10-05-18 RMFU Supports 6 Ballot Measures; Opposes 3

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RMFU Supports 6 Ballot Measures; Opposes 3

DENVER, C­olo. ­­– The board of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is advocating for “Yes” votes on six ballot measures and “No” votes on three others, based on how the impact of each measure will help or hurt farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

“These proposed changes to Colorado’s Constitution and laws are now in the hands of voters,” said RMFU Board Chairwoman Jan Kochis. “We’ve learned the hard way that every vote counts when it comes to making sure rural Colorado has a voice in its future.”

The RMFU Board, made up of active farmers and ranchers from across the state, is opposed to Proposition 112, which seeks to expand the set-back requirement for oil and gas development. “As written, the proposition will simply strangle oil and gas development, while not achieving any measurable increase in safety. This ‘all-or-nothing’ approach isn’t the way to move forward,” says Kochis.

The board voiced support for Proposition 73 and its goal of improving funding for education. “For various reasons, funding for education is not matching real world needs. We’re losing ground, and that’s not fair to our students, our schools, or our future workforce,” adds Kochis.

The state’s second largest farm organization also supports the following ballot items: Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 5th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, October 5th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ag Committee Members Advancing Farm Bill Talks

The “big four” farm bill leaders met Thursday in an effort to advance negotiations of the conference committee. Senators Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow, along with Representatives Mike Conway and Collin Peterson, met Thursday in Washington to advance the farm bill talks, even though the House of Representatives is on recess until after the midterm elections. It’s the first face-to-face meeting of the leaders since some political finger-pointing regarding the delay, according to Politico. The 2014 farm bill expired over at the end of September with no new farm bill in place. Regardless, there’s much work to be done as Conaway has consistently said there is no firm agreement in place on any single title of the farm bill. The farm bill is expected to be completed and up for a vote sometime following the November midterm elections, as part of a busy lame-duck session.

Senator Corker Has Concerns Regarding New NAFTA

The top lawmaker on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressed concerns this week regarding the new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Bob Corker of Tennessee told The Hill he is “concerned about the steel and aluminum tariffs” that the U.S. and Canada both say are not connected to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. Those tariffs are expected to be addressed separately from the USMCA. Corker says “we’re still trying to determine” whether or not the overall trade agreement is “better or worse than where we were.” The deal is better for U.S. agriculture, however, based on industry response. The deal provides a greater amount of market certainty with two of the top trade partners of the United States and provides more access to Canada’s dairy market, a top priority of the negotiation effort.

China Ambassador to U.S. Says China Wants to Engage in Talks

China wants to end the trade war with the U.S., according to its ambassador to the United States. In an exclusive interview with National Public Radio this week, China’s ambassador to the United States says his country is “ready to make a deal” if they could find a trustworthy partner in Washington. The ambassador accused the United States of constantly shifting positions and passing up opportunities for agreement. The U.S. is engaged in a trade war with China, and the goal appears to be to suppress trade between China and other trading partners, along with implications between U.S.-China trade. The ambassador said China is “ready to make some compromise,” and even “willing to take steps to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China.” The Trump administration maintains that China is not as accommodating as its trying to imply.

China Investment in U.S. Falling Sharply

Chinese investment in the United States has dropped 92 percent so far this year, amidst the tit-for-tat trade war launched by President Donald Trump. Analysts say the trade war may be hindering China’s economy. A Chinese investment analyst told the South China Morning Post that “China’s economy is slowing, its currency weakening, and the trade regime is faltering.” A market researcher told the publication that Trump’s trade policies and China’s curb of capital outflow “cast a shadow” on the relationship between the two nations. U.S.-based JP Morgan recently downgraded China’s stocks and predicted a “full-blown” trade war with the United States. Rumors are circling now that the trade war, however, may be starting some social unrest in China, which would prompt the nation to engage with the United States. The trade war is shifting agricultural markets and where China is sourcing commodities such as soybeans. However, the low price of U.S. commodities is attracting other export markets.

Pig Farmer of the Year Announced

Patrick Bane, a pig farmer from Arrowsmith, Illinois, has been named the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. Bane achieved the highest combined score from a third-party judging panel and online voting, according to the National Pork Board. The award recognizes a pig farmer who excels at raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and who connects with today’s consumers about how pork is produced. Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board president, says Bane “embodies the very best in pig farming.” Bane was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year following a third-party audit of his on-farm practices. The National Pork Board says he has achieved excellence in all aspects of pig farming, including animal care, environmental stewardship, employee work environment and outstanding community service. In receiving the award, Bane says “It’s our responsibility to show the public that we are doing the right things to care for our animals.”

USDA Launches Data Tool to Help Rural Communities Address Opioid Crisis

The Department of Agriculture has launched an interactive data tool to help community leaders build grassroots strategies to address the opioid epidemic. Announced by Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett, Thursday, the tool enables users to overlay substance misuse data against socioeconomic, census and other public information. USDA says the data will help leaders, researchers and policymakers assess what actions will be most effective in addressing the opioid crisis at the local level. Hazlett says USDA is “committed to being a strong partner to rural America in addressing” the opioid epidemic. She adds that the data will help rural leaders to build grassroots solutions for prevention, treatment and recovery. The Community Assessment Tool is free and available to the public. It can be accessed on USDA’s Rural Opioid Misuse Webpage or at opioidmisusetool.norc.org.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service