WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Members of the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) joined researchers, growers and bakers in Washington today to urge the U.S. Congress to continue the long-term investment of federal dollars into public wheat research managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NAMA members participating in the advocacy effort included Rick Siemer, Siemer Milling Company and Glen Weaver, ConAgra Mills.

Sherri Lehman, NAMA director of government relations, helped lead the teams on legislative visits to Capitol Hill. "NAMA has, and will continue, to educate lawmakers and the Administration officials on the essential need to invest in agricultural research to improve yield, nutritional quality and disease resistance," said Lehman.

NAMA is a strong advocate for public and private wheat research to ensure an adequate supply of optimum quality grains to feed a growing population. The United Nations estimates there will be 9.1 billion people to feed in 2050. A challenge for the milling industry has been wheat acreage lost to corn and soybeans. In 2011, 54.4 million acres of wheat were planted, compared to 91.9 million acres of corn and 75 million acres of soybeans. In order to increase the availability and quality of wheat grown in the U.S., a concerted public-private effort is needed towards the development of new varieties that can adapt to fluctuations in weather and be water and nitrogen efficient.