11-26-18 Mark your Calendars – The 55th Annual Colorado Farm Show is set for January 29-30-31 in Greeley, CO

2018 CFS Fence Post Breeeders Connection ad half page 112818Mark your Calendars – The 55th Annual Colorado Farm Show is set for January 29-30-31 in Greeley, CO

The CO Farm Show Board and volunteers hope you are making plans to attend The Colorado Farm Show is one of the largest — and oldest — farm shows in the nation at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley, within Weld County. Here’s some ag facts to ponder about agriculture in Weld County and Colorado too:

  • According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) data for cash receipts, in 2017 Colorado ranked 22nd nationally for total state cash receipts for all commodities @ $6,781,142,000, representing 1.8% of Cash Receipts for all commodities in the United States.
  • Also, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, Total Value of Agricultural Products Sold in Colorado was 7,780,874,000, making Colorado 20th in the nation.
  • And Total Value of Agriculture Products Sold in Weld County was $1,860,718,000, ranking 1st in the Colorado and 9th in the nation.

Making this year’s theme more timely: “If you eat it, drink it or wear it, agriculture produced it!” Continue reading

12-14-18 Colorado Wheat Announces Dates of 2019 County Meetings and Elections

Colorado Wheat Announces Dates of 2019 County Meetings and Elections

Colorado wheat farmers are invited to attend and participate in the annual county business meetings and elections jointly sponsored by the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC), the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers (CAWG) and the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation (CWRF). The business meetings and elections will be held January 8-11, 2019, at eight different locations.  Please see the table below, or visit coloradowheat.org for full details. Continue reading

12-14-18 CO Corn: 2018 Farm Bill Headed to The President’s Desk

CO Corn: 2018 Farm Bill Headed to The President’s Desk

Dec. 14, 2018 – Earlier this week the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018” began its final journey to President Trump’s desk. Monday the House and Senate Agriculture committees and Congressional leadership released the conference report for the 2018 Farm Bill. Tuesday, the Senate passed the bill with 87 to 13 votes. Wednesday, the House passed the bill by a vote of 369 to 47 votes. President Trump is expected to sign the bill next week.

The compromise bill brings much needed certainty to producers in Colorado on the heels of what has been a tough year. Colorado Corn Growers Association, applauds Representatives DeGette, Perlmutter, and Tipton for supporting the bill.

“Agriculture is dealing with depressed commodity prices and significant natural disasters that have taken their toll on the bottom line of farming operations across the country,” stated Colorado Corn Growers Association (CCGA) President Dave Eckhardt. “Timely passage will help producers plan for the next five years.”

The following summary of provisions in the bill highlight those of specific interest to grain corn farmers. CCGA Policy Action Team members began working on many of these in 2017 and have spent many miles and hours of their time speaking up for corn farmers in Colorado.

“We strongly advocated for a disaster program in this bill”,” CCGA Policy Chair Dave Cure explained. “We will continue to advocate for a solid disaster program and we believe we will get that accomplished in a reasonable timeframe.”

Commodity Title Continue reading

The Denver Cash Grain Bids…

Grain Elevator

Greeley, CO Fri Dec 14, 2018 USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News
Daily Grain Bids for Denver and Surrounding Areas
Spot bids to producers for grain delivered to terminal and country
Elevators. Bids dollar/bu. except for Barley which is dollar/cwt.
Bids are as of 3:00 PM MST.
Bids Change (cents)
US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat 4.98-5.13 2 lower
Up to 12 percent protein
US 2 Yellow Corn 3.95 1 higher
US 2 Barley – – not available
Source: USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News Service, Greeley, CO
Tammy Judson, Market Reporting Assistant (970)353-9750
24 Hour Market Report (970)353-8031
1330M tj

12-13-18 Colorado Pork Producers to hold election for 2020 Pork Act Delegates on Feb 26th

Colorado Pork Producers to hold election for 2020 Pork Act Delegates

The election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2020 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at 9:00 am February 26, 2019 in conjunction with the 2019 annual meeting of Colorado Pork Producers Council at the Morgan County Fairgrounds in Brush, Colorado.

Any producer, age 18 or older, who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted.

For more information, contact Colorado Pork Producers Council, PO Box 116, Lucerne, CO 80631, (970) 356-4964, jkelly@copork.org.

The BARN’s “Colorado Women in Agriculture Series”, courtesy of CommonGround: Mary Kraft

The BARN’s “Colorado Women in Agriculture Series”, courtesy of CommonGround: Mary Kraft

BRIGGSDALE, CO – December, 11, 2018 – Women continue to change the face of many industries, including agriculture. Through managing harvests, running the business and implementing new technologies, like: wind power and using RFID in the tracking of dairy cows for instance. Women are on the front lines – feeding our nation and the world. Many may be surprised to learn that women farmers make up 37 percent of Colorado’s producers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture there are 21,443 women farmers in Colorado, who farm more than 13 million acres, making a nearly $285 million impact on the economy. There is a group of women farmers here in Colorado that are dedicated to sharing their personal experiences, science and research to help consumers sort through the growing number of myths and misinformation surrounding food and farming. The BARN is starting a NEW “Women in Agriculture” series spotlighting four Colorado women which include:

Mary Kraft, Jan Kochis as well as a mother & daughter team Danielle & Tabor Kalcevic

They do this important work as volunteers with CommonGround Colorado –www.FindOurCommonGround.com– a national grassroots movement designed to help bridge the gap between the women who grow food and the women who buy it. Leading off the BARN’s Women in Ag Series is Mary Kraft, Chief Financial Officer at Badger Creek Farm & Quail Ridge Dairies.…

121118_CommonGround-CoWomeninAgSeries-MaryKraft_24m25s Continue reading

Livestock Exchange, LLC Weekly Update…

Livestock Exchange logo

(BARN Media – Briggsdale, CO) – Each week, Auctioneer Tyler Knode with Livestock Exchange, LLC. in Brush, CO will be inside the BARN on the Colorado Ag News Network providing a RECAP of the previous week’s auctions and also a PREVIEW of upcoming cattle & hay auctions…


12-11-18 Livestock Exchange, LLC  Extended Preview


12-10-18 Livestock Exchange, LLC  Recap & Preview


**********LE, LLC. ARCHIVES************* Continue reading

12-10-18 Keynote speakers announced for 31st Annual High Plains No-Till Conference

Keynote speakers announced for 31st Annual High Plains No-Till Conference

KIT CARSON, Colo. – Dec. 10, 2018. The Colorado Conservation Tillage Association has announced that Colin Seis, Dr. Jennifer Moore-Kucera, and Rick & Alec Horton will be featured as keynote speakers for the 2019 High Plains No-Till Conference on Feb. 5-6 at the Community and Education Center in Burlington, Colorado. Continue reading

12-04-18 CYFEA & 4RIVERS Equipment Company are hosting a John Deere “Tractor Hours” Auction during 55th CO Farm Show in January


The Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association and the 2019 CO Farm Show are excited to announce the CYFEA 2019 “Tractor Hours” Live Auction fund raising event, to be held during the noon hour on the CFS’s “Ag Education Day”, Thursday, January 31, 2019.  All proceeds will benefit the CYFEA’s Academic Scholarship Program, which annually awards one scholarship each for a Colorado college bound freshman, sophomore, junior and senior student who is majoring in the field of agriculture. 

A total of 150 tractor hours are being sponsored by 4Rivers Equipment and John Deere.  Those will be auctioned off by the CYFEA in six lots of 25 hour increments each.  You can bid on just one lot or a combination of several of the total hours.  In addition to live bidding, there will be online bidding available as well. 

Please mark your calendars for 12:00pm, on January 31st, and participate in this fun and useful 2019 CYFEA fund raising event.  Tractor and bidding details will be coming soon!  For additional information, please contact Sharon Pattee, Executive Director, at spattee@cyfea.org or by calling (719) 291-3919.

Continue reading

Colorado Farm Show Announces 2019 Scholarships

Colorado Farm Show Announces 2019 Scholarships

GREELEY, CO- The Colorado Farm Show will award eleven graduating high school seniors a total of $23,000 to help with their higher education goals and expenses. Not too mention, two $1500 Secondary Scholarships will also be awarded to recipients as they continue the next year at their respective colleges.

The Colorado Farm Show Board would like to wish all recipients Good Luck in their future educational paths, including: Continue reading

12-14-18 ASI Weekly News –  December 14, 2018

ASI Weekly News –  December 14, 2018

Online Registration Open for 2019 ASI Annual Convention

The Crescent City will host the American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention for the first time, and we invite you to join us When the Sheep Go Marching In on Jan. 23-26, 2019, at the New Orleans Marriott.

Online registration for the convention opened in early November. Click Here to register. The 2019 ASI Annual Convention is shaping up to be one of the best in the association’s 154-year history.

Farm Bill Clears Senate, House  Continue reading

12-14-18 CPW modifies fees, offers new annual pass option for state park visitors

Colorado Parks and Wildlife modifies fees, offers new annual pass option for state park visitors

Denver — Colorado Parks and Wildlife will modify its state parks entrance fees beginning Jan. 1, 2019 as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 18-143 in May. This is the first increase to park entry fees since 2010. Based on visitor feedback, CPW will also begin offering a hangtag park pass option that will be tied to an individual instead of a vehicle, allowing an individual to use the hangtag when he or she is present in any vehicle of their choice.

The revised fee structure approved by the Parks and Wildlife Commission allows the agency to address increased operating costs, provide adequate staffing, and fulfill property maintenance needs to continue providing quality programs and services while managing an increasing number of park users. Ten key goals have been identified for the agency as a result of this increased funding.

 “The additional fees will serve to enhance all aspects of the visitor experience in Colorado’s 41 state parks,” said Margaret Taylor, CPW assistant director for capital, parks and trails. “We are committed to providing a fun, safe and rewarding experience for every visitor. Through funding larger capital projects to smaller on-the-ground programs, these dollars help us better serve both the public and our resources.”

 Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the park entrance fee schedule will adjust to the following: Continue reading

12-14-18 NMPF Strongly Supports EPA Efforts to Exempt Manure Air Emissions Reporting Under EPCRA

NMPF Strongly Supports EPA Efforts to Exempt Manure Air Emissions Reporting Under EPCRA

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) filed comments today in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Nov. 14 proposal to exempt manure air emissions reporting from the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (ECPRA). Continue reading

12-14-18 USDA Secretary Perdue announced $600M in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America…

USDA Secretary Perdue announced $600M in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America

(Washington, D.C., December 11, 2018) – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering up to $600 million in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s new ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. Answering the Administration’s call to action for rural prosperity, Congress appropriated funds in the fiscal year 2018 budget for this broadband pilot program. USDA Rural Development is the primary agency delivering the program, with assistance from other federal partners.

“High-speed internet e-Connectivity is a necessity, not an amenity, vital for quality of life and economic opportunity, so we hope that today rural communities kick off their rural broadband project planning,” Secretary Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA has worked to understand the true needs of rural communities facing this challenge so we can be strong partners to create high-speed, reliable broadband e-Connectivity.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 14th

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY's BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer...

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 14th

China Soybean Purchase Larger Than Expected

China is officially buying U.S. soybeans again, which is good news for American agriculture. This week’s purchase amount was one for the record books. A Farm Journal report says the latest U.S. Soybean Export Sales Report from USDA shows that China bought 1,130,000 metric tons of soybeans. To give that amount some perspective, it’s the ninth-largest one-day purchase in ten years. It’s also the biggest Chinese soybean buy in the four years. It’s also the biggest soybean buy of this year, so far. President Trump told Reuters that, “They’re buying tremendous amounts of soybeans. They’re definitely back in the market.” Reuters says it seems to affirm the trade truce that the U.S. and China reached on December 1st. We still don’t know if China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans and other farm goods will be dropped as a part of the temporary truce. There’s also no word on whether or not the countries can resolve the longer-term disputes, including forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft within 90 days. That’s when President Trump said additional tariffs will go into effect and the trade war will resume


Ag Groups Applaud Animal Health Provisions in 2018 Farm Bill

The National Pork Producers Council is pleased that the 2018 Farm Bill contains important mandatory funding for animal disease prevention and preparedness efforts. The five-year bill includes $120 million in funding for the first four years of the legislation going to animal health and disesase preparedness. At least $5 million a year will go directly to the National Animal Disease Preparedness Program. Money can go to a national disease vaccine bank; to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, which provides disease and diagnostic support; and, through block grants, go to state efforts to prepare for any foreign animal disease outbreak. The Animal Agriculture Coalition is also pleased with the animal health provisions in the farm bill. “Livestock and poultry producers, working together with veterinarians, work hard to ensure the health of the animals they raise,” the coalition says in a statement. “They play a central role in feeding the nation’s families, as well as providing jobs that contribute to economic stability. That’s why producers and veterinarians agree that preventing the impact of devastating animal diseases must be a high priority.” The organization is pleased the bill provides funding for research into animal diseases, as well as the ability to respond if diseases are identified in the nation’s herds and flocks.


Conservation Districts Approve New WOTUS Rule

Earlier this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency announced rulemaking that includes a new definition of the Waters of the U.S. Rule under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule is designed to revise the definition of WOTUS, in order to make sure the definition matches up with the Trump Administration’s Executive Order issued in February of 2017. Brent Van Dyke is President of the National Association of Conservation Districts. He’s pleased with the work done by the EPA and the Army Corps to address just how complex the definition of jurisdictional waters can be. “Locally-led conservation, including local decision-making, must be at the forefront of these clarification efforts,” he says. “That’s why the NACD has consistently stood against expanding federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.” Van Dyke says they are optimistic the new rule will provide clarity and transparency around current WOTUS regulations and help landowners have a better understanding of exactly what is compliant with the law. The National Association of Conservation Districts says it will continue to work with the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to provide additional input as they complete the review of the proposed rule.


Water Experts Digging Into New WOTUS Proposal

Water experts around the country are looking at the details of the Trump Administration’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule. While the outlines are becoming clear, some of those experts tell Politico that there are different directions the administration could go when the final rule comes out next year. In written language before the actual proposal, the administration asks for comments on several specific alternatives. That’s something that might help the administration fight off expected legal challenges to a final rule, especially if it looks quite a bit different from the one proposed this year. The proposal would give protection to streams that flow year-round, as well as intermittent waterways that carry water only at certain times of the year. But the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers ask commenters to weigh in on whether or not the definition should only cover perennial waterways. That would be a much bigger change than what the EPA is currently proposing. The text also asks for comments on whether protection should be given to water features that contribute less than intermittent flow. The proposed rule issued this week would dramatically shrink the number of wetlands protected federally by covering only those that touch or have a direct surface water connection with protected rivers, streams, and lakes.


Grain Sales Top $400 Million at Export Exchange

The National Export Exchange conference in Minneapolis was profitable for the nation’s grain farmers. Grain buyers from 35 countries attended the conference. Those buyers report purchasing roughly $403 million worth of coarse grains and co-products, including dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS), as well as feed grains. The biennial event was held in October. Buyers and end-users were polled while they were at the conference, as well as immediately after the conference, on their purchases. In total, conference attendees sold about 2.1 million metric tons of grains and co-products. The sales either took place at the conference or immediately prior to or after. “Bringing buyers and sellers together in this way is crucial to U.S. farmers right now,” says Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. “These sales show that buyers at Export Exchange 2018 were serious about making deals. Considering the international trade climate, we are pleased to see these numbers are holding steady.” Many buyers did admit that their purchasing strategies were more short-term than unusual, due in part to an uncertain relationship between the U.S. and China. However, the buyers also said they valued their long-term partnerships with U.S. suppliers. Those same buyers also report that they are still considering future purchases.


Dicamba Rules Different Between States

The Environmental Protection Agency released its federal labels for three products that contain dicamba back on October 31st. A DTN report says different state-level restrictions are developing in rural states. For example, Arkansas is considering imposing a May 20th cutoff date, as well as requiring large protective buffers for sensitive crops. Indiana and Minnesota both submitted 24(c) special local needs labels to the EPA with proposed cutoff dates of June 20th. South Dakota has submitted a similar 24(c) proposal with a June 30th cutoff date. North Dakota is considering a similar proposal. Other states are said to be considering additional requirements. Some of the proposals include additional record-keeping rules, as well as state-specific application requirements. DTN says EPA approval of the different requirements is not a sure thing. EPA recently told state regulators they don’t want them to submit 24(c) labels to create restrictions in addition to those federal requirements that already exist. The agency’s reasoning is the practice of doing that may not be legally sound. Only four states have said they won’t add any additional requirements to the federal label.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


12-13-18 CO Governor Hickenlooper announces Boards and Commissions appointments

CO Governor Hickenlooper announces Boards and Commissions appointments

DENVER — Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018 — Gov. Hickenlooper today announced Boards and Commissions appointments to the Board of Trustees for Adams State University, Board of Trustees of the Colorado School of Mines, Board of Trustees for Colorado Mesa University, Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System, State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, Board of Trustees for Fort Lewis College, Historic Preservation State Review Board, Colorado Juvenile Parole Board, Board of Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver, Board of Trustees of the University of Northern Colorado, Public Employees’ Retirement Benefit Plans Pension Review Subcommittee, Utilities Consumer Council, and Board of Trustees for Western State Colorado University.

Continue reading

12-13-18 Inside the BARN with Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft: 2018 Farm Bill, WOTUS Proposed Rule, 100th Anniversary & more…

Inside the BARN with Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft: 2018 Farm Bill, WOTUS Proposed Rule, 100th Anniversary & more…

Briggsdale, CO – December 13, 2018 – Joining the Colorado Ag News Network at this time by telephone is CO Farm Bureau President  Don Shawcroft, who joins me to talk about the recent passage of The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, WOTUS Proposed Rule, 100th Anniversary of CFB & more…


Colorado Farm Bureau is the state’s largest grassroots organization with more than 25,000 members across Colorado. CFB seeks to promote and protect the future of agriculture and rural values. Learn more about the Colorado Farm Bureau and become a member online @www.coloradofarmbureau.com

12-13-18 Inside the BARN with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet: Closer look at The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and more…

Inside the BARN with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet: Closer look at The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and more…

BRIGGSDALE, CO – December 13, 2018 –  This has been a very busy week in Washington D.C. as both chambers of Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, officially known as The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018…and it was in a huge bi-partisan fashion with the US House passing the bill on an overwhelming vote of 369 to 47; not to mention the US Senate passed it on a whopping 87-13 vote as well. The legislation is now headed to the President’s desk for his highly anticipated signature includes: Nutrition, Natural Resources, Dairy Margin Protection Program changes, Young Farmers, Hemp Legalization & much more.

Joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio to discuss the 2018 Farm Bill in much more detail is Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry as well as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry, and Natural Resources


US Senator Michael Bennet is a member of the Senate committees on Finance; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. To learn more about the work that US Senator Bennet is doing on behalf of Colorado’s Agriculture Industry and its producers, please visit www.bennet.senate.gov, you can also follow Senator Bennet on TwitterFacebook & YouTube as well.


12-13-18 Audio from Dec 13th News Conference with U.S. House Agriculture Chairman Michael Conaway (TX-11)

Audio from Today’s News Conference with U.S. House Agriculture Chairman Michael Conaway (TX-11)

Conaway Hosted Audio News Conference on House’s Passage of 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report 

Washington D.C. – December 13, 2018 – U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway shared opening remarks about the House’s passage and the important wins in the 2018 Farm Bill conference report and also took questions from those that were invited to participate on the conference call…



Born and raised in West Texas, Mike Conaway is proud to represent Texas’ 11th Congressional District since coming to Congress in 2005. He serves as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, where he strongly advocates for farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and consumers while ensuring programs under the committee’s jurisdiction are defensible and financially responsible.  Continue reading

12-13-18 NFU: Farm Bill Clears Congress, Awaits Trump’s Signature

NFU: Farm Bill Clears Congress, Awaits Trump’s Signature

After last week’s announcement that agriculture committee leadership had come to an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill, both the House and Senate hurried to pass the negotiated legislation before the end of the session.

All 807 pages of the bill’s finalized text were released on Monday of this week, to the relief  of National Farmers Union (NFU) and many other organizations that had been on edge since the previous farm bill expired nearly 70 days prior. Neither chamber wasted time voting on the bill; the Senate passed it 87-13 on Tuesday, while the House followed suit on Wednesday afternoon, with 369 voting in favor and 47 against. The bill will require President Donald Trump’s signature by the end of the year in order to become law.

Continue reading

12-13-18 Apply for Angus Foundation Scholarships

Apply for Angus Foundation Scholarships

Angus Foundation scholarships applications are available online

Scholarship applications are now available for college students affiliated with the Angus breed. The Angus Foundation offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students each year as a way to help Angus youth achieve their education goals and offset the continually rising costs of tuition at higher education institutions.

“Angus youth are certainly the future of this industry,” said Milford Jenkins, Angus Foundation president. “Higher education costs continue to rise and we want to help the students get a head start, and awarding scholarships is just one way to help.”

Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships

Applicants for undergraduate and graduate scholarships must have, at one time, been a member of the National Junior Angus Association®(NJAA) and currently be an active Junior, Regular or Life member of the American Angus Association®. The following documents are required to be considered for a 2019 undergraduate or graduate scholarship: the 2019 scholarship application; three letters of recommendation; copy of current high school/college/university transcript; and applicant’s Association member code. Undergraduate and graduate scholarship applications, eligibility requirements and application guidelines can be found online at angusfoundation.org. Applications are due May 1, 2019.     Continue reading

USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for December 14th

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

Weekly Export Sales for December 13th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 13th

CLICK HERE to listen to the audio from today’s BARN’s Morning Ag News

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation & the Colorado Farm Bureau

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 13th

Farm Bill Passes House of Representatives, Heads to President Trump

The House of Representatives followed through with passage of the farm bill Wednesday, sending the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 to President Trump for signature. House members voted 369 to 47 in favor of the bill. Of the votes against the bill, 44 were Republicans and just three were Democrats. The action followed Tuesday’s passage in the Senate, 87 to 13. The long-awaited five-year farm bill replaces the expired 2014 farm bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, says the bill “sets us on a better path – for producers, for rural communities and American consumers.” The House action met obvious fanfare from the agriculture community. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, whose department will be charged with implementing the bill once signed, said there were “missed opportunities” in forest management and work requirement for certain SNAP recipients, but adds the bill does provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers, “who need the dependability and certainty” from Washington.

Heitkamp Farm Bill Amendment Supports Ag Trade to Cuba

An amendment included in the farm bill allows the Department of Agriculture to use funds for Cuba-related trade activities. The Amendment by Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota permits the use of Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development funds for Cuba. The amendment, according to the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, represents not only the opportunity to increase the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, but the first legislation passed regarding Cuba in 17 years. USACC Chair Paul Johnson called the inclusion a “step in the right direction towards normalizing trade with Cuba. Heitkamp introduced the amendment in June with Senator, John Boozman of Louisiana, both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Heitkamp said at the time the legislation would “support farm families and rural communities, especially as they face uncertainty.” The amendment allows funding to go toward trade servicing, technical assistance, and trade promotion activities in Cuba.

Organic Farmers Association React to Farm Bill

U.S. organic farmers offered applause for the passage of the farm bill which supports organic farmer priorities. Stating, “organic farming is at a critical junction,” Association President Dave Colson says farmers “need support to diversify their production and enter new markets, like organic.” The farm bill, the association says, helps to enhance USDA’s enforcement of the organic label so that all producers are farming within consistent and fair standards. It will also support programs to grow domestic production to meet the increasing demand for local, organic food. Overall, the bill includes priories such as a commitment to organic integrity, mandatory funding for the organic certification cost-share program, and permanent mandatory funding for organic research. Despite the organic community’s united opposition, conferees made two changes to the National Organic Standards Board. The first changes voting procedures that affect decisions about allowed synthetic materials and the second will allow farm employees to represent a farm on the board farmer seat.

China Makes Down Payment on U.S. Soybean Purchases

China appears to have begun following through on planned purchases of U.S. soybeans. Reuters reported Wednesday that China made its first major purchase of U.S. soybeans in more than six months. Chinese state-owned companies purchased at least 500,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans, the equivalent of roughly 18 million bushels. The purchases follow an announcement after talks between the U.S. and China at the G20 Summit that China will resume buying U.S. ag products. Traders told Reuters the soybeans are expected to be shipped from grain terminals in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the most direct route to Asia. Historically, China is the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans, importing about 60 percent of all U.S. soybean exports last year, valued at more than $12 billion. Those purchases stopped this year, however, as China implemented a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans as part of the U.S.-China trade war.

WOTUS Litigation Anticipated

The proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule changes by the Trump administration are bound for litigation. Environmental groups are promising to challenge the rule applauded by the agriculture industry. The proposal will be subject to a 60-day comment period before finalization. Once the Trump administration finishes the rule, its expected to face numerous lawsuits and seems destined for the Supreme Court. Under the plan, federal pollution safeguards for tens of thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands would be rolled back, and Politico reports, despite a promise that every landowner could easily know whether a waterway falls under the federal purview, water experts say they are scratching their heads about the definitions. USA Today points out that two Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 came down on the side of landowners, ruling that ponds at the bottom of a gravel pit and a marsh miles from any lake or river were not navigable and thus not subject to the act.

AEM Shows Equipment Sales Improving in 2018

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ November U.S. Ag Tractor and Combine Report from November shows overall sales remained positive year-to-date. U.S. Sales of self-propelled combines gained 9.2 percent in November compared to last year, and U.S. sales of four-wheel-drive tractors increased 60.7 percent month-over-month. November year-to-date U.S. sales showed a 16.6 percent growth for combines and 15.9 percent growth for four-wheel-drive tractors. Total November sales of two-wheel-drive tractors declined .9 percent compared to last year, a two percent gain for under-40 horsepower tractors, a 7.8 percent drop for 40-100 horsepower tractors, and a 4.4 percent gain for 100-plus horsepower tractors. November year-to-date growth for overall U.S. sales of two-wheel-drive tractors grew 6.9 percent; under-40 horsepower tractors gained 9.3 percent; 40-100 horsepower tractors increased 1.4 percent, and 100-plus horsepower tractors grew 5.5 percent. Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president of ag services, says overall, sales “have been resilient this year. However, end of year sales are softening as “trade issues remain a major concern.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service