11-29-17 USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on President’s “Bring Back Main Street” Message

Secretary Perdue Statement on President’s “Bring Back Main Street” Message

(Washington, D.C., November 29, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today echoed President Donald J. Trump’s message that tax cuts and reforms are needed to increase American prosperity. The president delivered remarks with a “Bring Back Main Street” theme in St. Charles, Missouri, highlighting the need for tax relief to boost the economy, particularly in the heartland. Perdue issued the following statement:

“The people of agriculture I’ve met across America want very much to be able to keep more of what they earn to reinvest in their families and livelihoods. Most farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers operate as small businesses, which means they must watch their bottom lines. Just like shop owners on Main Street, USA, American farmers need to turn a profit so they can grow their operations, create jobs, and feed their families. Too much time, effort, and expense has gone into complying with the onerous tax code and people need relief. As Congress works towards a final package of tax cuts and reforms, I am hopeful that we can get this done to benefit agriculture and the entire American economy.” Continue reading

11-29-17 Colorado Producers Reminded of Approaching Deadline to Submit Ballots for Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections

Colorado Producers Reminded of Approaching Deadline to Submit Ballots for Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections

(Denver, CO) Nov. 29, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Colorado Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Clarice Navarro, today reminded farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that FSA county committee elections began Nov. 6, with the mailing of ballots. Eligible voters must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 4, 2017, to ensure that their vote is counted. Producers who have not received their ballot should pick one up at their local FSA office.

“Producers only have a few more days until that Dec. 4 deadline,” said Navarro.

“I urge all eligible farmers and ranchers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year’s elections. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.” Continue reading

11-29-17 Current Tax Reform Plan Disadvantages Family Farmers and Ranchers, NFU Says

Current Tax Reform Plan Disadvantages Family Farmers and Ranchers, NFU Says

Organization Urges “NO” Vote, Will Score the Vote

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. Senate readies to vote on a major overhaul of the nation’s tax system, National Farmers Union (NFU) is urging lawmakers to vote against the current plan because it benefits the nation’s largest corporations and wealthiest citizens at the expense of family farmers, ranchers, and the middle class.

The family farm organization sent a letter to members of the Senate today, highlighting the detrimental impacts of the legislation. NFU is concerned with the massive, $1.4 trillion increase to the federal deficit, potential elimination of farm safety net funding, worsened quality and affordability of health care for rural Americans, and several provisions important to running a family farm operation.

112917 Senate Tax Reform Plan

Continue reading

11-29-17 Dairy Leaders Commend USDA for Expanding School Milk Options

Dairy Leaders Commend USDA for Expanding School Milk Options

Washington, D.C. – The nation’s two leading dairy organizations applauded Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday for allowing school districts to offer low-fat (1%) flavored milk as part of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. An interim final rule implementing the regulatory changes needed to reinstate low-fat flavored milk in schools was announced today on the Federal Register site and goes into effect for the 2018-2019 school year. Continue reading

11-29-17 CSU Extension: Colorado Tree Coalition

CSU Extension: Colorado Tree Coalition

Written by Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Program Associate

The Trees Across Colorado (TAC) a program that is supported by the Colorado Tree Coalition (CTC). The Colorado Tree Coalition is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization leading statewide efforts to preserve, renew and enhance community forests according to Karen Duez, website manager of the CTC. Here is a brief list of all the programs supported by Colorado Tree Coalition besides Trees Across Colorado by CTC:

  • Reforest Colorado
  • Select Tree Evaluation Program
  • 5th Grade Poster Contest

This year CTC has awarded nearly $35,000 in grants to eleven Colorado communities and organizations to help fund the planting of 500 new community trees. The CTC has partners to help insure their success. These partners are Colorado State Forest Service which gives technical and financial support and United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service which assists with the CTC grant program.

The deadline for any grant for 2018 is December 4, 2017. The grant projects can add or replace trees to parks, trails, schools and downtown areas. Unfortunately, I acquired this information before the Thanksgiving Holiday leaving less time to apply. But if any community is interested please go onto the following link:
http://coloradotrees.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/CTC-Grant-Cover-Letter-2016.pdf. Continue reading

11-29-17 USDA Publishes School Meals Rule, Expands Options, Eases Challenges

USDA Publishes School Meals Rule, Expands Options, Eases Challenges

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today provided local food service professionals the flexibility they need to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals in schools across the nation. The new School Meal Flexibility Rule, published today, makes targeted changes to standards for meals provided under USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, and asks customers to share their thoughts on those changes with the Department.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the rule reflects USDA’s commitment, made in a May proclamation (PDF, 123 KB), to work with program operators, school nutrition professionals, industry, and other stakeholders to develop forward-thinking strategies to ensure school nutrition standards are both healthful and practical.

“Schools need flexibility in menu planning so they can serve nutritious and appealing meals,” Perdue said. “Based on the feedback we’ve gotten from students, schools, and food service professionals in local schools across America, it’s clear that many still face challenges incorporating some of the meal pattern requirements. Schools want to offer food that students actually want to eat. It doesn’t do any good to serve nutritious meals if they wind up in the trash can. These flexibilities give schools the local control they need to provide nutritious meals that school children find appetizing.” Continue reading

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Canada Group Issues Report on Trade Without NAFTA

A Canada-based financial group outlines trade without the North American Free Trade Agreement in a new report called “The Day After NAFTA.” BMO Financial Group of Montreal published the report that says the Canadian food and beverage industry would be highly vulnerable without NAFTA, and that Canadian and U.S. crop producers would face a moderate level of vulnerability. Specifically,  Canadian food and beverage producers would face among the highest U.S. tariffs of all industries post-NAFTA, according to the Hagstrom Report. For beverage and tobacco exports to the U.S., Canada could see tariff rates approach 20 percent. Food exports would see U.S. tariffs return to around 4.5 percent, far lower than vice tariffs, but still the third-highest of all industries. However, the report points out that less than 20 percent of Canadian crop products are sold into the U.S. marketplace, which would limit the impact on industry costs and profitability. Meanwhile, U.S. crop producers would also be affected, as the report says they would face tariffs averaging nearly four percent on exports to Canada and a lofty 11 percent on exports to Mexico.

Eliminating Poultry Trade Barriers Part of NAFTA Negotiation Objectives

New items added to the list of negotiation objectives include eliminating Canadian tariffs on U.S. poultry as part of the next round of North American Free Trade Agreement talks. The next round of negotiations, scheduled for next month in Washington, D.C., will include the new objectives by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. Lighthizer recently updated the objectives list to include the elimination of all remaining Canadian tariffs on imports of U.S. dairy, poultry and egg products, along with the elimination of “discriminatory barriers and unjustified technical barriers,” including those affecting U.S. grain and alcohol beverages, among other objectives. However, Lighthizer issued a statement last week that said he was “concerned about the lack of headway” in NAFTA talks.

2017 Census of Agriculture Gets Underway

The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is mailing the 2017 Census of Agriculture to the nation’s producers this week. Conducted once every five years, the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. Data collected in the census is used by farmers, trade associations, researchers, policymakers and others to help make decisions in community planning, farm assistance programs, farm advocacy and rural development, according to USDA. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the census “gives every producer the opportunity to be represented.” The census will be mailed in several phases through December. Farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017 are included in the census. The census response deadline is February 5th, 2018 and responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law.

Biodiesel Industry Lobbying for Tax Credit

Nearly 100 members of the National Biodiesel Board are on Capitol Hill this week encouraging lawmakers to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit, which expired in December 2016. As part of an annual fly-in to the Capitol, NBB members are meeting with lawmakers to support the tax credit to “stabilize the business environment” for the industry, according to NBB CEO Doug Whitehead. They are also sharing results of a new survey conducted with 1,000 registered voters nationwide. The survey found that 82 percent of registered voters support a federal tax incentive. The same percentage of people polled expressed support for a national Renewable Fuel Standard. The visits come as the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release the final RFS volumes this week. Since the July proposal was released, NBB has repeatedly called for growth in the volumes. The July proposal offered up a reduction in advanced biofuels, of which biodiesel fills roughly 90 percent and a flatline of biomass-based diesel.

FSA County Election Deadline Looming

The deadline to return Farm Service Agency county committee election ballots is approaching. The Department of Agriculture says eligible producers must return the ballots to their local FSA office, or be postmarked by December 4th, 2017, to ensure their votes are counted. FSA acting administrator Steve Peterson says approximately 1.5 million producers are eligible to vote in this year’s election, adding that it is “your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.” Eligible voters who have not received a ballot can obtain one from their local FSA office. Nearly 7,700 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year.

EU Grants Glyphosate License Renewal

After two years of dispute, the European Union has extended the license for glyphosate for five years. Representatives from a majority of the EU’s 28 nations approved the five-year license renewal of glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world. The unexpected move unblocked a two-year deadlock after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that glyphosate has the potential to cause cancer in humans, according to a report by Dow Jones. Eighteen countries voted in favor of the renewal, including Spain and the U.K. Nine nations including France voted against it and Portugal abstained. The European Commission is now set to renew the five-year license before December 15th, when the current license expires.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service