2017 Governor’s Forum addresses need of collaboration, new opportunities for challenged ag industry

2017 Governors Forum on CO Ag Label It Agriculture logo

CLICK HERE to watch select archives of the 2017 Gov's Ag Forum

CLICK HERE to watch select archives of the 2017 Gov’s Ag Forum

2017 Governor’s Forum addresses need of collaboration, new opportunities for challenged ag industry

The 26th annual Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture was defined by dialogue among state officials and industry leaders covering food production, land conservation, climate change, food safety and food waste, along with many other topics. Continue reading

02-21-17 USDA Offers RCPP Application Webinars, March 22 and April 5

USDA Press Release

USDA Offers RCPP Application Webinars, March 22 and April 5

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2017 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is hosting a webinar for potential applicants to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to assist them with their pre-proposals. The webinar will discuss the program, Announcement for Program Funding (APF) requirements, and offer information about best practices for project applications. Pre-proposals are due April 21, 2017.

The NRCS will offer this webinar on March 22 and April 5 from 2:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern Time. Visit the RCPP website to learn more about the webinar and RSVP for a specific date. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 22nd…

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 Wednesday, February 22nd…

Groups Pen Letter Urging Lawmakers to Reject any Farm Bill Cuts

A letter spearheaded by the American Farm Bureau Federation asks lawmakers to reject any funding cuts in the next farm bill. More than 500 groups joined the letter that claims additional funding cuts would “hinder development and passage of the 2018 farm bill.” The last farm bill contributed $23 billion in savings to deficit reduction over 10 years at the time of passage. That was the first time when spending for a farm bill was voluntarily reduced before Congress even began considering the measure. The groups say cuts made under the 2014 farm bill helped the nation’s deficit reduction effort, but add that additional cuts to the 2018 farm bill would present “perils on many fronts.” The letter strongly urged congressional leaders “to reject calls for additional cuts” during a time when the agricultural and rural economies are showing stress. The letter points out that U.S. farm income has declined 46 percent from three years ago.

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U.S. Corn a Better Deal for Mexico than Corn from Brazil, Argentina

The CEO of global agribusiness company Bunge Limited says U.S. corn is a better deal for Mexico than corn from Argentina or Brazil. Soren Schroder (shrow-der) says he does not think Mexico would start heavily buying corn from South America, simply because the U.S. offers a better deal, according to DTN. Schroder says Mexico purchasing corn other than from the U.S. would require a price shift in Brazil and Argentina. Concerns over Mexico sourcing corn beyond the U.S. surfaced this month after a Mexican lawmaker planned to introduce legislation to instruct the nation to buy corn from South America, rather than the United States. The bill is seen as a response to trade rhetoric by U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, and build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico while implementing an import tax of 20 percent on Mexican goods entering the United States.

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Rural Mainstreet Index Improving

The February Rural Mainstreet Index remained weak with a reading below growth neutral for the 18th straight month. But at 45.8, it reached its highest level in more than a year. The index ranges between 0 and 100. A rating below 50 suggests economic retraction, while a rating above 50 represents expansion. The index represents a 10-state region in the Midwest with strong economic ties to agriculture. Index organizer Ernie Goss says weak farm commodity prices continue to squeeze Rural Mainstreet economies. However, Goss says “the negatives are getting less negative.” Only 14.9 percent of bankers reported that their local economy was expanding. Approximately 34 percent indicated their local economy was in a recession with the remaining 51.1 percent indicating little or no economic growth. The farmland and ranchland-price index for February dipped to 33.7 from January’s 33.8. This is the 39th straight month the index has languished below growth neutral. Bankers indicated that farmland prices in their area had declined by an average of 5.1 percent across the region over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, the February farm equipment-sales index increased to 20.5 from 16.7 in January.

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National Pork Board Increases International Markets Funding

As pork exports continue to show progress, the National Pork Board is increasing its focus on international markets in 2017. In 2016, 5.1 billion pounds of pork and pork variety meats valued at $5.94 billion dollars were exported, up eight percent and seven percent respectively from 2015. On average, U.S. pork exports accounted for 25.8 percent of total pork production last year. With more pork available in the U.S. due to increased pork output, the National Pork Board recently approved an increase of 12.7 percent in funding for 2017 export market activities. NPB says the financial commitment translates into tangible marketing activities that increase U.S. pork exports to emerging and developing markets.

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Georgia Axes New Poultry Price Index

The Georgia Department of Agriculture said Tuesday the Georgia Premium Poultry Price Index will not be published due to a lack of available data. The index was the department’s answer to the suspended Georgia Dock poultry price discovery system, which had come under scrutiny due to how high its prices have been compared with other pricing indexes, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. The index was to consist of three producer price indexes  to measure the aggregate change in prices of poultry sold on contracts at one month, six month and 12 month base periods. It called for random reviews to verify all data. Lawsuits accusing the industry of price fixing have caught the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is doing its own investigation into the allegations.

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Grocery Industry Seeking to Reduce Consumer Confusion on Product Date Labels

In a new industry-wide effort to reduce consumer confusion about product date labels, grocery manufacturers and retailers have joined together to adopt standard wording on packaging about the quality and safety of products. Currently, more than ten different date labels on packages – such as Sell By, Use By, Expires On, Best Before, Better if Used By or Best By – can result in confused consumers discarding a safe or usable product after the date on the package, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute. The two organizations are working on an initiative that streamlines the date labels on consumer products packaging down to just two standard phrases. “BEST If Used By” describes product quality, where the product may not taste or perform as expected but is safe to use or consume. “USE By” applies to the few products that are highly perishable or have a food safety concern over time. The industry hopes to implement the changes by the end of next year.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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