11-15-18 CPW News: Colorado’s most comprehensive stream restoration project nearly complete in the Big Thompson Canyon

CPW: Colorado’s most comprehensive stream restoration project nearly complete in the Big Thompson Canyon

DENVER – Since the disastrous flood of 2013, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Colorado Department of Transportation, several city agencies and multiple federal entities collaborated on what turned out to be the largest stream restoration project in the history of the state up the Big Thompson Canyon.

The highway repair and stream restoration project, largely funded with federal dollars, had a total cost exceeding $500 million.

Jeff Spohn, senior aquatic biologist for CPW, believes this project not only met, but exceeded expectations.

“The Big Thompson River restoration project was a monumental task which included cooperation between CDOT, the City of Loveland, the City of Estes Park, the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition, the United States Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife,” Spohn said. “The collaborative process that occurred should become the template for future river restoration projects.” Continue reading

11-15-18 US Bennet Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Tackle Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer and Elk

US Senator Bennet Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Tackle Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer and Elk

Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today joined bipartisan colleagues John Barrasso (R-WY) and Doug Jones (D-AL) in introducing legislation to increase wildlife managers’ ability to keep wildlife healthy.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) affects both wild and domestic herds of deer and elk in 25 states, including Colorado. However, state recommendations for preventing the spread of the disease vary. This bipartisan bill would authorize a special resource study to help prevent the disease from spreading. It would give state wildlife agencies and wildlife experts information to conduct targeted research on how the disease is transmitted, determine which areas are most at risk, and develop consistent advice for hunters to prevent further spread.

“The deer and elk herds affected by Chronic Wasting Disease are a critical part of Colorado’s wildlife heritage and economy,” said Bennet. “We need to learn more about containing CWD, and this bipartisan legislation will provide the information state wildlife professionals need to align their work and prevent further spread.” Continue reading

11-15-18 NMPF Thanks FDA for Extending Milk Labeling Comment Period

NMPF Thanks FDA for Extending Milk Labeling Comment Period

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) thanked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its announcement today that it will extend by 60 days, until Jan. 25, the public comment period during which the agency is seeking information on the proper names for plant-based beverages. The original deadline was Nov. 27.

“It is crucial that all interested parties have adequate time to more fully address FDA’s extensive list of questions about the labeling issue, and why it matters from a nutrition and public health standpoint,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, which has long urged FDA to enforce existing rules on what should and shouldn’t properly be called “milk.” “This extension will allow the dairy community, as well as health professionals, to fully explain why consumers deserve accurate and honest information about their food options.”

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11-15-18 NCGA, USFRA Put Farming Sustainability in the Spotlight in Denver This Week

NCGA, USFRA Put Farming Sustainability in the Spotlight in Denver

DENVER, CO – November 15, 2018 – The National Corn Growers Association joined other agricultural groups in telling farmers’ sustainability story during the “Cultivating Collaboration for Sustainable Food Systems” at the 2018 Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Denver this week. Lauren Biegler, a farmer from Minnesota who participates in both CommonGround and the Soil Health Partnership, represented the association during this dynamic panel, which was hosted and organized by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. Continue reading

11-15-18 Farm Bureau Survey: Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down for Third Straight Year

Farm Bureau Survey: Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Down for Third Straight Year

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 33rd annual survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $48.90, or less than $5.00 per person. This is a 22-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.12.

“Since 2015, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined steadily and is now at the lowest level since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton.

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11-15-18 AFBF: Farmers Press Lawmakers on Farm Bill

AFBF: Farmers Press Lawmakers on Farm Bill

With less than 20 days left on the legislative calendar, farmers and ranchers are anxious for lawmakers to finalize the farm bill before the start of the new year—and a new Congress. If the bill doesn’t get done, Congress, including a House with new leadership, will have to start from scratch.

“The leadership of both the House and Senate Agriculture committees have worked overtime this year to deliver a new farm bill, and now it’s time to get it across the finish line before the clock runs out. Farmers and ranchers cannot afford that kind of delay, especially with so many struggling to hang on and unable to make plans for the next season with a massive cloud of uncertainty hovering overhead,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in his recent Zipline column.

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11-15-18 CDA: Nominations Sought for Noxious Weed Advisory Committee – Deadline Extended to December 10th

CDA: Nominations Sought for Noxious Weed Advisory Committee
Deadline Extended to December 10th
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Five positions within the State Noxious Weed Advisory Committee will become vacant in December 2018.  Nominations are now being sought to fill these important positions. The deadline to apply has been extended to December 10, 2018.

11-15-18 USDA Invests to Improve Rural Health Care for Nearly 2 Million Rural Americans

USDA Invests to Improve Rural Health Care for Nearly 2 Million Rural Americans

Rural Residents in 34 States will Benefit, INCLUDING COLORADO & WYOMING

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $501 million in 60 projects to help improve health care infrastructure (PDF, 170 KB) and services in rural communities nationwide.

“Creating strong and healthy communities is foundational to increasing prosperity in rural America,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural leaders to improve quality of life and economic development through modern and accessible health care.”

Hazlett made today’s announcement as part of USDA’s commemoration of National Rural Health Day, which is held annually on the third Thursday of November to focus on the specific health care issues facing rural communities. The Department is investing in 60 projects through the Community Facilities direct loan program. These investments will expand access to health care for approximately 2 million people in 34 states.

  • CO: This Rural Development investment of $528,000 will be used to help Welcome Home Montrose purchase a site to serve veterans. This nonprofit organization is a full-service welcome center for veterans and military families to receive counseling and participate in support groups, training and other supportive services. This funding will provide a permanent home for the facility. It will benefit the area’s 19,132 residents.
  • WY: This Rural Development investment of $21.246 million will be used to finance an acute-care hospital expansion and renovation. The Hot Springs County Memorial Hospital is located in Thermopolis, Wyo. It serves the 4,812 residents of Hot Springs County and the surrounding areas. The original hospital was constructed in 1959, with only two notable renovations in 60 years. The project will include an expansion of the hospital, demolition of the patient wing, and extensive renovation of the existing facility including the clinic, pharmacy, imaging, and sleep lab. The hospital has been a cornerstone of the Hot Springs County community since its inception. It is the second largest employer in the county, with 143 employees. Additional funding includes a $5,336,000 USDA Community Facilities loan guarantee and a $250,000 applicant contribution.
  • WY: This Rural Development investment of $4.28 million will be used to rehabilitate the only nursing home facility in Lander, Wyoming which serves the 7,487 residents of the community. To remain economically viable, the project needs to modernize the 35,000 square feet facility. Upgrades will include modifications to meet ADA requirements,
    converting two semi-private rooms with shared bathrooms to private rooms, and adding 10 beds. The project will help keep elderly people close to their families and communities. Additional funding includes a $1,428,000 Community Facilities loan guarantee.
  • MT: The Blackfeet Tribe is receiving an $8 million loan to help build a 39-bed, long-term-care facility on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. This project is Phase I of a planned 47-bed facility. Phase II will be constructed at a future date. The new, 27,079-square-foot facility will replace a smaller one that is 47 years old. It will provide space for residents who are now in facilities that are more than 60 miles from the community. This project will benefit the approximately 7,000 members of the Blackfeet Nation who live on or near the Reservation.

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11-15-18 Inside the Jefferson Conservation District with Agriculture Conservation Coordinator Maria Bumgarner…

Inside the Jefferson Conservation District with Agriculture Conservation Coordinator Maria Bumgarner…

One of the student’s favorite presentations during the “From Our Lands to Your Hands” event in Jefferson County was given by Erin Barkey of DairyMax. Students were able to experience what it feels like to milk a cow by hand using “June,” the mechanical, nearly life-sized Holstein dairy cow. Photo courtesy of CFA

Briggsdale, CO – November 15, 2018 – A total of 626 students from 29 different fourth and fifth grade classes from Jefferson County schools attended the agriculture and natural resources day called “From Our Lands to Your Hands” which was held back on November 1st at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Joining the CO Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio to RECAP that event is Maria Bumgarner, Agriculture Conservation Coordinator with the Jefferson Conservation District…

The interview includes:

111518_JCD-MariaBumgarner_10m28s Continue reading

11-15-18 USDA Reminds Producers of Disaster Program Deadlines

USDA Reminds Producers of Disaster Program Deadlines

Denver, CO), November 15, 2018 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Clarice Navarro reminds Colorado producers who experienced losses from natural disasters during the 2017 and 2018 calendar years that they may be eligible for assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

“We want to ensure that all eligible agricultural producers who experienced losses from natural disasters get the assistance they need,” said Navarro. Continue reading

11-15-18 National Western Center: Year of the Yards – Honoring Our Past and Celebrating Our Future

National Western Center: Year of the Yards – Honoring Our Past and Celebrating Our Future

DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 15, 2018 – Guests and exhibitors will begin noticing changes throughout the grounds as we prepare for the new home of Stock Show. The first of these changes will take place in our beloved and historic Stockyards.
The upcoming 2019 Stock Show is the last year “The Yards” will be seen in their current layout. After January, construction will visibly begin on the new campus, as a portion of the Stockyards will be relocated to begin work while still allowing the Stock Show to operate.
Located just north of the current site, the new 800+ pen Stockyards will still house thousands of cattle and the infamous catwalk each January. The new layout will standardize pen sizes with removable rock bottom pens, while still providing permanent pens for bison (see above) and water and power throughout – eliminating the need for generators.

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11-15-18 NFU: Farmers Receive $0.24 of Breakfast Dollar

NFU: Farmers Receive $0.24 of Breakfast Dollar

You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But did you also know that a hearty breakfast of two pieces of toast, two eggs, three slices of bacon, an apple, and a glass of milk will cost a consumer, on average, $2.03 to make at home, but only $0.48 will make it back to the farmers and ranchers who grew those ingredients? The other $1.55 goes to off-farm costs, including processing, marketing, wholesaling, distribution, and retailing.
Learn more about the Farmer’s Share here.

11-15-18 NFU: Midterm Election Results Could Influence Farm Bill

NFU: Midterm Election Results Could Influence Farm Bill

Last Tuesday, voters came out in record numbers for the midterm elections, a likely symptom of greater political engagement and anxiety. The outcomes of these elections will have significant implications for local, state, and federal issues – including food and agriculture.  Continue reading

11-15-18 “Living Soil” Film Documents Soil Health Movement

“Living Soil” Film Documents Soil Health Movement

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, Nov. 15, 2018 – The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today released a 60-minute documentary that captures the history – and significance – of the soil health movement.

“Never have I seen, among farmers, such a broad quest for (soil health) knowledge as I’m seeing now,” says Barry Fisher, United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service.  “And this interest in soil health extends far beyond the farm gate,” adds Bill Buckner, President of the Noble Research Institute and Chair of the Board of SHI. “Consumer packaged goods companies, environmental groups, financial investors, and many others are recognizing the importance and value of improving soil health.”

Living Soil captures the background of the current soil health movement and its momentum, beginning with painful images of the Dust Bowl, and then transitions to personal experiences of innovative women and men who are managing their land to enhance soil health. The film features rural and urban farmers from Maryland to California, selling everything from corn to bouquets, united by their care for the soil. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, November 15th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, November 15th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Incoming House Majority Demanding USMCA Changes

With Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, key party leaders in the chamber are demanding changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. The USMCA, an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, is expected to be signed by the U.S., Mexico and Canada during the upcoming G-20 summit at the end of this month. However, Congress must approve the deal on a simple up or down vote. New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell, who is positioned to chair the Ways and Means Trade subcommittee, says there needs “to be not only changes in the legislation but more enforcement.” Bloomberg News reports that with a presidential election in 2020, Democrats may be reluctant to approve a deal negotiated by Trump. Democrats may push for tougher labor provisions, a consistent demand by the party in an updated trade agreement. However, so far, no specific changes have been mentioned.

60 Groups Urge Congress to Protect USDA Agencies from Reorganization

60 farm and food groups, along with others, are urging Congress to block a proposed move of Department of Agriculture agencies out of the Washington, D.C. area. The group penned a letter to leaders of the House and Senate agricultural appropriations subcommittees requesting they protect the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Announced by the American Statistical Association this week, the coalition requested that agriculture appropriators “specify that no funding be used for relocation or realignment of ERS and that no funding be used for the NIFA relocation beyond that already provided for its relocation within the National Capital Region.” The letter states the fundamental concern is that the proposed relocation and realignment will undermine the quality and breadth of the work the agencies support and perform, “work that is vital to informing and supporting U.S. agriculture, food and rural economies.”

China: Tests Shows Feed Not Contaminated with ASF

Tests show African Swine Fever in China is not linked animal feed, according to a Chinese pork firm. Reuters reports tests “failed to confirm” the presence of African Swine Fever in animal feeds. The test came after recent reports that suspected ASF was linked to animal feed produced by a Chinese company. However, the company confirmed testing failed to show a link. Raw materials and finished products of animal feed were collected and tested last week. Still, contaminated feed is feared to be a contributor in China’s widespread outbreak of ASF, which reportedly has resulted in the deaths of 200,000 pigs since early August. China has previously blamed the outbreak on food scraps, often fed to backyard pigs. Last month, China confirmed 62 percent of the first 21 outbreaks were related to the feeding of kitchen waste. Regulations require that kitchen waste is heated before being fed to pigs, but experts say that step is often skipped. The practice has since been banned.

Senate Ag Committee Announces Consideration of USDA Nominations

The Senate Agriculture Committee will consider three Department of Agriculture nominations later this month. The Committee will consider the nominations of Mindy Brashears, Naomi Earp, and Scott Hutchins. The hearing was announced by Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow. Brashears, of Texas, is nominated to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety, while Earp, of Maryland, is nominated to be an Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights. Finally,  Hutchins, of Indiana, is nominated to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics. Brashears is a current Texas Tech professor, while Earp has once served as the chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, appointed by then-President George W. Bush. And, Hutchins, an entomologist, is a Corteva employee. The committee must consider and approve the nominations that would then be considered by the full Senate. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, November 28th.

Turkey Prices at Ten Year Low

Ahead of Thanksgiving, turkey prices have hit a ten-year low. A report by Purdue University estimates turkey prices this year for Thanksgiving will average $1.45 per pound. Jayson Lusk, a professor and department head of Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics, says lower commodity prices, such as corn and soybeans used to make feed for animals, is “one of the drivers.” However, the lower prices are a sign of the depressed farm economy, Lusk says, that doesn’t seem to be reversing any time soon. Low food prices can have a ripple effect on other areas of the economy, especially around the holidays when consumer spending spikes. Lusk said it is likely savings accrued during Thanksgiving will be used to supplement holiday or Black Friday shopping.

Citrus Greening, Storm Damage, Lead to Increased Citrus Imports

Imports of oranges are increasing with domestic production slowing due to citrus greening. A new report by CoBank shows domestic orange acreage is down almost 40 percent from its high of 20 years ago. Citrus greening is the leading cause for the decline, along with recent hurricanes in various citrus growing regions in the United States. CoBank says The U.S. sources virtually all its orange juice imports from Brazil and Mexico, with Brazil accounting for 66 percent of imports in 2017. In Florida, orange production is expected to continue to decline over the next three years as old groves devastated by greening disease are gradually replaced and new ones come into production. In the meantime, imports from Brazil will likely increase. In 2017 the U.S. imported 34.8 million and 17.9 million single strength equivalent gallons of orange juice from Brazil and Mexico respectively, accounting for 99.3 percent of orange juice imports. While supplies have been shrinking, so too has domestic demand for the juice. Current consumption of 2.4 gallons per capita is less than half of the peak of nearly six gallons per capita in the late 1990s.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service