06-20-18 National FFA Organization and American Seed Trade Association Sign Historic Memorandum of Understanding

National FFA Organization and American Seed Trade Association Sign Historic Memorandum of Understanding

Alexandria, VA –June 20, 2018 The National FFA Organization and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) recently signed a memorandum of understanding.

The memorandum will align ASTA’s strategic goals and resources with the three-component model of agricultural education, providing teacher curriculum and resources; supervised agricultural experience support and mentors; and leadership and career development.

“This Memorandum of Understanding helps stress the importance of the three-component model – agricultural education, FFA and supervised agricultural experience,” said Mark Poeschl, chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization.  “As we move forward in the 21st Century, we know it’s important to provide tools to our members to ensure they become tomorrow’s leaders in agriculture. This memorandum will help us sustain that growth in leadership.”

The memorandum was signed on June 11 during ASTA’s Policy and Leadership Development conference held in Washington, D.C. State FFA Officers from Maryland and Virginia also participated in the conference and shared a presentation regarding the three-component model.

Jerry Flint, with Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, a member of the National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board and the incoming 2018-19 ASTA Chair helped drive the memorandum.

“We’re extremely proud to embark on this new partnership with FFA,” said Flint. “This Memorandum of Understanding is an important step in strengthening learning and collaboration opportunities between our two great organizations, as we work to prepare the next generation of leaders in the seed industry, and agriculture at large.” Continue reading

06-20-18 CDA: 1,500 Ways to Participate in Colorado State Fair General Entry Competitions

1,500 Ways to Participate in Colorado State Fair General Entry Competitions

PUEBLO, Colo. – The Colorado State Fair’s General Entry Department provides an opportunity for all Coloradans to participate in the Fair. Whether its needle arts, pet rocks, funniest pet photo, craft beer, floriculture, small farm and garden, pantry, or a number of cooking competitions, there’s room for anyone who wants to compete for blue ribbon glory.
Registration fees range from $0 to $5. In all, there are over 1,500 classes in 12 departments. A full list ofgeneral entry competitions and special contests can be found at www.coloradostatefair.com. Submissions for these competitions can be made online or through the Fair’s General Entry office, Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, or call 719-404-2080.
The Colorado State Fair runs August 24 – September 3, 2018.  For more information, visitwww.coloradostatefair.com.

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06-20-18 State’s economic and revenue forecast spotlights stability with continued expansion

State’s economic and revenue forecast spotlights stability with continued expansion

DENVER — Wednesday, June 20, 2018 The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) today released its quarterly economic and revenue forecast.

The June forecast for General Fund revenue is similar to the March revenue forecast. Revenue is projected to increase at a rate of 13.1 percent in FY 2017-18 due to the pick up in economic growth, a rebound in corporate income tax receipts, robust investment income gains, a one-time tobacco settlement payment, and the December 2017 federal tax changes. General Fund revenue is projected to increase at a more modest 4.1 percent rate in FY 2018-19 due primarily to slower income tax revenue growth.

“The entrepreneurs, executives, and indeed the entire workforce in our state have helped make Colorado one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, economy in the country,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “While it’s great to see potential revenue growth, we need to remain vigilant and cautious to safeguard the inevitable future downturn.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 20th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 20th

Trump Escalates Trade War with Additional Talks of Tariffs

President Donald Trump is taking the trade war with China to an unprecedented level that would impose tariffs on nearly every export China sends to the United States. Following the announcement Monday night by Trump that he is seeking an additional $200 billion worth of tariffs, China is looking to retaliate, again. Trump says if China does, he would seek to impose another additional $200 billion in tariffs, taxing a total of $450 billion of the $505 billion of Chinese goods sent to the U.S. each year. In its response, China called the extreme pressure from Trump “blackmail,” adding that if the U.S. becomes “irrational” and issues the proposed list of products, China will “have to adopt” strong countermeasures. China has already vowed to impose tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, such as soybeans and pork, and many others, including corn, sorghum and beef.

Trade War Costly for U.S. Farmers

The trade war between the U.S. and China is proving to be costly to U.S. farmers, just as President Trump announced the intent for further tariffs, escalating the tense state of affairs. University of Illinois agriculture economist Scott Irwin this week on Twitter says the outlook has “moved into disaster territory,” specifically, regarding soybeans. And, Jim Bower of Bower Trading in his daily newsletter wrote: “At this point, it is hard to imagine the trade news getting much worse.” New crop soybean futures have dropped roughly 20 percent since May 29th, and corn futures are down 16 percent since late May. For soybeans, the decline is near a dollar and a half per bushel, representing a loss of more than $6 billion on the 2018 soybean crop. The American Soybean Association Tuesday linked the drop to the trade war, as President John Heisdorffer stated: “Soybean prices are declining as a direct result of this trade feud.” The statement says ASA is disappointed and highly concerned that trade tensions continue to ratchet up rather than de-escalate between the two countries.

Farmers for Free Trade Places More Anti-Trade War Advertising

Farmers for Free Trade is again placing advertisements on cable television showing an on-the-ground look at how current trade disputes are damaging export markets for U.S. farmers. In conjunction with the U.S. Apple Association, the advertisement targets the retaliations to the Section 232 tariffs that include U.S. apples. Airing on television news networks frequently watched by President Trump, the advertisement will run in the immediate aftermath of new retaliatory tariffs being announced on American farm exports from key U.S. trading partners including Mexico, India, Canada, China and the European Union. U.S. apple exports are particularly prone to be hard hit by retaliatory tariffs. Jim Bair, U.S. Apple Association President & CEO, says: “Profit margins in agriculture are razor-thin, or nonexistent,” adding the disputed need “resolved amicably and quickly.” However, Farmers for Free Trade director Brian Kuehl (Keel) says the “situation is going from bad to worse.” More so recently, as the U.S. is now seeking quadruple it’s tariffs against exports from China.

Freedom Caucus Farm Bill Support Still Uncertain

Freedom Caucus members have yet to submit unison support for the House farm bill. The House set a revote deadline for this Friday when the farm bill failed because Democrats and the Freedom Caucus Republicans voted against the measure. Now, Bloomberg reports some members have not voiced support for the farm bill, including Virginia Republican David Brat, who says “I’m not there yet.” Brat would not say whether if immigration legislation was holding him back. However, other members of the Freedom Caucus, Like North Carolina’s Mark Meadows, say they are willing to support the farm bill if they get a vote on immigration legislation. Meanwhile, a House Rules Committee spokesperson told The Hagstrom Report in that if the farm bill vote is not held by Friday “a new rule would have to be passed.” However, Louisiana Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise says the deadline is flexible.

USDA Issues Warning of Newcastle Virus to Commercial Poultry

The Department of Agriculture says at least 18 outbreaks of Virulent Newcastle Disease have been confirmed in backyard chickens in Southern California. The outbreaks prompted the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to issue a warning to commercial poultry operations. The infected backyard chickens were found in Los Angeles and San Bernardino in May and June. In the USDA statement, the agency says the virus is not a food safety concern, and no human cases have ever occurred. The virus has not been found in commercial poultry in the United States since 2003. USDA says the virus is a contagious and is a fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so strong that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs. USDA says it is essential that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases.

USDA Announces New Budget Director

Agriculture Sonny Secretary Perdue announced Erica Navarro will serve as Director of the Office of Budget and Program Analysis for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. OBPA administers the Department’s budgetary functions and develops and presents budget-related matters. The Director is responsible for providing leadership in carrying out department-wide responsibilities in policy analysis, program review, budget, legislative and regulatory functions. In the announcement made Tuesday, Perdue said he is confident Navarro will help USDA meet its priority “to be the most effective, most efficient, and best-managed department in the entire federal government.” Navarro previously served as the Budget Director for the U.S. Department of Education. Before that, she served as Budget Director for the U.S. General Services Administration and Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator and Senior Advisor for the Africa Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service