailing duty case against U.S. origin yellow corn case received an update on recent developments on Thursday, July 25. The SIG heard from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Grains Council.

NAEGA is coordinating the Special Interest Group (SIG) in order to facilitate a coordinated industry response. If you are interested in joining the SIG, please contact Gary or Patrick. 

NAEGA Meeting with JFMA and JFTA on Corn Quality

On July 22, 2019, NAEGA staff attended a meeting with the Japan Feed Manufacturers Association (JFMA) and the Japan Feed Trade Association (JFTA), hosted by the U.S. Grains Council. The meeting addressed topics regarding corn quality, foreign material in U.S. corn exports and ways to increase U.S. corn exports to Japan. Japan continues to be a critical export market for U.S. farmers and the frank and open discussion with the Japanese delegation provided a forum to build on the existing trade partnership. NAEGA also connected with JFTA to begin planning for a Contracts and Best Practices Seminar to take place in Tokyo later this year.

For more information about NAEGA’s meeting with the Japanese delegation at the U.S. Grains Council contact Gary or Patrick.

USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service Survey on Communications

As part of a 2019 Strategic Initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) is evaluating the effectiveness of communication through the use of instructions materials such as handbooks, directives, and program notices. FGIS’ Field Management Division (FMD) is seeking feedback on the current status of their instructions and has developed a short survey to assist them in their evaluation. The survey will accept responses until August 30, 2019 and can be found through this link.