12-21-18 Secretary Perdue Details USDA Functions in the Event of a Lapse in Federal Funding

Secretary Perdue Details USDA Functions in the Event of a Lapse in Federal Funding

*CORRECTED* WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2018 — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today detailed which functions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will remain available in the event of a lapse in government funding.

“There may be a lapse in funding for the federal government, but that will not relieve USDA of its responsibilities for safeguarding life and property through the critical services we provide,” said Secretary Perdue.  “Our employees work hard every day to benefit our customers and the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers who depend on our programs. During a shutdown, we will leverage our existing resources as best we can to continue to provide the top-notch service people expect.”

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12-21-18 Statement from USDA Secretary Perdue on President Trump’s Forest Management Executive Order

Statement from USDA Secretary Perdue on President Trump’s Forest Management Executive Order

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2018 — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order Promoting Active Management of America’s Forests, Rangelands, and other Federal Lands to Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risks. 

Perdue issued the following statement:

“As we’ve seen in Paradise Valley, California, wildfire can have devastating lasting effects on our people and our towns. More than 70,000 communities and 46 million homes are at risk of catastrophic wildfires. Today, based upon the feedback he received from Federal, State, County, and Tribal leaders, the President outlines a shared vision to make our communities safe.  This executive order empowers states and federal land managers to more effectively clear the excessive fuels threatening their homes and businesses.  Along with the authorities passed in the 2018 Omnibus and Farm Bills, Congress can further help this effort by passing legislation that gives the USDA Forest Service and Department of the Interior the ability to expedite these sorely needed forest treatments before another Paradise Valley-like fire occurs.” Continue reading

12-21-18 PRO 15: New Appointments by Governor Elect Polis

PRO 15: New Appointments by Governor Elect Polis

Congratulations to all of the new appointees. Some of you we know and others we look forward to getting to know and to working with all of you.
Gov.-elect Jared Polis on Friday unveiled his first batch of a dozen cabinet picks, tapping several former lawmakers and federal government officials.
Polis also will keep a couple of cabinet members from the Hickenlooper administration.
Polis’ first dozen picks are split 50/50 among men and women and four of the picks are minorities: three Hispanics and one African-American.
New to the Colorado executive branch:

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12-21-18 DoI Secretary Zinke Secures Historic Interagency Memorandum of Agreement between 12 Federal Agencies

DoI Secretary Zinke Secures Historic Interagency Memorandum of Agreement between 12 Federal Agencies

Allows Tribes more options to streamline job training programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced today the completion of a historic interagency memorandum of agreement (MOA) between 12 federal agencies for expanded participation by federal agencies in the 477-Demonstration Project (“477-initiative”). The MOA is a key requirement identified in amendments provided under the Indian Employment, Training, and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017, Public Law 115-93, as signed by President Donald Trump on December 18, 2017. The 477-initiative was initially created by Public Law 102-477, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992, 25 U.S.C. section 3401 et seq., which allows federally recognized Tribes to integrate employment and training-related, formula-funded federal grants into a single plan with a single budget and single reporting system to improve effectiveness of those services, reduce joblessness in Indian communities, while reducing administrative, reporting, and accounting costs.

“Tribal prosperity starts with a skilled workforce,” said Secretary Zinke. “Bringing federal agencies together to create job-training programs in Indian Country seems like a no-brainer, but it took the leadership of President Donald J. Trump to make this happen. This new agreement will streamline key processes across our government, allowing for the flexibility needed to best fit tribal industries and economies. Every American Indian should have a path to success through the dignity of work – that is the American Dream.”

“I thank Secretary Zinke for his leadership in expanding federal participation in the 477-initiative,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Mac Lean Sweeney. “The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Division of Workforce Development is proudly committed to streamlining the administration of the 477-initiative because job training is an essential component in how Native families gain access to economic security. We look forward to closely working with the other 11 federal agencies to make tribal economies robust.” 

Since the inception of the 477 Demonstration Project, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has served as the lead agency for implementation. The Division of Workforce Development within the BIA Office of Indian Services will continue to spearhead the implementation of the 2017 amendments and the responsibilities outlined in the MOA. More than 220 Tribes utilize the 477-initiative to streamline the administration of tribal job training programs.

List of participating federal agencies since 1992: Continue reading

12-21-18 USDA Secretary Perdue Announces ERS, NIFA Site Selection Criteria

USDA Secretary Perdue Announces ERS, NIFA Site Selection Criteria

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2018 — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the criteria the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed to evaluate the 136 Expressions of Interest received from parties in 35 statesvying to become the new homes of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  Secretary Perdue announced in August 2018 that most ERS and NIFA personnel would be moving to outside of the National Capital Region by the end of 2019.

“We don’t undertake these relocations lightly, and we are doing it to improve performance and the services these agencies provide,” Perdue said.  “We will be placing important USDA resources closer to many stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from Washington, D.C.  We will be saving money for the taxpayers and improving our ability to retain more employees in the long run.  And we are increasing the probability of attracting highly-qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities.”

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12-21-18 KDA: Winter Water Technology Expo in Dodge City January 8th

KDA: Winter Water Technology Expo in Dodge City January 8th

TOPEKA, Kan. — Farmers and ranchers in southwest and south central Kansas who are eager to learn more about improving water management through technology, soil moisture monitoring, crop selection and other tools are invited to attend the Winter Water Technology Expo on January 8 in Dodge City. The Expo will be at the Boot Hill Conference Center at 4100 W Comanche Street in Dodge City from 4 to 8 p.m., and will feature a wide variety of companies and organizations focused on water technology issues and opportunities. Continue reading

12-21-18 EPA Announces $40 Million in Funding to Reduce Emissions from Diesel Engines

EPA Announces $40 Million in Funding to Reduce Emissions from Diesel Engines

DALLAS – (Dec. 21, 2018) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of grant funding to implement projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of older diesel engines. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $40 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) grant funding to eligible applicants, subject to the availability of funds. Applicants in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas can apply for up to $2.5 million in funds.

“By financially supporting projects that upgrade aging diesel engines, EPA is helping improve their efficiency and reduce air pollution throughout the nation,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “From our grant programs to our new Cleaner Trucks Initiative, EPA is taking important steps to help modernize heavy-duty trucks and provide cleaner, more efficient methods of transportation that will protect the environment and keep our economy growing.” Continue reading

12-21-18 USDA Highlights Key Accomplishments in 2018 That Are Building Rural Prosperity

USDA Highlights Key Accomplishments in 2018 That Are Building Rural Prosperity


WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today highlighted accomplishments of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) during 2018 that assisted rural communities in building prosperity and contributing to America’s growing economy.

 “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA has made major strides to create rural economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for rural Americans,” Hazlett said. “By partnering with rural communities and stakeholders, modernizing infrastructure and innovating to address real-world challenges, USDA is infusing America’s rural towns and cities with the resources they need to build sustainable, prosperous futures.”

 Here are a few highlights of USDA Rural Development’s accomplishments for the 2018 fiscal year: Continue reading

12-21-18 USDA-FAS: Foreign Agricultural Service Forges Ahead to Expand Trade in 2018

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

USDA-FAS: Foreign Agricultural Service Forges Ahead to Expand Trade in 2018

12-21-18 USDA Announces No Actions Under the Feedstock Flexibility Program

USDA Announces No Actions Under the Feedstock Flexibility Program

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announced today that it does not expect to purchase and sell sugar under the Feedstock Flexibility Program for crop year 2018, which runs from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019. Continue reading

12-21-18 Secretary Perdue Applauds USDA’s 2018 Accomplishments

Secretary Perdue Applauds USDA’s 2018 Accomplishments

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2018 — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the accomplishments made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the past year. USDA has continued enacting President Trump’s goals of regulatory reform, streamlining government, and refocusing USDA to be customer oriented.

“In 2018 we have fought for American farmers, ranchers, and producers by delivering new and improved trade deals like USMCA and a re-negotiated KORUS agreement, provided trade assistance to farmers due to illegal trade retaliation, and helped our fellow citizens through devastating natural disasters,” Perdue said. “I am proud to say that every day at USDA we do our best to live by our motto to “Do Right and Feed Everyone.”

SNAP Reform

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12-20-18 The NWSS is Hiring for the 2019 Show

The National Western Stock Show is Hiring for the 2019 Show

DENVER, CO – The National Western Stock Show will host several job fairs to hire over 400 seasonal positions for the 2019 show.  The job fairs dates are Thursday, December 27th, Saturday, January 5th, and Friday, January 11th, from 10am – 2pm all at the National Western Complex. The iconic Stock Show is seeking friendly and hard-working people who want to be part of this 113-year-old Colorado tradition.
Stock Show positions include general grounds staff, equipment operators, bus drivers, ticketing, tack and feed, janitorial, parking operations, and guest relations. Several departments operate outdoors, regardless of weather and shifts run 8-12 hours a day for the 16 days of Stock Show. “This is an exciting time for the Stock Show as we celebrate 113 years,” said Debbie Rogers, Human Resources and Employment Office Manager.  “We can’t do it without the fabulous team of seasonal employees.”

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12-21-18 CO Governor Hickenlooper signs executive order furthering conservation and clarifying mitigation of the greater sage-grouse

CO Governor Hickenlooper signs executive order furthering conservation and clarifying mitigation of the greater sage-grouse

DENVER — Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 — Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed an executive order clarifying state authority over compensatory mitigation and furthering conservation of the greater sage grouse.

“It’s a good day for the sage-grouse in Colorado,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “This is an important measure to avoid impacts to wildlife, minimize impacts at the site-level, and then offset any unavoidable adverse impacts that remain.”

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made important clarifications to its commitment to incorporate and enforce state-required compensatory mitigation. These clarifications strengthen state government’s authority to manage and conserve wildlife species. Compensatory mitigation is often critical to prevent further decline. Landowners, conservationists and state and federal governments have worked diligently together for more than a decade to protect the sage-grouse in Colorado. This agreement was followed by a signing of a memorandum of understanding between the State of Colorado and the Colorado BLM office which gives the framework for working together in Colorado.

The executive order includes directives that will preserve sage-grouse habitat and habitat for other important wildlife, such as: Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 21st

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY's BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer...

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 21st

Trump Signs Farm Bill, Won’t Sign Stopgap Funding Bill

President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill on Thursday during a White House ceremony. The five-year bill sets agriculture policy and reauthorizes farm, conservation, nutrition, rural development, agricultural trade, as well as many other programs. The legislation also removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which legalizes hemp production. The Minneapolis Star Tribune says the signing is good news for farmers, who have been buffeted on all sides by trade wars, low commodity prices, and generally uncertain futures. However, the question is whether those reauthorized programs will actually have funding available. A short-term spending bill has made its way through Congress this week, and initially, Trump said he would sign it to keep government funded until February. A CBS News report says Speaker of House Paul Ryan met with the president and then made the announcement that Trump will not sign it. The president wants funding for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, which the Senate bill does not have. Ryan tells reporters,” We want to keep the government open but we also have legitimate concerns about securing our border.”


USDA Changing State Waiver Requirements for SNAP Benefits

It turns out Republicans could get more stringent work requirements added to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program after all. The USDA is changing requirements for states to issue waivers on SNAP benefits. Politico says it’s not a coincidence that the announcement came out on the same day that President Trump is expected to sign the new farm bill. As the current law is written, able-bodied adults without dependents can’t get SNAP benefits for more than three months during a three-year period. To get more benefits from the program, those able-bodied adults have to be working or enrolled in an education or training program for 80 hours a month. However, states are allowed to waive those requirements when unemployment spikes or there aren’t enough jobs available. USDA issued a proposed rule that would tighten the requirements states have to meet in order to issue those waivers. An estimated 755,000 of those able-bodied adults would lose SNAP benefits over three years if the proposal is implemented. USDA says the plan should save up to $15 billion over a decade.


Large Soybean Supply Keeping Prices Low Despite China Purchases

USDA has confirmed China bought even more soybeans, 1.19 million metric tons worth. It’s the biggest purchase China has made in more than a year, and the ninth-largest purchase in the last ten years. However, it’s not been a big boost to soybean prices. Chip Nellinger of Blue Reef AgriMarketing told AgDay TV that it’s good to see China once again in the market for U.S. soybeans. The purchases would have had more effect on the market a few months ago because we didn’t know how big the U.S. crop was, as well as the progress of South American soybeans. Nellinger said the fact that we know the answers to both of those questions has taken some of the excitement surrounding Chinese purchases out of the market. There’s a lot of soybeans still sitting out there to sell yet, both domestically and overseas, which is the biggest challenge to higher prices. Nellinger says, “It’s great that China is buying beans again but we’ve got a lot of beans around the world to still get rid of.” The latest USDA report put carryover at 955 million bushels. Nellinger says it’s definitely putting a lid on prices. Even if China purchases two-thirds of what USDA trimmed off expectations, there’s still a carryover of about 700 million bushels.


USDA Announces Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says USDA has established the National Bioengineered Food Standard. The standard will require food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers to make sure bioengineered foods are properly disclosed to consumers. Perdue says the new standard will increase the transparency of our nation’s food system by establishing guidelines on how to disclose bioengineered ingredients. “This ensures clear information and labeling consistency for consumers about the ingredients in their food,” Perdue says. “The standard also avoids a patchwork of state-by-state systems that could be confusing to consumers.” The Standard will define bioengineered foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through lab techniques and can’t be created through conventional breeding or found in nature. The implementation date is January first of 2020. Smaller food manufacturers will have an implementation date of January first, 2021. There are several disclosure options, including written text, symbols, electronic or digital link, and/or text message. Options like phone numbers or websites will be available to smaller food manufacturers. A congressional law passed in June of 2016 required USDA to come up with a standard to disclose which foods that are or may be bioengineered.


Ag Groups Support New Food Disclosure Rule

Most key agricultural groups seem to support the USDA’s final rule implementing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The National Corn Growers Association says the standard is designed to inform consumers about the presence of bioengineered genetic material in their food. USDA’s disclosure standard stands firmly with science is stating there is no risk to eating bioengineered crops. NCGA President Lynn Chrisp says, “American’s corn farmers need a consistent, transparent system to provide consumers with information without stigmatizing this technology.” Dave Stephens, American Soybean Association President, says soybean farmers are pleased that USDA took its time to do the rule in the right way. “We believe it allows transparency for consumers while following the intent of Congress that only food containing modified genetic material be required to be labeled,” Stephens says. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives also applauded the USDA’s standard. “This rule gives the public more information than ever before on how their food was produced,” says Chuck Conner, NCFC President. “At the same time, farmers and food producers still have access to the technology needed to provide safe and affordable food to a growing world population.”


NFU Supports USDA-FDA Joint Oversight of Cell Culture Technology

The National Farmers Union supports efforts by the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration to establish a joint regulatory framework overseeing the production and sale of animal cell culture technology. NFU President Roger Johnson is asking the agencies to provide clarity to consumers as to whether or not they are purchasing meat products raised in a traditional manner or products grown in a lab. “Animal cell culture technology needs to be regulated and should include roles for both the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and the FDA,” Johnson says. “it’s important that this joint regulatory framework promotes fair competition for producers and the health and safety of consumers.” Johnson points out that NFU members oppose labeling alternative protein sources as “meat.” The NFU policy says common names given to meat and animal products are widely understood by consumers to be the tissue and flesh of animals that have been slaughtered for food. “Lab-grown products are likely to be produced by large companies, including the major global meatpackers, which will exacerbate the anti-competitive practices that currently face farmers and ranchers,” Johnson adds. “Fairly and accurately labeling animal cell culture products would provide some protection for family farmers’ and ranchers” market share.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service