NAMA Leadership Meets with Secretary of Agriculture Mike JohannsMay 29, 2007
Washington, D.C. – May 29, 2007 – The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) Executive Committee and Board members met with Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns this week to advocate on behalf of the milling industry. Topics included the Farm Bill, biotechnology, research, and food aid. The millers were in Washington for NAMA’s annual Leadership Meeting. They participated in meetings with Administration officials and Congressional staff. In addition, members met independently with their Congressional representatives.
Pictured left to right: NAMA Vice Chairman John Miller, Miller Milling Company, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, and NAMA Chairman Rick Schwein, Grain Millers, Inc.
|NAMA’s Chairman Rick L. Schwein, Grain Millers, Inc., said, “Secretary Johanns has graciously welcomed us every year since he has been Secretary.” Schwein continued, “The opportunity to engage the Secretary in topics important to the milling industry is invaluable.”|
Lynn Rundle, 21st Century Grain Processing and a member of NAMA’s Board of Directors told the Secretary, “The current Farm Bill distorts producer planting decisions.” Rundle continued, “The government should not pick which crops will be ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’ Whatever amount of money Congress decides to spend on farm programs must be spent in a way that is market-neutral.”
During last year’s Leadership Meeting, the Administration challenged NAMA and the wheat chain to come together and speak with a more unified voice. NAMA reported to the Secretary the wheat millers, growers, and others in the food chain came together to discuss a united strategy during Wheat Summit I and II. Schwein told the Secretary, “The Wheat Summit developed unified statements on transportation, domestic farm policy, hard white wheat, research priorities, and biotechnology.” The Secretary was provided details of the statements.
In a full and frank discussion with Secretary Johanns, Stephen H. Wickes of Agricor, Inc. and chairman of NAMA’s International Trade Committee said, “NAMA opposes the Administration’s position to use cash, not food, in US food aid programs.” Keeping food in US food aid is one of the issues NAMA is fighting for in the 2007 Farm Bill. Wickes continued, “Without the win-win nature of using US food products as the base for the programs, then political constituency will be lost and both appropriations in the US agriculture budget and authorizations will be jeopardized.
NAMA is the trade association representing 48 companies that operate 170 wheat, oat and corn mills in 38 states and Canada. Their collective production capacity exceeds 160 million pounds of product each day, more than 95 percent of the total industry production.