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

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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

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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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