11-03-17 USDA Secretary Perdue Announces FSA and RD State Directors

Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors

FSA-CO: State Representative Clarice Navarro-Ratlaff; RD-CO: Sallie Clark

FSA-WY: Lois Van Mark ; RD-WY: Chad Rupe

(Washington, D.C. November 3, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) State Directors, all serving as appointees of President Donald J. Trump.  FSA State Directors help implement U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies in planning, organizing, and administering FSA programs in their respective states. They are also responsible for running the day-to-day activities of the state FSA office.  Similarly, RD State Directors work to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.

“These state directors will help ensure that USDA is offering the best customer service to our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers across the country,” Secretary Perdue said. “FSA and RD both play a critical role in helping the people of agriculture, and are able to connect with people in their home states.  They are the initial points of contact for millions of our USDA customers.  Our goal is to help rural America prosper, and these state leaders will be of great assistance in that task.”

The following is a list of State Directors Perdue released today: Continue reading

11-02-17 National Western Center Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary of Voter Support for Future Campus

National Western Center Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary of Voter Support for Future Campus

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock, joined by community members and National Western Center founding partners Colorado State University, National Western Stock Show, Denver Museum of Nature & Science and History Colorado, today honored the two-year anniversary of voter approval for Measure 2C. The ceremony recognized the progress by thanking Denver voters for supporting the measure, which provides funding for phases 1 and 2 of the National Western Center master plan. The event included remarks from Swansea resident and Bruce Randolph student freshman Ana Campos.

“Two years ago, Denver residents overwhelmingly said ‘yes’ to the vision of the National Western Center, and today, we begin to realize that vision and deliver on that promise,” Mayor Hancock said. “That vote of confidence, and the phenomenal work of all the campus partners, has led us to this ceremony and the bright future for this campus and this community.” Continue reading

11-03-17 USDA: RMA Announces Awards for Risk Management Education

RMA Announces Awards for Risk Management Education

Farming is a risky business. Natural disasters and extreme weather, like this year’s hurricanes and wildfires, can have immediate and devastating effects on farms, crops and livestock. That’s why it’s critical for producers to better understand those risks and how to properly plan for them.

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) made 76 awards to partner with the agency in the form of cooperative agreements to provide education and training nationwide. The funds are for risk management education and training to assist producers, including limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers. They also target training for new and beginning producers and military veterans returning to farm and ranch.

RMA awarded 52 cooperative agreements under the Risk Management Education Partnerships Program totaling approximately $4.8 million dollars including nine first-time award recipients and ten national projects that involve multiple RMA regions. RMA also awarded 24 cooperative agreements under the Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States Program totaling approximately $5 million dollars.

Funded projects include those that address Crop Insurance 101, Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) Training, Rainfall Index Insurance: Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF)/Annual Forage/Apiculture, Livestock and Dairy Products, Cover Crops, Drought, Irrigation and Limited Irrigation, Record Keeping for Organic Crops, and Prevented Planting.


11-03-17 Second Annual “From Our Lands to Your Hands” Event held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds on November 2nd

Second Annual “From Our Lands to Your Hands” Event held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds on November 2nd

Golden, CO – November 3rd, 2017 – The second annual “From Our Lands to Your Hands” event took place yesterday at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden. This event brought in over 600 elementary students from a number of local Jefferson County schools to learn about agriculture and conservation, and meet local farmers and producers. With less than 2% of the American workforce involved in farming, many urban children are multiple generations removed from their farming ancestors. Events like “From Our Lands to Your Hands” are key to developing a basic knowledge of where every day food and products come from. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 3rd

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, November 3rd

Agriculture Reacts to House Tax Reform Proposal

The House Ways and Means Committee tax overhaul plan released Thursday provides a blueprint for tax reform. The plan is essentially a set of promotional documents, with many details unaccounted for. The documents say the estate tax would be repealed, and that the legislation will lower individual and corporate tax rates. Agriculture groups are reviewing the first draft of the legislation. The American Farm Bureau Federation applauded the introduction, but acknowledged that AFBF staff will be studying the proposal to ensure the plan “reduces the tax burden” on farmers and ranchers. The National Farmers Union opposes the tax plan, while supporting efforts to simplify the tax code. Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the tax plan would “shift the nation’s tax burden from the top earners in our country to the backs of American family farmers, ranchers and the middle class.” The National Biodiesel Board expressed disappointment because the plan does not include an extension of the biodiesel tax incentives. And, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives also expressed opposition to the tax plan, as the organization says eliminating Section 199 “would raise taxes on millions of farmers.”

Clovis Withdraws Name from USDA Nomination

Sam Clovis withdrew his nomination to a Department of Agriculture post Thursday. President Trump nominated Clovis earlier this year to serve as USDA’s undersecretary for research, education and economics, effectively known as the USDA chief scientist position. However, Clovis was recently linked to the investigation into the links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Clovis says in a letter to President Trump that he does “not want to be a distraction or a negative influence.” He cites “relentless assaults” on the Trump administration that “seem to be a blood sport.” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the administration respects his decision to withdraw. Clovis, who was already serving as the senior White House adviser on USDA, added that he will “continue to serve at the pleasure” of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. His nomination faced a tough road as some in the Senate, including Ranking Agriculture Committee member Debbie Stabenow, questioned his qualifications for the USDA post. Stabenow called the withdraw “a victory for science” and farmers who rely on agricultural research.


Two More USDA Nominees Get Senate Ag Hearing

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing for two more Department of Agriculture political nominees next week. Committee leadership announced the hearing for Glen Smith, of Iowa, to be a Member of the Farm Credit Administration Board, and Stephen Vaden (vay-den), of Tennessee, to be USDA General Counsel. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, November 9th, at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. Meanwhile, the nomination of Bill Northey as undersecretary for farm production and conservation remains on hold by Texas Republican Ted Cruz, as Cruz is demanding a meeting with the administration on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Northey’s nomination breezed through the Senate Agriculture Committee last month, along with Greg Ibach (Eye’-baw) as undersecretary of agriculture for marketing and regulatory programs. The Senate confirmed Ibach’s nomination a week ago, and he was sworn in this week be Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.


TPP Nations Nearing final Stretch in Talks

The 11 remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership nations are edging closer to sealing the comprehensive free trade pact. Reuters reports that New Zealand recently agreed to amend some specific laws that are not subject to TPP, but are needed to make a path forward for the agreement. The move brings member countries closer to a victory in support of free trade to be finalized at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next week in Vietnam. Canada though played down the chances of any formal deal next week, citing the need to ensure the provisions in a new TPP would not cause problems for ongoing talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement. TPP aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across an 11-nation coalition whose trade totaled $356.3 billion last year. The deal was worth an estimated $4 billion to U.S. agriculture, annually, before the Trump Administration elected to withdraw the U.S. from the trade agreement.

Cargill Aiming for Birth to Burger Beef Audit

Cargill plans to launch new technology in tracking cattle to develop a verified sustainability standard for consumers. Called the Cargill Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration pilot, the effort should move the company’s customers a step closer to providing consumers with beef from operations that have been audited from ‘birth to burger’ using an industry developed sustainability standard, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. Using RFID tags for cattle, they will be tracked from the time producers tag them, through processing at Cargill’s High River beef plant in Canada. A Cargill spokesperson cited research showing consumers want more information about their food, saying the pilot program will help Cargill implement the standard to provide customers “an increased level of trust in the beef they purchase and eat.”

USDA Invests $2.5 Billion in Rural Electric Infrastructure

The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced $2.5 billion in rural development loans for rural electric infrastructure improvements in 27 states. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the investments will help “develop and maintain modern, reliable electric infrastructure” for rural communities. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association says the investment is “critical to co-ops’ ability to maintain, expand and improve rural electric infrastructure.” One of the largest awards within the announcement goes to a Florida electric cooperative to build 297 miles of electric lines and improve 66 miles of electric lines for $130 million. The loans announced Thursday also include $127 million for smart grid projects. For more information and state-specific projects, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service