08-07-17 US Senators Bennet, Gardner Tour USDA Limited Irrigation Research Farm

Bennet and Gardner participate in a drone demonstration at USDA ARS Limited Irrigation Research Farm on August 7, 2017.

US Senators Bennet, Gardner Tour USDA Limited Irrigation Research Farm

Greeley, CO – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-) and Cory Gardner (R) today toured the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Limited Irrigation Research Farm (LIRF). During the tour, the Senators visited a series of plots used to experiment with different irrigation methods and participated in a demonstration of how drones are used to evaluate crop health.

“Given Colorado’s semi-arid and changing climate, growing demand for water, and persistent drought, water conservation is increasingly important,” Bennet said. “The research Senator Gardner and I saw today in Greeley is making it possible to improve crop yields with more efficient water use. It is an important example of federal investment supporting farmers in Colorado and across the country. Unfortunately, President Trump’s proposed cuts to agricultural research are out of step with Colorado’s priorities, and I will continue to stand up for our agricultural economy.”

“It was great to be in Greeley with Senator Bennet to see firsthand another example of how we can use modern technology to help Colorado’s agriculture industry,” Gardner said. “As a member of the Aviation Subcommittee in the Senate, I’ve been working to advance legislation that will integrate Unmanned Aerial Systems into our airspace so they can be used in a variety of ways, including agriculture. Additionally, I’ve been a proud supporter of the Agricultural Research Service and the work being done throughout Colorado to improve crop production while conserving water.”

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08-07-17 US Senator Bennet Introduces Legislation to Expand Opportunity in Coal Communities

US Senator Bennet Introduces Legislation to Expand Opportunity in Coal Communities

Coal Community Empowerment Act Would Provide Incentives for Investment, Job Creation, and Training in Coal Communities

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet last week introduced legislation to spur investment, workforce training, economic growth, and job creation in rural coal communities in Colorado and across the United States.

“Colorado’s coal communities have been hit hard economically by a long-term decline in coal demand that has accelerated over the last decade,” Bennet said. “This legislation would help these communities by spurring investment, job creation, and economic growth through tax cuts and support for high-quality worker training. We have an obligation to provide our coal communities with the support they need to implement the strategies they’ve developed, so they can thrive again in today’s economy.”

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08-07-17 CSU SEA Extension: “Rabies on the Rise”

CSU SEA Ext Says...logoCSU SEA Extension: Rabies on the Rise

Last  week the Colorado Department of Agriculture Animal Health
Division sent out a release indicating that the number of reported rabies cases
in Colorado was on the rise in 2017.

So far in 2017, 93 animals have tested positive. Sixty of those animals are
known to have exposed domestic pets, livestock, and humans. Early in the
summer (March, April, and May), skunks were the primary source of positive
labs tests. Since that time (May, June, and July) bats have taken the lead in
positive test results. Other wildlife (coyotes, foxes, etc.) are scattered
throughout the year. As would probably be expected the domestic animals,
specifically dogs, show a spike in positive test that correlates with the spike in
skunk positive test results. Continue reading

08-08-17 US Dept of Interior Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke Statement on Sage Grouse Report

US Dept of Interior Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke Statement on Sage Grouse Report

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke received a report from the Department of the Interior Sage-Grouse Review Team (DOI Team) regarding possible plan and policy modifications to complement state efforts to improve Greater Sage-Grouse conservation and economic development on public lands. The report is the final product required by Secretarial Order 3353 “Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation and Cooperation with Western States” issued June 7, 2017. The report, the cover letter from the Bureau of Land Management to the Secretary, and the memo from Secretary Zinke to Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt are available here.

“I’m thankful to all of the DOI team members as well as the bureau staff and the state partners who put in the hard work and time to develop this report,” said Secretary Zinke. “I’ve directed Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt to begin implementation of the recommendations and to direct the Bureau of Land Management, in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other offices in the Department, to immediately follow through on the short- and long-term recommendations.” Continue reading

08-07-17 National Young Farmers Coalition to testify before new Colorado Young and Beginning Farmer Interim Study Committee

National Young Farmers Coalition to testify before new Colorado Young and Beginning Farmer Interim Study Committee

Will advocate for stronger state policies supporting young farmers, especially regarding land succession and farmland conservation

DURANGO, CO (August 7, 2017) – The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), the only national advocacy organization focused solely on the needs of young and beginning farmers and ranchers, which has four chapters in Colorado, will testify before the first-ever Colorado Young and Beginning Farmer Interim Study Committee on Thursday, August 10, 9 a.m., Room 357, State Capitol Building, 200 East Colfax Avenue, Denver.

The committee was approved by the General Assembly in May upon a request submitted by state Senator Kerry Donovan. The committee will study how state policy can better assist beginning farmers and ranchers, while also helping to protect working landscapes, enhance climate resiliency, promote innovation, and sustain rural communities and economies.

“This is a great opportunity for the Interim Committee to step up on behalf of young farmers and ranchers in Colorado and guide the General Assembly to smart policy solutions,” said Kate Greenberg, NYFC Western Program Director. “With two-thirds of Colorado’s farmland ready to transition, we need more young people who are willing to work the land, steward natural resources, and feed our communities.”

Greenberg noted that the challenges facing young farmers today are unlike those met by previous generations. Barriers like lack of access to affordable land, student loan debt, and an increasingly unpredictable climate now stand in the way of young people who have the drive, skill, and passion to farm. (Read more at www.youngfarmers.org.)

“We need more young farmers, plain and simple,” said farmer Chad Franke, who operates Franke Farms, a hog operation in Roggen, CO. “As a young farmer, a member of the National Young Farmers Coalition, vice president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, and treasurer of the Colorado Pork Producers Council, I understand how important it is for policy makers to advocate on behalf of family farmers, both multigenerational farmers like me, and those farmers starting from scratch.” Continue reading

08-07-17 CLA Member Frasier Farms Hosts EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

CLA Member Frasier Farms Hosts EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

Administrator Pruitt discusses repeal of WOTUS with Colorado livestock producers

Greeley, CO –On Thursday, Mark Frasier, CLA Past President, hosted Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator at his family’s ranch a few miles south of Last Chance, Colorado. Pruitt and his senior counsel, Sarah Greenwalt, and others met with livestock producers representing beef, dairy and swine producers in Eastern Colorado. Several Colorado agriculture stakeholders were also in attendance, including; Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, Don Brown; Morgan County Commissioner, Laura Teague; and representatives from Colorado ag organizations. The focus of the discussion was on the repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

“Administrator Pruitt was genuinely interested to listen to producers concerns regarding WOTUS and see how regulation impacts the people who manage natural resources, those of us with boots on the ground,” says Mark Frasier, Frasier Farms. “It is refreshing to welcome an administration who appreciates the need for clarity in rulemaking; we look forward to a re-write of the WOTUS rule that can be supported equally by regulators and the regulated community.” Following a discussion and question and answer session Frasier gave a tour of the ranch and discussed with him Colorado livestock producer’s concerns.

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08-05-17 USDA and SCORE Launch Innovative Mentorship Effort to Support New Farmers and Ranchers

USDA and SCORE Launch Innovative Mentorship Effort to Support New Farmers and Ranchers

DES MOINES, Iowa, Aug. 5, 2017 – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with officials from SCORE, the nation’s largest volunteer network of expert business mentors, to support new and beginning farmers. Today’s agreement provides new help resources for beginning ranchers, veterans, women, socially disadvantaged Americans and others, providing new tools to help them both grow and thrive in agri-business.

“Shepherding one generation to the next is our responsibility. We want to help new farmers, veterans, and people transitioning from other industries to agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue. “They need land, equipment, and access to capital, but they also need advice and guidance. That’s what SCORE is all about.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Regional StrikeTeam Coordinator Sharon Nance and Espanola, NM organic farmer Don Bustos talk about the benefits of the USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 7th

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, August 7th

Immigration Bill Won’t Affect Temporary Workers

The sponsor of an immigration bill suspected to reduce the agriculture labor force in the U.S. says his legislation will not impact temporary workers, which are often used in agriculture production. Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue wrote colleagues last week after concerns were raised about how the bill would impact farm workers. Referring to comments by Senate Republican Lindsay Graham, that the proposal would hurt his state’s agriculture and tourism industries, Perdue said: “What we’re focused on in this bill is permanent legal immigration — green cards only,” according to the Hagstrom Report. Because of that, Senator Perdue says the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy, or RAISE Act, would not affect programs that bring farm workers into the United States on a temporary basis.

EPA to Reject Ethanol Rules Change

The Environmental Protection Agency will reject proposed changes to the point of obligation for complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard away from refiners. Politico reports that a Trump administration official said the EPA would reject the proposal by billionaire Carl Icahn (Eye’-kahn), a key Trump supporter. EPA plans to formally announce the decision within the next two weeks and “President Trump supports the EPA’s decision.” Politico says that Icahn, refining giant Valero and smaller refiners argued that purchasing compliance credits, called Renewable Identification Numbers, squeezed their bottom lines and, in some cases, threatened to put them out of business. Icahn’s CVR lost $19 million in the second quarter of this year after guessing incorrectly that the administration would make the policy change.

Cuba, Houston, Sign Port Agreement

The Port Authority of Houston, Texas and its counterpart in Cuba have signed an agreement of “friendship and commercial cooperation.” The agreement between the two launches an opportunity to “continue trade in agricultural products between the U.S. and Cuba,” according to the Houston Port Authority. The PanAm Post reports that the agreement seeks to facilitate and promote trade, generate new business and foster a “closer” bilateral relationship between the two nations. The agreement also provides for the exchange of studies and information to improve and increase market research, joint marketing activities, training and technological exchange.  A port official from Cuba commented on the agreement that “Texas is a state that is rich in agricultural, livestock, industrial development,” adding that Cuba is interested in negotiating and developing a prosperous commercial exchange. The agreement is the eighth signed by Cuba with United States ports, other of which are in Florida and Virginia.

Monsanto Addresses Dicamba Issues in Open Letter

In an open letter to customers, Monsanto says the company is committed to supporting farmers at every stage of the growing season. Monsanto, the maker of the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend crop system that includes the dicamba herbicide formulation XtendiMax, responded in the letter to complaints of dicamba drift injury to non-tolerant crops. Monsanto says that many farmers are “experiencing tremendous success” with the crop system, but adds that they are hearing the reports of leaf cupping in nearby soybean fields, which could be attributable to dicamba. The company says it is “taking these reports extremely seriously.” Monsanto has taken action and has a report line available to report any symptoms of dicamba drift at 1-844-RRXTEND. Monsanto says it has also deployed scientists from The Climate Corporation to review weather data and how it may have affected applications. Finally, the open letter penned by Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer Rob Fraley says the company will continue to expand outreach and training efforts going into 2018.

Cargill Purchases Southern States Cooperative Animal Feed Business

Cargill has reached an agreement to acquire the animal feed business of Southern States Cooperative. Withholding terms of the deal, Cargill released a statement last week saying it expects the transaction to close within 90 days. Cargill says the transaction will better serve its customers in the United States and is part of the company’s Feed and Nutrition’s growth strategy. Under the agreement, Cargill will purchase the assets of Southern States Cooperative’s animal feed business, including seven feed mills and a portfolio of products, brands and customer and supplier relationships. The other segments of Southern States Cooperative’s business – retail, farm supply, energy, and agronomy – are not part of the transaction.

Global Food Prices Hit Three-year High

Global food prices reached a three-year high in July, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The FAO Food Price Index in July averaged 179.1 points in July 2017, up 2.3 percent from June and the third successive month of increases. The report says a combination of supply constraints and currency movements provided support to prices of most cereals, sugar and dairy. Instead, meat values remained steady month-on-month, whereas the Vegetable Oil Index edged down. The latest rise put the Index nearly 10.2 percent above last year’s level and at its highest since January 2015. The Cereal Price Index averaged 162.2 points in July, up almost eight points from June. The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 160.4 points in July, down 1.8 points from June and marking the lowest level since August 2016. The Dairy Price Index averaged 216.6 points in July, up 7.6 points from June and 74.3 points, or 52 percent, above its value in July 2016. Despite this latest increase, the Index is still 21 percent below its peak reached in February 2014. The Meat Price Index averaged 175.1 points in July, virtually unchanged from June, and the Sugar Price Index averaged 207.5 points in July.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service