Wednesday was the opening day of the 2017 Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison is there, and spoke with Dan Weathington, Executive Director of the North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association, and new Small Grain Growers board member and Washington County NC farmer, Buster Manning.
Dan: “On the first day here, we always have committee meetings. And that kind’ve starts the work for the farm bill. The next committee meeting was the research and technology. That’s always fun because we look at the different programs that we want to do research with within the hoyt industry. We have a lot of resolutions. Such as: One to do with wheat scab. What we do in each committee, is kind’ve build the bricks for the foundation, as we make recommendations to the congress through the national wheat growers.”
Rhonda: Now Buster, is this your first time to be here as a board member?
“Yes. I’ve been to Commodity Classic before, but not as a small reign board representative. It was very interesting going into committee meetings and hearing the various representatives from various wheat states as they discussed the budget. I was more interested in the research technology.”
What type of research reports did they offer, that you felt like might be applicable for an eastern North Carolina or South Carolina grower?
“They gave various reports on new variety development. And as Dan said, on some of the disease resistance they are working on. Then there was some discussion about the different classes of wheat and some of the genetic work. And trying to improve the yield by taking the genetic material from different classes.”
You feel like that’s something that may be available to you in the not too distant future?
“Well hopefully. The small green growers of North Carolina have always had to fight diseases. We have a lot of humidity and a lot of other things that some other areas of the country don’t have. So, obviously anything that they can do genetically to improve the research will certainly help the small grain producers in North Carolina.”
What’s up next Dan?
“This afternoon we have a domestic trade policy meeting. That’s where we talk about what programs we actually need. Such as crop insurance, and conservation programs. This is not going to be an easy work in progress. But with a commissioner of Agriculture from Georgia, and with our Vice President from the corn state and just recently, our own Ray Starling from Ortriville, North Carolina has been named on the Presidents Ag Advisory Committee. We feel that the road won’t be easy. But it’ll be a lot easier with those people that are going to represent the south east and the heart of Agriculture.”