05-18-15 CSU Extension: AgFest 2015 – Teaching the Science behind Agriculture – Final Stop on May 18 in Brush, CO…

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ICYMI:  WATCH the Webcast or the archives!

ICYMI: WATCH the Webcast or the archives from the final stop in Brush, CO on May 18, 2015.

“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens.  They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands.”  (Thomas Jefferson, 1785.)

Many of you may be able to personally identify with this quote from Mr. Jefferson, due to the fact that we live in a rural, predominately agricultural area.  However, our urban counterparts may be several generations removed from any form of production agriculture and do not understand the science behind the production of their food.  Even many of our youth, who will soon be the leaders and scientists of tomorrow, are losing sight of where food comes from and how it’s produced.  Colorado State University Extension agents and specialists recognized this concerning trend and created a program called AgFest in 2015.  AgFest is an innovative, eclectic approach to help 5th and 6th grade students explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through hands-on educational workshops that supplement their school curriculum.

In order to deliver AgFest to a large audience of 5th and 6th grade students, the program travels to communities across eastern Colorado and the last stop of this year’s tour was at the Morgan County Fairgrounds in Brush, CO.

During the day-long program, students rotate through ten activity stations, typically in groups of 15-30 students.  The following stations for the 2015 AgFest event will focus on different science-based learning objectives related to these aspects of agriculture:

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05-18-15 RMFU to Congress: Keep COOL And Carry On…

RMFU Header - Rocky Mountain Farmers Union

DENVER, CO (May 18, 2015) – Ranchers from Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming this week are asking Congress to stay the course and keep County-Of-Origin-Labeling (COOL). On Monday, May 18, the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued its decision that the labeling law puts trade partners Canada and Mexico at a disadvantage. In response, some in Congress have suggested the consumer information labeling law.

“For Congress to back down now would put America’s ranch families at the back of the line and promote corporations that hope to profit to the front of the line,” says Kent Peppler, president of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU). “Our members overwhelmingly say they want consumers to know where their beef comes from. In poll after poll, 90 percent of consumers want to know where their beef comes from. The corporations that are against COOL can make more money by keeping consumers in the dark. This is not acceptable,” Peppler added. Continue reading

05-18-15 NCGA News: Corn Planting Nears Completion, But Long Summer Lies Ahead…

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US Corn Planting Progress 051815Planting Nears Completion, But Long Summer Lies Ahead

Corn farmers exceeded the average in terms of planting progress again last week according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Advancing 10 more points since the previous week to a total of 85 percent planted, growers’ progress now surpasses the five-year average for this time by 10 points.

“Despite some areas where persistent rains have kept farmers out of the field, overall planting progress in 2015 certainly exceeds expectations,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling. “The ever-increasing ability of farmers to take advantage of shrinking planting windows clearly demonstrates the importance of modern technology and testifies to the determined nature of these men and women. Right now, the crop seems more mature and closer to full planting than it did in 2014, but this does not guarantee another record crop by any means. A long summer still lies ahead and, as in many years, the fate of the crop will largely be decided by propitiously timed rains in the middle of the summer.”

Progress exceeded that seen in 2014 at this time by 14 points. Wisconsin surpassed the five-year average by the largest margin, 32 points, to reach 85 percent completion. Colorado fell the furthest behind the five-year average, 17 points, with only 59 percent of corn acres planted by May 17.

56 percent of all corn acres had emerged by May 17, a 27 point increase from a week prior. This pushed emergence ahead of the five-year average by 16 points and well ahead of the 32 percent emergence in 2014 at this time.

To view the full report released today, please visit – http://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Todays_Reports/reports/prog2115.pdf

05-18-15 AFT Elects 2 Distinguished Ag Leaders, Public Servants To Board Jim Moseley, Greg Watson Begin Terms in October…

AFT - american-farmland-trust2 logoDanvers, MA, May 18, 2015 – The board of directors of American Farmland Trust today unanimously elected two nationally recognized leaders of agriculture – Jim Moseley and Greg Watson — to serve on the board.

John Hardin, vice chair of the AFT board said, “Jim Moseley and Greg Watson bring a wealth of agriculture and conservation experience, expertise and leadership to our board.  I welcome these distinguished public servants to American Farmland Trust.  We look forward to their guidance and input as we undertake critically important projects to preserve farmland, protect critical natural resources, like soil and water, and ensure a future on the land for the men and women who steward our farmland and grow our food and fiber.”

An Indiana native, Jim Moseley served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture from 2001 to 2005, where he oversaw the Department’s diverse daily operations. Following 9/11, he led the team looking at the security needs of the food and agriculture system. And, following his departure from USDA, he helped the U.S. Department of Defense rebuild the agricultural system in Afghanistan.  He served as USDA Assistant Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment from 1990 to 1992. Currently, Moseley co-chairs Agree, a food and agricultural policy development initiative. With more than 40 years experience as a farmer, he owns a farm focusing on diversifying agricultural production and conservation. Continue reading

05-18-15 CO Wheat Pest & Disease Update: Stripe Rust…

Wheat Stripe RustCSU Ned Tisserat

From Ned Tisserat, Retired Plant Pathologist, Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management

Stripe rust

As expected the wet weather of the past 10 days has aggravated the stripe rust epidemic.  The most intense area of the disease appears to be in a triangle from DIA to Wiggins then south to I70.  Counties that I know that have  stripe rust include Morgan, Washington, Weld, Kiowa, Prowers Arapahoe, and Adams, but I suspect  it is more widespread than that.  Nevertheless, it appears that many areas are not hard hit yet. The relative cool weather and periodic rains will continue to favor stripe rust development.   If you have stripe rust in your field and have the potential for high yields, then a fungicide application may be warranted.   If you don’t have rust in the field yet, then the decision is trickier.  If you are a gambler, then you may want to see what happens in the next week.  As I have mentioned many times in the past, if stripe rust comes in after flowering, its impact on yield is much, much less that if it shows up earlier.  If the level of stripe rust is low to non-existent in the field now, then it may not get to damaging levels in the future.  I have had non-treated plots that were severely rusted after flowering but sustained no yield loss compared to fungicide treated plots. Go figure.

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05-18-15 NFU Says Despite Today’s WTO Decision, There is Still a Path Forward for COOL…

NFU - National Farmers Union logo5NFU Says Despite Today’s WTO Decision, There is Still a Path Forward for COOL; Notes Threats of Retaliation Only Relevant if Parties Fail to Find Agreement on Moving Forward

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said while the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has issued its decision today, there is still ample opportunity for the administration, Mexico and Canada to negotiate an acceptable path forward.

“As we have seen in other disputes, once decisions are handed down, WTO members often work together to find a solution that will work for them,” said Johnson. “In this case, such a solution must involve continuation of a meaningful country-of-origin labeling requirement.” Continue reading

05-18-15 NCBA News: WTO Rules Against U.S. Country of Origin Labeling Requirements…

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2015) – Today, the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body ruled against the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling rule for meats, upholding the compliance panel’s report. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President and Chugwater, Wyoming cattleman, Philip Ellis said the next step is retaliation.

“We have long said that COOL is not just burdensome and costly to cattle producers, it is generally ignored by consumers and violates our international trade obligations,” said Ellis. “Now that the WTO has ruled for a fourth time that this rule discriminates against Canadian and Mexican livestock, the next step is retaliation by Canada and Mexico. Retaliation will irreparably harm our economy and our relationships with our top trading partners and send a signal to the world that the U.S. doesn’t play by the rules. It is long past time that Congress repeal this broken regulation.”

The NCBA calls on Congress to fix this broken rule and supports legislation to repeal COOL before retaliation is awarded. Canada has released detailed proposed targets for retaliatory tariffs by state here.

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05-18-15 CO-OEDIT grants almost $1 million to Colorado Advanced Industry projects…

OEDITLogo_MODDENVER – Mon., May 18, 2015 – The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) today announced grantees for the Advanced Industry Accelerator Infrastructure Funding Grant Program. A total of $918,000 will be awarded for the Commercial Infrastructure Funding Grants to support Colorado’s advanced industries.

Infrastructure Funding Grantees:

Advanced Industry Infrastructure Funding Grants provide state funding to collaborative projects that will have a broad, industry-wide impact across one or more of Colorado’s Advanced Industries.

* Colorado Bioscience Institute – $50,000
* Colorado Mesa University – $250,000
* Rocky Mountain Innovation Partners – $250,000
* Emily Griffith Technical College – $68,000
* Special Aerospace Services – $250,000
* Tinkermill – $50,000

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05-18-15 USCA Responds to WTO COOL Ruling…

USCA LogoUSCA (May 18, 2015) – The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) issued the following statement regarding today’s ruling by the World Trade Organization on country of origin labeling (COOL).  The following statement may be attributed to (USCA) Director Emeritus Leo McDonnell:

“The WTO ruled on Monday, May 18th that the amended COOL measure does not comply with U.S. WTO obligations.  The panel’s findings allow Canada and Mexico to now file notification of their intent to retaliate; any filing done on their part will specify the retaliation amounts they believe are warranted.  The U.S. may request arbitration on any requested levels of retaliation; the process to conduct all necessary protocol will take approximately 60 days.”

“As stated by USCA previously, COOL provides consumers a choice at the grocery stores and the ability for U.S. cattle producers to differentiate their product.  As other countries move to implement country or origin labeling programs, we are disappointed that today’s ruling by the WTO contradicts this growing trend.” Continue reading

05-18-15 USDA-NRCS Video: Take 90 Seconds and Discover a New “Hope in Healthy Soil”…

New ad points to promising global solutions under foot

To most people, soil is far from huggable.

But after watching a new, 90-second YouTube ad, the video’s producers hope viewers will embrace it with new-found respect and admiration. Because healthy soil, the ad suggests, could provide solutions to some of our planet’s biggest challenges.

As part of its “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil” campaign, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has released a new, 90-second public service announcement that encapsulates “The hope in healthy soil.”

According to Ron Nichols, the campaign’s communications coordinator, the benefits of soil health are numerous, both on and off the farm.

“By farming using soil health principles and practices like no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations, farmers are actually increasing organic matter in their soil, increasing microbial activity, sequestering more carbon, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields,” Nichols said. “Off the farm, these practices are improving water and air quality, too.”

The ad, is part of an on-going awareness and education campaign designed to help farmers, landowners and consumers understand the basics and benefits of soil health. Ultimately, the goal of the agency’s campaign is to increase the adoption of soil health-promoting systems on the nation’s farm and ranches.

Later this summer, NRCS will distribute 15- and 30-second public service ads to television stations throughout the country.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 18th…

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

“Conflicting Messages After Announcement of USDA’s GMO Free Label Plan”

On Thursday – the Associated Press reported the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is developing a voluntary GMO Free label. The Coalition for Safe, Affordable Food says this plan is similar to one in Pompeo’s Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. Overall – the Coalition says USDA’s expected move signals there is the capability, desire and expertise needed to implement a voluntary non-GMO labeling standard across the country. The group says it is time for Congress to lead on this issue and pass a transparent, bipartisan solution. Stoneyfield Farm co-founder Gary Hirshberg says a voluntary certification program fails to give consumers what they want – which is full transparency about the presence of GMOs – not just their absence. Hirshberg says mandatory GMO labeling would allow consumers to vote with their dollars and have a say in the type of ag they want to see in the country.

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“House Conservatives Vote Down Provision in Defense Bill”

Also last week (Thursday) – Fox News reports House Republicans voted 221 to 202 to remove a provision from the annual defense policy bill that would help young immigrants without permanent legal status enlist in the military. Alabama Representative Mo Brooks said before the vote Congress should support and represent Americans by voting to stop military service opportunities from being taken from struggling American families to give them to illegal aliens. However – Florida Representative Carlos Burbelo said it sends the wrong message to the country.

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“NCBA, PLC Pleased with Defense Bill Passage”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council applaud the House for their work on the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act – which passed Friday with language to block the listing of the greater sage grouse. PLC President Brenda Richards says livestock grazing and wildlife habitat conservation go hand-in-hand – and ranchers have proven themselves as the best stewards of the land. If sage grouse are designated for protection under the Endangered Species Act – she says ranchers across 11 western states – which includes 186-million acres of federal and private land – wouldn’t be allowed to let livestock graze on or near that sage grouse habitat. Richards says the provision written by Natural Resources Committee Chair Rob Bishop prohibits the federal government from instituting their own management plans on federal lands – as many state plans are already in place to improve sage grouse habitat.

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“Gillibrand Introduces Legislation to Enhance Food Safety System”

Last week – New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation that would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandatory recall authority over contaminated meat and poultry – according to Agri-Pulse. Gillibrand says the American food safety system is failing to protect Americans – leaving thousands of people hospitalized every year with preventable illnesses. She says poultry and meat known to be contaminated should never end up in market fridges and freezers or kitchens. Through this legislation – USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service would be granted authority to require companies to recall contaminated food and notify consumers – and state and local health officials – of an ongoing recall.  

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“Trade Key as World Corn Production Continues to Increase”

USDA projects the U.S. will produce its largest corn crop ever this year – but the U.S. Grains Council notes Argentina, Mexico and Serbia are also increasing their production. The top four corn exporting countries are the U.S., Argentina, Brazil and Ukraine. These competitors are projected to produce 11-percent of world corn – yet they are expected to provide about 40-percent of world exports. The U.S. is projected to produce about 30-percent of world corn and provide 35-percent of world exports. Bottom line – according to Council Chair Ron Gray – the growing market for U.S. corn exports is global. Gray says U.S. competitors are positioned to meet global demand if the U.S. doesn’t focus on its international customers. He says one way to do that is by creating barrier-free, open trade with overseas buyers. The Council sees the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as critical to U.S. agriculture’s future profitability.

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“U.S. Grains Council Annual Meeting in July”

The U.S. Grains Council’s 55th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting will be in Montreal, Canada from July 27th through the 29th. Council Chair Ron Gray says there is much to discuss – from the industry’s new ethanol export initiative and the two multilateral trade agreements currently being negotiated to challenges surrounding biotech and the rebounding market share around the world for the United States. After hearing from expert speakers on these topics and more – Gray says the Council hopes members and guests leave with a renewed focus on the global awareness and global connections that make the Council an effective advocate for expanded grain trade. Visit grains dot org (www.grains.org) for more information.

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“Farm to Cart Game Now Available”

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has launched a new game for preschool and early elementary teachers, families and farmers and ranchers who host ag literacy events called Farm to Cart. Kids discover how to describe the general process for the production of an ag product and how farmers use land to grow crops through the game. They race to be the first player to harvest items from the farm and place them in their grocery carts. Players must have three items that grow on trees, three animal products from the land and three items from the soil to win. The game is available for free as a PDF at Ag Foundation dot org (www.agfoundation.org).

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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