06-11-18 NACD WELCOMES USDA DECISION ON NRCS HIRING AUTHORITY

NACD WELCOMES USDA DECISION ON NRCS HIRING AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, June 8, leadership from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and the National Conservation Partnership sent a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue about the department’s decision to enable the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with the authority to hire staff. Continue reading

06-11-18 Inside the NRCS/CSU Extension’s Small Acreage Management Program with Jennifer Cook: Utilizing Goat Grazing in Public Spaces, SAM Website & More…

CLICK HERE to view “Guide for Using Goats to Manage Weeds in Urban Public Spaces”

Inside the NRCS/CSU Extension’s Small Acreage Management Program with Jennifer Cook: Utilizing Goat Grazing in Public Spaces, SAM Website & More…

Jennifer Cook

(The BARN / FarmCast Radio – Briggsdale, CO) June 11, 2018 – Jennifer Cook, Small Acreage Management Coordinator/Digital Green eXtension Fellow with NRCS/CSU Extension out of Brighton, CO discusses the challenges/successes of utilizing goats to graze public urban spaces and also details what you will find when visiting the NRCS/CSU Extension Small Acreage Management Program website online @ http://sam.extension.colostate.edu/ 

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“Guide for Using Goats to Manage Weeds in Urban Public Spaces” – CLICK HERE

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 11th

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, June 11th

Senate Releases New Farm Bill

The Senate’s version of the Farm Bill was released to the public after the Ag Committee hashed out some final details on Thursday. Republican and Democratic aides told the Hagstrom Report that it’s bipartisan, budget-neutral, and is intended to provide certainty and predictability for the nation’s farmers. American producers have suffered a 52 percent drop in income and a 40 percent drop in commodity prices for the past five years. One aide said to the Hagstrom Report that, “The text shows that the chair and the ranking member have a partnership that is deep, and it shows that Democrats and Republicans can work together to put together big impactful legislation.” The bill is titled the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. Its intention is to improve on a range of farm programs and tighten up integrity in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. However, the bill’s provisions are undramatic when compared to past farm bills. It sits in stark contrast to the House version of the farm bill, due for another vote on June 22. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says his intention is to pass the bill on the Senate floor before the July 4th recess.    

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Chief Ag Negotiator Says It’s “Time to Play Offense”

Greg Doud, Chief Ag Negotiator for the Trump Administration, recently returned from a trip to China and said it’s time to “play offense.” During his career, Doud has been involved in Chinese discussions for more than 15 years. He told AgDay TV at the World Pork Expo that it’s not going to be a fast process. Doud says his most recent trip to China was productive, but it wasn’t a magic silver bullet to water down the trade fires between the two countries. Doud says, “Even if we can make incremental progress on a trip like this, it’s worth it. It’s worth getting over there to interact in a market that’s very, very important to U.S. agriculture.” Doud adds that the trade issues between China and the U.S. related to steel have been brewing for decades and need to be handled. “We have a president of the United States who stood up and said ‘this has gone on long enough,’” says Doud, “and I can tell you as a guy that’s been working on these issues in Washington, D.C., for 25 years, this needs to be addressed.” Doud says he understands farmers are anxious about Chinese tariffs but the best thing now is to start playing offense.

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Mexican Cheese Tariffs Could Devastate American Dairy Export Sales

Mexico is an important export market for American dairy, specifically cheese. Mexico takes up 28 percent of all U.S. cheese exports, which means it buys more American cheese than any other market. Mexico put the tariffs in place in response to the tariffs on steel and aluminum put into effect by President Trump. U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO Tom Vilsack says, “Those tariffs on cheese will potentially eliminate the competitive advantage we have in our number one market. That’s a legitimate concern.” Last year alone, the U.S. held 75 percent of the entire Mexican cheese import market. The Mexican tariffs include a 15 percent duty on fresh cheeses, which climbs to 25 percent after July 5th. Shredded or powdered cheeses face a 10 percent tariff, which jumps to 20 percent after July 5th. The full impact of the tariffs on the price of milk is still unknown. Greg Ibach (eye-baw’), Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulation, says the Trump Administration is monitoring the situation closely and will not hesitate to take action to prevent farmers from bearing the brunt of trade negotiations. U.S. cheese imports to Mexico were worth $391 million last year.

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Cruz Still Pushing for Biofuels Overhaul

The lead Senator pushing for biofuels reform, Ted Cruz, met with Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt, one day after the White House announced a biofuels deal fell through. Pruitt had dinner with the Texas Republican on Wednesday night and declined to comment after it was over. Cruz did say the meeting was about the Renewable Fuels Standard and was planned well before the deal unraveled earlier this week. Cruz feels the deal can still be revived. “The conversations are ongoing,” Cruz says, “and I believe there’s a win-win deal for everyone.” After months of negotiations, the Trump Administration struggled to find a balance between two of his key constituencies, Midwest farmers and the oil industry. Refiners are complaining about the cost of complying with the mandate while farm-state lawmakers say the law is a crucial safety net for their rural constituents. EPA administrator Pruitt is under fire from renewable fuels advocates, who says he’s undermined the president’s pledge to support biofuels. Pruitt is also under fire for questionable decisions and allegations of ethical misconduct. Refiners, who support Pruitt, agree with Cruz that it’s too early to write off a deal.

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McKinney to Lead Trade Delegation to Japan

USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney will lead a trade mission to Japan June 11-15. He’ll be joined by numerous U.S. business and government leaders seeking to expand export opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. McKinney says, “Japan is already a top market for U.S. farm and food products, but there are many new opportunities waiting to be tapped there. “Japan is an import-dependent nation. It’s 130 million consumers have a real affinity for U.S. food products because of their quality, affordability, and safety. I’m eager to return to Japan and continue exploring all the ways we can grow U.S. agricultural exports there.”  Trip participants include state ag department officials from 14 different states. A few of the 48 agricultural companies that are sending officials along include Alltech, the U.S. Soybean Export Council, U.S. Grains Council, several export companies, and CHS Incorporated.

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Trump Administration Planning USDA Reorganization

The Trump Administration is planning to put together a government reorganizing report that would include shifting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program away from the USDA and into the Department of Health and Human Services. Several of the proposals in the upcoming report are said to be highly controversial. The SNAP proposal would shrink USDA because the SNAP program is the single largest item in the budget. Other proposals include moving the U.S. Forest Service from USDA to the Interior Department. That would also shrink the size of the USDA because the Forest Service has the largest number of employees in any USDA division. Yet another proposal included combining the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service, which oversees meat, poultry, processed eggs, and catfish, with the inspection activities of the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies. Again, that would shrink the USDA size because FSIS also employs a large staff that inspects meat production on a daily basis.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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