01-17-17 Gov. Hickenlooper appoints Kathleen Staks as executive director of the Colorado Energy Office

Gov. Hickenlooper appoints Kathleen Staks as executive director of the Colorado Energy Office

CO Gov John Hickenlooper logo3DENVER — Tuesday, Jan. 17,  2017 Gov. John Hickenlooper announced today that Kathleen Staks has been appointed executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, effective Jan. 20, 2017. She will replace Jeff Ackermann, who was recently appointed to the Public Utilities Commission.

“Kathleen will be pivotal in helping us work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders to ensure that Colorado is a strong supporter of both traditional and renewable energy resources,” said Gov. Hickenlooper. “Colorado’s energy practices touch every person in Colorado daily.  Kathleen will continue to ensure that our State’s energy portfolio benefits Colorado businesses, workers and families.” Continue reading

01-17-17 NASS-CO: USDA to Gauge Financial Well-Being of Mountain Region Farms and Ranches

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USDA to Gauge Financial Well-Being of Mountain Region Farms and Ranches

Denver, Colorado January, 2017 – Beginning last December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will spend several months gathering information about farm economics and production practices from farmers and ranchers across Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, as the agency conducts the third and final phase of the 2016 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

“ARMS is the only survey program that allows anyone to clearly see the current financial well-being of Mountain Region producers and their households as a whole,” said Bill Meyer, director of the NASS Mountain Office. “The results of this survey will serve as a primary source of information for numerous local and federal policies and programs that affect local farms and farm families,” Continue reading

01-17-17 Former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to Take Helm of U.S. Dairy Export Council

Former USDA Ag Secretary Tom VilsackFormer USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to Take Helm of U.S. Dairy Export Council

USDEC-US Dairy Export Council logoARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today announced that former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join the organization as president and CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2017. USDEC is a non-profit, independent organization that seeks to enhance the global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients.

“Growing the global market for U.S. dairy products is essential to the future of the dairy industry and America’s dairy farmers. I’ve spent my career in public service as a tireless advocate for farmers and American agriculture and can think of no better way to continue this service than by leading the U.S. Dairy Export Council,” said Vilsack. “I look forward to partnering with the dynamic team at USDEC as well as agriculture, food industry and key stakeholders at home and abroad to advance the council’s mission and strengthen trust in American dairy.” Continue reading

01-17-17 CDA: Resources Available for Farms Looking to Develop and Expand Wholesale Markets

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Resources Available for Farms Looking to Develop and Expand Wholesale Markets

BROOMFIELD, Colo.–The Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University (CSU) Extension are partnering with the MarketReady team from the University of Kentucky for a two-day course on scaling-up farm businesses for wholesale markets. Potential markets include grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and food distributors.
The training will be held on February 15 and 16, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Broomfield office. Program topics include packaging, labeling, pricing, supply, delivery, storage, invoicing, insurance, quality assurance and temperature control, and communication strategies with buyers. While both days constitute a train-the-trainer workshop, day two is specifically designed for farmers and ranchers, with breakout sessions to develop produce and meat marketing skills and a buyer panel. Registration fees vary, with group discounts for farmers available. Visit www.coloradoagriculture.com for details,registration and agenda. Continue reading

01-17-17 Editorial by Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown…

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The State of Agriculture 

By Don Brown, Commissioner of Agriculture

cda-don-brown-co-commissioner-of-agricultureMost Coloradans did not grow up in a rural area and have never been on a farm or ranch, yet the people of Colorado support agriculture’s positive contribution to the quality of life in our state.

In a recent survey conducted for the Colorado Department of Agriculture by Colorado State University, 90% of Coloradans feel agriculture is important to their quality of life. Nearly all Coloradans feel that maintaining and protecting agricultural land and water is important (95%). Continue reading

01-17-17 NFU Statement on Trump Transition Team Deal with Bayer

NFU logo 3NFU Statement on Trump Transition Team Deal with Bayer

WASHINGTON (January 17, 2017) – President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced today that it has struck a deal with Bayer AG, committing the German agricultural input company to investing $8 billion towards research and development should the company be permitted to acquire competitor Monsanto Co.

In response to the announcement, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson released the following statement: Continue reading

01-17-17 NCBA: Cattlemen Call on U.S. Senate to Confirm Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator

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NCBA: Cattlemen Call on U.S. Senate to Confirm Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator

WASHINGTON (Jan. 17, 2017) The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works expressing strong support for the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and called for his swift confirmation.

“As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Mr. Pruitt led the fight to bring common sense back to environmental regulation and he was an unrivaled defender of private property rights,” NCBA’s President, Tracy Brunner, said in the letter. “In fact, in 2015 the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association honored Mr. Pruitt with its Distinguished Service Award for his dedication to those principles.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, January 17th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, January 17th

Ag Groups Press Trump on Cuba

Over 100 U.S. agriculture groups are urging President-elect Donald Trump not to undo the changes that President Obama made in relation status between the U.S. and Cuba. Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says they also want the President-elect to give his own stamp of approval on normalizing relations between the countries. The groups want Trump to throw his support behind legislation that would allow private financing for the sale of agricultural products to make those goods easier to sell to the island country. In a letter, the groups say, “It’s time to put the 17 million jobs associated with U.S. agriculture ahead of a few hardline politicians in Washington. Your support for removing outdated financing and trade barriers for exporting agricultural products to our neighbor could significantly strengthen an industry which supports 17 million American jobs.” The letter also says Trump’s support would pave the way for the Cuban people to have access to high-quality American food.


Senate Resolution Would Roll Back WOTUS

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. Rule, or “WOTUS,” was first introduced to the public in May of 2015, and it’s been largely unpopular since then. Ag Web Dot Com says Iowa Republican Joni Ernst and Nebraska Republican Deb Fischer have introduced a resolution that expresses a need for the Senate to vacate the rule. WOTUS expanded the authority of both the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers authority to regulate water, which is already written into the Clean Water Act. Almost 100 percent of the American agriculture industry reacted negatively to the rule, calling it a prime example of government overreach. In a statement this week, Fischer called WOTUS completely unprecedented. “This rule would hurt all Nebraska families, communities, ag producers, and businesses,” says Fischer. “This resolution signifies our intent to get to work quickly and stop WOTUS in its tracks once the new administration takes office.” Ernst calls WOTUS a power grab and wants farmers and landowners to be able to manage their lands without what she calls the “heavy hand of the EPA” determining their every move. Fischer and Ernst both were quick to acknowledge that the Clean Water Act is vital to protecting natural resources but then added that WOTUS took it a step too far.  


Five Myths About the Veterinary Feed Directive

The new requirements for the Veterinary Feed Directive were officially in effect as of January first, but not without misconceptions. Producers must obtain authorization or a prescription to purchase medically important antibiotics for use in animal feed and drinking water. Medically important antibiotics are those used in treating human diseases as well. Chris Richards, Oklahoma State University Extension, is a beef cattle specialist that debunked a few of the common myths. One is that antibiotics will not be available to treat animals. “Antibiotics will still be available to treat disease,” he says. Another is that a VFD is needed for any additives. “There are many additives that don’t require a VFD unless fed in combination with antibiotics,” Richards says.  Another myth is feed dealers can’t keep feed on hand until a producer has a VFD. Richards says, “Feed mills can make the product ahead of time, they just can’t sell to a producer without a VFD.” Another myth has to do with a lot of paperwork. Richards says, “A producer who has a steady relationship with a vet won’t have any trouble completing the paperwork twice a year.” The last is some species won’t have antibiotics available to them. Richards says, “Guidance documents do give vets some discretion in using antibiotics in species that don’t typically have a lot of antibiotics available to them, like goats, sheep, and llamas.


Grasslands Conservation Program Expands to Smaller Producers

The Farm Service Agency says it will accept 300,000 acres offered by producers in 43 states during the recent ranking period for the Conservation Reserve Program enrollment. The emphasis during this time was placed on smaller-scale livestock operations. The voluntary CRP Grasslands Program allows lands threatened by either development or conversion to row crops to remain as livestock grazing areas while providing important benefits to the environment. Roughly two-thirds of the acres accepted were offered by small-scale producers. “Producers of all sizes are interested in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program,” says FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. “This latest round of enrollments features grasslands that came from smaller livestock operations, which shows that our nation’s farmers and ranchers can have a big impact on environmental conservation.” This was the first ever CRP grasslands practice that was specifically tailored for smaller livestock operations to encourage more participation. Larger producers may offer acres under the normal enrollment process.  


Legislation Targets Fake Milk

New legislation introduced into the Senate this week would enforce the proper labeling on imitation dairy products, drawing positive response from the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation. The organizations both said in statements that proper steps need to be taken to defend the integrity of current federal food labeling standards, preventing the misbranding of what they call “dairy imitators.” A Milk Business Dot Com article says Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin introduced the Dairy Pride Act, with the goal of protecting food labeling standards, requiring the Food and Drug Administration to enforce the requirements. Those federal standards say that dairy products like milk and cheese must come from dairy animals. The Baldwin legislation would require the FDA to issue guidance for nationwide enforcement of these standards within the next 90 days. National Milk Producers President Jim Mulhern says the FDA has turned a blind eye to federal law that says milk comes from animals and not vegetables or nuts.


40 Percent of California Out of Drought

Federal drought watchers said this week that more than 40 percent of California is out of drought. This announcement comes after powerful storms sent people in the northern areas fleeing from flooding rivers and doubling snowpack in the Sierra Nevada’s in a little more than a week. Jay Lund, Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California at Davis, says “It’s hard to say we have a drought here right now.” The weekly drought report says that 42 percent of California is now out of drought. Last year at this time, that number was only three percent. Southern California didn’t get the severe storms residents did further north, but they have had enough rain to be pulled out of the most severe category. Only two percent of the state is left in the most severe category, a stretch of land between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. 43 percent of the entire state was in the most severe category a year ago at the same time.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service