BARN Media’s Top 10 Ag News Stories/Events of 2017…

TOP 10 Stories Inside the BARN & Co Ag News Network for 2017…

#1 – 2017 CO State Fair’s Junior Livestock Shows, Championship Drives & Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Sale on Livestream!

#2 – Livestock Marketeers induct three into Hall of Fame

#3 – The 2017 Feeders and Friends Keith Spayd Benefit raises $46,000+!

#4 – Inside the BARN with Eduardo Varona, USDA APHIS State Operations Coordinator…

#5 – Watch the 2017 Colorado FFA State Convention on Livestream – Get Ready to ELEVATE!

#6 – 2017 Colorado Auctioneers Association Auctioneer Championship on Livestream

#7 – CSU Ext: New Tools Allow Coloradans to See Costs and Benefits of Going Solar

#8 – 2017 Midwest Plains Regional Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament in Junction City, KS is on Livestream

#9 – Inside the NACD w/Second VP Michael Crowder

#10 – WDA: Mark Vander Dussen’s Memorial Service

10-20-17 SAVE THE DATE – FARMING EVOLUTION FEBRUARY 13-14, 2018

SAVE THE DATE – FARMING EVOLUTION FEBRUARY 13-14, 2017

*UPDATED – 12-29-17* Make plans now to join farmers and ranchers at the 2018 Farming Evolution event on February 13 & 14, 2018.  The event will be held at the Phillips County Event Center in Holyoke, CO.  Plan to come if you have interest in and questions about no-till, cover crops and grazing livestock on cropland.

Allen Williams.jpgThe headline speaker will be Allen Williams.  Allen specializes in whole farm & ranch planning for a healthy agricultural system.  He has consulted with more than 4200 farmers and ranchers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South America.  He is also a board member of the Grass Fed Exchange.   Allen is featured in the YouTube video series Soil Carbon Cowboys (www.soilcarboncowboys.com).  Continue reading

12-29-17 Make Plans to Attend the ILF2018 International Livestock Forum January 5-6 in Denver, CO

Make Plans to Attend the ILF2018 International Livestock Forum January 5-6 in Denver, CO

Colorado State University Department of Animal Sciences and the National Western Stock Show have partnered together to host the 4th annual International Livestock Forum. The 2018 International Livestock Forum will bring together industry leaders, government professionals, members of academia to discuss domestic and international livestock and food production. Fellows of the 2018 ILF will experience unique tours of some of Colorado’s top agricultural enterprises, behind-the-scenes access to the National Western Stock Show, and a full day of networking and interaction with an impressive lineup of keynote speakers and industry panelists. This is a premiere opportunity to engage in the future of international livestock and food production.

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 29th

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, December 29th

USDA: Global Food Insecurity Has Improved Significantly

As a part of the Global Sustainable Development Goals set in 2015, the United States made a commitment to help end global food insecurity by 2030. America enacted the Global Food Security Act in 2016, which seeks to reduce food insecurity and poverty in a variety of ways, including agricultural growth and a broad commitment to improved nutrition. Improvements in global food security are measured by assessing factors like food availability and food access. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says the percentage of undernourished people in developing countries around the world dropped from 23 percent to 12 percent between 1995 and 2015. The International Food Security Assessment finds that undernourishment has more than halved from 1995 to 2015 in the 76 low-and-middle-income countries that the USDA regularly tracks. Almost 40 percent of the world’s children were stunted and 25 percent were underweight in 1990. That number has dropped to less than 25 percent stunted and less than 15 percent underweight in 2015.

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Cellulosic Ethanol Push Stalls in the Midwest

While advanced biofuels are still thought of as the next generation of renewable fuels, corn-based ethanol still makes up most of the nation’s fuel supply. An Agriculture Dot Com article says, in addition to reducing the carbon footprint for America’s vehicles, bio-based ethanol was supposed to provide jobs to rural communities and give farmers new revenue sources. Ten years’ worth of federal incentives were supposed to encourage investment in cellulosic technologies, but just three plants have been built in the Midwest since 2014. Cellulosic ethanol is much harder to manufacture than grain ethanol because it uses the inedible parts of plants, making it harder for machines to process. Cellulosic companies also faced challenges like finding a steady supply, fluctuating markets, and stalled policy decisions. Of the three major plants in the Midwest, the one in Kansas went up for sale in 2016. DuPont announced in November that it’s looking for a buyer to take over its plant in Nevada, Iowa. That just leaves Project Liberty in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The industry also wasn’t helped by the Environmental Protection Agency, which lowered 2018 the cellulosic ethanol mandate in the Renewable Fuels Standard but not by as much as it initially proposed.

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Petition Circulating to Stop “Mutton-Busting” in Colorado

A petition circulating through Colorado is calling for the National Western Stock Show to end a popular event in its program lineup. The mutton busting competition features kids between 5-7 years old that try to hang on as long as they can while riding on the back of a running sheep. An animal-rights group calls the event cruel and barbaric. An online petition was started by a woman in the United Kingdom and it’s gained 82,000 signatures. “The entire Western Stock Show is a very violent event,” says Aidan Cook, an activist with the group Direct Action Everywhere. Cook is one of 1,200 Colorado residents who’ve signed the petition. “If we strapped children to the backs of terrified dogs and ran them around for our enjoyment, people would be outraged,” Cook says, “and it’s no different to do it to sheep.”  The online petition says the sheep see the child as a “predator,” and the animals often leave the event seriously injured. A statement from the stock show says, “The National Western Stock Show takes animal welfare and safety seriously. Every mutton-busting event has strict rules that are enforced for the safety of both the animals and children.”

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Brazil Beef Exports Returning to the U.S. in 2018

A Drovers article says officials in Brazil are still expecting to resume exporting fresh beef product to the U.S. early next year. The Brazilian Ag Minister spoke at a recent news conference, saying that his country expects beef exports to the U.S. will “resume very soon.” However, the USDA still hasn’t commented on whether or not they will lift its ban on fresh beef from Brazil. It was back in June that the U.S. suspended beef imports from Brazil over safety concerns. That came after the U.S. had previously rejected 1.9 million pounds of Brazilian beef from March to June. Authorities say the rejections came from abscesses on the meat products caused by a bad reaction to the Foot-and-Mouth vaccine. Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter and the country is forecasting exports to grow by 10 percent next year, after going nine percent higher in 2017. The nine percent increase came in spite of a corruption scandal that led to food safety concerns and the temporary loss of export markets around the world. The bullish projections are based, in part, on the U.S. lifting its ban next year, as Brazil is expecting.

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USMEF Concerned About Mexican Beef Grading System

The U.S. Meat Export Federation has filed comments with the Mexican government regarding its concerns about the country’s beef grading standards. A Meating Place Dot Com article says Mexico’s system closely resembles the one used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, using the names “prime,” “choice,” “select,” and “standard.” However, where it’s different is the government’s plan to use the names interchangeably. The USMEF says the plan will create confusion in the beef marketplace and diminish the value that the U.S. beef industry derives from the USDA grading system. Other differences between the Mexican and American systems include marble-scoring and the procedures used to determine carcass grade. Those differences make the interchangeable use of English and Spanish grade names problematic. USMEF says, “Beef carrying any of the Mexican grades will not be comparable to beef that’s been given a parallel USDA grade. This will pose a problem in the marketplace as those grades represent standards that are well known in Mexico and around the world, as they’ve been used many years.” USMEF wants the Mexican grading system, which the government wants to make mandatory, to stay voluntary and for the government to remove the English grade names from their program.

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Orange Juice Stuck in a Rut

The orange juice futures trade is stuck in the biggest rut it’s seen since way back in 1967. The futures closed lower for a record 15th-straight day last Wednesday, with no end in sight. Domestic demand for orange juice has been shrinking for several years. On top of that, add in a declining citrus crop in Florida, the nation’s number-one supplier, and investor interest has also shrunk because fewer people want to use futures to hedge risk. Prices have slumped approximately 17 percent in December. The liquidity drain out of the orange juice futures market is even limiting volatility in price swings. The volatility swings were at their lowest point since November of 2014. The Florida citrus harvest is forecast by the government to hit the lowest point it’s been at in the past 73 years. Surging imports from Mexico and Brazil are making up for the domestic shortfall.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-28-17 RMFU: Workshops Will Provide Tools To Beginning, Expanding Farmers

CLICK HERE to learn more about the RMFU and how you can become a member today!

Workshops Will Provide Tools To Beginning, Expanding Farmers

The Colorado Tourism Office, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Guidestone Colorado are co-hosting Growing Your Farm Business:  Visioning and Scaling Up Workshops in January and February for beginning and expanding farmers and ranchers.  These workshops are in partnership with Local Food Hub organizations: Excelsior Food Hub in Boone,  Valley Roots Food Hub in Mosca, and Southwest Farm Fresh in Mancos and will take place during the following dates and locations:

January 11-12 (Boone, CO) 
January 18-19 (Salida, CO)  
February 2-3 (Cortez,CO)  
Pre-registration is required at http://www.GuidestoneColorado.org.

“This exciting initiative is not only an investment in the next generation of farmers and ranchers but in the future of our state’s agricultural and agritourism economy too,” said Elizabeth O’Rear, Manager of CTO’s Heritage & Agritourism Program. “The Colorado Tourism Office is proud to partner with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Guidestone Colorado and Local Food Hub The organizations to build on the success of existing programs in the State by increasing resources and enhancing opportunities to help Colorado’s newest producers expand their work and more quickly achieve success.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 28th

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 Thursday, December 28th

Farmers Respond to Poll on NAFTA

The bi-monthly Farm Journal Pulse Survey recently asked farmers a simple question: “Do you think the U.S. should withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement?” About one-third of the nearly 900 responses were positive. Producers who voted for getting rid of the agreement did so because they believe the Ag economy would be better off without the trade deal or because they believe the U.S. can negotiate better deals individually with Canada and Mexico. At the other end of the spectrum, 40 percent said no to withdrawing, saying that NAFTA is crucial to U.S. farmers and to maintaining a low-cost food supply. A quarter of the respondents said they’re still not sure if it’s necessary to keep or eliminate the 24-year-old trade pact with Mexico and Canada. The varied responses are similar to the reponses and positions of different ag trade groups, agribusinesses, and associations. While U.S. Trade Representaive Robert Lighthizer is concerned about what he calls a “lack of headway,” trade officials from Canada and Mexico are still moderately optimistic a new NAFTA deal can get done by March of 2018.

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Investment Firms Once Again Purchasing Farmland

Wall Street investment firms are once again putting money into farmland. Institutional investors are buying up farmland as farmers, who would normally be competing for the land, are hanging on to their cash. This investment money can mean different things for local ag communities. Some institutions will purchase land and lease it back to a farmer, who can then continue to operate. Brian Wise, the Director of Acquisitions for U.S. Agriculture of Indiana, says deals like that are standard practice for his company. This is good news for agribusinesses in the area as the farmer’s business relationships with those retailers can stay intact. However, if a farmer’s financial records and position are less than solid, firms often choose to rent to another producer. Investment firms have been known to make very large purchases of land. Denver-based Farmland Partners, Inc., bought more than 8,600 acres of land in Illinois at a cost of $55.3 million. However, firms own less than one percent of the $2.5 trillion land market in the U.S. Farmers or their families own or control 61 percent of the 91 million acres in U.S. farms.

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USDA Issues Alerts on Fradulent Organic Certificates

The USDA Ag Marketing Service is alerting the American organic trade about two new fraudulent organic certificates that are making the rounds. The National Organic Program has received reports about certificates listing two businesses as organic, including Cloud Vaping Industries and the Vietnam Agricultural Biotechnology Joint Stock Company. These certificates falsely represent the businesses as certified organic under the USDA Organic regulations. That is a violation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. It’s possible that the fradulent certificates were created without the business operator’s knowledge or without the certifying agent in the certificate. The posting of the fradulent certificates doesn’t mean the business or certifying agent were involved in any illegal activity. USDA also says the vigilance of the organic community is very vital to ensuring the integrity of the organic seal. Any unethical use of organic certificates in order to market, label, or sell non-organic foods as organic can result in a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation.

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U.S. Soy Losing Ground in Race to Feed Livestock

Compared to other soybean-supplying countries around the world, the protein content of U.S. soybeans is losing ground. A Bloomberg report says the world is eating more meat, poultry, and dairy products than ever, but U.S. farmers may be losing some ground to Brazil in the competition to feed the world’s animals. South America and Europe expanded their soybean sales this year, driving the number of American soybean exports lower. After a wet harvest season, especially in the Midwest, the harvest yielded soybeans with less protein content, a key ingredient that helps those animals build muscle. This year’s protein content was 34.1 percent per bushel, tied with 2008 for the lowest number since USDA began keep track. U.S. exports often have to contend with higher-protein soybeans from Brazil, with Brazilian beans typically around 37 percent. However, the widening gap between U.S. and Brazil soybeans potentially means an erosion in buying demand, especially from China, which is the world’s largest buyer. Brazil’s share of the soybean export market is expected to rise to 43 percent this season while the U.S. share falls to 37 percent.

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Purdue Releases 2018 Ag Economic Sector Forecasts

The Agricultural Economics Department at Purdue University released a 2018 Ag Outlook Report that contained 12 different articles looking at different aspects of the Ag economy. Just some of the aspects covered include cash rents, farmland values, and the price outlook for corn and soybeans. Professor Craig Dobbins says that reducing input costs has been a priority for farmers since 2013, but cash rents are slower to come down than most. Dobbins says that, “Reductions in cash rents have occurred. The cash rent per bushel of corn in 2013 was $1.43. Purdue’s projected cash rent for 2018 is $1.13 a bushel, down 21 percent over the last four years. Professor Chris Hurt says corn farmers have produced record crops three of the past four years. With ending stocks carrying over, 2017 will have one of the lowest average marketing prices in years. Corn acres are expected to decline next year, meaning a possible return to more profitable prices in the next three years. Dr. Hurt says, even with more soybean acres next year, futures markets are suggesting a 2018 price that’s 30 to 40 cents higher than 2017.

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South Korea Importing U.S. Potatoes Again

A South Korean ban on fresh U.S. potatoes is no longer in effect. The ban on Idaho, Washington, and Oregon potatoes began in 2012. The Packer says the ban began because of technical concerns, with the South Korean government putting new regulations in place for exporters shipping potatoes into the country. A quota system in place will cap U.S. exports to South Korea at 3,583 metric tons, but the quota will rise in the future. Potatoes U.S.A. says they’ve received numerous requests for American table-stock potatoes and are excited to finally be able to ship the product to them. While only three states are currently allowed to export potatoes to South Korea, the potato industry is currently working to get access for more states to ship potatoes. The guidelines will be released to the U.S. potato industry in January. National Potato Council CEO John Keeling says, “We thank the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and their Korean counterparts for resolving this issue.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-27-17 Colorado Farm Bureau Wraps Up 2017, Readies for Centennial Celebration

Colorado Farm Bureau Wraps Up 2017, Readies for Centennial Celebration

Denver, Colo. — The Colorado Farm Bureau closed another successful year of protecting the future of agriculture and rural values. Throughout the year, the organization focused on effectively sharing the agricultural story across every platform, outlet and through every event and program. In a year full of change and preparations, the organization has made great strides advocating for its members and furthering their priorities both at the Capitol and beyond.  Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, December 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 Wednesday, December 27th

Cruz Proposal Could Harm Renewable Fuels

Texas Senator Ted Cruz made a recent proposal to cap the cost of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) as a way to control the cost for refiners that blend renewable fuels into the nation’s gasoline supply. A DTN report says capping the cost of RINs at ten cents each would basically all but eliminate the Renewable Fuels Standard mandate for biodiesel and would likely hurt the nation’s ethanol industry. That analysis comes from farmdoc at the University of Illinois. The Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois also says the cap would likely violate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s RFS Waiver Authority as well. Farmdoc says any biodiesel price below $2.64 a gallon would lead to no biodiesel blending, making a ten-cent cap unfeasible. Additionally, a ten-cent cap would be like waiving the biomass-based diesel mandate down to zero and would push the ethanol mandate back down to the E-10 blend wall level. Cruz offered the proposal on behalf of oil refiners, which prompted the ethanol industry to send a letter to the Trump Administration to educate them on how RINs work. RINs are generated when a qualifying renewable fuel is produced domestically or imported. A refinery then buys RINs when it’s not producing or buying enough biofuels to meet its blending obligations.

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Farmland Values Still High Despite Low Commodity Prices

Industry experts are scratching their heads over the relatively high price of farmland while commodity prices are still low. The two factors often have a strong correlation between each other. Farm Futures Dot Com quotes Steve Bruere (Brewer), President of the land-brokerage firm Peoples Co. of Iowa as saying, “Strong farmland values defy logic in a lot of ways.” He says the fact that there aren’t a lot of farms for sale may be at least partially responsible for keeping prices high. As of November, there were only 150 farms for sale in Iowa, which is considered a low number, less than two farms per county. Randy Dickhut, a senior vice president with Farmers National Co., says, “Farmland values have dropped in many areas but not as far as some think they could.” He says it would take a “perfect storm” of circumstances for prices to head lower, including crop insurance adjustments, negative changes to tax policy, and mishandled trade policy opportunities. For now, he says drastically lower prices are not likely to happen anytime soon. “We’ve seen mostly stable prices so far,” Dickhut adds, “and there’s interest in buying land out there with a relatively low supply.” He did say that low commodity prices may continue to apply short-term pressure to land prices.

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Beef and Pork Production Hit Record High Numbers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says domestic red meat, beef, and pork production all hit new monthly highs in November. In fact, for the first 11 months of 2017, red meat production is three percent ahead of last year’s record pace, totaling 47.571 billion pounds so far this year. Year-to-year beef production is four percent higher and pork production is three percent higher than last year. Beef production was at 2.29 billion pounds in November, two percent higher than November of 2016. A three percent increase in November slaughter to 2.761 million head canceled out an 11-pound decrease in the average live-weight to 1,373 per head. November pork production totaled 2.245 billion pounds, a slight increase this year. The November kill decreased one percent to 10.55 million head and the average live-weight was three pounds higher than last year, coming in at 286 pounds. Overall, November red meat production was one percent higher than last year at 4.535 billion pounds.

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Lower Milk Prices in 2018?

As America’s dairy farmers look to 2018, they’re wondering whether or not higher prices are on the horizon. A Dairy Herd Dot Com article says a massive herd, large domestic supply, falling domestic demand, and a strong dollar all show that prices may slip before they improve. Mike North of Commodity Risk Management says there’s a growing supply of product across the board as we enter the time of year when dairy consumption typically drops. North adds, “We’re continuing to make product that’s adding to an already large supply, so there’s a massive collision of increased supply and declining demand.” Scott Brown of the University of Missouri says it’s not just domestic oversupply that’s causing challenges, but global milk supplies are continuing to increase as well. The National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association are looking for creative ways to help stimulate domestic demand for dairy in an attempt to eat through some of the excess supply. “One of the things we’re looking at,” says Michael Dykes of the IDFA, “is can we do something with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to incentivize dairy consumption.”

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Grain Sorghum Is Now an Advanced Biofuel

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding sorghum and advanced biofuels. Growth Energy says the release had to do with the life-cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with biofuels that are produced from grain sorghum oil extracted at dry-mill ethanol plants. The agency says in evaluating the product, the GHG emissions of producing biofuels from distillers’ sorghum oil results in no significant upstream agricultural GHG emissions. That means biofuels produced from sorghum oil would meet the GHG-emissions reduction threshold required for advanced biofuels and biomass-based biodiesel under the Renewable Fuels Standard Program. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says this is great news for a lot of ethanol producers who use grain sorghum as a feedstock because it opens up a valuable additional market for one of their more important co-products. “Our industry has a history of leading innovation in the production of clean, renewable fuel, and in creating value for associated co-products,” Skor adds. “This is an exciting step for producers who are poised to provide more homegrown fuels to America.”

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FAA Sues Farmer Over Irrigation Rigs

Federal authorities have filed a lawsuit against a Georgia farmer because they allege the farmer’s massive metal crop-irrigation rig is causing radio interference. An ABC News report says the irrigation unit is on a farm in south Georgia where the Federal Aviation Administration has a radio tower that relays signals to keep aircraft on course. The lawsuit alleges that radio interference from the 1,200-foot structure caused the FAA to shut down the transmitter in February, which affected operations at nine different airports. The government’s complaint alleges that the transmitter is in close proximity to Robins Air Force Base, making the situation even more serious. The lawsuit warns that flight integrity has been compromised. The government isn’t accusing the irrigation unit of actually transmitting a signal, but instead is degrading the FAA radio signal. Three men were identified as landowners and are listed as defendants. They couldn’t immediately be reached for comment by ABC News on Friday. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is seeking an immediate court injunction and an order telling the farmers to move the unit. 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-26-17 Bison Business Notches Record Strength, Growth in 2017

National Bison Association News Header

Bison Business Notches Record Strength, Growth in 2017

Restoration of One Million Bison is Long Term Goal
Westminster, CO (December 26, 2017) – With a record year of profitability and stability coming to a close, bison producers are mapping out plans for continued growth in 2018 by expanding efforts to connect with consumers and bringing new producers into the fold, according to Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association.
“Six months ago, the National Bison Association and partners in the InterTribal Buffalo Council and the conservation community announced an ambitious goal to restore one million bison to North America, effectively more than doubling the size of today’s herds,” Carter said. “For bison ranchers, that means we must continue to introduce deliciously healthy bison to more people, and we must expand our production from coast to coast.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 26th

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 Tuesday, December 26th

Continuing Resolution Means No Cuts to Ag Programs

Lawmakers passed a Continuing Resolution on Thursday to keep the federal government fully-funded through January 19. That averts a potential government shutdown and gives President Trump and Congressional lawmakers time to hash out differences and come up with a long-term spending plan for Fiscal Year 2018. The New York Times says the resolution passed by a 231-188 vote over Democratic opposition. It then cleared the Senate 66-32, with several Democrats from Republican-leaning states providing many of the key votes. The president signed the bill today (Friday). The Continuing Resolution includes a provision waiving what’s known as Pay-As-You-Go rules, which would have triggered billions in cuts to mandatory spending because of the tax bill Congress passed this week. Those tax cuts are projected to add another $1.5 billion to the deficit over the next ten years. The PayGo rules would have hit spending on farm subsidies and entitlement programs like Medicare very hard. Congress will return in January with a lot of issues to deal with that are important to agriculture, including immigration, the federal budget, health care, and national security.

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Group Files FTC Complaint Against HSUS

The Center for Consumer Freedom filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding the Humane Society of the U.S. The non-profit CCF says the Humane Society is responsible for a deceptive advertising campaign, and they also passed along 77 donor complaints submitted through its website, Help Pet Shelters Dot Com. The Center for Consumer Freedom says HSUS drove traffic to a web page that contained false information back in November. The web page said only 19 percent of total donations went to fundraising. But, the Form 990 tax return filed in 2016 by HSUS shows that it actually spends 29 percent of its donations on fundraising. The CCF says if joint cost expenditures that are allocated to management or program spending are factored in, the total fundraising number climbs to 52 percent. The Center points out that charities have been known to classify at least some of its fundraising as “educational” expenses in order to seem more efficient with donations. The CCF also says that, in spite of its name, the Humane Society of the U.S. is not affiliated with many of the pet shelters across the country. CCF points out that HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter, in spite of solicitations suggesting otherwise.

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Producers Looking to D.C. for Disaster Aid

Florida citrus growers were optimistic after the House passed an $81 billion disaster package by a vote of 251-169. However, Politico says House Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas says it’s unlikely that the upper chamber will take up the disaster bill before the end of the year. The bill faces strong opposition from Democrats, who say the bill doesn’t go far enough in helping the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. A group of Florida citrus growers came to Washington to stress the importance of disaster assistance to both lawmakers and USDA employees. The growers say they’re accepting of the fact that disaster assistance likely won’t come until early January. The House-passed bill does contain a provision allowing cotton producers to enroll in the PLC and ARC programs in the farm bill. It would also lift the $20 million cap on livestock insurance programs. It’s unclear how the bill will fare in the Senate, especially since Senate Ag Committee member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says the dairy assistance doesn’t go far enough.

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National Cotton Council Applauds House Bill

The National Cotton Council was happy to see the House of Representatives passed a supplemental bill that contains a provision that benefits its producers. The bill includes a policy revision that restores eligibility for the Title 1 ARC/PLC programs in the farm bill. Ronnie Lee, NCC Chair and a Georgia producer and ginner, says his group has been working with Congress for more than two years seeking a legislative solution to improve the effectiveness of the cotton safety net in the current farm bill. “Our industry greatly appreciates the leadership shown by both parties to help advance this important legislation through the House of Representatives,” Lee says. “Cotton producers across the Cotton Belt are continuing to suffer from low prices and increased production costs, compounded this year by natural disasters in major cotton-producing areas.” He adds that the NCC looks forward to working with both the Senate and the House in the near future to ensure that a final legislative measure is enacted in the near future that includes a cotton policy that will help stabilize the industry as it struggles through tough financial times.

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U.S. Hog Inventory Up Two Percent

As of December 1 this year, U.S. farms were home to 73.2 million hogs and pigs, two percent higher than the same time in 2016. The Quarterly Hog and Pig Report, released today (Friday) says that number is slightly lower than September first of this year. Of the 73.2 million hogs, 67.1 million were market hogs and 6.18 million were kept for breeding. 33.4 million pigs were weaned on U.S. farms between September and November of this year, three percent higher than a year ago at this time. Over that same time period this year, producers weaned an average of 10.74 pigs per litter. U.S. hog producers intend to farrow over 3 million sows between December 2017 and February of next year. They’ll farrow 3.08 million sows from March through May of 2018. Iowa has the largest inventory of all the hog-producing states at 22.8 million head. North Carolina and Minnesota were second and third, respectively.

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Farm Bureau Established Relief Fund for Puerto Rican Farmers

The Puerto Rico Farm Bureau has established the Puerto Rico Agricultural Relief Fund to help address the damage that agriculture sustained from Hurrican Maria. The hurricane struck the country head-on, devastating up to 80 percent of the island country’s farm production. Farm families there now face enormous challenges rebuilding their farms and livelihoods, which includes crop farms, along with livestock and dairy farms. “Maria was a devastating storm and many farmers and ranchers in Puerto Rico face an unprecedented challenge to return their land to production and rebuild their infrastructure,” says Puerto Rico Farm Bureau President Hector Cordero. “The disaster will affect our farm and ranch families for many years, however, our will to overcome the damage is strong.” He says providing assistance to the country’s farm and ranch families is the first step in a long-term rebuilding project in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Farm Bureau has established the Puerto Rico Agricultural Relief Fund in collaboration with the Texas Farm Bureau’s Agricultural Research and Education Foundation. The Puerto Rico Agricultural Relief website can be accessed here.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-22-17 USDA Issues Permit for Santa’s Reindeer

USDA Issues Permit for Santa’s Reindeer

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued a movement permit to Mr. S. Claus of the North Pole, a broker with Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited. The permit will allow reindeer to enter and exit the United States between the hours of 7 p.m. December 24, 2017 and 7 a.m. December 25, 2017, through or over any U.S. border port.

“It’s the season of giving and joy. Here at USDA we don’t want anything to delay these very important reindeer at our borders,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We know that children all over the country – including my own fourteen grandchildren – are eagerly awaiting a visit from Mr. Claus and his team before they wake on Christmas morning. USDA issued this permit in advance and waived all applicable fees to help ensure a smooth trip on Christmas Eve night.” Continue reading

12-22-17 National Search Underway for Colorado State Fair General Manager

National Search Underway for Colorado State Fair General Manager

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Preparations for the 2018 Colorado State Fair are well underway as the Colorado Department of Agriculture begins a national search for a new Fair division director. Sarah Cummings, the Fair’s general manager since 2015, has accepted the executive director position for the Western Fairs Association headquartered in California.
“Managing the 12-month event calendar for the fairgrounds and organizing the 11-day Colorado State Fair is a tremendous undertaking. Sarah Cummings has made positive changes and I’m looking forward to the next General Manager building on that momentum,” said Don Brown, CDA’s Commissioner of Agriculture. “This position handles more than an annual event. There are year-round activities that must be developed and organized while also staying committed to promoting Colorado agriculture and supporting Colorado youth.”

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12-22-17 Inside the Angus Foundation with President Milford Jenkins…

Inside the Angus Foundation with President Milford Jenkins…

2018 NWSS Angus Bull Sale on Jan 10th benefits Angus Foundation

DECEMBER 22, 2017 – Joining the CO Ag News Network at this time by telephone is Milford H. Jenkins, Angus Foundation President discuss Angus activities during the 112th NWSS in January…

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To find out more about the Angus Foundation, the programs it supports, or how to make a donation, please contact:

Angus Foundation

3201 Frederick Avenue, St. Joseph, MO 64506

Phone 816-383-5100 or Fax 816-233-9703

or visit http://www.angusfoundation.org/fdn/index.html

To learn more about the 2018 NWSS Angus Bull Sale & Angus Foundation Heifer Package, check out the original press release from December 12, 2017 below… Continue reading

12-22-17 New Employees at Colorado Wheat: Madison Anderson & Tyler Benninghoven

Colorado Wheat is pleased to announce that we have filled the positions of Seed and Trait Specialist and Communications Coordinator

Tyler Benninghoven will begin serving as Seed and Trait Specialist in February 2018.  Tyler earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Soil and Crop Science from Colorado State University in 2008, with a Minor in Soil Resource Conservation.  Tyler’s main responsibility will be to manage and promote PlainsGold wheat varieties, which are developed at Colorado State University, with ownership assigned to Colorado Wheat Research Foundation.  Additionally, Tyler will participate in the launch and adoption of the CoAXiumTM Wheat Production System, a new herbicide tolerance trait in wheat, and represent PlainsGold at regional Field Days, industry meetings, and trade shows.  Tyler is a Certified Crop Advisor, licensed Commercial Applicator, and licensed Ag Chemical Dealer, who most recently was Regional Sales Manager of Town and Country Supply Association in Billings, Montana.

Madison Andersen will begin serving as Communications Coordinator on January 8, 2018.  Madison earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communications from Oklahoma State University in May 2016, with a Minor in Marketing.  Madison will implement communication strategies for all three Colorado Wheat organizations, including development of print and electronic newsletter content, and delivery of information through the Coloradowheat.org website and social media channels.  Madison most recently acted as Communications Specialist at the Adams County Clerk and Recorder’s office in Brighton, Colorado, and brings experience from working as Production Assistant for the Oklahoma Gardening Television Show  and intern for the Colorado Independent Cattle Growers Association.

Welcome, Tyler and Madison to the Colorado Wheat team! Continue reading

12-22-17 USDA Announces Dairy Board Appointments

Header Press Release

USDA Announces Dairy Board Appointments

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2017 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of 13 individuals, including 12 dairy producers and one importer, to serve three-year terms on the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board. Their terms begin immediately and end on Oct. 31, 2020.

Newly appointed producers are: Continue reading

12-22-17 CFVGA Asks Senators Bennet & Gardner to Fix Foreign Worker Program NOW

CFVGA Asks Senators Bennet & Gardner to Fix Foreign Worker Program NOW

The Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) met last week with the staff of Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and with Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., to appeal for quick legislative action to fix the current foreign worker program before the 2018 growing season. The appeal comes as Colorado fruit and vegetable growers contemplate if they can continue to grow produce given the extreme labor shortage of qualified and willing farm laborers.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 22nd

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, December 22nd

Setting Aside Money In Case of NAFTA Failure?

A Politico report shows just how worried some lawmakers are about the potential failure of the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. Officials began talking on Tuesday about putting together a potential bailout of sorts for farmers. During a conference call Tuesday morning, Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said he was going to ask U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about the rumors in Washington of money being put together and set aside to help farmers in case the NAFTA negotiations fall apart. Grassley says, “I’ve heard rumors that people in the bureaucracy are trying to anticipate what we are going to do to protect small farmers from drops in prices should the U.S. pull out of NAFTA. There’s some talk going around about potentially putting together a pot of money we could use to support prices in case of a collapse resulting from a NAFTA withdrawal.” Grassley says government assistance is the last thing the agriculture industry wants. “Farmers don’t want more money from the federal treasury,” he adds, “they want their money to come from the marketplace.”

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Groups Want Tax-Extender Bill Passed in 2017

More than 50 groups representing a wide scope of businesses sent a letter this week to Congress asking for approval of a multi-year extension of a series of expired tax credits. The groups attaching their names to the letter represent energy, agriculture, business, transportation, and real estate. The groups, which include the American Farm Bureau and National Biodiesel Board, say those temporary tax provisions, which expired last year, represent a number of vital American industries and support thousands of jobs. The letter says extending those provisions allows businesses to make plans for the new year. Not extending the credits only creates confusion in the marketplace, which basically increases taxes on a number of industries that create a lot of jobs and promote economic growth. The letter was sent to leadership in the House and Senate, plus the leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee. North Dakota Republican John Hoeven is the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. He told Agri-Pulse that action on the bill will likely be delayed until early next year.

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Infrastructure Overhaul Talks to Begin in January

South Dakota Republican John Thune, Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, will be very involved with  President Trump’s $1 billion plan to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure in January. A Pro Transportation report says Thune, a rural-state senator, has valuable insights on what farmers and Ag businesses will be looking for in infrastructure investments. Thune says there were few problems with the president’s approach to updating the nation’s infrastructure. He says the bigger question is how the nation will fund it. “There are probably some states that could do more (in terms of funding),” he says, “but I think if states are willing to step up and become bigger partners in the project, there should be some kind of matching benefit to that.” In terms of funding, he told Pro Transportation that, “As a conservative, I think you should be offended by the idea of borrowing money to pay for infrastructure. If we’re going to build things in this country, we need to figure out a way to pay for it.” He thinks lawmakers should be willing to listen to other people’s ideas about how the country will go about paying for such a large project.

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Perdue Applauds USDA Accomplishments in 2017

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue talked about the accomplishments of the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the first year of the Trump Administration. He says the USDA made breakthroughs on agricultural trade, made strides in reducing burdensome regulations, responded to natural disasters, and battled through the worst fire season on record. Perdue says, “As 2017 comes to an end, the hard-working civil servants who make up the USDA have a great deal to be proud of.” Stakeholder outreach is a big area of improvement. Since taking the job, Secretary Perdue has visited 30 states and six foreign countries. Perdue also took several steps to reorganize the USDA, including the creation of the first-ever Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. He points out that USDA scored a significant victory on the agricultural trade front with American beef re-entering China after an 11-year ban on those imports. U.S. rice also made its first appearance in China, and European Union regulations on U.S. citrus imports were also relaxed during 2017. USDA also responded to concerns by restoring flexibility for the nation’s schools when it came to the national school lunch and breakfast programs.

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Hops Industry Toasting This Holiday Season

There’s an awful lot for the hops industry to be toasting to this holiday season. The USDA Economic Research Service released numbers this week showing that hops production in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington jumped 20 percent this year to a record 104 million pounds. While there are other states that produce hops, those three states account for the bulk of the nation’s production. The total number of harvested acres in those three states climbed five percent to 53,282 acres in 2017. The nation’s top hops yield reached 1,959 pounds per acre in 2017, up 246 pounds from last season. The Hops Growers of America says recent trends show that the crop is on track to double its production acreage in just five years. To put it in perspective, the number of acres the U.S. has added in the past five years is larger than the total acreage of most of the other hops-growing countries around the world.  

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Foreign Ag Service Contributes to Export Success

International trade was an economic driver for rural America in 2017. U.S. farm and food exports totaled $140.5 billion for the fiscal year, which is the third-highest number on record. USDA Foreign Ag Service Acting Administrator Holly Higgins says she’s proud of the role her agency plays in promoting exports. “Those exports generate 20 percent of U.S. farm income, stimulate rural economic activity, and support more than a million American jobs.” Her agency’s efforts to break barriers and overcome trade obstacles led to many trade successes in 2017, including American beef and rice exports heading to China. Other new or expanded market access for American farm products include poultry and eggs going to South Korea, rice to Columbia, and dried distiller’s grain to Vietnam. FAS is also helping agribusinesses to expand their reach around the globe. The agency organized trade missions to Egypt, Brazil, and India this year. Those missions led to more than $30 million in 12-month projected sales estimates of more than $2.35 billion for participating companies. 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-21-17 Farm Service Agency – A Vital Source of Assistance to America’s Farmers and Ranchers

Farm Service Agency A Vital Source of Assistance to America’s Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2017 – Through the work of dedicated staff in over 2,100 county and state offices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides vital farm safety-net assistance to agricultural producers across America.

“We’ve seen recent challenges in farm income and commodity prices,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “The ‘safety net’ provided in the 2014 Farm Bill has helped producers withstand economic losses as well as losses resulting from natural disasters. Loans for operating expenses, farm purchases and other purposes help current producers stay in business and allow a new generation of farmers and ranchers get their start.”

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12-21-17 CSU Ext News: Want to learn more about Preserve@Home?

CSU Ext News: Want to learn more about Preserve@Home?

CLICK HERE to view the flyer

So are the jars in the photo canned correctly or not….that is the question? Preserve@Home provides research-based food preservation education online throughout the state of Colorado.  Participants learn how to produce high quality preserved foods and the science behind current food preservation techniques and food safety.

Individuals with little or no previous food preservation experience are welcome.  Anyone with an interest in food preservation and food safety can enroll in Preserve@Home.  Colorado Cottage Food producers can benefit from this online training, especially if they want to make sure they have updated information and resources related to food preservation.  This online training provides you with safe techniques and recipes for the products you make at home and sell to consumers! (by the way, the jars in the photo are incorrectly canned/processed)

Eventbrite Registration:  http://csu-ext-food-preservation.eventbrite.com

Registration Deadline:  January 16, 2018 Continue reading

12-21-17 NRCS Delivers Healthier Natural Resources, Greater Public Safety, Better Customer Service in 2017

FINAL_Conservation'sGreatestHits

NRCS Delivers Healthier Natural Resources, Greater Public Safety, Better Customer Service in 2017

New Conservation Plans Cover 27 Million Acres of Working Lands

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2017 – In 2017, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) continued its proud tradition of working in partnership with America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners.

“Our data and science-based surveys of our work show that we and our partners brought a healthier resource base, used taxpayers’ dollars wisely, made people safer, and brought more-efficient customer service to our customers and communities in 2017,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area.

Here are some highlights: Continue reading