08-31-16 CSU Ext News: Sowing the seeds of range: the importance of seed set…

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Image 1. Inflorescence of a black grama grass (Bouteloua eriopoda) in flower. Note the protruding stamens (male part) and ovaries (female part). The ovaries will eventually become seeds, as seen on the right side of the inflorescence. The inflorescence is 3/4” in total length, and each flower is ~ 1/16”. Image credit: Dr. Patrick Alexander, BLM – Las Cruces District Office.

Image 1. Inflorescence of a black grama grass (Bouteloua eriopoda) in flower. Note the protruding stamens (male part) and ovaries (female part). The ovaries will eventually become seeds, as seen on the right side of the inflorescence. The inflorescence is 3/4” in total length, and each flower is ~ 1/16”.
Image credit: Dr. Patrick Alexander, BLM – Las Cruces District Office.

Sowing the seeds of range: the importance of seed set

“Why buy grass seed when you can grow it for free?” – Rancher, Washington County, Colorado

Ranch problems large and small are often solved around the dining room table.  Recently we were sitting around one drinking coffee in Anton, and the conversation turned to seeding pastures.  Frequently, a rancher is unhappy with grass production in a pasture, or a pasture has been taken over by an invasive species.  A common response is to seed the area of concern with a pasture mix.  This was extensively pushed by the Soil Conservation Service (now the USDA-NRCS) in the 20th century. Continue reading

08-31-16 WSGLT: Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust is seeking reaccreditation with the Land Trust Accreditation Commission…

WSGLT-Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust logo

Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust is seeking reaccreditation with the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

Cheyenne–The Land Trust Accreditation Commission (the “Commission”) recognizes and accredits land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust (“WSGALT”) is pleased to announce it is applying for renewal of its 2012 accreditation. A public comment period is now open. Continue reading

08-31-16 Federation of State Beef Councils: Personal Experiences Showcase Beef Industry to Key Audiences…

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Personal Experiences Showcase Beef Industry to Key Audiences

unnamed (1)Our communications world today is dominated by computers, i-phones, tablets and other forms of impersonal contact. Checkoff-funded farm-to-fork tours conducted by state beef councils, however, have shown that more face-to-face forms of interaction are a valuable tool in shifting perceptions about the beef industry.

State beef council managers who have been active in farm-to-fork tours over the past decade are unanimously enthusiastic about the ability of the tours to improve knowledge of and move attitudes about the industry. Ashley Hughes, executive director of the Florida Beef Council, says direct engagement through person-to-person contact is a great way to shift perceptions.

“It’s the chance to give influencers first-hand experience in beef production, and allow them to network with producers themselves,” she says. “They’ve never seen this science-based information in person, or experienced the process. They have no idea, for example, that there is so much involved with the care of animals, or in the production of beef.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, August 31st…

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

Falling Food Prices Hurt Farm Belt

The U.S. is on pace to continue the longest stretch of falling food prices in over 50 years. While the lower prices are a boon to shoppers, it’s putting serious pressure on the farm economy. The Wall Street Journal says reasons behind the lower prices start with excess production in several ag sectors, including dairy, meats, grains, and other staples. The trend is also being fueled by lower overseas demand from China and elsewhere due to a stronger dollar. Around the country, the price for a gallon of milk fell 11 percent from last year to $3.06 in July. The price for a dozen eggs fell 40 percent to $1.55 in the same period. As farmers get less money for products like raw milk, cheese, and cattle, they’re slashing spending. In turn, that creates a ripple effect to companies like John Deere, who are cutting production due to the farming slump. Economists feels the price slump could last at least through the end of the year. The current food price slump could beat the nine months of declines seen back in 2009-2010. Incidentally, the falling price of food is taking its toll on the nation’s grocery stores, which have thin profit margins to begin with.

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Farm Futures Releases 2017 Planting Intentions

Farm Futures recently completed its first producer survey of planting intentions for 2017. Farm Futures expects producers to boost soybean plantings because of strong demand and hedging opportunities on this year’s crop. Growers said they’re considering 84.4 million acres of soybeans for next year, which is one percent higher than this year’s plantings. Lower prices for corn may cause farmers to cut corn planting back next year to 93.1 million acres. That number is down one percent from this year. Wheat seedings will likely drop for the fourth consecutive year thanks to low prices. Producers told Farm Futures they would plant 49.1 million acres next year, a 3.4 percent drop, and that total would be the lowest since 1970. In addition to soybeans, the two other crops that could pull acres away from corn are cotton and sorghum. Plantings for both crops are expected to be around one percent higher next year.

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California Sends Farm Worker Overtime Bill to Governor

California would become the first state in the nation to require farmers to pay overtime to farm workers under a bill that the legislature approved on Monday. Reuters said the bill now goes to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown for his approval. The bill was passed along party lines and would phase in the overtime pay rules between 2019-2022. Smaller farms that employ 25 workers or less would have three additional years to phase in the overtime pay. If the bill is signed into law, California would become the first state to require farmers to pay overtime to laborers that work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours per week. California is the largest agricultural producer in the country and opponents of the bill said it will do damage to the agricultural economy. They predict that farmers would be forced to cut work weeks to 40 hours to avoid paying time and a half or double time wages to their laborers. Supporters say the issue is about fairness because farm laborers are one of the few hourly wage groups that aren’t paid overtime. The Governor hasn’t said if he will sign the bill.    

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Trump Giving Major Immigration Speech in Arizona

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he will give a major speech on immigration Wednesday (today) in Arizona. The Hagstrom Report says Trump appears to be softening his stance against illegal immigration, wavering somewhat on his proposal to deport all people in the U.S. without the right papers. The softening stance on illegal immigration appears to have pleased some supporters but angered others. At a weekend campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, Trump said Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would conduct a “war on farmers.” Trump said his alternative to Clinton’s policies would be to reduce regulations across the board. He also recently restated his support for the Renewable Fuels Standard, a position that Clinton has taken as well. A New York Times article said Republicans in Iowa appear to be more united in support of Trump than in other traditionally Republican states.

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Low Wheat Price Support Needed in New Farm Bill

Wheat prices have tumbled to the lowest point they’ve been at in the last decade, thanks in part to a successful harvest in the U.S. and strong harvest prospects overseas. Low wheat prices are causing a dilemma for elevator operators that have too much wheat and not enough storage. The ag economy struggles are exacerbated by threats to cut vital programs in the upcoming Farm Bill debate. The National Association of Wheat Growers is conducting a Farm Bill survey of its producers to find out which policies are the most vital to their success. The overall goal is to help develop a successful and functional Farm Bill in 2018. The Wheat Growers say it’s more important than ever that producer priorities are listened to as agriculture works toward an effective Farm Bill, which maintains the safety net as well as other vital programs. The National Association of Wheat Growers wants to encourage producers to fill out the survey and contribute to the successful planning of the next Farm Bill. The survey is on the Wheat Grower’s website at wheat world dot org.

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Japan to Resume Importing U.S. Wheat

Earlier this month, Japan halted imports of western white and feed wheat from the pacific coast ports after unapproved genetically modified crops were found in an unplanted field in Washington state.  Imports from the U.S. Gulf Coast were allowed to continue. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports that Japan announced this week they’ll resume purchases of western white wheat this Thursday.  Imports were allowed to resume after Japan established a system to test for GMO grains and keep contaminated supplies from getting into the country.  Japan’s ag ministry also announced they’ll resume purchases of U.S. feed wheat too.  Japan is the second biggest buyer of wheat in Asia. The U.S. is the largest wheat supplier to Japan, representing roughly 60 percent of Japan’s wheat imports.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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08-30-16 Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Junior Livestock Sale Honors Colorado’s 4H & FFA Youth

WATCH the ARCHIVES of all the CSF Jr Livestock Shows & the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Jr Livestock Sale from the 142nd CO State Fair...CLICK HERE

WATCH the ARCHIVES of all the CSF Jr Livestock Shows & the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Jr Livestock Sale from the 144th CO State Fair…CLICK HERE

Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Junior Livestock Sale Honors Colorado’s 4H & FFA Youth

PUEBLO, Colo. – The 53rdColorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Junior Livestock Sale at the Colorado State Fair has come to a close. According to preliminary totals, the 2016 sale accumulated approximately $524,700 from generous buyers supporting the state’s agricultural youth. This year also set the record sale for Grand Champion Market beef at $62,000 by Sam Brown & Family.
“Over the past 37 years, the Colorado State Fair Junior Livestock Sale has raised $9,794,289 for the youth involved in Colorado’s 4-H and FFA programs. This sale is a reflection of their dedication to the animals and the agricultural community,” said State Fair General Manager, Sarah Cummings. “I’d also like to thank the generous philanthropists who come out to support these amazing kids; the sale would not be possible without them.”
This year, the Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Junior Livestock Sale added turkeys to the sale lineup. The sale is instrumental in supporting the future of Colorado’s agribusiness as it demonstrates the importance of raising quality livestock and the work required of those who pursue careers in agriculture. Last year’s sale totaled $534,650. PRELIMINARY totals for the sale are available athttp://www.coloradostatefair.com/events/2016/2016-colorado-touchstone-energy-junior-livestock-sale.
Grand & Reserve Champion
Exhibitor Name & Hometown
Buyer
Bid
Grand Beef
Julia Frye, Johnstown, CO
Sam Brown & Family
$62,000
Reserve Beef
Kory Ridnour, Burlington, CO
Denver Rustlers
$22,500
Grand Hog
Rayna Hodgson, Greeley, CO
Denver Rustlers
$33,000
Reserve Hog
Ty Pieper, Fowler, CO
Sam Brown & Family
$32,000
Grand Lamb
Jenna Frink, Eaton, CO
Crabtree Amusements
$20,000
Reserve Lamb
Kayla Frink, Eaton, CO
Sam Brown & Family
$12,000
Grand Goat
Chelsea Dobbs, Fort Collins, CO
Anadarko Petroleum
$6,500
Reserve Goat
Andrea Maneotis, Craig, CO
Denver Rustlers
$4,200
Grand Rabbits
Lacey Chisman, Calhan, CO
Legacy Bank
$3,400
Reserve Rabbits
Shawna Lamothe, Elbert, CO
Pueblo Bank & Trust
$2,600
Grand Chickens
Ryan Gruntorad, Ordway, CO
Fair Ladies
$3,500
Reserve Chickens
Skylar Gregersen, Wiggins, CO
Friends of the Fair
$3,200
Grand Turkey
Abby Nagel, Larkspur, CO
Colo. State Fair Commissioners
$2,700
Reserve Turkey
Diana Nagel, Larkspur, CO
Pikes Peak Posse
$1,000
The Colorado State Fair runs August 26 – September 5, 2016. For more information, visit www.coloradostatefair.com.

08-30-16 CENTENNIAL FARMS CEREMONY CELEBRATES COLORADO’S AGRICULTURAL HERITAGE…

2016 Centennial Farms Award Ceremony

CENTENNIAL FARMS CEREMONY CELEBRATES COLORADO’S AGRICULTURAL HERITAGE

Learn more about the History-CO Centennial Farms project inside the BARN - CLICK HERE

The History Colorado State Historical Fund, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and the State Fair were proud to honor 23 new Centennial Farm & Ranch families on Friday, August 26 at the State Fair in Pueblo.

CHECK OUT ALL THE FAMILY PHOTOS TAKEN AT THE EVENT, courtesy of History Colorado.

 These farming families have owned their farm or ranch for 100 years or more, and are thus eligible for Centennial Farms recognition. Each family had their group portrait and picture with legislators and public officials taken by a professional photographer. They also received a Centennial Farms metal sign, a tribute signed by stage legislators, and a Centennial Farms certificate signed by the executive director of History Colorado, the Commissioner of Agriculture, and the governor.
There are now 522 Centennial Farms across Colorado.
For more information or for an application for next year, please see our website.

08-30-16 CFB President Don Shawcroft’s statement regarding Republican River Basin agreement…

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Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft’s statement regarding Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado reach on Republican River Basin agreement

CENTENNIAL – The Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska Republican River Basin water agreement brings forth a resolution to end years of dispute and costly litigation. This is a great example of how states can work together to resolve conflicts and reach agreements on some of our most valuable resources such as water. This agreement is a breath of fresh air, as it takes water out of the courtroom and back into our farms and ranches. Continue reading

08-30-16 Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Farm Income Forecasts for 2015 and 2016

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Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Farm Income Forecasts for 2015 and 2016

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement today on the Farm Income and Financial Forecasts for 2015 and 2016, released by USDA’s Economic Research Service. Continue reading

08-30-16 NEW REPORT SAYS AGRICULTURE CAN HELP COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE

NEW REPORT SAYS AGRICULTURE CAN HELP COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE

Corn And Soybean Crops Have The Highest Potential To Mitigate/Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions; 100 Million Metric Tons Of Greenhouse GasEmissions Could Be Eliminated From U.S. Agriculture By 2030

ST. LOUIS (August 30, 2016) – Agriculture can play a significant role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to a recent scientific report. As part of Monsanto Company’s commitment to make its own operations carbon neutral by 2021, the company commissioned third-party expert ICF International to examine the potential for reducing GHG emissions through agriculture in the United States. The resulting report titled, “Charting a Path to Carbon Neutral Agriculture: Mitigation Potential for Crop Based Strategies,” shows that widespread adoption of recommended practices could potentially result in more than 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions reductions in the United States alone. That’s equal to the carbon absorption potential of more than 2.5 billion tree seedlings grown for 10 years. Continue reading

08-30-16 Farm Foundation: Food and Agriculture Priorities for the Next Administration on Sept 13th…

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Sept. 13: Food and Agriculture Priorities for the Next Administration 

In less than six months, a new President will move into the White House and a new mix of Senators and Representatives will take their seats in the U.S. Congress. On Jan. 21, 2017, what priorities must the new administration and Congress tackle that will have the greatest impact to sustain a competitive and vibrant food and agricultural economy?

At the Farm Foundation Forum on Tuesday, Sept. 13, experts will explore four broad topics of importance to the nation’s food, agriculture and rural communities.

  • Daniella Taveau, Regulatory and Global Trade Strategist for King & Spalding, will offer insights on input regulation.
  • Craig Thorn, Partner, DTB Associates LLP, will discuss international trade.
    Dan Keppen, Executive Director of the Family Farm Alliance, will highlight land and water issues.
  • Ken Barbic, Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs, Western Growers Association, will focus on labor issues.
  • Farm Foundation President Constance Cullman will moderate the discussion. After comments by the panelists, the floor will be opened for questions and discussion.

The Forum will be 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EDT in the Holeman Lounge of the National Press Club, 519 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. A free, live audiocast will also be available.

There is no charge to participate in the Sept. 13 Forum, but registration is requested.
Register HERE if you plan to attend the Forum in person at the National Press Club.
Register HERE to participate in the live audiocast. Audiocasting is made possible by a grant from Farm Credit.
Who should participate in the Forum: People with an interest in agricultural, food and rural policy, including members of Congress, congressional staff, executive branch officials, industry representatives, NGO representatives, academics and members of the media.

The Forum: Farm Foundation, NFP organizes these public forums to engage all stakeholders in informed dialogue on food, agricultural and rural policies. Participants examine current policies, explore and analyze alternative policy options, and give voice to new proposals.

Audio from the session will be posted on the Farm Foundation website. Presentations and audio files from past Forum sessions are also available at the website.

farm-foundation-logoFarm Foundation, NFP serves as a catalyst for sound public policy by providing objective information to foster a deeper understanding of issues shaping the future for agriculture, food systems and rural regions. The Foundation does not lobby or advocate. The Foundation’s 83-year reputation for objectivity allows it to bring together diverse stakeholders for discussions on economic and public policy issues.  

Continue reading

08-30-16 Second Annual Rocky Ford Dove Hunting Festival on September 4th – REGISTER TODAY!

 

Rocky Ford Dove Hunting Festival logo

YOU ARE INVITED TO EXHIBIT AT THE

2ND ANNUAL ROCKY FORD DOVE FEST

ROCKY FORD, COLORADO

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Vendors will be set up in the

William L. Gobin Community Building

Booth Rental Fee: $25.00

Other events of the Fest include:

Taxidermy Trophy Display

Catered Dinner – $20/person

Cash Bar

Music

5 Shot Dove Hunt – Teams of 4

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL:

Rudy Meyers – 303.429.8298

www.rockyforddovefest.com

CHECK OUT last year’s interview below…

Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, August 30th…

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

EU Downplaying TTIP Failure Comments

The European Union is downplaying comments from Germany’s economy minister over the weekend who said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks had “de facto failed.” Germany is the EU’s biggest economy, and despite the comments, a spokesperson for the European Commission said “the ball is still rolling,” according to Reuters. The comments come after three years of negotiations failed to resolve multiple differences, including over food and environmental safety. The European Commission says it is “ready to finalize the deal by the end of the year, but not at the expense of Europe’s safety, health, social and data protection standards.” EU trade ministers will discuss the trade agreement when they next meet late next month.

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10 Percent of Farmland to Change Ownership

New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows 10 percent of all farmland will be transferred to new ownership by 2019. USDA says farmland owners planned to transfer 93 million acres by 2019. Landowners anticipated selling 3.8 percent of all farmland, with just 2.3 percent planned to be sold to non-relatives. A larger share of land—6.5 percent—is expected to be transferred through trusts, gifts, and wills. The share of farmland available for purchase by non-relatives from now until 2019 will likely rise above 2.3 percent as some individuals who inherit land may choose to sell it, according to USDA. And, those who inherit land but don’t sell may decide to rent the land to farm operators.  Data from 2014 shows 39 percent of all farmland was rented and 61 percent was owned by farm operators.

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USDA Buying Eggs to Ease Surplus

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase $11.7 million worth of shell eggs and egg products to ease a surplus as farmers and egg processors try to cope with falling prices. USDA says the products will go to various food nutrition assistance programs, and to charitable institutions. The actual dollar amount spent will depend on bid prices received after a formal solicitation, according to Agri-Pulse. The announcement  last week  followed a similar announcement regarding dairy products. Earlier last week, USDA announced the agency would purchase $20 million worth of cheese to help relieve pressure on the dairy industry amid low prices.

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Egypt Changes Stance on Ergot, Again

Egypt has reinstated its zero tolerance policy on ergot fungus in wheat shipments, according to Egypt’s agriculture ministry. Pro Farmer reports Egypt announced the reinstated policy over the weekend. In July, Egypt adopted the international standard that allows up to 0.05 percent of ergot in imported wheat shipments, following a risk assessment by the Food and Agriculture Organization that concluded the fungus poses no threat to the country. But a new study commissioned by Egypt’s government claims ergot would pose a threat to the nation’s domestic wheat supply. The move back to a zero tolerance policy on ergot in wheat shipments means fewer suppliers will participate in Egyptian tenders. Earlier this year, Egypt turned away wheat shipments that contained ergot, but met international standards for contamination. Egypt is the world’s biggest buyer of wheat.

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Culver’s Says Thanks to Farmers With Corn Mazes

Culver’s restaurants announced the chain has enhanced its ‘Thank You Farmers’ campaign by sponsoring 19 corn maze’s across the United States. Culver’s says the program recognizes the hard work and commitment of farmers who produce food to feed our nation. To date, the Thank You Farmers initiative has raised nearly $1,000,000 in support of the National FFA Organization and Foundation, local FFA chapters and a variety of local agriculture organizations. Each maze design includes the ‘Thank You Farmers’ message, and a variety of farm scene elements like cows and tractors. The corn mazes are located across the nation from Arizona to Florida. Find a complete list of the locations online at Culver’s dot com (www.Culvers.com).

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Human Brain Evolution Not Possible Without Eating Meat, Study Finds

A recent study published in Nature magazine found that human brain evolution would not have been possible without eating meat. The report stated energy saved from less chewing and the calorie-rich, nutritious benefits of meat played a large role in the evolution of the human brain. According to the report, meat requires less force to chew per calorie than the generally tough plant foods that were available to early humans. The National Pork Producers Council says another report, published in an academic journal, found that a vegan diet uses a far less sustainable agricultural land base than omnivorous diets. The report says meat production can utilize pasture land and crop land that vegetables and fruits are unable to use. While a vegan diet is less land intensive, NPPC says reducing the amount of meat products does not necessarily free more land for cultivation.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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08-29-16 PlainsGold® highlights winter wheat variety offerings for 2016 fall planting…

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image1PlainsGold® highlights winter wheat variety offerings for 2016 fall planting

August 29, 2016 – PlainsGold varieties available for fall 2016 winter wheat planting were announced recently, including the highly popular PlainsGold Byrd and the newest addition, PlainsGold Avery. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 29th…

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

Senate Won’t Take Up TPP This Year

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky appeared to shut the door on the Senate taking up the Trans-Pacific Partnership Bill this year. McConnell said the current agreement has some serious flaws and will not be acted upon this year. He did say while the agreement won’t pass in its current form, it could pass as early as next year with some changes when the new administration takes over. However, Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton both have come out against the deal. President Obama has pledged to push for the trade deal during his remaining time in office. He even went so far as to send a draft agreement to Congress but it seems to have lost momentum on Capitol Hill. McConnell had already said the agreement wouldn’t get a vote, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said the bill doesn’t have enough votes to pass the House.

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Chile to Send TPP Agreement to Its Congress

The government of Chile plans to send the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to its Congress for approval by the end of this year. The 12-nation agreement aims to liberalize trade business in 40 percent of the world’s economy. However, the agreement is struggling in the U.S. as both major-party presidential candidates have spoken out against the deal. Criticism of the deal by unions in some of the country’s member states has been fierce. Opponents have accused the negotiators of not being transparent enough. Groups protesting TPP have joined with groups that are pushing for radical reform in the education and pension systems. The Chilean President said the agreement will benefit the country while it also has protections built in for some of the country’s more sensitive areas. Chile already has bilateral agreements with other members of TPP but this would deepen its links to those countries.

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Co-ops and Ag Retailers Face Economic Challenges

Farm supply co-ops and other ag retailers are seeing their accounts receivable balances on the rise and are facing challenges as a result. A new report out from Cobank says retailers are having to adjust to tougher financial conditions because of the current ag commodity cycle. This is a direct result of low commodity prices that have knocked down farm incomes and tightened up on-farm cash flows. The ag industry has seen a downturn in fertilizer prices as well as mergers in the seed and fertilizer industries. “The drop in farm income over the past three season is the biggest we’ve seen since the Great Depression,” said Tyler Ehmke, a Cobank senior economist. He said accounts receivable balances at ag retailers across the country have jumped 11 percent this year and will likely go higher as farmers continue to struggle with their cash flow balances. Fertilizers usually account for half the revenue stream for ag retailers, but those prices are falling as well, making it difficult to maintain positive margins.

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USDA Quarterly Export Forecast Shows Higher Numbers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a revised export forecast for the remainder of 2016 as well as a forecast for 2017. Both reports show U.S. ag export have begun to rally and should be able to keep up with the record-setting pace that first began in 2009. Total exports for the fiscal year 2017 are projected to be $133 billion, which is $6 billion higher than the previous forecast and would be the sixth highest total on record. The U.S. ag trade surplus is projected to rise to $19.5 billion, which is 40% higher than 2016. Commodities like U.S. oilseeds, horticultural goods, cotton, livestock, dairy, and poultry are expected to lead the way to higher export numbers. Global beef demand is also projected to strengthen as well. China is expected to overtake Canada as the top destination for American agricultural products. USDA also revised the fiscal year 2016 export numbers to $127 billion, $2.5 billion higher than the previous forecast.

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More Milkweed in the Heartland

The Environmental Defense Fund wants to reestablish milkweed in the Midwest and they’re talking with farmers about the best way to do that. Milkweed is the preferred food of the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch population is estimated to be down by 95 percent and a shortage of milkweed is said to be one of the chief reasons. EDF staff and scientist just finished up visiting with Nebraska farmers and are heading to Iowa and Minnesota next. The visits are part of an effort to establish a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange. It’s a conservation initiative in which landowners who create and maintain habitat can get paid for their efforts. Businesses that disrupt habitat can purchase credits, which would create a market dynamic. EDF is currently conducting field tests and pilot programs, aiming to get the exchange up and running by the end of 2017.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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08-28-16 Merck Animal Health Strengthens Partnership with National FFA Organization

National FFA Emblem - REfreshed March 2015

Merck Animal Health Strengthens Partnership with National FFA Organization

INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, Aug. 29, 2016/National FFA Organization) – For the past four years, Merck Animal Health has worked with the National FFA Organization to ensure the future of agriculture and agricultural education. Through a generous donation, Merck Animal Health has worked with FFA to provide FFA members the opportunity to grow into leaders, build their communities and strengthen agriculture. Continue reading