02-06-19 EPA and Army Announce Public Hearing on Proposed New “Waters of the United States” Definition

EPA and Army Announce Public Hearing on Proposed New “Waters of the United States” Definition

Hearing will be held February 27-28, 2019 in Kansas City, Kansas

WASHINGTON (February 6, 2019) — Following President Trump’s directive to provide certainty to American farmers and landowners so that the economy can continue to expand while waters are protected, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) are moving to the next steps in proposing a new definition of the Waters of the United States. EPA and the Army will hold a public hearing on the proposed new “Waters of the United States” definition in Kansas City with sessions on February 27 and 28, 2019. All persons wanting to speak are encouraged to register in advance. EPA and the Army will also hold an informational webcast on February 14, 2019.
Public Hearing Logistics: The Wednesday session of the public hearing will convene at 4:00 pm (local time) and will conclude no later than 8:00 pm. The Thursday session will convene at 9:00 am and will conclude no later than 12:00 pm.

The public hearing will be held in the Wyandotte Ballroom of the Reardon Convention Center, 520 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 66101. Those interested in speaking at the hearing can register for a three-minute speaking slot. The last day to pre-register to speak at the hearing is February 21, 2019. On February 26, 2019, the agencies will post a general agenda for the hearing on the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/proposed-revised-definition-wotus-public-hearing. It will list pre-registered speakers in approximate order. Registration for the public hearing is available through the EPA website. Additionally, requests to speak will be taken the day of the hearing at the hearing registration desk, pending availability, and a sign language interpreter will be available for the hearing.

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02-06-19 Inside CALP with Executive Director Dani Traweek…

Inside CALP with Executive Director Dani Traweek

BRIGGSDALE, CO – February 6, 2019 – Joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio is Dani Traweek, Executive Director of the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program discussing several topics including the 28th Annual Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture, Feb 27, 2019 at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel…


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02-06-19 USDA Launches High-Speed Broadband e-Connectivity Resource Guide

USDA Launches High-Speed Broadband e-Connectivity Resource Guide

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2019 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new toolkit to help support the deployment of high-speed broadband e-Connectivity in rural communities.

“High-speed broadband e-Connectivity is becoming more and more essential to doing business, delivering health care, and, for schoolchildren, doing homework in rural communities,” Hazlett said. “This user-friendly tool will help rural customers find the many resources USDA has available to support the expansion and use of e-Connectivity in rural America.”

The e-Connectivity Toolkit (PDF, 4.3 MB) features 27 USDA programs that support broadband deployment. The easy-to-use resource is a simple guide that allows customers to identify their type of e-Connectivity project and locate resources the federal government offers for planning, equipment, construction, research and other e-Connectivity projects. Resources such as grants, loans and technical assistance are available from multiple Mission Areas at USDA, including Rural Development, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Forest Service. Continue reading

02-06-19 Colorado Centennial Farms & Ranches Program Applications due May 31st

CLICK HERE to learn more and to download your family’s application

Colorado Centennial Farms & Ranches Program Applications due May 1st

The Centennial Farms & Ranches Program honors farms and ranches that have been in the same family continuously for 100 years or more. The property must be a working farm or ranch and have a minimum of 160 acres, or if fewer than 160 acres can qualify if they gross at least $1,000 in annual sales.

To apply for Colorado Centennial Farms and Ranches designation, owners must submit an application providing information about the history of the property and its buildings/structures, indicating that the farm or ranch meets the program’s requirements. For the Historic Structures Award, photographs of the buildings/structures are required.

Application forms must be mailed to the Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, or emailed to the Centennial Farms and Ranches Coordinator by the deadline, which is May 31.

For more information and to apply, visit https://www.historycolorado.org/centennial-farms-ranches.

02-06-19 AFBF Releases Strategic Action Plan Goals for 2019

American Farm Bureau Federation Releases Strategic Action Plan Goals for 2019

The American Farm Bureau Federation today released its top public policy goals for the year. The AFBF board approved its 2019 Strategic Action Plan following delegate action during the organization’s 100th annual convention in New Orleans. AFBF will use the goals as a guide for strategic planning and grassroots activity throughout 2019. The five top issues are: Continue reading

02-06-19 CFB Policy Watch: HB 19-1078 Landowners consent for national register designation

CFB Policy Watch: HB 19-1078 Landowners consent for national register designation

HB19-1078 requires that if the property is up for determination, that consent must be obtained from the landowner for the parcel to be included in a historic designation. National historic designation is a great opportunity for some landowners but should ultimately be a property right and a choice that both the land owner and the society take part in together.  Continue reading

02-06-19 RFA: New Study: RFS2 Has Reduced GHG Emissions By 600 Million Metric Tons, Beating EPA Expectations

RFA: New Study: RFS2 Has Reduced GHG Emissions By 600 Million Metric Tons, Beating EPA Expectations

WASHINGTON — A new study released today finds that the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) has been a tremendous success in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with nearly 600 million metric tons of GHG reduction since 2007. Actual GHG reductions under the RFS2 have far surpassed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) original expectations of 422 million metric tons, according to the study. The analysis was conducted by Life Cycle Associates, a California-based scientific consulting firm, and commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF).
The findings, which come as two House committees hold climate change hearings this morning, highlight the important role that ethanol and other biofuels can play in efforts to fight climate change and reduce GHG emissions.
“The RFS2 has resulted in significant GHG reductions, with cumulative CO2 savings of 600 million metric tonnes over the period of implementation,” according to the study. “The GHG reductions are due to the greater than expected savings from ethanol and other biofuels. These emissions savings occur even though cellulosic biofuels have not met the RFS2 production targets. Biofuels have achieved and exceeded the GHG reductions estimated by EPA.”
As outlined in the report, the larger-than-expected GHG reductions are due to:

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02-06-19 IES Awards $25 Million for Three R&D Centers

IES Awards $25 Million in Grant Funding to Establish Research and Development Centers on Rural Education and Secondary Writing

WASHINGTON, DC—The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded approximately $25 million dollars to establish three national research and development centers. Two of these centers—at the University of Missouri and Harvard University—will focus on improving rural education. A third center will be based at the University of California, Irvine and will focus on secondary student writing.

These centers will provide us with valuable research into topics that are not always given the weight they deserve,” states Mark Schneider, director of IES. “With IES support, these centers have the potential to make a difference for students across the United States.”

Rural Research and Development Centers Continue reading

02-06-19 Gypsum as an agricultural product

Gypsum as an agricultural product

This common ingredient in drywall can increase yields, improve soil

Gypsum is a natural mineral found in the earth. As an agricultural amendment, it has good amounts of calcium and sulfur, and helps with soil stability. Photo provided by Warren Dick.

Warren Dick has worked with gypsum for more than two decades. You’d think he’d be an expert on drywall and plastering because both are made from gypsum. But the use of gypsum that Dick studies might be unfamiliar to you: on farmland.

“Gypsum is a good source of both calcium and sulfur, which crops need for good yields,” says Dick. “We also found that it improves many other soil characteristics. Gypsum helps soil better absorb water and reduces erosion. It also cuts down on phosphorus movement from soils to lakes and streams and improves the quality of various fruits and vegetables, among other benefits.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, February 6th

U.S. and EU Trade Discussion Not Progressing Well

Preliminary trade discussions between Washington and Brussels aren’t going well. In fact, Politico says the talks now appear to basically be an effort to not jump into a full-on trade war. That possibilities potentially include new U.S. tariffs being slapped on automobiles. The two sides can’t even seem to agree on how the negotiations should proceed. The U.S. wants greater access to Europe’s agricultural markets. However, EU officials say that topic is a deal-breaker. They fear potential backlash from the EU’s politically powerful bloc of farmers. Brussels wants to get rid of tariffs on the industrial goods it ships to the U.S., including cars. However, President Trump is determined to protect American manufacturing. Politico says the stalemate over agricultural negotiations appears to be dimming hopes for a comprehensive transatlantic trade deal even before official negotiations get going. To keep the U.S. president at the negotiating table, the EU has agreed to boost U.S. soy imports by allowing the use of crops subsidized for biofuel production. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross originally had a deadline of February 19th to make recommendations to the president regarding possible duties on auto imports. However, the government shutdown may have delayed that. Once the recommendations are made, Trump will have 90 days to make a decision The EU Parliament’s Trade Committee vote this month on whether or not to formally oppose the U.S.-EU negotiations.


Farmer Sentiment Improves in January

Farmers had more optimism about the agriculture economy in January than they had in previous months. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have concerns. The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer says one of their biggest worries is farmland values. The January reading of 143 was a 16-point jump over December. The survey was the first opportunity to measure how farmers were feeling after the second round of Market Facilitation Payments came out, as well as how they felt about the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Those two announcements gave a positive shot in the arm to producers’ sentiments on both their current and future economic conditions. The January Index of Current Conditions jumped from 109 in December to 132 in January. The Index of Future Expectations rose from 135 to 148. The January survey also included early planting intentions. The survey asked farmers who planted soybeans last year what their plans are in 2019. Two-thirds of the farmers who responded to the survey say their soybean acreage won’t change from last year. However, 25 percent of soybean producers will be looking to reduce their soybean acreage compared to what it was last year.


Groups Want Congress to Focus on Rural Infrastructure

The Farm Credit Council joined with the Rebuild Rural Coalition in sending a letter this week to congressional leadership. They did so on behalf of rural communities, U.S. farmers, rural businesses, and rural families. “We’re asking the President and Congress to consider the unique needs of rural communities,” says Farm Credit Council CEO Todd Van Hoose. “The more than 240 organizations signing this letter have united on behalf of our rural America.” The groups say they’re asking the White House and Congress to ensure that rural communities have access to clean and safe drinking water, secure and dependable surface transportation, reliable and affordable power, healthcare, housing, broadband, as well as research institutions with state-of-the-art facilities. Their goal is to help rural communities thrive and become more attractive places to live. The 240-plus local, state, and national organizations from across the country are asking leadership in both chambers to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure, including specific provisions focused on the needs of rural communities and agriculture.” Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. Farm Credit has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for more than a century


Growth Energy Sues EPA Over Exemptions

On Monday, Growth Energy filed a petition in the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals. It challenges the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to address small refinery exemptions in its 2019 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking, which was issued late in 2018. “EPA’s inaction on addressing lost gallons due to small refinery exemptions in this rulemaking is a clear violation of the law,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “In doing nothing to remedy these and other deficiencies, EPA has again failed to meet its statutory obligation to ensure that annual RVOs are met each year. The filing calls for greater accountability from EPA to ensure that every renewable fuel obligation is fulfilled as the law intended.” The EPA has a deadline of November 30th each year to issue their RVOs, which establish the total volume of renewable fuel that must be blended with transportation fuel for the upcoming calendar year. In July of 2018, the industry found out that in previous years, the EPA had been granting an unprecedented amount of small refinery exemptions to numerous refiners. The EPA made no apparent effort to publicly identify the refineries that received the exemptions. In the petition, Growth Energy is challenging the EPA’s failure to reallocate the renewable volume obligations of exempt refiners.


Super Bowl Commercials Are Good News-Bad News for Farmers

It might be safe to say that many corn growers in the Midwest weren’t particularly pleased with all of this year’s Super Bowl commercials. An Agri-Pulse report says the most notable thing for Midwest farmers appeared to be a “war on corn” launched by the Bud Light ads promoting the fact that no corn syrup is used in making that particular brand of beer. National Corn Growers Association CEO Jon Doggett had something to say. Doggett took his concerns directly to Anheuser-Buch, who manufactures Bud Light. He didn’t wait long either, showing up for a face-to-face meeting on Monday, the day after the ads ran. A spokeswoman for the NCGA says the discussions were productive, adding that the two sides “plan to speak again soon.” An Anheuser-Busch spokesman issued a statement to Agri-Pulse, attempting to soothe the hurt feelings of American corn growers. According to the spokesman, the company bought “more than 1 billion pounds of corn ingredients in 2018. We fully support corn growers and will continue to invest in the corn industry.” Another Anheuser-Busch ad promoted Michelob Ultra Pure Gold as organic, using the USDA Organic Seal in the advertising. The Organic Trade Association was thrilled that a beer made from organic rice and barley malt got that kind of exposure.


NFU Accepting Applications for the Beginning Farmer Institute

The application period for the National Farmers Union’s Beginning Farmer Institute program class for 2019-2020 is now open. NFU is encouraging new farmers of any age from operations of any size, type, or location to apply for the class. The program’s hands-on training provides beginning farmers and ranchers with the tools they need to lead successful operations. It’s also a unique opportunity to grow as leaders in their communities and in American agriculture. NFU Foundation Director Tom Driscoll says the National Farmers Union is continuing to build on the BFI Program’s past successes in order to provide new farmers and ranchers from across the country with the best training and development opportunities in adult education. “It’s vital to the future of both American agriculture and our entire country that we have skilled family farm operations and proven leaders in rural communities,” Driscoll says. “We’re proud of what we’ve achieved with the BFI program to date. The BFI will host three in-person events in Washington D.C., California, and Georgia. Programming will focus on equipping participants with the skill sets they need in business formation, accounting, taxation, labor, credit, and business planning. More information on the Beginning Farmer Institute can be found here.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service