07-06-18 EPA Announces $75M in Accelerated Funding to Expedite Cleanup of the Colorado Smelter Superfund site in Pueblo…

EPA Announces $75M in Accelerated Funding to Expedite Cleanup of the Colorado Smelter Superfund site in Pueblo

DENVER (July 6, 2018) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a new funding strategy to advance and expedite the cleanup of the Colorado Smelter Superfund site in Pueblo, Colorado. This strategy will provide annual funding of up to $15 million, more than twice the amount originally budgeted, to expedite the completion of residential cleanups and remove lead at properties in the Bessemer, Eilers, and Grove neighborhoods. As a result of this accelerated funding, EPA estimates residential cleanups will cost $75 million and will take four to six years to complete, instead of the ten-year or more timeframe originally estimated.

“When I first took my current position one of the early issues brought to my attention was the Colorado Smelter Superfund site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “The elected leadership at the local, state, and federal level re-emphasized that EPA needed to act quickly to address threats to human health and the environment. EPA heard their concern and today we are announcing additional funding for an accelerated cleanup at the site, which is more than double the projected amount. I want to emphasize this is a team effort, it will require our best effort and assistance from state and local regulators.”

“Colorado leaders have worked closely with the federal government to expedite this cleanup,”said Senator Michael Bennet. “This additional funding hopefully will provide some relief for Pueblo and the neighborhoods in the vicinity of the smelter.” Continue reading



St. Louis, Mo. (July 6, 2018) – It is with great sadness that Rabo AgriFinance shares that respected analyst and beloved colleague Sterling Liddell passed away on July 4. Sterling, Vice President of Global Data, Rabo AgriFinance, was known professionally for his expertise in markets, in a variety of commodity sectors, grains, livestock, ag policy, macroeconomics and more.

Sterling Liddell“His unique and broad set of knowledge made him a globally sought-after resource on agricultural economics, macro trends, and more. He has always been an excellent ambassador for Rabo AgriFinance, Rabobank and the agricultural industry,” says Curt Hudnutt, Head of Rural North America at Rabo AgriFinance. “But as brilliant an analyst as we was, his lasting legacy is his love for his wife, Verlinda and their eight children.”  Continue reading

07-06-18 History CO: $418,987 Awarded to Archaeology and Preservation Projects

History CO: $418,987 Awarded to Archaeology and Preservation Projects

The History Colorado State Historical Fund awarded $418,987 across 17 archaeology and preservation grants for the spring 2018 “mini” grant round (grants of up to $35,000). The grants provide funding for archaeology and historic preservation projects that tell the story of Colorado’s history and generate meaningful economic activity, especially in rural communities. 

Find a complete listing of awarded grants here.

07-06-18 Farmers Union Hosts 82nd Annual All-States Leadership Camp

Farmers Union Hosts 82nd Annual All-States Leadership Camp

Campers Participate in Cooperative Education, Elect New Youth Advisory Council
BAILEY, Colo. – Farmers Union youth members from across the country gathered here last week for the 82nd annual National Farmers Union (NFU) All-States Leadership Camp. Hosted each June at the NFU Education Center, All-States Camp encourages youth to explore their leadership potential, discuss issues important to their generation, learn more about the power of cooperatives, and identify ways to affect positive change in their communities.
“Farmers Union is rooted in cooperative principles, and our organization has a long history of providing young adults with tools and opportunities to lead,” said NFU President Roger Johnson, a former NFU All-States camper. “For 82 years now, All-States Camp has been the place where our young members can come to learn more about the organization, the cooperative model, and leadership. I’m encouraged by the enthusiasm and high regard that our young members have for attending the camp each year,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

07-06-18 USWA-NAWG Joint Statement: Trade Conflict with China Already Hurting U.S. Farm Families

Trade Conflict with China Already Hurting U.S. Farm Families 

WASHINGTON, D.C — From March to June over the past three years, Chinese flour milling companies and their importers purchased an average of about 20 million bushels of U.S. wheat, returning well over $145 million to American farm families and grain handlers. Not in 2018, however. Unable to accept the risk of escalating import prices, Chinese customers stopped making new purchases of U.S. wheat last March, after the Chinese government threaten a 25 percent import tariff on U.S. wheat in retaliation to the threat of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 6th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

EPA Administrator Pruitt Resigns

 The polarizing tenure of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency has come to an end. President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday afternoon that he’s “accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” noting that Pruitt has done a “good job within the Agency.” The Senate has already confirmed Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who will take over as the acting Administrator next week. The departure of Pruitt follows months of scrutiny that gathered momentum following reports that Pruitt had rented a Capitol Hill condominium from an energy lobbyist on very favorable rental terms. There were already concerns about the high cost of Pruitt’s travel and security detail, as well as the allegations of Pruitt fostering a working environment filled with workplace retaliation and wasteful spending. The steady flow of news stories prompted multiple government agencies to inquiries into Pruitt and the agency, which still faces over a dozen probes into spending, ethics, and policy decisions.


 China Canceling More U.S. Soybean Shipments

 Chinese companies who’ve committed to buying soybeans from the U.S. through the year ending on August 31st are likely to cancel those shipments once the extra tariff on U.S. imports kicks in on Friday. As the world’s top soybean buyer, China has yet to take delivery of about 1.14 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans booked for the current marketing year. USDA reported that China recently resold 123,000 tons of committed deliveries to Bangladesh and Iran. A Bloomberg article calls soybeans a key “flash-point” in the worsening trade relations between the U.S. and China after officials in Beijing said they would levy tariffs on imports starting on July 6th in response to more duties imposed by the Trump Administration. There will be a few shipments that get through because shipments with products intended for state reserves are tariff-free. However, a Shanghai investment manager tells Bloomberg that most of the other shipments will be canceled after the tariffs go into effect because the rate will be too high and crushers will lose money. China has already begun to contract for a higher number of shipments for soybeans from Brazil. Supplies are currently high but projected to run out in the fourth quarter of this year if China doesn’t take any U.S. soybeans.


CoBank: Trade War Takes a Toll on Ag Economy

 Despite the strongest global economic growth the world has seen since 2011, the uncertainty surrounding trade disputes is causing escalating concern for U.S. agriculture. CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division says seventy percent of U.S. ag exports are heading to countries that are currently in negotiations or outright trade disputes. CoBank’s Rural Economic Review says the shift from trade war rhetoric to reality tempers a lot of the optimism in the first quarter of this year. In addition to losing market share in some of the emerging markets, the U.S. may face some historical shakeups in supply chain commitments as customers may look for new trade relationships. Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division, says trade concerns pose the greatest threat to the projected global economic growth of three to four percent. “The U.S. and China have been driving the economic growth, which benefits emerging markets around the globe,” Ehmke says, “and a trade war between the two is dangerous for economies around the world.” Overall, Ehmke says current market conditions, including rising interest rates, high fuel costs, relatively high land rental rates, and little price relief for other inputs all point to a net farm cash income decline in 2018.


Battle Breaks Out Over GMO Labeling

The USDA comment period on its proposed GMO labeling rule brought in more than 11,000 comments from farm groups, consumers, and multinational companies like Hershey’s. Politico says food manufacturers are at odds with farmers over which ingredients should actually be subject to disclosure. The companies are arguing that foods made with even some genetically modified corn, soybeans, and sugar beets need to have disclosures. On the other side of the debate, farmers say it’s not accurate to apply the labeling standard to highly refined foods because they often contain no detectable amounts of these products. The Center for Science in the Public Interest told Reuters that it actually agrees with both sides. Farmers are correct in arguing that their finished ingredients are no different scientifically to their GMO counterparts, but products should still be labeled. The group says, “USDA should read the statute broadly and provide consumers with as much information as possible, but it should be scientifically accurate. They need a different disclosure for highly refined ingredients.” Consumers, as well as some lawmakers, were more concerned about the new language. USDA has suggested using the term or symbol “BE” or “bioengineered” instead of “GMO” or “GM” for genetically modified.


 Perdue Hopeful NAFTA Agreement with Mexico Coming Soon

 Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is out on another “Back to Our Roots” tour, this time to the Pacific Northwest, as well as Alaska. Perdue says he’s hopeful that a new North American Free Trade Agreement can be reached with Mexico very soon. “We believe we’ve got many of the agreements in principle ready to go there,” he says. Perdue told reporters at several stops that the U.S. will likely get an agreement with Mexico first. “After that, we’ll move on to Canada and get those remaining issues resolved,” he added. At a stop in the rolling wheat fields of eastern Oregon, trade was a big topic of conversation. A producer pointed out during a          question-and-answer session that the price of wheat dropped from $7 to $6 a bushel. Between 85 and 90 percent of Oregon’s wheat heads overseas. Perdue continued to say that USDA is working on a “compensatory mitigation strategy” to help producers in Oregon, as well as around the nation, but once again didn’t provide many specifics. The farm bill has been another big topic of conversation, with Perdue saying he’s very optimistic it will get passed in Congress before the current legislation expires.


EU Wheat Harvest Hit Hard by Drought

 The European Union’s wheat harvest may wind up about six million tons less than it was a year ago. Crops in the northern part of the EU suffered through a hot and dry spring. Reuters says there is some late-season signs of crop damage in France, one of the top wheat producers in the EU. Those potential losses in the EU are adding to the speculation that global supplies of the food staple will shrink during the 2018-2019 marketing year. Several of the world’s top production areas have faced adverse weather conditions during their growing seasons. The 28-country European Union is collectively the world’s largest wheat producer. Projections now expect the bloc to produce approximately 136 million tons of soft wheat this year. The outlook is about four percent lower than last year’s output. As little as three months ago, forecasters were expecting the 2018 wheat crop to be identical to the output in 2017. However, it’s been extremely dry since early June, especially in northern areas, and crops have suffered.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service