07-26-18 NCGA: Volunteers Come Together to Grow, Share Passion at CommonGround Connect Conference

NCGA: Volunteers Come Together to Grow, Share Passion at CommonGround Connect Conference

Farm women volunteers involved in the CommonGround outreach program, along with state and national staff, met in Chicago, Ill., to share their experiences with the program and welcome new members earlier this week. Over the course of two days, the participants worked intensively to gain insight in consumer questions and hone the skills that they use to share their personal story and that of modern farming with urban and suburban moms.

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07-26-18 CDA: Tour Highlights Severe Drought Hitting Colorado

CDA: Tour Highlights Severe Drought Hitting Colorado

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – On Monday, July 23, 2018, Colorado agricultural leaders, including Lt. Governor Donna Lynne and Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown, attended a “Drought Impacts Tour” designed to highlight the challenges Southwest Colorado farmers and ranchers are facing given the continuing drought and recent fires.
The tour by the Colorado Drought Task Force was comprised of representatives from the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, and Local Affairs and Public Safety. The intent of the tour was to assess conditions. hear directly from those most impacted by the persistent drought and wildfires, and become informed on how the State can help with both response and recovery.
“The Drought Tour offered us the opportunity to see first-hand the impact the exceptionally dry conditions have had on soils and crops. Colorado farmers and ranchers are often faced with challenges outside of their control such as the economy, market prices, and drought.  Right now, we are facing all three and if there is something we, as a state, can do to help them through these tough times, it’s important that we look into it,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown.

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07-26-18 SHIC-Funded Feed Risk Studies Lead to Stakeholder Meeting


SHIC-Funded Feed Risk Studies Lead to Stakeholder Meeting

Ames, Iowa — In May 2017, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) released information from a study it funded showing the potential for viruses to contaminate and survive in feed ingredients. These surprising findings led to on-going research on transmission potential and mitigation. A meeting of stakeholders, including representatives of USDA, FDA, universities, industry organizations, producers, the feed processing industry, and SHIC, was held in June 2018. The objective of the meeting, hosted by SHIC and the National Pork Board, was to review current government policies and regulations and to make recommendations about research to help reduce the risk for pathogen transmission via feed and feed ingredients. A report from the meeting can be read here.

In addition to the prioritization of next steps, the stakeholder representatives heard updates from companies and federal agencies engaged in parallel work. FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and USDA’s Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service both have regulatory authority related to feed safety.  And USDA’s Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health will help with a review of the scientific literature and will bring experts together to discuss risk. SHIC is funding university and production company-related research to help define feed risk. And feed processing companies are also contributing to the body of work to help identify feed transmission risk and investigate mitigation. Programs were described and outcomes discussed during the meeting. Details are included in the meeting report.

At the conclusion of the stakeholder meeting, a prioritized set of next steps for research or investigation was developed: Continue reading

07-26-18 USDA Invests in 22 New Projects to Spur Innovation in Grazing Lands, Organic Systems and Soil Health, including here in CO…


USDA Invests in 22 New Projects to Spur Innovation in Grazing Lands, Organic Systems and Soil Health, including here in CO

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2018 – USDA will invest more than $10.6 million for 22 new projects that will drive public and private sector innovation in conserving natural resources in 27 states. The competitive Conservation Innovation Grants program helps spur development and adoption of new conservation approaches and technologies.

“Through our Conservation Innovation Grants, we are able to bring together a wide array of groups to drive innovation and spur cutting-edge projects,” said Bill Northey, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “This year’s competition resulted in an impressive array of proposals that will ultimately benefit the people who grow our food and fiber.”

Through this grant program, public and private grantees — including non-governmental organizations, American Indian tribes, academic institutions and local government entities — leverage the federal investment by providing a match or cost share that is at least equal to the amount of federal funding requested.

This year’s projects focus on three priorities: grazing lands, organic agriculture systems and soil health. Since 2004, USDA has invested more than $297 million for 732 projects.

Projects in CO include:

Soil Health

The Nature Conservancy of Colorado (CO, KS, MT, SD, ID)
Funds Requested: $427,164
Expanding and Testing the Utility of Land Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) – an Open Source Grazing Land Evaluation Tool for Ranchers

Rancher access to comprehensive information about land potential enhances adaptive management, and having tools for easy, meaningful monitoring is critical. By using the free, open source Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) mobile app, ranchers can rapidly identify soils and inventory and monitor vegetation for use in management decisions. The Nature Conservancy of Colorado proposes to create two new LandPKS modules to enable ranchers to monitor forage utilization and assess wildlife habitat potential. TNC will engage ranchers in implementing, testing and evaluating LandPKS as a tool for rangeland assessment and management.


Colorado State University (CO)
Funds Requested: $343,107
Next Generation Technology for Monitoring Edge-of-Field Water Quality in Organic Agriculture

Colorado State University proposes to develop new low‐cost edge‐of‐field monitoring approaches to monitor the water quality impacts of conservation practices implemented as part of organic agricultural systems. The project team will leverage new developments in low-cost electronics, internet-of-things connectivity, 3D printing and related technologies to build inexpensive automated water samplers and automated infiltrometers for producer use. The project will improve our understanding of the impacts of different organic conservation practices on water quality.

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Make plans to attend Ranching in Drought Workshop in La Junta, CO on August 9th – RSVP by July 31st!

Make plans to attend Ranching in Drought Workshop in La Junta, CO on August 9th – RSVP by July 31st!

Briggsdale, CO – July 26, 2018 – USDA and the CSU Extension Range School is hosting a “Ranching in Drought” Workshop at Otero Junior College in LaJunta, CO on August 9th and joining the Colorado Ag News Network inside the BARN to detail the event is Andrea Leininger, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service out of Hugo…


To RSVP by July 31st contact Andrea Leininger @ 719-743-2408 or send her an email to Andrea.Leininger@co.usda.gov


07-26-18 Make Plans to Attend the 2018 South Platte Forum in Loveland Oct 24-25 – Topics Announced!

For the last 28 years, The South Platte Forum has brought together speakers and attendees from a variety of fields and specialties to share their expertise on important and relevant issues and developments that are affecting the South Platte Basin and beyond.
This year will be no different, and we are excited to share with you some of the topics that will be explored at the conference:
  • Women in Water
  • Environmental Justice
  • Stream Health
  • Agriculture
  • Conflict Resolution in the South Platte Basin
  • 5 Year Anniversary – 2013 Flood Recovery Update
  • & More!

Register for the 2018 Conference Today! Continue reading

07-26-18 RMFU – Growing Your Farm Business: Summer Farm and Field Experiences

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

Growing Your Farm Business: Summer Farm and Field Experiences

Saturday, July 28 – Cortez, CO
Saturday, September 15 – Mosca, CO
Monday, September 24 – Boone, CO

Guidestone Colorado, The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, and the Colorado Tourism Office, along with our partners at Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative, Valley Roots Food Hub, and Excelsior Food Hub, are offering an opportunity to beginning farmers and ranchers and prospective food hub members to meet farmers and ranchers and see their operations first-hand. Lunch will be provided. Transportation will be up to individual participants, and specific farm site details and directions will be provided after registering.   Continue reading

07-26-18 Wyoming Wildlife Federation and RMFU join forces to support balanced conservation policies

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

Wyoming Wildlife Federation and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union join forces to support balanced conservation policies

As the gubernatorial election nears, Wyoming Wildlife Federation and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union have formed a new partnership to educate candidates about issues important to Wyoming voters. Wyoming has a long history of ensuring that balanced conservation policies are a key part of how the state conducts business.

“Wyomingites understand that we don’t have to choose between jobs and conservation, we can have both,” Said Dwayne Meadows, executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation. He continued, “Our world class wildlife habitat supports a vibrant hunting and fishing economy and is key to our traditional way of life in Wyoming — our past governors have understood that and we need to make sure our next governor continues to honor that legacy.” Continue reading

07-26-18 Wheat Organizations Continue to Support an End to Trade War as Administration Offers Help for Farmers 

Wheat Organizations Continue to Support an End to Trade War as Administration Offers Help for Farmers 

Washington, D.C. — The Trump Administration announced recently that it would provide $12 billion to help farmers cope with the results of the current trade dispute ignited by new U.S. tariffs.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are glad that the Administration recognizes farming as a risky business and acknowledges that farmers need help to manage the additional risk from its trade policies. However, our concerns still lie in a lengthy trade war that will cause long-term, irreparable harm to U.S. agriculture. We urge the Administration to recognize this self-inflicted damage and to end the trade war immediately as well as to work within the rules-based trading system in partnership with like-minded countries to address serious problems in the global economy.  Continue reading

07-26-18 NCGA Statement on USDA Trade Aid

NCGA Statement on USDA Trade Aid

Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association

North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), made the below statement following this afternoon’s USDA announcement of an aid package for farmers negatively impacted by trade tariffs and ongoing trade uncertainty.

“NCGA appreciates the Administration’s recognition of the harm to producers caused by tariffs and trade uncertainty. The fine print will be important. We know the package won’t make farmers whole but look forward to working with USDA on the details and implementation of this plan. Continue reading

07-26-18 NCGA Consider Corn Challenge Winner Closer to Commercialization

NCGA Consider Corn Challenge Winner Closer to Commercialization

Lygos, a biotechnology company based in Berkley, California, recently announced the closing of $15.5 million of Series B financing. Lygos was a winner of the first ever Consider Corn Challenge, an open innovation contest put on by the National Corn Growers Association.
“We are thrilled that one of our Consider Corn Challenge winners was able to receive this level of commitment and funding to move towards the path of commercialization for their Bio-MalonicTM acid (Bio-MA) product family,” said Feed Food and Industrial Action Team Chair Bruce Peterson. “This is a great success story of one of our winners and we look forward to following Lygos’ continued progress.”

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07-26-18 Last Chance! Enter the NCGA Yield Contest Today

Last Chance! Enter the NCGA Yield Contest Today

With only days remaining, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to register for NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest by the end of July.
To enter today using the online form, click here.
Entry will remain open at the full rate of $110 through July 31. All harvest forms will be due by November 16. Contest winners will be announced on December 17. Continue reading

07-26-18 RMFU Statement on USDA’s $12B Emergency Aid for Agriculture…

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

RMFU Urges Long-Term Fix to Trade Woes

The Trump Administration’s announcement of a $12 billion plan to provide emergency aid to farmers amid an escalating trade war with China and other trading partners is a temporary fix to a long-term problem according to Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.

RMFU President Dr Dale McCall

“We are pleased the Administration recognizes the struggles and uncertainty many farmers and ranchers are facing across the country,” said RMFU President Dale McCall. “Our concern remains, this is only a short-term fix to what may well be a long-term problem. We need certainty, and this program needs to be administered quickly and efficiently to offer any meaningful impact. But, if economic conditions continue to deteriorate, what will be the next step?” The Administration’s plan includes direct assistance to producers of certain commodities (notably soybeans and corn), a food purchase and distribution program for certain commodities, and a trade promotion program geared toward assisting in developing new export markets in conjunction with the private sector.

McCall added, “RMFU urges the Administration to do more to provide a long-term fix to the ongoing damage this trade war is causing in the nation’s heartland. We need to resolve this trade war in a timely, diplomatic manner, and we desperately need to pass a Farm Bill that works for everyone. When farmers aren’t making money, they aren’t spending money, and that hurts Main Street. We can’t forget about how these issues affect all of rural America.”

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 26th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 26th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Trade Assistance Details Still Being Worked Out

The Trump Administration announced its $12 billion plan to help farmers struggling under the escalating trade wars. Politico says there are still important details to be worked out, including just how much help farmers will get and how they’ll prove economic harm. More details are scheduled to come out after Labor Day. USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson says soybean farmers, who are big exporters, are expected to benefit the most. In addition, farmers won’t know until harvest exactly how much assistance they’ll be eligible for. The USDA is relying on mechanisms authorized under the charter act of the Commodity Credit Corporation, which is a government-owned bank used to support or stabilize prices. That means it doesn’t require approval from Congress. However, the specifics of the plan will still be subject to a federal rulemaking process. The three-part plan will aid farmers through programs that are focused on payments, purchases, and trade promotion efforts. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the plan incorporates functions of the Farm Service Agency, Agricultural Marketing Service, and the Foreign Agricultural Service.


Not All Reactions to Trade Assistance Are Positive

The President’s plan to aid farmers in the midst of the trade war is not sitting well with several groups, including a number of Republicans in Congress. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says, “This is becoming more and more like a Soviet-style economy here with commissars in the administration figuring out where to sprinkle around benefits.” According to the Hagstrom Report, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the administration missed an opportunity to provide long-term relief to farmers by increasing domestic demand for ethanol through RVP relief. “Allowing year-round sales of higher blends like E15 is one way to address sales lost because of tariffs and give a little more certainty for farmers,” says Skor. The Heritage Foundation’s Trade Economist Tori Whiting says the plan is a misguided attempt to mitigate the harm caused by tariffs at taxpayer expense. “Bad policy doesn’t justify more bad policy,” Whiting says. “The administration’s plan to throw more money at a problem it created will not increase the freedom to trade in America.” North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp says the lost markets overseas will be very difficult to bring back because they took years to create.


U.S., EU to Talk Trade

President Donald Trump says the U.S. and the European Union should drop all tariffs, subsidies, and barriers. This comes as EU trade officials were set to meet with him on Wednesday. In a Tuesday night Tweet, Trump said “I have an idea for them. Both the U.S. and EU drop all tariffs, barriers, and subsidies. That would finally be a fair market and free trade. Hope they do it, we are ready – but they won’t!” A Bloomberg Report says the European Commission President and Trade Adviser will both meet with Trump this week in Washington with the goal to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. The meeting is a last-ditch attempt to avoid U.S. imposition of tariffs on automobile imports from the European Union, which would be a serious economic blow to the 28-nation group’s economy. Should the U.S. eventually follow through on its tariff threat, the Commission is preparing a list of retaliatory tariffs on $20 billion dollars of U.S. imports.


EPA Approves Sorghum Oil for Biofuels

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler approved sorghum as an eligible feedstock under the Renewable Fuels Standard. The announcement marks a significant step toward leveling the playing field for ethanol plants that extract oil from sorghum. The National Sorghum Producers worked closely with EPA over the past two years to establish a biofuels pathway for sorghum oil in the RFS. Tuesday’s announcement now provides new market access for sorghum producers. NSP Chair Don Bloss of Nebraska says Tuesday was a great day for sorghum farmers and their partners in the ethanol and biodiesel industries. “A pathway for sorghum oil opens new markets for ethanol plants extracting sorghum oil and will ultimately add value to the grain farmers produce,” says Bloss. NSP Board Director Tom Willis says the pathway for sorghum oil reaches far beyond the farmer. “This is an avenue to creating the jobs in rural America that we so desperately need, and it provides energy security from a renewable water-conserving source,” says Willis. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor applauded the move, calling it “long overdue and very welcome news for the renewable fuels industry.”  


Eliminating Antibiotic Use Would Cost Cattlemen $1.8 Billion

Kansas State University recently announced the results of a study on the economic impact of treating high-risk groups of animals with antimicrobials. They undertook the study to contribute to the growing public debate on antibiotic use in animal agriculture. The study focused on the practice (called metaphylaxis) of treating an entire pen of high-risk animals to eliminate or minimize the onset of disease. USDA says metaphylaxis is (Met-ah-PHIL-axis) used selectively by 59 percent of American feedlots on 20 percent of all cattle on feed. “There’s a general sentiment and public policy concern about the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture,” says Ted Schroeder, a Kansas State Livestock Economist. “Our study assessed the economic impacts on the beef cattle industry and consumers of using the practice in the beef cattle industry.” The major finding was if metaphylaxis were eliminated in the U.S. without viable alternatives, it could cost the industry as much as $1.8 billion dollars. The resulting reduction in profitability through the beef industry would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.


Livestock Groups Highlight Misuse of Environmental Laws

Cattle and sheep producers warned Congress that environmental laws are increasingly being misused by fringe activist groups and pose a growing threat to grazing on federal lands. The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and the Environment held a hearing. It was in response to mounting challenges faced by ranchers who graze livestock on federal lands and the opportunities for productive range management practices. All of the livestock groups present say that litigation through the National Environmental Policy Act and the Equal Access to Justice Act is now an unavoidable obstacle for ranchers seeking to put conservation benefits on the ground. A major example in the sheep industry is the loss of grazing over conflicts with agenda-driven activists. A Montana sheep producer testified that pathogen transmission concerns without scientific basis have been used to force a separation between domestic and bighorn sheep in the state. “Our reward for working with the state to introduce bighorn sheep has been three years costly federal litigation,” he says. “A loss in litigation means we won’t be able to graze lands we’ve used for multiple generations.” Another major issue impacting farmers and ranchers across the country is misuse of the Endangered Species Act.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service