Friday, September 24, 2010
DC Urban Wheat Field Reaches Members, Public, World Wide Web
The wheat industry came together this week to show the public and Members of Congress the wheat chain from farm to fork at the second Urban Wheat Field.
Wheat Foods Council, a NAWG sister organization, sponsored the event, supported by wheat producers from around the country who flew in to guide visitors through the exhibit.
The display included a quarter-acre of live wheat in pallets, a full-sized combine, multiple demonstration flour mills, a mobile baking laboratory and areas for trade and nutrition education. The event was staffed by more than 60 growers and 20 state organization staff who came in for the festivities, as well as D.C.-based staff from NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates and experts in the areas of milling, baking and nutrition.
The Field opened Thursday morning with a reception sponsored by NAWG and highlighted by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who cut the ribbon alongside NAWG President Jerry McReynolds, a producer from Kansas, and Wheat Foods Council Co-Chairman David Moore, a producer from Texas.
In addition to Peterson, Members of Congress in attendance included Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.); Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.); Rep. GT Thompson (R-Pa.); and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
On Wednesday, as the Field was being set up, growers and staff from NAWG-affiliated state wheat grower organizations canvassed Capitol Hill with milling and baking colleagues, holding more than a dozen meetings with Congressional staff members who don't frequently hear from wheat growers. Also on Wednesday, Peterson and House Agriculture Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) sent a Dear Colleague letter to their fellow Members describing the event and urging attendance.
During the day Thursday and Friday, multiple school groups visited the field, guided by wheat producers from around the country.
NAWG officers and other spokespeople also talked with members of the media who visited the Field to get the once-in-a-lifetime shot of a combine in front of the Capitol and with many radio stations and newspapers back home. Media covering the Field in D.C. have included ABC and NBC affiliates, USAToday.com, Agri-Pulse and others.