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Wheat group pleased with Grain Standards progress

A policy expert for the National Association of Wheat Growers says the U.S. wheat industry is pleased with bipartisan progress on the Grain Standards Reauthorization Act.

Josh Tonsager is the association’s Vice President of Policy and Communications. He says, “I think they’ve done a really good job of putting together a package that will help us to ensure that the flow of grain will continue and that there’s no lapse in (the) authorization of grain inspections.”

Tonsager tells Brownfield the standards are a critical tool for selling U.S. wheat to world markets. “If there’s a lapse in authorization of being able to do that, it funnels right down to the farmer in the form of lower prices and so we think that this is really important for us to be able to continue and grow our export market.”

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee met to mark up the bill Wednesday, and Tonsager says Senators added additional reporting requirements including a 72-hour limit for state agencies to contact USDA if they are unable to perform testing and inspection services. 

The United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020 would extend the authorization for the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture beyond this year.  Tonsager says some of the current authorizations expire at the end of the year, and action needs to be taken by September to prevent a lapse in authorization.  He’s optimistic the Senate and House can reach an agreement on time.

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