01-09-18 Culver’s Thank You Farmers® Project Surpasses $1.7 Million in Donations to Help Feed the Growing Population

Culver’s Thank You Farmers® Project Surpasses $1.7 Million in Donations to Help Feed the Growing Population

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis.—Jan. 8, 2018—With the global population expected to increase from 7.6 to 9.8 billion by 2050, the world needs to rise to the challenge of feeding 29 percent more people using the same amount of land and water that we have today.

Those responsible for figuring out how to sustainably feed our growing population are likely currently sitting in classrooms, playing on playgrounds or yet to be born. The bottom line: Our youth are our future. That’s why Culver’s Thank You Farmers® Project was created to make sure we have enough wholesome food to serve our growing population by supporting agricultural education programs that encourage smart farming. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, January 9th

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Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, January 9th

Perdue Presents Ag and Rural Prosperity Report to Trump

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue presented the findings of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to President Donald Trump during a ceremony at the American Farm Bureau national convention. Back in April, Trump signed an executive order establishing the task force to “ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that impacts rural communities.” Perdue served as Chair of the task force, which came up with over 100 recommendations to help improve life in rural America. The recommendations all centered around five areas, including e-connectivity, quality of life, rural workforce, technology, and economic development. Perdue says, “While the task force worked tirelessly to identify solutions to the problems plaguing our rural communities, there is more work ahead. No doubt, rural America has struggled under burdensome regulations with no voice in Washington.” He adds that under President Trump’s leadership and the work of the task force, it can be turned around so rural prosperity is restored once and for all.

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U.S. Ethanol Production Near Capacity but Constraints Limit Growth

As demand for ethanol has increased, the number of ethanol plants in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999. A USDA report says the growth in the number of ethanol plants has been driven by the Renewable Fuels Standard, which was first enacted in 2005. The initial increase in plant numbers after 2005 led to some plants not producing at their full potential because supply grew faster than demand. However, since 2011, the number of plants has remained steady, allowing production numbers to increase as plants utilize their maximum production capacity. As of last year, the USDA report says plants have been operating at 97 percent capacity. That translates into more than 15 billion gallons of ethanol production. Such a high number would normally mean demand for more new plants. However, the limitation on the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline in existing vehicles is basically 10 percent. When you add in lower gasoline consumption because of greater vehicle efficiency and fewer miles driven, domestic demand for ethanol is further limited in expansion ability. Thanks to these limitations, additional domestic production is intended for export markets.

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Winter Wheat Growers Holding on Through Cold Snap

The nation’s winter wheat growers have learned through experience to be prepared for more trouble ahead. Much of the nation has been in a deep freeze for the past several days. Hard red winter wheat growers in Kansas and Oklahoma are already not expecting to have a large crop this year. They’ve been battling lower prices because of a large supply of wheat around the world as well as a recent drought. Ken Wood, a producer from Kansas, says the temperature dropped to minus-eight degrees on the morning of January first. “This will be the third or fourth crop that doesn’t hold a lot of promise,” Wood says. “We’ve had about three years where things have been really tough.” Several wheat farmers have told Politico that wheat is resilient enough to have “nine lives.” Kim Anderson of Oklahoma State University Extension says it’s also early enough in the season that most farmers can still hold out hope for a decent winter wheat crop. “In the long run, it’s really April and May that we have to worry about,” she said.

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Oklahoma Beef Council Embezzler Sentenced

Much of the money is gone and will likely never be paid back. But, former Oklahoma Beef Council Chair Tom Fanning had two words to say after Melissa Morton was sentenced for embezzling $2.6 million dollars from OBC: “Justice served.” Morton was hit with a sentence of 57 months in federal prison, with federal law requiring she serve between 80 and 85 percent of her sentence. She’ll also be subject to supervision upon release. She was ordered to pay back $2.3 million to the beef council and has so far returned 10 percent of it. To get the rest, the OBC has to wait for Morton to pay back over half-a-million dollars to the IRS first. Fanning said this has been a rough time for the Oklahoma Beef Council board members. They’ve been trying to explain to cattle producers about the trust that was broken, the deceit brought upon the board, and the extreme level of fraud that she committed. The U.S. Attorney said Morton kept multiple books, forged 790 checks and fooled several third-party auditors over seven years before she was caught. The U.S. Attorney also emphasized how serious the breach was as a long-time member of the non-profit organization.

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Idaho “Ag-gag” Law Dealt a Blow in Court

Idaho’s so-called “Ag-gag” law prevents recording devices from being brought on farms or into slaughterhouses without the owner’s consent. But now, a provision of that law was struck down by a three-judge appeals court panel. The panel said in its decision that criminalizing the undercover videotaping violates the constitutional right to free speech. A DTN report says Idaho state lawmakers passed a bill in 2014 making it a crime to videotape feedlots, dairies, and other farming operations without the owner’s knowledge. The Idaho dairy industry brought up the concerns after a 2012 undercover video surfaced, saying it damaged their business. Media outlets, civil rights groups, and animal activists sued the state, saying the law criminalized legitimate undercover journalism. The law requires anyone who violates it to pay restitution directly to the business. A federal judge ruled the Idaho law was unconstitutional in 2015, which was then appealed. Court documents say the “panel held that the subsection criminalizing innocent behavior was staggeringly overbroad and that the purpose of the statute was, in large part, targeted at speech and investigative journalists.” Iowa, Utah, Missouri, Kansas, North Dakota, Montana, and North Carolina have similar ag-gag laws on their books. Court challenges to the law are underway in North Carolina and Utah.

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U.S. Pork Farmers Get Outstanding Return on Checkoff Investment

A 2017 study says U.S. pork farmers get a very positive return on their checkoff investment. The study was done by Harry Kaiser at Cornell University. 91 percent of the pork farmers who took part in the November survey acknowledge their overwhelming support of the pork checkoff, knocking opposition levels down to just three percent. The National Pork Board commissions a study every five years. “It’s important that the producers who directly support and fund the Pork Checkoff to understand and quantify the value of their investments,” says Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board President. The most recent study covers the years 2011-2016. It showed that, among other returns on investment, each dollar invested in production research to benefit on-farm practices yielded $83.30 in producer value. Each dollar invested in developing foreign markets returned $24.70 in producers benefits. Other pork promotions resulted in benefits of $14.20 for advertising and $12.40 for non-advertising promotion. Collectively, the overall checkoff return for all activities is $25.50 for each dollar invested.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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