06-06-17 USWA: A Warning to Commerce: National Security Arguments Cut Both Ways

A Warning to Commerce: National Security Arguments Cut Both Ways

ARLINGTON, Virginia — The Department of Commerce (DOC) has released public comments, including comments submitted by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), related to its investigation into the national security implications of steel imports. USW believes that if the United States goes down a road to restricting steel imports, many countries may use the same national security pretense to restrict imports from U.S. wheat farmers. After all, food security has always been tied to national security. To view USW’s full submission, click here. Continue reading

06-06-17 Gaines to lead Kansas FFA Foundation

Gaines to lead Kansas FFA Foundation

Manhattan, Kansas – Beth Gaines has been announced as the new executive director of the Kansas FFA Foundation. Tom Hemmer, president, and CEO of the Solomon Corporation and outgoing chairman of the Kansas FFA Foundation Board of Trustees made the announcement May 31, at the start of the 89th Kansas State FFA Convention.

“We are excited to welcome Beth to the FFA team,” said Hemmer. “Her extensive network within agriculture and beyond, combined with her deep love and respect for the organization, make her a natural to fill this role.”

Gaines is a native Kansan and K-State alumnae with agriculture roots deep within Marion County. Now a resident of Westmoreland, Kansas, she will work on behalf of the Kansas FFA Foundation, securing funding for scholarships, leadership enrichment programs and recognition awards for Kansas FFA members and agriculture education programs. Continue reading

06-06-17 NFU: Family Beef Producers Deserve Better From NAFTA

NFU: Family Beef Producers Deserve Better From NAFTA

WASHINGTON – On the heels of an announcement that the Trump Administration intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), National Farmers Union (NFU) is urging the administration to amend the agreement to work in the interest of independent beef producers.

In a letter to President Donald Trump, NFU President Roger Johnson contends that NAFTA has been a boon to multinational meatpacking companies to the detriment of small and mid-sized beef producers. Since its implementation, the agreement has led to increased consolidation in the beef industry and loss of U.S. sovereignty to the interests of foreign governments and corporations.

“While trade with our NAFTA partners is important to family farmers and ranchers, the agreement has contributed to increased consolidation in the beef industry and has pushed out small and mid-sized beef producers,” said Johnson. “It has also robbed American producers of the opportunity to proudly stand behind their product and denied consumers the right to know where their food comes from. As you renegotiate NAFTA, we urge you to act in the best interest of American farmers, ranchers and consumers and restore the United States’ sovereignty over farm and food policy.” Continue reading

06-06-17 USDA Secretary Perdue’s Statement on Sugar Agreement with Mexico

USDA Secretary Perdue’s Statement on Sugar Agreement with Mexico

(Washington, DC, June 6, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued a statement regarding a new agreement between the United States and Mexico regarding the importation of Mexican sugar.  The U.S. Department of Commerce has been reviewing a 2014 agreement with the government of Mexico and the Mexican sugar refiners that suspended anti-dumping and countervailing duties on the import of Mexican sugar into the U.S.  This 2014 Suspension Agreement contained limits on the amount and type of Mexican sugar that could be imported each year.  The original date to reach a new agreement was Monday, June 5, 2017, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross extended the deadline to today, Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

Perdue’s statement is as follows: Continue reading

06-06-17 Wilson helps Colorado stay ahead of new drone technology

Wilson helps Colorado stay ahead of new drone technology

DENVER—Yesterday afternoon, the governor signed legislation creating a study on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, to help the state and local municipalities fight wildfire. House Bill 1070, sponsored by Representative Jim Wilson (R-Salida), is a first-of-its-kind program to help study how drones can help the state fight wildfires, potentially lowing the state’s reliance on manned aircraft.
Specifically, the bill creates a UAS pilot program and authorizes the Department of Labor and Employment to provide resources for the training and development of eligible pilot program members. The program will be funded through gifts, grants and donations, and the results of the study and the pilot program are to be submitted to the Wildfire Matters Review Committee and the Judiciary committees of the General Assembly.

“More and more money is being invested in drone technology, this bill studies how that new technology can help Colorado fight wildfires,” said Wilson. “Drones have tremendous potential to survey ground and relay data without the cost of manned aircraft and the risk of putting pilots in the sky.

“I am grateful for the strong bipartisan support and very excited to see the outcome of this study.”
The new law is already drawing interest from other states. Wendell Pryor, the Director of the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation, added the following statement on the new law:

Continue reading

06-06-17 USDA: Second Lady Karen Pence, Secretary Perdue Unveil Beehive at Vice President’s Residence, and Asks Public to Help Boost Pollinator Population

Secretary and Mrs. Perdue joined Second Lady Karen Pence to unveil a new beehive on the grounds of the Vice President’s residence

USDA: Second Lady Karen Pence, Secretary Perdue Unveil Beehive at Vice President’s Residence, and Asks Public to Help Boost Pollinator Population

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2017 – Second Lady Karen Pence and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today unveiled a newly-installed beehive on the grounds of the Vice President’s residence, drawing attention to the plight of pollinators whose numbers are in decline. Together, the two urged Americans to do their own part to help reverse the population trend among the creatures, which are essential to producing much of the nation’s food.

“All types of pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, birds and bats, are critical to providing our nation’s food, fiber, fuel and medicine,” Mrs. Pence said. “However, our beekeepers have been losing colonies for many years. This presents a serious challenge to our ability to produce many of the agricultural products that we enjoy today. The bees at the Vice President’s Residence will provide an added bonus to the vegetable and flower gardens by making them well pollinated and taste even better at harvest.”

Perdue released a proclamation he has signed declaring June 19-25, 2017 as “National Pollinator Week” (Proclamation can be viewed online at https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/national-pollinator-week-secretary-proclamation.pdf (PDF, 97.5 KB)). Perdue noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency led efforts to create a National Pollinator Health Strategy. The two agencies are working with a number of other federal departments to implement that strategy, which includes significant USDA research. Continue reading

06-06-17 CSFS: Free App Launched to Help Homeowners Determine if Trees Susceptible to Emerald Ash Borer


CSFS: Free App Launched to Help Homeowners Determine if Trees Susceptible to Emerald Ash Borer

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – June 6, 2017 – To help Colorado homeowners determine whether trees on their property are susceptible to being killed by emerald ash borer (EAB), today the Colorado State Forest Service and Colorado State University Extension released a free app that will allow anyone to use their mobile device to quickly ascertain whether a tree may be a potential target for the pest. Continue reading

06-06-17 Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. Launches Crop Marketing Service for the Digital Age

Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. Launches Crop Marketing Service for the Digital Age

Giving farmers the upper hand with real-time profitability tracking, technology-enabled market access, and bringing global markets to the farm gate.

SAN CARLOS, Calif. – June 6, 2017 – Farmer’s Business Network, Inc. is replacing outdated and painful marketing practices with the release of FBN Crop MarketingTM, a new future for crop marketing that uses the power of networks and data to level the playing field for farmers and increases profits.

FBN Crop Marketing helps farmers find buyers and sell their crops more profitably. It consists of FBN Profit CenterTM, a game-changing web product, and an exclusive crop marketing service called FBN Select MarketsTMContinue reading

06-06-17 CFVGA: Buy Local Produce. It’s Good for You and Good for Colorado.

Buy Local Produce. It’s Good for You and Good for Colorado.

As Colorado’s produce season arrives, the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) is asking consumers to buy local.
“Colorado’s high day time temperatures countered by cool nights, give our fruit a sweeter, more intense flavor,” said Bruce Talbott, Talbott’s Gold, Palisade, Colo., a fifth-generation Colorado fruit farmer. He also notes that the very cold winters kill many of the pests with which other fruit-producing areas must contend.
Here are some reasons to look for local produce when you shop:

Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 6th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, June 6th

Legislation Would End Cuba Embargo

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has come together to co-sponsor legislation that would end the Cuban trade embargo. The bill is called the “Freedom to Export to Cuba Act” and would bring an end to all legal barriers for the U.S. to conduct business with Cuba. Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar (Kloh’-buh-shar) says U.S. policy toward Cuba has been defined by past conflict instead of present reality. She says, “More than 50 years of isolating an island just 90 miles from our border has not secured our interests and has disadvantaged American business owners and farmers.” Wyoming Republican Mike Enzi says the strategy of isolating Cuba has not been successful. “This bipartisan legislation would lift the travel restriction to Cuba, providing new opportunities for American businesses, farmers, and ranchers,” Enzi says. He calls trade a powerful thing, not just for dealing with the flow of goods but the flow of ideas like freedom and democracy. The bill would repeal all restrictions against doing business in Cuba, including the original 1961 authorization that put the trade embargo in place. It also would lift requirements to enforce the embargo and the limits currently in place on direct shipping between U.S. and Cuban ports. The Trump administration is expected to announce its policy on Cuba in the near future.


‘Pink Slime’ Trial Underway in South Dakota

It’s been roughly five years since ‘pink slime’ was a buzzword in the national media. A Reuters report says the Beef Processors, Incorporated, $5.7 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC television is underway this week in Elk Point, South Dakota. BPI claims ABC television, owned by the Walt Disney Company, and ABC reporter Jim Avila, defamed the company by calling its ground beef product ‘pink slime,’ while making errors and omitting other facts from the story. After the reports aired in 2012, BPI had to close three of its four processing plants while watching revenues drop 80 percent. Elk Point sits in Union County, where election records indicate Donald Trump won 67 percent of the presidential votes. Trump uses the term “fake news” to say that some media outlets can’t be trusted. BPI lawyers declined to say whether or not “fake news” would be part of their strategy. During a January pre-trial hearing, BPI lawyer Eric Connolly said ABC broadcast and online reports about lean finely textured beef, or LFTB, used unreliable sources and purposely set out to stir up public outrage. Connolly told the judge during the hearing that the ABC story amounted to “fake news.” BPI lawyers say ABC used the term ‘pink slime’ 137 times in their reports.


Trump to Talk Rural Infrastructure Improvements

The national infrastructure will get some attention from the White House this week as the administration gets set to put out details on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says Donald Trump will visit Ohio and Kentucky on Wednesday to speak on waterways and rural America. Trump will give more details on his vision for improving the national infrastructure. One of the ways the administration is proposing to support a $1 trillion dollar infrastructure plan is through public-private partnerships, an idea that is drawing concerns from rural states. State officials and lawmakers in rural areas have warned the administration about relying too heavily on that type of model. They aren’t practical arrangements in rural areas because of the smaller population numbers. People willing to risk capital on those type of projects typically want to make their money back via tolling or other fee-based ideas. The recent Trump budget proposal included creating a fee for commercial businesses to use the nation’s waterways, an idea that didn’t sit well with groups like the National Grain and Feed Association. 


Dairy Exports Higher for 11 Straight Months

U.S. dairy production keeps going higher and processing facilities are running at or even over capacity, so the need for growing exports has never been greater. Farm Journal’s milk business dot com reports that dairy exports topped year-ago levels once again for the eleventh straight month. Exports of products like milk powder, cheese, butterfat, whey, and lactose were up 12 percent over last April. The value of exports was 23 percent higher than last year, totaling $461 million in sales.  The Export Council says the export levels of nonfat dry milk and skim milk powder, whey products, and lactose were at record highs over the first four months of 2017. Among the top export markets, sales to China and Southeast Asia were up 91 percent and 23 percent respectively. Japan sales were the highest they’ve been in 21 months. Cheese exports were 27 percent higher than April of 2016. The USDEC predicts that cheese sales will continue to grow in Australia, which will pass Japan soon as the third-highest export market for cheese. 


Perdue Travels to Canada for Trade Discussion

Sonny Perdue is in Canada today for his first international trip as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He calls the U.S.-Canada bilateral trade relationship important to the prosperity of both countries, saying before he left, “I look forward to strengthening the relationship with our neighbors to the north going forward.” Perdue will meet with Canada’s Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay and other Canadian officials to talk about a host of priority agricultural issues between the two countries. Both the U.S. and Canada are two of the world’s largest agricultural producers with a shared border, so each is an important market for the other’s agricultural products. In 2016, the U.S. exported $20.2 billion worth of agricultural products to Canada, which made Canada the second-largest market for the U.S. Over the same time frame, Canada exported $21 billion worth of agricultural products to the United States. As part of an effort to boost U.S. trade, Perdue will appear at an event in Toronto which will kick off a two-week event showcasing U.S. food and beverages.


U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Heads to Washington

The United State’s Cattlemen’s Association will bring a delegation of producers to Washington D.C. this week to talk issues with legislators. States represented at the fly-in will include Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas. USCA President Kenny Graner says this is an opportunity for cattlemen to put a face on the issues being debated in D.C. “This year, we have a strong contingent of livestock haulers who will meet with staff at the Department of Transportation regarding the pending implementation of electronic log devices as well as concerns about the hours of service rule,” says Graner. USCA Vice President Bert Paris will speak with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his staff on issues affecting public lands users across the west. Graner says, “Other issues producers will touch on include the ongoing discussions on animal ID and traceability, along with ongoing issues with Brazil, Chinese trade, and the upcoming NAFTA renegotiations.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service