11-27-17 CSU Offers Free Solar Assessments for Animal Feeding Operations

Colorado State University Offers Free Solar Assessments for Animal Feeding Operations

November 27, 2017 – Ft Collins, CO – Colorado State University’s Rural Energy Center is offering free solar energy assessments for Colorado animal feeding operations. The assessments will provide feedlots and diversified farms that include livestock with estimated system sizes, costs, savings, and other information needed to decide whether investing in a solar array is a sound investment. Solar systems could be installed on buildings, open space, or even as shade structures over open feedlots. The solar arrays to be evaluated would be tied into the grid and used to offset the electricity costs of pumping water, lighting, ventilation, or other agricultural uses. Continue reading

11-27-17 NRCS-CO: “The Soil Revolution – Digging Deeper” in Longmont on Dec 14th – RSVP TODAY!

NRCS-CO: “The Soil Revolution – Digging Deeper” in Longmont on Dec 14th – RSVP TODAY!

(The BARN – Briggsdale, CO) November 27, 2017 – Coming up on December 14th at the Plaza Convention Center in Longmont, NRCS Colorado, is hosting a workshop themed, “The Soil Revolution: Digging Deeper.” Joining the CO Ag News Network to discuss that event in more detail is Sylvia Hickenlooper, Soil Conservationist, and Clark Harshbarger, Soil Health Specialist from the USDA-NRCS Longmont Field Office…

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CLICK HERE to learn more and to get registered

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, November 27th

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, November 27th

EPA Maintains RFS Point of Obligation Requirement

The Environmental Protection Agency decided Wednesday to maintain the Renewable Fuels Standard Point of Obligation. A Farm Futures Dot Com report notes that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt followed through on a promise to a group of Midwest senators that he would deny a petition from oil refiners to change the point of obligation. He followed through on Wednesday when the Federal Register noted that the petition had been denied. Petitioners had claimed that changing the point of obligation would result in an increase in the production, distribution, and use of renewable fuels in the U.S. and would reduce the cost of fuel for consumers. An EPA news release says the agency doesn’t believe that the petitioners proved that changing the point of obligation would be beneficial. The EPA says, “While we do not anticipate a benefit from changing the point of obligation, we do believe that such a change would significantly increase the complexity of the RFS program, which could negatively impact its effectivness.” POET CEO Jeff Broin says, “I applaud the President and EPA for standing up to the special interest groups within the oil industry who seek to undermine American-made biofuels.”

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Some Corn Belt Farmland Values are Stabilizing

Although it’s not region-wide, there are some signs that farmland values in the Corn Belt have begun to stabilize. A Top Producer report says Iowa farmland values rose two percent in the six months prior to September. Those same values are also three percent higher than at the same time last year. The Iowa Chapter of Realtors Land institute survey says that’s the first increase in three years. Other Corn Belt states are showing steady to slightly lower values over the same time period. The report notes that the run-up in farmland value started in Iowa and then spread to other states. The downturn over the last couple years also began in Iowa and spread to the other states. The overall volume of properties currently for sale remains tight, which the report says tends to be supportive for the higher-quality land for sale. The number of farmland properties for sale typically rises in the winter. However, if the overall volume stays low, that may actually help values in other states, especially in the Corn Belt, begin to follow Iowa’s lead and stabilize further.  

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Grassley, Ag State Senators Maintain Push for NAFTA

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley remains optimistic that the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations will come to a conclusion that benefits agriculture. The Gazette Dot Com said Grassley’s optimism remains in spite of the hard-line taken by the Trump administration in the negotiations. Grassley and other ag-state senators have been continually pushing for the trilateral agreement to continue. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says NAFTA supports 138,000 jobs and $5.3 billion in exports from Grassley’s home state. At a recent appearance in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Grassley noted that he expects the hard-line negotiations from the Trump administration to continue, but he also says, “surely they’re not going to let this thing fall through.” Grassley says he, fellow Iowa senator Joni Ernst, and Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts of Kansas have all been continuing to push for the agreement in meetings with several key Trump advisers. He’s had three or four meetings with trade adviser Pete Navarro, two or three with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with Grassley for 45 minutes.

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South Korea Minister Says No Concessions in Farm-Sector KORUS Discussions

The South Korean trade minister says his country will not take a step backward in the upcoming discussions on updating the South Korean – U.S. free trade deal, known as KORUS. The Korean Herald Dot Com says he told reporters that the government is taking a “strong stand on the agriculture sector and will not retreat any further.” This was similar to a comment made by the top Korean negotiator back in October that said the ag sector is a “red line.” The U.S. is looking to narrow the trade deficit it currently faces in trade with South Korea. The trade minister said America is looking to export more goods from the auto and steel industries but did say another option the U.S. may want is to export more farm goods. Over five years after the deal was first ratified, U.S. calls for renegotiation are worrying the South Korean ag sector that it might be undermined as the country is already dealing with product oversupply. A public hearing on November 10 in South Korea was interrupted by farmers demanding the deal be ended. They were upset about a government feasibility study that showed renegotiation would have little impact on the economy, saying it “misrepresented the local ag economy.”

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H-2A Minimum Wage for Guest Workers Likely to Rise in Several States

The minimum wage for H-2A guest workers is likely to rise in several states during 2018. The National Ag Statistics Service surveys the prevailing wages of field and livestock workers in different regions across the country. The NASS calculations are normally adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor in December as the Adverse Effect Wage Rates for the coming year. The AEWR is above state minimum wages and is intended to prevent domestic wages from being impacted by an influx of foreign workers. For example, the new minimum wage for H-2A visa guest workers in Washington and Oregon will likely rise over five percent to $14.12 per hour. While the wage is higher, the region ranking slips from the highest minimum wage to the second-highest in the nation. Hawaii is number one at $14.37 per hour. California’s wage is projected to rise almost five percent to $13.18. Idaho and Wyoming will likely drop three cents to $11.63. Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina are the top three states in the U.S. in terms of the overall number of H-2A guest workers, with Washington and California rounding out the top five states.

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John Deere Sales and Income Numbers Climb

Improving farm and construction equipment markets contributed to higher sales and income numbers for the fourth quarter and full year for John Deere. The company’s performance benefitted from advanced products and a flexible cost structure. John Deere’s 2018 income forecast calls for a net income of $2.8 billion. Net income for Deere and Company was just over $510 million, or $1.57 per share, for the fourth quarter ending on October 29. By way of comparison, 2016 fourth-quarter income attributable to Deere and Company was $285.3 million, or 90 cents per share. The Fiscal year 2017 income totaled $2.159 billion, or $6.68 per share. That compares to $1.54 billion, or $4.81 per share, last year. Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 23 percent for the fourth quarter, as well as 12 percent for the full year. Samuel R. Allen, John Deer Chair and CEO says the year’s sales and earnings were the fifth-highest in company history. “John Deere has completed another successful year as markets for farm and construction equipment showed improvements, while our actions to build a more durable business model yielded stronger results,” he adds.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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