Baucus given wheat's highest public service award
Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, was presented Feb. 9 with the wheat industry's top public service award, the Wheat Leader of the Year Award.
Baucus, who serves on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and as the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was given the award by a contingent of Montana wheat growers.
"Sen. Baucus defended wheat priorities in the 2008 farm bill, played a critical role in identifying funding for that legislation and was the author of the SURE disaster program. He's also a strong advocate for free and fair trade," said NAWG President David Cleavinger, a wheat producer in Wildorado, Texas. "We are very pleased to be able to give this award to him in recognition of all of these activities."
"Wheat growers nationwide will benefit from Sen. Baucus' strong support for farm programs critical to our industry like the direct payment and the new SURE program that will help protect farmers in years of disaster," said Bing Von Bergen, a wheat producer in Moccasin, Mont., and the chairman of the NAWG Domestic and Trade Policy Committee.
The Wheat Leader of the Year Award is given annually by NAWG to one Member of Congress based on his or her demonstrated commitment to the well-being and goals of the wheat industry.
"Agriculture is more than the backbone of Montana's economy--it's a vital part of the heritage of Big Sky Country and the nation. I'm humbled to be accepting this award for the second time," said Baucus about the Award. "I'm proud to have been able to include disaster assistance and other provisions in the 2008 farm bill to help wheat farmers thrive, and I'm committed to doing what's right for America's wheat farmers in the future."
Previous Wheat Leaders include House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-MN, (2007); Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-SD, (2006); Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-MO, (2005); Rep. Jerry Moran, R-KS, (2004); Sen. Conrad Burns, R-MT, (2003); Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, (2002); Rep. Larry Combest, R-TX, (2001); Rep. George Nethercutt, R-WA, (2000); and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS, (1999).
Representatives from NAWG member-states, in town for NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates meetings and Hill visits, have also been distributing other public service awards given by NAWG on behalf of the wheat industry.
The Wheat Advocate Award is given annually to Members of Congress who have demonstrated support for the wheat industry above and beyond the norm.
Those receiving the 2008 Wheat Advocate Award include:
--Senate Agriculture Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss, R-GA.
--Former Sen. Ken Salazar, D-CO.
--Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND.
--Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-MI.
--Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS
--Rep. Mike Conaway, R-TX.
The Friend of Wheat Award is also given annually by NAWG for superior action in support of the goals and policies of the wheat industry. This award is given to Congressional and administrative staff members who have demonstrated support for the wheat industry above and beyond the norm.
The 2008 Friend of Wheat Awards went to:
--Chris Adamo, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-MI.
--Martha Scott Poindexter, Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.
--Scott Graves, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-TX.
--Brandon Willis, Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT
--Joel Leftwich, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS
Recipients of the NAWG awards are chosen by the NAWG Domestic and Trade Policy Committee and approved by the NAWG Board of Directors at the organization's fall meeting.
These awards are also approved by the recipient's state wheat association, when applicable.
Additionally, Congressional voting scorecards based on NAWG's policy priorities during the last Congressional session are now accessible at www.wheatworld.org/policy.