WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) celebrated the organization’s 63rd Annual Stewardship Week at the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) People’s Garden.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue commemorated the opening day of the department’s farmers market and toured booths set up by local farmers, ranchers and small businesses. NACD set up a tent at the farmers market to educate people of all ages about Stewardship Week. The 2018 Stewardship Week theme is Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home, and attendees stopped by NACD’s tent to test their knowledge of watersheds and take a photo with the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) mascot Sammy Soil. Individuals also had the opportunity to explore a hands-on watershed education model set up by Ashley Palmer of Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.

“This year’s theme highlights the significant role watersheds have within the environment,” NACD CEO Jeremy Peters said. “This afternoon, we had the opportunity to visit with folks and educate them about what a watershed is and why they’re important. Access to clean water affects everyone, and it’s our responsibility to work together to protect and preserve the health of our watersheds.”

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and NACD CEO Jeremy Peters – CLICK to view more pictures from the NACD and Conservation Stewardship Week 2018

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05-04-18 Rebuilding America’s Rural Infrastructure – Op-ed from USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Sallie Clark

Rebuilding America’s Rural Infrastructure – Op-ed from USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Sallie Clark

Colorado Rural Development (RD) State Executive Director Sallie Clark
USDA Photo by Preston Keres

Some people remember when many rural households didn’t have electricity or running water. Although those days are long gone for most, there’s still lots of room for improvement. In fact, our American infrastructure used to be the envy of the world, but now it’s in disrepair.

This is why President Trump has made it a priority to rebuild America’s infrastructure. He proposes to devote $50 billion, which is 25 percent of new federal money, to improving infrastructure in rural America. This is an unprecedented commitment. His proposal will stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next decade.

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05-04-18 Important New Resources and Reports Now Online at Lamb Resource Center

  Important New Resources and Reports Now Online at Lamb Resource Center

The hub for American lamb industry information – www.LambResourceCenter.com – has just been updated with valuable industry information, reports and marketing tools.

  • Promotional tools: the American Lamb Board (ALB) has a wide variety of checkoff-funded promotional tools available for industry members to promote American Lamb. Be sure to check out the latest recipe booklet that you can order now. CeLAMBrate with Adventurous Flavors Easy Entertaining with American Lamb Appetizers has eight new recipes and photos. It’s perfect for promoting American Lamb at local events.
  • Industry organizations and meetings: ASI’s Let’s Grow program has new reports and videos that can be accessed directly from the home page of http://lambresourcecenter.com/.
  • Studies and reports: The American Lamb Board funds a number of ongoing projects that monitor the lamb market, retail sales, menu and consumer trends, and more. These reports can be found on www.LambResourceCenter.com

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 4th

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY's BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer...

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 4th

USDA Opens Comment Period on GMO Labeling law

The Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated by Congress in 2016. The rule will regulate how genetically modified, or bioengineered ingredients, would be disclosed to consumers on food labels. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the rulemaking “presents several possible ways” to determine what foods will be covered by the final rule, and presents label options, as well. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in a statement called the proposed rule fair, saying it “ensures that food facts win the day over hype.” The proposed rule is open for comment for 60 days and appeared in the Federal  Register Thursday. Public comment can be made online at www.regulations.gov. The deadline for comments is July 3, 2018.

Bunge: China Has Stopped Buying U.S. Soybeans

China has stopped buying U.S. soybeans as a result of a trade war between the two nations. Bunge Ltd. CEO Soren Schroder told Bloomberg this week that China is instead buying soybeans from Canada and Brazil. China last month announced the planned tariff on U.S. soybeans, shifting the nation’s buying habits. The tariffs are part of an ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China that started with President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. The soybean tariff has not yet been imposed. However, Chinese traders appear to be moving away from U.S. soy because of the potential cost increase. Bunge is the world’s biggest oilseed processor, and Shroder says the company has been able to fulfill demand in China by filling shipments with supplies from outside the United States. A recent study projected that U.S. soybean exports are projected to drop by $4.5 billion to $7.7 billion because of the 25 percent tariff.

CBO Publishes Farm Bill Analysis 

The Congressional Budget Office says the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill draft would reduce nutrition spending by $9.2 billion, offset by a $7.7 billion increase in spending on federal administrative costs. The CBO report on the legislation says changes to the Republican-supported bill that passed out of the House Agriculture Committee would reduce nutrition spending because some people would lose eligibility, according to the Hagstrom Report. Additionally, spending for job training and other parts of the retooled Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would increase administrative costs. The report also expects that states would not be able to offer training to all eligible recipients when the work requirement takes effect in 2021, or even by the end of 2028. The full House of Representatives is expected to consider the farm bill, titled the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, within the next few weeks.

Biofuels Group Files Lawsuit against EPA’s Pruitt

A renewable fuels trade group has filed a lawsuit against Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. The Advanced Biofuels Association is the first to sue Pruitt over the Renewable Fuel Standard waivers the EPA is dishing out to refineries, large and small. Association President Michael McAdams says the group is concerned that Pruitt is granting the exemptions in an arbitrary manner “behind closed doors with no accountability.” The Association filed the lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit given its “national implications” for the RFS program and its members. Other biofuels groups have threatened to file lawsuits as well. The group contends that the waivers issued by Pruitt have dropped RIN prices and caused “economic harm” to the association’s members, and poses “a threat to the integrity of the RFS program at large.”

Analyst: Labor Shortages and Volatile Feed Prices Ahead for Meat Industry

A Rabobank analyst says the U.S. could be on the tail end of the second longest expansion of its economy in history. Rabobank Analyst Don Close told the North American Meat Institute this week there are implications for the meat industry, including a pending labor shortage and possible volatile commodity prices ahead, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. Close warns that labor shortages are going to get worse over the next few months, and feed grain prices are headed towards more volatility. There currently are large stocks of corn and soybeans in storage, which will continue if this is a normal crop year. But, the analyst says “the ride this summer could be quite exciting,” explaining that normal weather market price changes could be intensified by all the extra investors in the market. As for labor, he predicts rising competition for labor and associated wage increases over the next 12 to 18 months.

Beef Industry Leaders Release National Framework for Beef Sustainability

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Thursday opened a 60-day public comment period on the group’s Sustainability Framework. The Sustainability Framework is a set of resources developed to assist ranchers, cattle auction markets, feedyards, packers, processors, and retail and food service organizations in their efforts to continuously improve the sustainability of U.S. beef. Roundtable chair, Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, says the framework should “serve as an invaluable tool in enhancing U.S. beef sustainability.” The key areas identified by the group as being important to the sustainability of beef are referred to as High-Priority Indicators. These include: animal health and well-being, efficiency and yield, employee safety and well-being, land resources, water resources, and air and greenhouse gas emissions. The Public Comment Period will end July first. To learn more about the framework or to submit comments, visit www.USRSBFramework.org.


SOURCE: NAFB News Service