NAMA Members Lobby Congress for Wheat Research FundingMarch 26, 2004
CONTACT: Jim Bair, NAMA Vice President
Washington, DC – March 26, 2004 – NAMA members participated in a joint lobbying effort hosted by the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the National Wheat Improvement Committee (NWIC) in Washington, DC March 15 -16 to advocate increased federal funding for wheat research. The Administration is proposing cuts totaling $11.2 million to small grains programs (wheat, barley, and oats) which will critically undermine the national public sector small grains research infrastructure, harming the domestic agricultural economy, reducing competitiveness in world markets, and limiting the effectiveness in countering bioterrorism.
Pictured left to right: Professor Jackie Rudd, Texas A&M University; Professor Paul Murphy, North Carolina State University; and Michael Pate, Midstate Mills, Inc.
“It was gratifying to see how well the efforts of the National Wheat Improvement Committee, university researchers and NAMA dovetailed so seamlessly in our presentations to Congressional staffers. I was particularly pleased to see how the staffers responded to the requests put forth by milling industry representatives. I left Washington with the impression that our work will result in the restoration of proposed funding cuts,” stated NAMA member Michael Pate, Director of Technical Services, Midstate Mills, Inc.
Also participating in the lobbying effort was NAMA member Don Sullins, Vice President of Quality Assurance and Product Development, ADM Milling Company and NAMA vice president, Jim Bair. Mr. Bair assisted NAWG and NWIC in leading teams of wheat millers, growers, and researchers on legislative visits to Capitol Hill requesting new money for wheat research and asking Congress to restore funding cuts.
Continued investment by the federal government in strong wheat research programs is required to keep the U.S. at the forefront in the development and implementation of new technologies to improve wheat productivity and quality. NAMA has been sponsoring wheat scab research at ARS labs for more than five years. In 2002 progress was reported in developing a gene that might provide a stronger natural defense against the wheat disease Fusarium head blight. Fusarium and the toxin it can produce, deoxynivalenol (DON), have cost the wheat industry billions of dollars in recent years. Federal support is essential for continued progress.
NAMA has 46 member companies operating 170 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states and 150 cities. Its membership represents about 95% of the total U.S. capacity.