12-18-17 USDA Seeks Applications for $10 Million in Conservation Innovation Grants

USDA Seeks Applications for $10 Million in Conservation Innovation Grants

Funding is available in three focus areas, including grazing lands, organic systems and soil health

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2017 – USDA is offering grants for innovative ideas for conservation strategies and technologies. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest $10 million in the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, funding innovative conservation projects in three focus areas: grazing lands, organic systems and soil health. Grant proposals are due Feb. 26, 2018.

“Conservation Innovation Grants play a critical role in developing and implementing new methods to help our customers conserve natural resources, strengthen their local communities, and improve their bottom lines,” said Rob Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Today’s announcement supports our efforts to help producers build economically-strong and resilient farms and ranches by providing producers tools to utilize across their working farmlands.”

The NRCS uses CIG to work with partners to accelerate transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches that address some of the nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns. This year, NRCS is focusing funding in these areas: Continue reading

12-18-17 NCGA Announces 2017 Yield Contest Winners

NCGA Announces 2017 Yield Contest Winners

(ST. LOUIS) December 18, 2017 — Improved seed varieties, advanced production techniques and innovative growing practices helped corn growers achieve ever-higher yields in the National Corn Growers Association 2017 National Corn Yield Contest. Again, this year, five national entries surpassed the 400-plus bushel per acre mark.

The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 53rd year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members.

“The contest provides farmers more than just an opportunity for friendly competition; it generates data that impacts future production practices across the industry,” said Roger Zylstra, chair of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “The techniques first developed by contest winners grow into far-reaching advances, helping farmers across the country excel in a variety of situations.  Our contest emphasizes innovation both from growers and technology providers, thus enabling us to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber.” Continue reading

12-18-17 Inside the BARN with CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg…

CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg Dist 1 040715

Inside the BARN with CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg…

CMU Honorary Masters Degree,  Commodity Prices, Colorado Millet Marketing Order, Rural Broadband, Education Finance Committee – Mill Levy Differences, Property Tax Calculations, State Land Board Production Reporting, Road Usage Charge, NWSS Center Improvements, Upcoming Ag Events, Holiday Wishes & More…

(BARN Media – Briggsdale, CO) December 18, 2017 – Joining me inside the BARN on the Colorado Ag News Network is CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg from District 1 discussing several topics including:

To listen to the Interview, click the audio mp3 link below…



12-18-17 Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture Keynote Speaker Announced

Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture Keynote Speaker Announced

DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 14, 2017 – The annual Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture will feature Cameron Bruett of JBS as the program’s keynote speaker.

Mr. Bruett, who serves as Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at JBS USA, has led corporate communications, industry affairs and sustainability at JBS® USA since 2012. He started his career at JBS in 2008, managing government relations in Washington D.C. Prior to JBS, Cameron served on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and held positions with ConAgra Foods, the EOP Group and USDA. He is the current President of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, Board Member of the Farmer Support Programme in the Netherlands and a graduate of Tuskegee University.

Continue reading

12-18-17 Inside Colorado Wheat with Executive Director Brad Erker…

Inside CO Wheat with Executive Director Brad Erker…

Recent Trade Trip, New Hires, CoAxium TM, Upcoming Meetings and Elections & More…

(The BARN – Briggsdale, CO) December 18, 2017 – Joining the Colorado Ag News Network inside the BARN is Colorado Wheat’s NEW Executive Director Brad Erker and he discussed several topics including:

  • Erker’s Background
  • Erker’s Vision for CO Wheat
  • Recent Trade Trip to Cuba
  • Importance of Trade & NAFTA
  • Two Key Positions Filled @ CO Wheat
  • Upcoming Meetings & Elections in January
  • CoAXiumTM Wheat Production System Details
  • & MORE


Colorado Wheat is ensuring that Colorado remains at the forefront of nationwide wheat research and development, and  are not only caring for our own farms and families—but are also guaranteeing that future generations of Colorado wheat growers will continue to enjoy this way of life for years to com. Learn more about CAWG, CWAC & the CWRF online @ www.coloradowheat.org

12-18-17 NMPF Statement on Tax Reform Legislation

NMPF Statement on Tax Reform Legislation

From Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF

ARLINGTON, VA – “National Milk has worked closely with House and Senate members on the tax reform conference package to achieve a positive outcome for dairy farmers and their cooperatives, and we’re pleased that conferees have completed work on a package that should provide important relief. The final compromise to address the loss of the Section 199 deduction will help protect farmer-owned businesses from a major tax increase at a time when America’s farm sector is struggling with low commodity prices and reduced incomes.

“America’s dairy farmers, who overwhelmingly rely on cooperatives to market their milk, appreciate the determined efforts by Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and John Thune (R-SD), as well as multiple House members, including Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), to seek a fair and reasonable solution to this challenge. Their efforts will help prevent a higher tax bill for cooperatives and avert the loss of economic activity in rural communities that these businesses help generate. We’re also grateful for the numerous senators on both sides of the aisle who elevated this issue during the debate. Continue reading

12-18-17 Beef Checkoff Commentary: “A Time of Gratitude”

A Time of Gratitude

The following commentary is provided by Joan Ruskamp, Cattlemen’s Beef Board Vice-Chair

Joan Ruskamp, Cattlemen’s Beef Board Vice-Chair

On the heels of Thanksgiving and with Christmas just on the horizon, many of us are thinking about lists and what we are grateful for. Family, friends and good health are at the top of my gratitude list. And beef producers like my husband Steve and I would also include the Beef Checkoff Program to that list.  Why? Let’s look at just one of the many ways the $1-per-head checkoff makes a difference in our lives.

Reaching Beyond Our Shores

We are truly grateful the checkoff has a focus on developing a global marketplace for U.S. beef. Checkoff dollars invested in international markets have increased from 10.7 percent of the budget in 2008 to nearly 18 percent of the budget in 2017. That growth has happened because exports represent the largest opportunity for us to build beef demand; 95 percent of the global populations lives outside U.S. borders. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, December 18th

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, December 18th

USDA Sued Over GIPSA Withdrawal

The Organization for Competitive Markets has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the withdrawal of the interim final rule, which was an update to the Grain Inspections, Packers, and Stockyards Act of 1921. The OCM sees the rule as protection for family farmers and ranchers in sales of live animals to meat and poultry processors. Meating Place Dot Com says the interim final rule was known as the Fair Farmer Practice Rule, a set of regulations the processing industry widely opposed. The lawsuit seeks to reinstate the interim final rule. In a news release, OCM says those rules, “prohibit major meat and poultry producers who contract with farmers from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices.” The group also says the rule would have allowed farmers and ranchers to hold businesses accountable for practices like retaliation, bad faith cancellation of contracts, or attempting to force farmers out of the market. The Organization for Competitive Markets filed the suit as a Petition for Review in the Eighth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.


Farmers Decline to Get Involved in USDA/GIPSA Suit

Many farmers were upset for months about a U.S. Department of Agriculture decision to withdraw the interim final rule from the Grain Inspections, Packers, and Stockyards Act. Politico says many farmers are also worried about the possibility of retaliation from the large corporations they contract with if they get involved in the lawsuit. As a result, a lot of farmers declined to join in on the lawsuit filed by the Organization for Competitive Markets and Democracy Forward. People from both groups said they approached approximately 30 farmers about joining in with the lawsuit but many were afraid of what that might mean for their ability to make a living. Karianne Jones, legal counsel for Democracy Forward, says, “That fear is really rampant. We talked to a variety of farmers who expressed interest in what we are doing.” Jonathan Buttram is a poultry producer from northern Alabama. He’s seen his operation shrink from 360,000 birds and 1,000 brood cows to only 80 brood cows. He believes speaking out as President of the Alabama Contract Poultry Growers Association and an OCM board member has cost him significant business.


Republican Governors Meet VP About NAFTA

Four Republican Governors met with Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday to discuss their concerns about the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. Reuters says the governors wanted to talk about their serious concerns regarding proposed changes to the agreement that they say could affect manufacturing and jobs in their states. The meetings included Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Bill Haslam of Tennessee, and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer were also in attendance. Hutchison wants the U.S. to make sure it doesn’t harm agriculture and global trade while it updates NAFTA. “The administration was clear that it wants to be able to negotiate a better deal for American manufacturers and workers,” Hutchinson said after the meeting. “I respect that position, but my message is that we must be able to access North American markets unimpeded by trade barriers.” Earlier in the week, Indiana Governor Rob Holcomb brought along representatives from the auto industry to meet with Pence. Like agriculture, they also want the administration to make sure they keep access to North American markets open.


Coalition Wants Federal Ag Budget to Increase

More than 70 agricultural groups sent a letter to congressional leaders asking for an increase in the agricultural budget for the 2018 Ag Appropriations Bill that Congress is developing. The Hagstrom Report quotes the letter as saying the coalition includes groups from the food, agriculture, scientific, academic, veterinary, and consumer sectors. The letter says, “We urge you to substantially increase the discretionary budget cap for domestic programs and provide an allocation for the 2018 appropriations bill of five percent of the total domestic discretionary budget cap increase.” The groups point out that the food and agricultural sectors alone contribute nearly $1 trillion to the nation’s economy every year, or about 5.5 percent of the nation’s GDP. The sector also supports over 22 million American jobs, about 15 percent of overall employment in the U.S. They say more support for the Ag sector is necessary for America to maintain its leadership position in global food production. The letter also points out that, “Since 2010, the inflation-adjusted agricultural appropriations budget has fallen by 20 percent, while most other allocations have either grown or not faced the same depth of cuts.


FCA Reports on Agricultural Economic Conditions

The Farm Credit Administration released a quarterly report on economic issues affecting agriculture and updated the financial condition of the Farm Credit System. The report says the USDA is predicting farm income will stabilize near its historical average. The USDA is predicting an increase in farm income, rising from $93.3 billion in 2016 to 96.9 billion in 2017. Factors driving the gain include stronger cash receipts for cattle and calves, hogs, broilers, and dairy. Cash receipts for most crops are forecast lower for 2017. With inflation adjustment factored in, net-cash income is near the long-term average (1960 to 2016) for the second-straight year. The report also says several economic and policy issues could affect the Farm Credit System. Strong crop production levels are dragging down prices. That means increasing demand will be a key for the crop and protein sectors. The report also says changes to farm and trade policy could affect farm income and the ability of farmers to manage risk. Concerns remain about whether or not farmers have enough liquidity to cover farm expenses and pay loans. Overall, the report says the System is safe and financially sound, and should be able to face the risks posed to agriculture.


Groups Respond to Organic Rule Withdrawal

The USDA announced its intent to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule. The National Farmers Union supported the intent of the rule, saying it would improve the consistency and integrity of organic livestock practices. NFU Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Rod Larew, says it’s a disappointing decision by the USDA, both for American family farmers and consumers. “Currently, there’s too much inconsistency in how organic certifiers apply animal welfare standards to farming and ranching operations,” says Larew. “This endangers the label’s integrity and confuses consumers.” The National Pork Producers Council came out in favor of the move. The NPPC raised a number of concerns about the regulation, including animal and public health concerns. They also say that animal production practices have nothing to do with the basic concept of “organic.” NPPC also cited the complexity the standards would have added to the organic certification process, creating challenges to both existing and new organic producers.  

SOURCE: NAFB News Service