09-19-17 NFU Reinforces Need for Trade Agenda Reforms Through NAFTA

NFU Reinforces Need for Trade Agenda Reforms Through NAFTA

WASHINGTON – Ahead of a third round of renegotiation talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), National Farmers Union (NFU) reinforced it’s call for a fair trade agreement framework that benefits American family farmers, ranchers and consumers, and restores American sovereignty on farm and food policy.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, NFU endorsed a series of trade reform recommendations proposed by the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), of which NFU is a member.

“NAFTA has had significant impacts on family farms and rural communities,” wrote NFU President Roger Johnson. “The U.S. has a trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, despite the fact that agricultural trade has usually been a bright spot in America’s ever-growing trade deficit. Agricultural markets and farms have consolidated since NAFTA was agreed to. We urge you to heed the advice of those advocating for the benefits for all consumers and family farmers, rather than corporate profits.”

Johnson highlighted CPA’s proposed changes to NAFTA, including: Continue reading

09-19-17 EPA Awards two $100k contracts to Wheat Ridge and Steamboat Springs companies for innovative environmental technology

EPA Awards two $100k contracts to Wheat Ridge and Steamboat Springs companies for innovative environmental technology

$1.6 Million in awards go to small businesses to support the development of environmental technologies

(Denver, Colo. – Sept. 19, 2017) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $1.6 million in funding for small businesses to develop technologies that will help protect human health and the environment by detecting chemicals in the air, ensuring cleaner water, and creating greener materials.

“EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research program is awarding funding to these small businesses because they have demonstrated the potential to create technologies that will improve our environment and our economy,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These technologies are focused on creating cutting-edge products that can help solve today’s complex environmental problems and enhance economic growth.”

These companies are receiving Phase I contracts from EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which awards contracts annually through a two-phase competition. Companies compete for a Phase I award of $100,000 by submitting research that addresses key environmental issues. After receiving a Phase I award, companies are eligible to compete for a Phase II award of $300,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology.

TDA Research, Inc., of Wheat Ridge, Colorado is awarded funding for an innovative water desalination system for small communities. In many parts of the country groundwater withdrawals exceed what is put back into the ground, causing groundwater-level declines, reductions to the volume of groundwater in storage, and lower stream flows and lake levels. “Development of brackish groundwater and seawater as alternative water sources can help address concerns about the future availability of potable water,” said Girish Srinivas, TDA Partner and Vice president.

Reactive Innovations, based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was also awarded $100,000 to develop an inexpensive hand-held monitor for measuring fugitive methane emissions. Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted after carbon dioxide, however, on a pound-to-pound comparison methane has a 25 times greater impact on climate change than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. According to Dr. Michael C. Kimble, President of Reactive Innovations, “International agencies across the world are developing a global network of sensors to measure greenhouse gas emissions in support of climate change. Reactive’s methane sensors support the US Climate Action Plan to accurately characterize methane emission sources helping to further design mitigation strategies.”

Other SBIR Phase I recipients include: Continue reading

09-19-17 Set Sail for World Dairy Expo®

Set Sail for World Dairy Expo®

Enter today to compete alongside other elite dairy cattle exhibitors during the 2017 World Dairy Expo.
Photo Credit: Nina Linton Photography

MADISON, WIS. – With just two weeks to go before ‘Discovering New Dairy Worlds’ at World Dairy Expo 2017, now is the time for attendees to finalize plans. WDE offers many tools to help dairy enthusiasts make the most of their time at the must-attend event of the global dairy industry.

Expo’s award-winning Trade Show – featuring more than 850 companies – is best navigated with a plan. Interactive maps, available at worlddairyexpo.com, allow attendees to explore the show before and during their visit. Complete with search features for specific companies, products and categories, the interactive maps allow each attendee to create a personalized “Must See” list before the show to download or print, ensuring no stop is forgotten. A list of new products and services highlighted in the Trade Show are also included in Innovation Unveiled, available on the WDE website. Continue reading

09-19-17 RMFU: NFU Fly-In Allows Farmers, Ranchers To Share Their Stories on Capitol Hill

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union members Roger Gonzales, Caleigh Payne, Kathleen Box, and John Ellis visited with Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico during the NFU Fly-in. These farmers and ranchers told stories of how food and farm policies are working to keep farmers and ranchers on the land.

NFU Fly-In Allows Farmers, Ranchers To Share Their Stories on Capitol Hill

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union members from Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming were among the more than 300 farmers and ranchers from across the U.S. who participated in National Farmers Union’s annual September legislative fly-in to Washington, D.C. Continue reading

09-19-17 CDA: Food Safety Resources Available for Colorado Produce Growers

CDA NEW main logo 051414

Food Safety Resources Available for Colorado Produce Growers

BROOMFIELD, Colo.–  Colorado produce growers can benefit from a grant the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) received from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Department has partnered with Colorado State University (CSU) Extension to offer a variety of resources to help farmers comply with the newly implemented Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.
CDA will use the funding to establish a Produce Safety Program to encourage the safe production of fresh fruits and vegetables and to promote compliance with the requirements of FDA’s Produce Safety Rule. The Produce Safety Rule was published as one of several rules under FSMA in November 2015, and the largest farms will need to comply beginning in January 2018. Continue reading

08-02-17 CO Water Institute Director Reagan Waskom details the 2017 South Platte Forum Oct 25-26 in Loveland…

CO Water Institute Director Reagan Waskom details the 2017 South Platte Forum Oct 25-26 in Loveland

(The BARN – Briggsdale, CO) August 2, 2017 – The 2017 South Platte Forum  is set for October 25th & 26th @ the Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO and joining the CO Ag News Network at this time to provide all the details about that event is the Director of the Colorado Water Institute, Reagan Waskom…


Wednesday’s Lineup Announced (09-19-17)

Wednesday, October 25th Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, September 19th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, September 19th

Mexico Considering Protections in NAFTA

A potential counterproposal by Mexico could limit pork leg imports from the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement. As renegotiation efforts continue, Mexico may counter a proposal U.S. trade officials are considering that would give seasonal fruit and vegetable farmers added protection, according to Reuters. The U.S. is considering a proposal to protect certain products by making it easier for U.S. seasonal produce growers to launch anti-dumping cases against Mexico. Pork leg exports from the U.S. to Mexico account for the bulk of exports and are used in some of Mexico’s most popular dishes. Some Mexican agricultural leaders have said that dairy and chicken could also be deemed sensitive, though those products have not been mentioned by those included in the trade talks.

Senators Want Action on Brazil Ethanol Tariff

A group of Midwestern Senators is urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to respond to Brazil’s 20 percent ethanol tariff on imports over 600 million liters, or 158 million gallons. Brazil recently reinstated the tariff that will apply to U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil. In 2016, the U.S. exported 264 million gallons of ethanol to Brazil and is poised for an increase this year as the U.S. is the primary ethanol exporter to Brazil. U.S. ethanol producers called Brazil’s tariff plan “a trade barrier that threatens over $750 million in U.S. exports and American jobs.” Led by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a letter asked Lighthizer to “directly engage the Brazilian government and quickly work to resolve” the issue. The letter included Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, Nebraska Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, Illinois Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, along with Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly.

Lighthizer Presses Taiwan on Ag Trade Barriers

Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer highlighted the need to address trade barriers between the U.S. and Taiwan last week. During a meeting with Thailand’s Minister of Commerce, Lighthizer said Thailand needs to address the “longstanding trade barriers,” including those on U.S. meat and other agriculture exports, according to Politico. Total exports of U.S. agricultural products to Thailand totaled $1.6 billion in 2016, the 15th largest agricultural export market. Overall, the United States is Thailand’s third largest source of imports, after China and Japan. Top U.S. ag exports to Thailand include soybeans, cotton, soybean meal, wheat and dried distillers grains. Lighthizer also highlighted the need for progress on customs, goods, worker rights, and other issues discussed during the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement meeting in July.

Egypt Downplaying Wheat Cargo Denials

The world’s largest wheat buyer is backing away from recent comments regarding poppy seeds found in wheat shipments. Egypt has rejected two cargoes of wheat for import after testing found the shipments were contaminated with poppy seeds that Egypt called “drug-producing.” However, the poppy seeds were found to be of non-opium producing kinds, and Egypt now calls them “not very dangerous,” according to U.S. News and World Report. The comments could avert a trade issue between Egypt and wheat suppliers. Egypt is still considering its options on what the nation will do with the contaminated cargoes. Traders are watching closely, and have said that any rejection could lead them to boycott the nation’s massive tenders. In a similar move last year, Egypt temporarily banned any trace of ergot, a common grain fungus, in cargoes. That move halted the country’s billion-dollar grain trade after suppliers said the zero-tolerance level was impossible to guarantee.

Western Growers Hosting AgSharks Competition Next Month

The Western Growers Association’s Foundation will host a Shark Tank TV-like competition during the Association’s annual meeting next month. The competition, sponsored by Seed 2 Growth Ventures, seeks to identify key innovations in the fresh produce industry. Dubbed AgSharks, the event will offer participants the chance to win investments totaling up to $250,000 to support the development and growth of their businesses. Selected entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas to a panel of experts who will decide on the spot whether and how much to invest. The entrepreneurs must then accept the offer, negotiate or decline. Companies interested in participating in AgSharks at Western Growers Annual Meeting can apply online at www.wga.com. The competition is planned for October 31st.

Retail Meat Prices Slip Lower in August

Consumer prices for meat decline 0.4 percent in August, compared to figures compiled in July. A monthly report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows overall U.S. meat prices for consumers were lower on softer prices for beef roasts and ham. August prices fell 2.1 percent on beef roasts, 1.5 percent on beef steaks and 0.1 percent on ground beef. The decline follows gains of one percent in June and 1.3 percent in July. Bacon went against the downtrend, increasing 3.8 percent in price from July, as did pork chops, with a gain of two percent, according to Meat Industry Publication Meatingplace. Record-high prices on bacon reflect higher wholesale values that were present in the supply chain earlier in the summer. However, those prices have dropped since then.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service