09-08-17 NFU Beginning Farmer Institute Holds First Learning Session in Washington, D.C. – 4 from CO

NFU Beginning Farmer Institute Holds First Learning Session in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON – National Farmers Union’s (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) convened today in Washington, D.C., for the first of three learning sessions that will take place during the next year. Twenty beginning farmers, representing demographical, geographical and production diversity in agriculture, traveled to the nation’s capital for the two-day session.

“Aging demographics in agriculture is one of our nation’s great challenges, and it underscores the importance of programs like BFI,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “NFU’s Beginning Farmer Institute provides the next generation of family farmers and leaders in agriculture with the opportunity to learn from industry experts, leaders, policymakers, and one another. The program builds on our organization’s commitment to developing leaders in the next generation of family agriculture and celebrating the diversity in agriculture production today.”

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09-08-17 CSU Extension Offers Energy Kits for Schools, Homes, and Others

CSU Extension Offers Energy Kits for Schools, Homes, and Others

GREELEY, COLORADO. Teaching energy in schools is required by state standards, but
teachers don’t always have access to materials to make lessons hands-on and engaging.
Residents can benefit from identifying energy inefficiencies in the home and taking action to save energy and money. Youth and adults alike often don’t understand how energy works. To address these issues, Colorado State University Extension offices have now been equipped with One-Stop-Shop energy kits for use by a variety of community members. Continue reading

09-08-17 USDA NASS 2017 County Cash Rents

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USDA NASS 2017 County Cash Rents

County-level estimates for 2017 cash rents for irrigated and non-irrigated cropland and pastureland are now available,
according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The estimates, based primarily on surveys conducted
with farmers and ranchers, can be accessed using the QuickStats online database, found here:
Find other agricultural statistics for your county, State, and the Nation at http://www.nass.usda.gov/. For state specific questions
please contact:

Arizona – Dave DeWalt 1-800-645-7286 Colorado – William R. Meyer 1-800-392-3202 Montana – Eric Sommer 1-800-835-2612 New Mexico – Longino Bustillos 1-800-530-8810 Utah – John Hilton 1-800-747-8522 Wyoming – Rhonda Brandt 1-800-892-1660

09-08-17 Bennet, Bipartisan Senators Urge Congress to Pass Wildfire Funding Fix in Any Future Disaster Aid

Bennet, Bipartisan Senators Urge Congress to Pass Wildfire Funding Fix in Any Future Disaster Aid

Denver, CO – With fires blazing across the West, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and a bipartisan group of senators urged Senate Leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer to include a wildfire funding fix in any future disaster aid legislation that passes through Congress.

This week, Congress passed a bipartisan funding bill that helps with the cost of fighting the wildfires across western states this summer. However, the funding bill did not fix the long-term problem of consistently underfunding fire suppression, which currently forces federal agencies like the U.S. Forest Service to steal funds from fire prevention and other non-fire programs to fight fires, so-called “fire borrowing.” Continue reading

09-08-17 2017 Colorado Governor’s Service Award winners announced

2017 Governor’s Service Award winners announced

DENVER — Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 — Today the 2017 Governor’s Service Award winners were announced. The awards are presented in recognition and appreciation to individuals, community/civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, SeniorCorps volunteers, and AmeriCorps members that have positively impacted Colorado communities through their service and volunteerism.

The Governor’s Service Awards are presented by Serve Colorado, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service. Serve Colorado promotes community service throughout the state to build a culture of citizenship, service, and individual responsibility.

Colorado Governors, current and past, recognize the importance of all Coloradans in solving statewide issues, and for the past 20 years have honored volunteers who have made profound change in their communities.

Honorees: Continue reading

09-08-17 CPW Commission unanimously approves Northern Water Fish and Wildlife Mitigation and Enhancement Plan

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously approves Northern Water Fish and Wildlife Mitigation and Enhancement Plan

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission has unanimously approved the Fish and Wildlife Mitigation and Enhancement Plan submitted by Northern Water for the Northern Integrated Supply Project on the Poudre River in Northeast Colorado. This plan is designed to address the impacts to fish and wildlife due to the development and water diversion associated with NISP.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) staff has been talking with Northern Water about the concept of this project for the last decade. Northern Water, CPW and the Department of Natural Resources have been discussing the Fish and Wildlife Mitigation and Enhancement Plan project in earnest since October 2015. Following more than two years of discussions, Northern Water presented and released a public draft of the Plan at the June Commission meeting. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 8th

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 Friday, September 8th

House Debates Ag Spending Bills as Fiscal Battle Looms

House lawmakers began debating bills on Wednesday to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Politico’s Morning Ag Report says the funding would be for all of the fiscal year 2018 and be part of a package of eight government spending bills. The ag appropriations bill would set aside $20 billion in discretionary funding for the USDA and FDA. That’s $1.1 billion lower than last year but still over $4 billion more than President Trump requested in his budget. By voice vote, the House adopted more than a dozen amendments to their ag appropriations bill. Most of the amendments would increase spending on certain USDA programs. One amendment would reverse proposed cuts to the Natural Resources Conservation service and actually increase funding by $5.6 million. Another amendment would restore almost a half million dollars to the USDA loan program to address rural broadband infrastructure. The ag appropriations bill is part of a larger package that includes controversial funding ideas for other departments. That means the Senate, which would need to have Democratic votes, likely won’t agree to what the House is expected to advance.


White House Suspends Discussions on Ending KORUS

White House officials have temporarily halted discussions on the possibility of terminating a free trade agreement with South Korea. A senior White House official told Reuters on Wednesday night that the deal could still be terminated but there were no immediate plans to do so. President Trump had been talking with his senior advisers about the possibility of withdrawing from the free trade agreement because of concerns that it’s tilted in favor of South Korea. However, Trump also needs help from South Korea as he tries to end a crisis regarding North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs after a sixth North Korean missile test this week. Reuters says there are Trump advisers urging the president to stick with the deal and avoid straining relations with a key ally in Asia. The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as KORUS, was negotiated by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. KORUS has been a frequent target of Trump’s, noting that America runs a $28 billion trade deficit with South Korea.


Vietnam to Resume Importing U.S. DDGs

The Vietnamese government informed the U.S. government that it will resume imports of dried distiller’s grains. Vietnam suspended imports of DDGs in December of last year after reports of detecting quarantined pests in U.S. shipments. Before the suspension went into effect, Vietnam was the third-largest export market for U.S. dried distiller’s grains, with exports valued at more than $230 million in 2016. Between 2007 and 2016, U.S. DDG exports grew from $392 million to $2.16 billion around the world. U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue called this great news for American agriculture. “I’m pleased that U.S. exporters will once again be able to ship DDGs to Vietnam, which is one of the fastest growing markets for U.S. agriculture,” Perdue says. “Expanding markets around the world can only help American agriculture.” The DDG ban was one of several topics addressed during the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s visit to Washington, D.C. back in May of this year. The U.S. government is continuing to work with Vietnamese leaders on a number of other high priority agricultural issues.


U.S. Cropland Value Holds Steady

The USDA’s 2017 Land Values Summary shows that the average acre of American cropland is worth $4,090. That’s unchanged from last year and the third-highest in history. Pastureland values increased by $20 from last year to a national average of $1,350. That’s the highest value for pastureland USDA has ever recorded. The Southern Plains states of Texas and Oklahoma saw the biggest increase in their cropland values, which went six percent higher. The Northern Plains states of Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas dropped 4.4 percent in value from last year. Over half the states with irrigated cropland saw the values increase. Texas saw its irrigated cropland value jump more than seven percent from last year, followed by a six percent jump in Louisiana. Kansas and Nebraska irrigated cropland fell five percent in value from last year. Pastureland values in the Delta Region, including Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, saw the biggest jump of three percent from 2016. The Corn Belt saw the biggest decrease in pastureland value of 1.7 percent from last year.


Florida Farmers Brace for Irma

Hurricane Irma is threatening havoc in Floria farmlands. Bloomberg says the hurricane is threatening a negative impact on $1.2 billion dollars worth of production in America’s number one grower of tomatoes, oranges, green beans, cucumbers, squash, and sugarcane. Florida has a huge influence on the American food supply as the number two producer grower, second only to California. Almost 10 percent of America’s farmland that’s dedicated to fruit and vegetable production is found in Florida. The storm threat is pushing orange juice futures and domestic sugar prices higher. Reggie Brown is executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange and a grower too. He says there’s never a good time for a hurricane, but now is better than late October or early November. “Oranges may be able to better withstand the high winds than later in the season because they aren’t full size,” says Dean Mixon, President of Mixon Fruit Farms in Bradenton, “and lighter fruit could resist being blown off trees,” Stil, there will be damage and it will take time to recover. Mixon says his operation took two years to fully recover from Hurricane Donna in 1960.


Farm to School Bill Introduced

Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, and ranking member Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, reintroduced the Farm to School Act to expand the Farm to School Grant Program. The program promotes the use of home-state agriculture products in school cafeterias. The bill would increase school eligibility and reduce barriers for farmers to participate. It also would allow broader use of agriculture and aquaculture products, and it would restrict the amount of program funding that can be used for administrative costs. Cochran says, “School children across the country can have greater access to locally-grown meat, fish, and produce, which can be particularly beneficial for students in underserved and rural areas.” The bill also raises the program’s authorization total from $5 million to $15 million and increase the maximum grant award to $200,000. The bill has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee, which both Cochran and Leahy are members of.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service