12-07-17 Southeastern District approves $28.8 million budget

Southeastern District approves $28.8 million budget

The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Thursday approved a $28.8 million budget for 2018, which includes the District’s general fund, Enterprise water fund and a newly created hydropower fund within the enterprise.

The general fund totals $16 million, most of which reflects Fryingpan-Arkansas Project payments to the Bureau of Reclamation. Those payments total $13.1 million, including $7.4 million from property taxes in parts of nine counties for Fry-Ark Contract obligations, and $5.3 million in payment from the Fountain Valley Authority in El Paso County. Other payments to Reclamation include $265,000 for excess-capacity contracts and an estimated $117,000 for winter water. Continue reading

Flags lowered to half-staff on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Flags lowered to half-staff on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

DENVER — Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 — Flags will be lowered to half-staff today, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in recognition of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Flags should be at half-staff for the entire day on Thursday. The President is expected to sign a proclamation soon.

SOURCE: www.colorado.gov/governor

12-07-17 U.S. Wheat Associates, Other Farm Organizations Outline Priorities for WTO Ministerial

U.S. Wheat Associates, Other Farm Organizations Outline Priorities for WTO Ministerial

ARLINGTON, Virginia — The World Trade Organization will hold its Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference Dec. 10 to 13, 2017, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and 13 other U.S. farm organizations urged the United States to defend the interests of U.S. agriculture. Specifically, the letter describes industry stances on public stockholding and domestic support, while underscoring the importance of an effective dispute settlement mechanism for agriculture.

First addressing attempts to weaken the WTO Agreement on Agriculture by exempting price support programs tied to public stock procurement, the letter said “Market price support is one of the most trade distorting forms of domestic support for agriculture. Relaxing price support disciplines for certain countries could lead to a much more distorted global marketplace.” Continue reading

12-07-17 EPA backs Colorado’s plan to improve water quality with $24.9 million in water infrastructure funding

EPA backs Colorado’s plan to improve water quality with $24.9 million in water infrastructure funding

Projects located in Breckenridge, Durango, Evans and many other communities


DENVER (Dec. 7, 2017) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded approximately $10.6 million in clean water infrastructure and $14.3 million in drinking water state revolving loan funding (SRF) to the state of Colorado to support key water infrastructure projects, including new and upgraded wastewater and drinking water plants to ensure clean drinking and surface water, better serve residents, increase efficiency and reduce pollution.

“Investing in our nation’s water infrastructure is one of EPA’s most fundamental priorities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “These projects will ensure that the state and its communities are providing clean and safe water to all the residents of Colorado.”

“The State Revolving Fund programs are critical for Colorado as they have provided the ability to fund more than $1.2 billion for clean water and $600 million for drinking water infrastructure projects throughout the state”, said Pat Pfaltzgraff, Director of the Water Quality Control Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  “The SRF programs continue to help offset the $12 billion dollar funding gap and provide low cost, affordable financing to protect public health and the environment in Colorado.”

In addition to the $24.9 million just funded, Colorado’s water infrastructure projects are also funded with state match, repayments from prior SRF loans, and interest earnings. Several projects targeted for wastewater treatment as well as drinking water SRF loans include: Continue reading

12-07-17 Colorado Weekly Hay Report…

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 7th

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 7th

Senators Calling for House-Passed ELD Mandate Delay

Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas and North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp are spearheading a bipartisan effort to make sure the Electronic Logging Device mandate for livestock haulers is delayed one year. A group of Senators wrote to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressing support for the delay that was written into the House-passed transportation bill. The delay of the ELD mandate is set for one year, which should give haulers time to work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on the strict hours-of-service rules that truckers have to live by. U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Transportation Committee Chair Steve Hilker thanked each Senator that signed the letter. “We’re hauling a living, breathing commodity that must get to its destination as soon as possible after it’s loaded onto the truck,” says Hilker. “An ELD would only increase the number of stops, thereby keeping cattle in the trailer longer. It would only add to what is already a stressful time in the animals’ lives. The comfort and safety of our cargo is of utmost importance.” He adds that the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association appreciates that Congress recognizes the need for additional flexibility within the rule.


Trump Talks Trade with Senators

Several pro-trade Republicans met with President Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss trade. Their goal was to let the president know on a face-to-face basis how important the North American Free Trade Agreement is and to keep negotiating. U.S. officials have taken a hard-line stance in the negotiations with Canada and Mexico, causing concern that the talks could fall apart and Trump would likely then pull out of the deal. Ahead of the meeting, Trump talked about the “tremendous losses” in trade with Canada and Mexico, including $71 billion with Mexico and $17 billion with Canada. Politico says those numbers are false, saying the U.S. deficit with Mexico was $63 billion and $10.9 billion with Canada. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she made a strong case to Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about the importance of the duty-free access to other countries provided by NAFTA. Deb Fischer of Nebraska highlighted the significance of NAFTA to ag exports and related manufacturing jobs. For example, U.S. food manufacturers exported $25 billion in products to Mexico and Canada in 2015. Without NAFTA, those products would have faced an additional $3.8 billion in tariffs.  


Mexican Ambassador: 50% Chance NAFTA is Terminated

The Mexican Ambassador says there is a 50-50 chance that the North American Free Trade Agreement will be “terminated.” Geronimo Gutierrez (Goo-tee-ehr-ehz) says there are tensions hanging over the three sides in the negotiations and that’s creating an air of uncertainty. The Hill Dot Com says despite that, he still thinks a deal to update the agreement can be done by next year. “In spite of differences, we’re communicating fluently, we’re engaging, and that’s important,” he tells CBS News. “In fact, I’m moderately convinced that we can still reach an agreement in the next few months.” He also addressed the wall that the president wants to build along the U.S.-Mexican border, saying there’s no way his country will be paying for the wall. However, he says a tolling system was one thing that could be used to finance the construction. “There have been preliminary discussions on that matter and I think both sides are open,” he adds.


Monsanto Asks Judge to Block Arkansas Dicabma Restrictions

Monsanto went before a judge on Tuesday to officially ask the court to prevent a proposal to ban the use of a weed killer that many farmers say drifts and causes damage to their crops. An Associated Press report says the Arkansas ban on dicamba will go before legislators next month. The company is asking a judge to issue an injunction preventing the ban on dicamba use in the state while the company challenges the decision that came from the Arkansas Plant Board. The board’s proposal would ban in-season use of dicamba from April 15 through October 31. “Monsanto is losing sales every day the ban remains in effect,” the company says in its court filing. “The losses cannot be recovered through an action against the state.”  Earlier this year, the state approved an initial ban on dicamba use and has received over 1,000 complaints about dicamba drift. The company adds that the ban deprives farmers of a needed tool in their weed-control arsenal and the injunction is needed to avoid any potential confusion as farmers make plans and buy inputs for next year. It’s also asking the judge to consider whether or not the Plant Board exceeded its authority.


USDA Emphasizing Trade Expansion

Ted McKinney, the new USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, has been busy since being sworn in. He’s visited India, Brazil, Columbia, and Panama recently with the goal of increasing trade opportunities. Capital Press Dot Com says the U.S. Department of Agriculture is putting a new emphasis on generating more trade opportunities overseas for American agriculture. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue recently said his goal is to have McKinney become a member of the “million-mile club.” McKinney spoke from a recent trip to Panama City, saying the goal is to remind trade partners that “we’re open for business, including both exports and imports.” The four countries he’s taken trips to are not the biggest U.S. trading partners but the goal is to “leave no stone unturned” when it comes to generating more business for agriculture. The U.S. signed free-trade agreements with Colombia and Panama in 2012 and trade has flourished since then. The intention of these trips is also to grow trade both ways, with McKinney saying the U.S. benefits from imports too, especially of products the country doesn’t produce itself.


USDA to Allow States Flexibility for SNAP

The U.S. Ag Department sent a letter to state administrators of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program advising them that changes will be coming to the program. The Hagstrom Report says USDA will allow states more flexibility in managing SNAP. Brandon Lipps, the acting undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumers services says the USDA will allow more flexibility in areas that don’t increase costs for taxpayers or various partners on the ground. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “SNAP was created to provide people with the help they need to feed themselves and their families, but it was not intended to be a lifestyle. As a former governor, I know first-hand how important it is for states to be given the flexibility to achieve the desired goal of self-sufficiency for people.” Perdue says they want to provide the nutrition people need but we also want to help people transition from government programs back to work and into independence. President Donald Trump has said when tax reform efforts are done, he wants to turn his attention to welfare reform, possibly setting up a future battle within the next farm bill development process, which also contains food programs like SNAP.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service