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Wheat growers counter talk of embargo

03/01/2008 @ 9:52am

The National Association of Wheat Growers is fighting efforts by some baking groups to seek support for an embargo on U.S. wheat exports.

After a press conference at Commodity Classic in Nashville, the group's new president, Texas wheat grower David Cleavinger, told Agriculture Online that Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer had told him in a private meeting Friday that the Bush administration does not support an embargo.

Some groups representing bakers in the U.S. have called for export restrictions on wheat, but NAWG's outgoing president, John Thaemert, said that would only backfire against the interests of processors.

An embargo would reduce incentives for U.S. farmers to plant wheat, he said.

"It will further marginalize wheat acres and further diminish their ability to get the crop they need," Thaemert said.

Any embargo would have long-term effects on U.S. exports of wheat when supplies return to more normal levels. Previous embargoes against U.S. commodity exports under presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter affected exports for years, Thaemert believes.

"My personal feeling is that we haven't recovered from that," he said.

The National Association of Wheat Growers is fighting efforts by some baking groups to seek support for an embargo on U.S. wheat exports.