05-17-18 Colorado Weekly Hay Report…

05-17-18 USDA Designates Two Counties in Colorado as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

USDA Designates Two Counties in Colorado as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has
designated Chaffee and Fremont counties in Colorado as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought. Farmers and ranchers in the following contiguous counties in Colorado also qualify for natural disaster assistance.  Those counties are:

Custer           Lake           Pueblo
El Paso           Park           Saguache
Gunnison      Pitkin        Teller

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05-17-18 USDA Secretary Perdue Applauds Red Tape Reduction for Farmers

USDA Secretary Perdue Applauds Red Tape Reduction for Farmers

(Washington, D.C., May 17, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the removal of a burdensome regulation that has long plagued family farms. The rule requiring producers to obtain Data Universal Number System (DUNS) and System for Award Management (SAM) numbers to participate in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs has been eliminated. Congress included this repeal in the FY 2018 Omnibus spending package, USDA’s official regulatory change will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow.

“I’m pleased Congress helped us to achieve one of our regulatory goals of cutting red tape for producers utilizing conservation programs by exempting them from SAM and DUNS requirements,” Secretary Perdue said. “These numbers were designed for billion-dollar government contractors, not everyday farmers trying to support their families. These changes help streamline the customer experience for farmers, which is a top priority at USDA.” Continue reading

05-17-18 USDA Partners to Fund Forest to Faucets Conservation Projects

USDA Partners to Fund Forest to Faucets Conservation Projects

Applications must be received by Friday, June 15, 2018

May 14, 2018, DENVER, CO – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Colorado partnered with the City and County of Denver Board of Water Commissioners, Colorado State Forest Service and the US Forest Service to help fund projects aimed at improving forest health as well as reducing soil erosion. $400,000 has been allocated to fund projects within portions of Boulder, Gilpin, Jefferson, Douglas, and Park counties (CLICK HERE TO SEE MAP).

“The health of Colorado’s forests and watersheds affects municipal water supplies for the City and County of Denver and surrounding communities” said Becky Ross, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Programs. “Restoration activities can help minimize sedimentation impacts and maintain water quality for reservoirs and other water infrastructure by reducing soil erosion and the risk of wildfires.” Continue reading

05-17-18 Colorado Produce Growers Ask USDA Secretary Perdue’s Help on Labor, Trade

CLICK HERE to watch the CFVGA Roundtable discussion with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on May 15th PLUS the press conference that followed, courtesy of BARN Media

Colorado Produce Growers Ask USDA Secretary Perdue’s Help on Labor, Trade

CLICK HERE to learn more about the CFVGA

BRIGHTON, CO – Members of the Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) met with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue yesterday afternoon at Sakata Farms to discuss the biggest challenges facing their farms. Also participating in the discussion were Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown.

“Securing qualified, legal labor for relatively short harvest seasons was by far the number one issue discussed with the secretary,” said Robert Sakata, Sakata Farms, who is CFVGA president.
“For our short window of harvest, we hire about 120 workers through the H2A program to pick sweet corn,” said Reid Fishering, Mountain Quality Marketing, Montrose, Colo. “I’m looking to work with the Department of Labor, who processes these visas, in a simple, streamlined way. The process is overly complicated and creates costly delays.”

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05-17-18 National FFA Organization Awards More Than $2.5 Million in Scholarships

Click here to learn more about the National FFA Organization

National FFA Organization Awards More Than $2.5 Million in Scholarships

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 17, 2018/National FFA Organization) – The National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation have awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships to 1,842 recipients, thanks to the generosity of 114 sponsors. Continue reading

05-17-18 Colorado Department of Agriculture Participates in “Back to Our Roots” Tour with Secretary Perdue

Colorado Department of Agriculture Participates in “Back to Our Roots” Tour with Secretary Perdue

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – On May 15, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown participated in a Colorado Ag Council producer-member town hall luncheon hosted at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The meeting is the fourth segment of Perdue’s tour to hear ideas and concerns from those involved in the agricultural industry including farmers, ranchers, producers, business owners, and community leaders.
“We had a great conversation with Secretary Perdue and Colorado’s agricultural leaders. The current challenges and opportunities facing our farmers and ranchers were discussed and I applaud the Secretary for making the trip to hear from those working in the fields and growing our food, fiber, and fuel,” said Commissioner Brown. “When we talk about the future of agriculture, we are talking about the backbone of our country.”

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05-17-18 RMFU: Water Education From The Front Range To Western Slope

CLICK HERE to learn more about the RMFU and how you can become a member today!

RMFU: Water Education From The Front Range To Western Slope

By Harrison Topp, RMFU Director of Membership

On a rainy morning about a week ago, a group of growers, industry reps, and ag organizations piled into a meeting room at Sakata Farms in Brighton, Colorado.  Even if the sun was shining outside, it would still have been worth it for everyone in the room to take a break from field work.  The reason for the meeting was that three representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, the agency responsible for the recent rollout of the Food Safety Modernization Act, were paying a special visit to Colorado.

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05-17-18 RMFU: Farmers Union Awards Scholarships to Six Outstanding Applicants

CLICK HERE to learn more about the RMFU and how you can become a member today!

RMFU: Farmers Union Awards Scholarships to Six Outstanding Applicants

The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) Foundation today announced the recipients of six $1,000 scholarships. The awards are made to students with records of outstanding scholastic achievements and community service. The scholarships are funded by RMFU, FUSA Insurance Agency, and memorials honoring long-time leaders in Farmers Union.

“These recipients are stepping up as future leaders of our communities. The RMFU Foundation is proud to present scholarships to six exceptional young leaders to help them achieve their educational and career goals,” said RMFU Education Director Jennifer Luitjens Bahr. The recipients are listed below. Continue reading

05-17-18 RMFU: USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue Listens To Colorado Producers

CLICK HERE to learn more about the RMFU and how you can become a member today!

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue takes a question from RMFU member Dan Waldvogle

RMFU: USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue Listens To Colorado Producers

A five-year slide in farm income, a war of words between the U.S. and its trading partners over trade agreements, and uncertainty about a contentious farm bill debate in Congress has Colorado’s farmers and ranchers nervous. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue took questions from producers during a session held yesterday at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Among those looking for answers were RMFU members Dan Waldvogle, Dave Moosman, and RMFU Director of External Affairs Nick Levendofsky. Continue reading

05-17-18 CIRB: Grassroots Petition Urges Congress to Protect Crop Insurance in the Farm Bill

CIRB: Grassroots Petition Urges Congress to Protect Crop Insurance in the Farm Bill

418 Local, State and National Organizations Oppose Harmful Amendments to Crop Insurance

Washington, D.C.- This week 418 local, state and national organizations and individual companies signed on to a petition urging Congress to do no harm to the crop insurance program in the farm bill. This includes broad support from across the country, from Hawaii to Maine, representing everyone from farmers to lenders to conservation organizations to agricultural input providers. This petition was sent to the House of Representatives, as H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, heads to the House floor for a vote this week.

Specifically, the petition asks Members of Congress to oppose harmful amendments to crop insurance including those that would reduce participation in crop insurance, make insurance more expensive for farmers during a time of economic downturn in agriculture, or harm private-sector delivery.

“The petition showcases the wide-spread grassroots support for crop insurance,” said Tara Smith, CIRB Vice President of Federal Affairs. “We encourage everyone to reach out to their Representatives today to ensure they hear directly what folks in the countryside already know: that crop insurance works, and we need to protect it from harmful amendments in the farm bill.”

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, May 17th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, May 17th

Senate Farm Bill Markup Expected Soon

As the House of Representatives debates its version of the farm bill this week, the Senate is expected to hold a markup session on its version soon. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts recently told the Hagstrom Report that the Senate should be ready to announce a markup date next week. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota who sits on the Senate Ag Committee, predicts the committee will have a “product ready in June,” for consideration. Klobuchar said this week that the Senate Ag Committee members are working together on a bipartisan basis, “in contrast with the House Agriculture Committee.” She also noted that House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson has said he supports the Senate bipartisan effort. Democrats in the House have refused to support the Republican-led effort in the chamber because of changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Lawmakers Renew Call for Completing NAFTA This Week

The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is echoing comments from House Speaker Paul Ryan, calling on the North American Free Trade Agreement talks to conclude in an agreement this week. That is if the Trump administration wants Congress to consider an updated NAFTA before the end of 2018. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady says “we’re hopeful they’ll continue to make progress on this agreement.” However, the week is quickly coming to an end, and top trade negotiators from Mexico and Canada are not on-site with others this week. Dan Ujczo (Yoot’-zoh), an international trade lawyer, told Politico that to reach an agreement, negotiators may have to concede to a “skinny NAFTA,” one without addressing key issues including reducing the trade deficit, preventing job outsourcing and providing better market access to Canada for U.S. dairy farmers. The “skinny NAFTA,” Ujczo says, would fall in line with the “do no harm” pleas by U.S. agriculture, but he says not addressing key issues gives Democrats an advantage to say President Trump “did not fulfill his campaign promises to dairy farmers,” and others.

Cargill Still Concerned About Likelihood of Trade War

Cargill remains concerned that the U.S. and China trade discussions will escalate into a trade war. In Comments sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Cargill officials say the tariffs proposal by the U.S. targeting China will “not effectively advance the goal of addressing distortive trade practices,” according to Reuters. Cargill sent a five-page letter to Lighthizer as the USTR is taking comment and hearing testimony this week on the proposed tariffs. For Cargill and other grain trade organizations, the growing trade disputes are disrupting agricultural supply chains. A Cargill official writes in the letter that U.S. farmers will be hurt the most by declining prices linked to China retaliatory efforts, including a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans. Cargill states: “the use of tariffs is unsuccessful in achieving lasting solutions.” The hearings this week come as officials from China and the U.S. are holding meetings in Washington, D.C. to discuss trade.

Controlled Environment Ag Growing

Controlled environment agriculture is growing rapidly, according to a new report from CoBank. Controlled environment agriculture, a technology-based approach toward food production to use optimal growing conditions, often indoors, occurs in all 50 states, but the vast majority of the large facilities growing tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are in the Northeast, West and Southwest. CoBank says technological advancements and consumer demand for fresh, local and year-round supplies of high-quality produce are growing the controlled environment agriculture industry. A researcher for CoBank says that although there is a steep learning curve, and the practice is costly, demand means the segment “is likely to continue growing for the next five years.” Those barriers are not stopping growers from entering the market at high rates according to the report, partially due to the price premiums and significantly higher yields that technology, such as hydroponics, provides.

Equipment Groups Release Policy Survey Results

In April, the Equipment Dealers Association and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers surveyed their members about the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and steel and aluminum tariffs on their businesses. Dealers and manufacturers were in consensus that the two most beneficial provisions of the tax legislation were the lower corporate tax rate and the favorable expensing provisions for new and used equipment. While dealers and manufacturers are singing the “same tune” concerning tax cuts, there were substantial differences in their opinions related to the recent trade tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration on steel and aluminum. One surprising discrepancy, according to survey organizers, was the opinion on how the tariffs would impact the U.S. economy. Although many say they believe the tariffs will negatively impact the U.S. economy, only 45 percent of dealers said the tariffs would negatively impact the economy as compared to 62 percent of manufacturers who said the same.

Nationwide Reveals Most Common Agribusiness Insurance Claims

Motor vehicle accidents top the list of insurance claims in farming in agribusiness. A statement from Nationwide Insurance says that accidents, workers compensation and misapplication of chemicals or drift issues, have accounted for more than 50,000 claims over the last three years. However, over the past three years, motor vehicles accidents have accounted for more than 20,000 total commercial agribusiness claims. Nationwide, which calls itself the number one farm insurer in the United States, say that by sharing the data, the company hopes “to help agribusiness owners recognize areas of their operation that may need increased safety precautions.” Other top agribusiness claims include falls, food-related claims, animal bites, glass breakage, weather damage and fire or loss.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service