04-24-17 Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

NRCS-CO News Release HEader 010816Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 23-29, 2017 by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.

Earth Team is the agency’s volunteer workforce, and nationally, in fiscal year 2016, more than 28,500 people donated 3012,219 hours of service to NRCS valued at over $7.1 million. Continue reading

04-24-17 USMEF Statement on Senate Confirmation of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

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USMEF Statement on Senate Confirmation of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

April 24, 2017 – Today, on a vote of 87 to 11, the United States Senate confirmed former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue as the new U.S. secretary of agriculture. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng issued the following statement:

USMEF is pleased to see Secretary Perdue receive such strong, bipartisan support in the Senate, and we look forward to working with him to promote U.S. red meat products worldwide. Secretary Perdue’s track record as governor and his recent testimony before the Senate leave no doubt that he understands the important role of international trade in enhancing the profitability of U.S. livestock producers and the entire U.S. supply chain, and that he is very committed to expanding U.S. exports. This is a critical and rather uncertain time for agricultural trade, and USMEF is confident that Secretary Perdue will be a champion for U.S. agriculture and will help the Trump administration build strong relationships with key trading partners. Continue reading

04-24-17 NMPF Statement on Senate Confirmation of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

NMPF Statement on Senate Confirmation of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

From Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF

ARLINGTON, VA – “We congratulate Secretary Sonny Perdue on his confirmation by the Senate today, and we’re eager to work with him on the challenges facing the nation’s dairy farmers – issues he’s already indicated he will tackle at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Secretary Perdue knows that dairy farmers depend on export markets around the world and closer to home, which is why it is important for USDA to insist on preserving market access to key customers in Mexico, and demand that Canada plays by the international trade rules to which it has already agreed.  Continue reading

04-24-17 NPPC: Perdue ‘Very Good’ For U.S. Agriculture

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NPPC: Perdue ‘Very Good’ For U.S. Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2017 – Calling him “very good for America’s farmers and ranchers,” the National Pork Producers Council congratulated former Georgia Gov. George “Sonny” Perdue on his confirmation today by the U.S. Senate as the new Secretary of Agriculture.

“Sonny Perdue is the kind of leader the pork industry, and the entire livestock industry, needs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “He’ll be very good for America’s farmers and ranchers.” Continue reading

04-24-17 NCGA Welcomes Sonny Perdue to USDA

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NCGA Welcomes Sonny Perdue to USDA

WASHINGTON (April 24, 2017) – Today the United States Senate voted to confirm Sonny Perdue as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association:

“The National Corn Growers Association congratulates Secretary Perdue on his confirmation. USDA has been without a Secretary for too long, but we are confident that Secretary Perdue will bring strong leadership to the Department. There are still more than 200 political appointments at USDA that have yet to be made. We strongly urge the Administration to move quickly in filling these positions. Continue reading

04-24 NFU Statement on Sonny Perdue’s Confirmation as Agriculture Secretary

NFU Statement on Sonny Perdue’s Confirmation as Ag Secretary

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today confirmed former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to the announcement:

“Having endured months of the current farm crisis and drastic policy changes in Washington without a Secretary of Agriculture, family farmers and ranchers are relieved that Sonny Perdue has finally been confirmed to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We are hopeful Perdue will provide rural America with a strong voice in Washington. NFU stands ready to assist the new Secretary as he navigates the myriad issues facing family agriculture and rural communities. Continue reading

04-24-17 NACD CONGRATULATES SONNY PERDUE ON NEW POST

NACD CONGRATULATES SONNY PERDUE ON NEW POST

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2017 The National Association of Conservation Districts congratulates Secretary Sonny Perdue on his confirmation as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture today.

Former Georgia Governor Perdue is the third agriculture secretary in the history of USDA to live and work on a farm as an adult. NACD has supported his nomination since it was first announced by President Donald Trump in January.

“As governor, he oversaw the economy of one of the top agricultural states in this nation,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. “He has a proven track record for effective governing and a reputation as a dedicated public servant. NACD appreciated his endorsement of voluntary conservation in this nomination hearing and look forward to working with him, now and throughout his tenure, to advance the adoption of voluntary conservation on working lands across this country.” Continue reading

04-24-17 ACE News: Biofuels Stakeholders Issue Statement on Oral Arguments for 2014-2016 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs)

Biofuels Stakeholders Issue Statement on Oral Arguments for 2014-2016 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs)

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Sioux Falls, SD (April 24, 2017) – In response to oral arguments held earlier today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the petition for review of the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2014-2016 filed by Americans for Clean Energy, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January 2016, the American Coalition for Ethanol, BIO, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and Renewable Fuels Association issued the following statement: Continue reading

04-24-17 USCA Welcomes Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

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USCA Welcomes Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

(WASHINGTON) –United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) President Kenny Graner issued the following statement on the confirmation of Sonny Perdue to the position of Secretary of Agriculture:

“On behalf of the USCA membership, and cattle producers across the country, we wish to officially welcome Sonny Perdue as the Secretary of Agriculture.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 24th…

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 Monday, April 24th

NAFTA Talks Not Happening Soon

President Donald Trump says the White House will offer some preliminary plans on the possible renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement sometime within the next two weeks. While he didn’t get more specific than that, Politico’s Morning Agriculture report adds that a White House spokesman says the Administration is currently working on negotiating text with Congress. The White House will then proceed with the required 90-day notice to Congress once a U.S. Trade Representative is confirmed. Robert Lighthizer is the nominee for the position but his confirmation is being held up because of past work he’s done representing foreign governments in Washington, D.C. Democrats say he needs a waiver approved by both the House and Senate to be confirmed, while the White House says he doesn’t. Before the letter can be sent to Congress, the White House must complete a series of meetings with groups of lawmakers, one of which is the Senate Advisory Group on Negotiations. Democrats on the panel are refusing to meet with anyone but Lighthizer. As a result, Politico says it’s looking like the nominee will have to get the waiver, clear a committee vote, and then get the full Senate vote for confirmation. All that means the two-week timeline is more than a little uncertain.

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Renewable Fuels Standard Heads to Court

The Environmental Protection Agency will be in Washington D.C. Circuit court starting Monday (April 24) as the court hears oral challenges to the 2014-2016 Renewable Fuels Standard Volumes. Politico’s Morning Energy Report says the RFS has supporters and detractors in both major political parties, so this case represents a rare nonpartisan issue for the EPA. The agency will have to defend itself against accusations that it set volumes for conventional biofuels, cellulosic biofuels, and biomass biodiesel too high or too low, depending on who’s speaking at the time in the courtroom. The EPA will need to defend its waiver to set the conventional biofuel requirements below congressionally-set levels. The EPA will also argue it’s under no obligation to change who must comply with the program. EPA’s positions in this case maximize administrative flexibility for the agency, something that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt likely wants to preserve. The Morning Energy Report also stressed that this isn’t an issue that began when Donald Trump was elected as it’s been a debate for years.

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Farm Lending Continues to Moderate

Lending activity at agricultural banks across the country continued to decline in the first quarter of 2017. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says economic conditions in the farm sector are still weak, so borrowers and lenders have worked together to make adjustments in financing agricultural production across America. Ag lenders are making more adjustments to loan terms because of heightened risk in the ag sector. For example, the report says revenues from agricultural production are expected to decline again in 2017. Farm incomes from corn, soybeans, wheat, and cattle, are expected to drop by five percent compared to 2016. Some producers are making adjustments in the cost of their inputs when they can. The reduced amount of producer spending likely has contributed to reductions in the volume of new farm loans. The overall volume of non-real estate farm loans in the first quarter of this year dropped 16 percent from 2016. The Survey of Terms of Bank Lending to Farmers showed the decrease in the first quarter as the sixth consecutive year-over-year decline in the volume of new non-real estate farm loans and followed a significant drop in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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Buffet Foundation/Drovers to Raise $2 Million for Wildfire Relief

Drovers, a Farm Journal Media franchise, and the Drovers Foundation have accepted a challenge from philanthropist and American farmer-rancher Howard G. Buffet to raise $2 million for wildfire relief. Last month saw devastating wildfires burn 1.6 million acres in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Starting now, all monetary donations to the Drovers/Farm Journal Million Dollar Wildfire Relief Challenge will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, up to $1 million. Howard Buffet says, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime disaster that’s left ranchers with both immediate and long-term needs to rebuild what they’ve lost. We are pleased to partner with Drovers and the Farm Journal Foundation in this recovery effort and hope our matching contribution pledge will inspire others to show their support.” While the ag community rallied to deliver hay and other in-kind contributions, the long-term job of rebuilding is really just beginning. For example, roughly 18,000 miles of fencing needs to be rebuilt, likely at a cost of $10,000 a mile. All donations will be administered by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association, a respected nonprofit dedicated to assisting working ranch cowboys and their families in time of need. For more information on recovery efforts, check out Wildfire Relief Fund Dot Org.

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Another Farm Credit System Merger Takes Place

Two Farm Credit organizations serving the upper midwest will join together after both received stockholder approval. AgCountry Farm Credit Services and United FCS serve farmers in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, but now become AgCountry Farm Credit Services beginning on July first. The headquarters will be in Fargo, North Dakota, with the Association serving 18,000 customer-members and have nearly $7.2 billion in assets. It will operate in 65 counties with 38 offices spread out through Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. “We believed that the culture, values, and vision of both cooperatives made this a natural fit,” says Greg Nelson and Brad Sunderland, who serve as board chairs for Ag Country and United FCS, respectively. They both thanked stockholders in each organization for participating in the voting process and for recognizing that the merger would better help both organizations serve agriculture and rural America more efficiently. “Since merger discussions began last year, our goal has been to build on the strengths of both organizations to best serve the needs of our members,” says Bob Bahl, AgCountry CEO. “In merging these two associations, we are positioned for even greater success and a strong, bright future.” 

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Salad Shortage Because of California Rains

Over the last several years, California farmers have been plagued by drought. However, the problem in 2017 is too much rain, which may be putting a squeeze on the nation’s salad supplies. A Bloomberg report says it may take until sometime in May before the nation’s grocery store shelves are fully stocked with salads again. Unusually warm weather meant an early end to the winter growing season in southern California and western Arizona. The warm weather was followed by unusually heavy rains that pushed back planting dates along the coastal areas of California, which is the largest fruit and vegetable producer in the country. The delays have led to shortfalls of crops like lettuce and broccoli, sending wholesale prices much higher. For example, the cost of a carton of 30 celery heads has almost tripled to $25. A senior produce analyst with Rabobank in Fresno, California, says prices may remain volatile and “relatively elevated” through mid-May

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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