Wheat Leader Jimmie Musick Says Industry Facing Many Issues, But Has Faith All Will Be ResolvedFri, 09 Nov 2018 14:20:32 CST
Jimmie Musick of Sentinel, Okla. is asking his neighbors to stop praying for rain. After receiving 13-14 inches of rain so far this fall, he says his wheat pastures are wet enough and needs about a week of sunshine now to dry up his fields to get his crop back on track for a firm establishment and to finish up his planting for the year. This week, Musick represented the National Association of Wheat Growers in his official capacity as President of the organization, at the 2018 National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention in Kansas City. While there, he sat down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn to talk about the wheat industry in Oklahoma and across the country during a time right now when growers are facing a lot of uncertainty. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
Musick recently concluded a trip to Florida where the wheat industry convened for its annual fall meeting to discuss policy and other issues. According to Musick, glyphosate’s bad press was one topic that dominated discussions. A court case in California was recently tried over claims that a man’s exposure to glyphosate caused his cancer. Had the case gone differently, glyphosate’s availability to farmers may have been in jeopardy. However, Musick reports the judge found in favor of the defense, which NAWG had taken a major lead in, and called it a big win for the industry.
“We pray for that individual and we know it’s a challenge for somebody when they’ve got cancer,” Musick said. “But, we really do believe with all our heart that glyphosate did not cause that. (Glyphosate) is one of our best chemicals and safest products. I really think some of the consuming public don’t realize that farmers are consumers, too. We would not do anything that would hurt anybody, much less our own family.”
Aside from this issue, though, NAWG has been focused on the primary policy issue at hand - the 2018 Farm Bill. Musick admits he expected to see some changes after the mid-term elections, although perhaps not as drastic as the changes that actually occurred. Still, he remains optimistic after being contacted directly from a DC insider, that there is a chance for the Farm Bill to be finalized before the end of the year. He says he has faith that the now incoming Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Collin Peterson, will work well with the industry.
“I’ve visited with some people from DC and it really is encouraging. They feel like there is a possibility that we’ll have a Farm Bill in the next three weeks hopefully and that’s what our goal was,” he said. “We think Chairman Peterson will do a great job and he’s had a lot of experience. He worked with our Congressman Frank Lucas on the 2014 Farm Bill and they had to work for a long time to get through some challenges and get it passed.”
In terms of priority, the Farm Bill’s safety net crop insurance programs are watched heavily by NAWG. Musick says without them, farmers have no way to plan in the event of a disaster that could potentially put them out of business. He says unfortunately people have just accepted many of the misconceptions surrounding crop insurance.
“We’re not looking for a product that will make us money,” he said. “We’re looking for a product that will pay operating expenses and maybe help the next generation pay their loans off where they can put in another crop.”
In addition, Musick says without a Farm Bill, the wheat industry cannot continue to explore trade expansion opportunities - reliant on funding from the Foreign Market Development program. He explained that with the Trump Administration at odds with the Chinese government, the industry’s access to alternative viable markets is critically important to keep product moving.
“We understand President Trump is a tough negotiator and we don’t have a problem with that. We know that sometimes you have to be tough to accomplish anything,” Musick remarked. “The biggest problem with that is the farmers stand the blunt of all those challenges out there and when things on trade go wrong - the first place they go is our commodities and they start whipping them and stomping trade. So, export and trade issues are very important to what we’re doing.”
While Musick says the wheat industry has been well-received and continues to be at the national level in DC, he is also excited to see that be the case in Oklahoma as well. With Republican Candidate Kevin Stitt taking the Governor’s race, Musick says wheat farmers and all of the state’s ag industry stakeholders will have a seat at the table.
“Stitt has come out and mentioned he is a supporter of agriculture and wants to see ag progress in Oklahoma,” Musick said. “We’re really looking forward to working with him and appreciate his support.”
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