02-09-19 Bennet, Barrasso, Jones Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Tackle Chronic Wasting Disease

Bennet, Barrasso, Jones Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Tackle Chronic Wasting Disease

Bill will help stop spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer, elk, and moose

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Doug Jones (D-AL) today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to increase wildlife managers’ ability to keep wildlife healthy.

“Transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease among deer and elk herds is a critical issue, threatening parts of Colorado’s outdoor economy and way of life,” Bennet said.  “This bill would provide state wildlife professionals with the information they need to standardize their work, improve CWD management, and prevent further spread across the country.”

The Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act authorizes a special resource study to determine how CWD spreads and could be prevented in deer and elk. CWD can affect both wild and domestic herds of deer and elk in 26 states and several Canadian provinces. However, state recommendations for preventing the spread of the disease vary. When completed, the study 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. Continue reading

02-07-19 Hazlett Named Senior Adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Hazlett Named Senior Adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

ONDCP Announces Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2019 – Today, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Jim Carroll announced Anne Hazlett as the office’s Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs.

Hazlett has served as the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since June 2017. In her new role at ONDCP, Hazlett will help shape policy aimed at improving the quality of life in rural America, coordinate interagency efforts on drug control activity impacting rural communities, and build coalitions and grassroots strategies in these areas centered on prevention, treatment and recovery.

“Rural communities across the United States have been particularly hard hit by our nation’s addiction crisis,” ONDCP Director Jim Carroll said. “Anne has a critical understanding of the unique challenges facing these communities and is committed to helping them reverse the effects of the opioid epidemic. We are looking forward to her joining our team as we build a stronger, healthier, drug-free society today and in the years to come.” Continue reading

02-07-19 USDA NASS Colorado March Crop Survey Update

USDA NASS Colorado March Crop Survey Update

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – February 7, 2019 – As the 2019 crop production season begins, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to determine their plans for the upcoming growing season.

“Each year, the agriculture industry eagerly awaits USDA’s Prospective Plantings report, which provides the first survey-based estimates of U.S. farmers’ planting intentions for the year,” said Bill Meyer, Director, Mountain Regional field Office. “The March Agricultural Survey provides the factual data that underpins these projections, making it one of the most important surveys we conduct each year.”

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02-07-19 CWCB: Dianne Hoppe Scholarship Applications Due March 15th

CWCB: Dianne Hoppe Scholarship Applications Due by March 15th

Dianne Hoppe Memorial Scholarship

The Colorado Water Conservation Board is pleased to administer a $2,000 one-year scholarship for a Colorado high school student interested in western water issues planning to attend a public institution of higher education in Colorado.

Diane Hoppe served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1999-2006 and was the chairwoman of the House Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee, the Water Interim Committee, and the Water Resources Review Committee. She also served as the minority whip. Diane was a founding member of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and served as president from 2002-07. Governor Hickenlooper appointed Diane to the Colorado Water Conservation Board as the South Platte Basin representative in 2012, and she was elected chairwoman of the board in 2015. Diane passed away on February 27, 2016. Her family worked with the Colorado Water Conservation Board to establish this scholarship in her honor. Continue reading

02-07-19 New Executive Director at Colorado Division of Natural Resources

New Executive Director at Colorado Division of Natural Resources

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, announced Dan Gibbs as the new Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources. Prior to his role, Gibbs served as a county commissioner in Summit County since 2010. Before his tenure as a commissioner, Dan represented Summit County in the Colorado House of Representative and the State Senate. In his new role, he plans on implementing the governor’s vision for protecting and enhancing the state’s natural resources. Dan is a certified wildland firefighter and has served on numerous civic boards and committees.


02-07-19 Inside the BARN with CO Ag Commissioner Kate Greenberg: Background, Vision, Priorities & more…

Inside the BARN with CO Ag Commissioner Kate Greenberg

Background, Vision, Priorites & More

BRIGGSDALE, CO – February 7, 2019 – According to an article on Feb 5th by Politico — A record 13 women have been elected or appointed to lead state agriculture departments, a reflection of the industry’s growing gender diversity. And that number could rise, with five states’ top ag jobs still open. Joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio is one of the 13, CO Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg…


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02-07-19 EPA advances President Trump’s Infrastructure Agenda through accelerated investments in America’s water infrastructure

EPA advances President Trump’s Infrastructure Agenda through accelerated investments in America’s water infrastructure

EPA funding supports projects in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah to address population growth, aging infrastructure and water quality 

Denver (Feb. 7, 2019)—As highlighted in President Trump’s State of the Union address and in support of thePresident’s Infrastructure Initiative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accelerated investment in the nation’s aging water infrastructure.

“EPA is delivering on President Trump’s promise to jump-start critical infrastructure projects that will not only enhance environmental protections, but also grow the economy,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.“Under President Trump, EPA has issued seven WIFIA loans to help finance over $4 billion in water infrastructure projects that will improve water quality and create up to 6,000 jobs. By clearly defining where federal jurisdiction begins and ends, our new proposed Waters of the U.S. definition will provide states and the private sector the regulatory certainty they need to develop and streamline projects that will modernize our nation’s aging infrastructure.”

“This administration continues to recognize the critical need and importance of securing clean water and drinking water in our communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “EPA will use these resources to support projects throughout the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains states that will modernize, enhance and expand water infrastructure and protect human and health and the environment for decades to come.”

Over the past year, EPA has moved President Trump’s infrastructure agenda forward by working to get the financing, tools and resources EPA’s state, local, tribal and other partners need to modernize outdated water infrastructure, while improving local water quality, creating jobs and better protecting public health.

EPA has also taken a leading role in the administration’s initiative to promote greater efficiencies in the infrastructure permitting process. These actions include working to provide a clear and predictable approach to identifying waters that are subject to federal authority through the Department of the Army’s and EPA’s proposed “Waters of the United States” rulemaking, implementation of the administration’s One Federal Decision initiativeand through other improvements to the Clean Water Act permitting process. EPA will take these actions by cooperatively working with its state and tribal co-regulators with a goal of streamlining environmental permitting and increasing investments in critical water and other infrastructure projects.

The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) play an integral role in EPA’s efforts to help communities replace or upgrade aging or inadequate drinking water and wastewater infrastructure through low-interest loans. Together, in 2018, the SRFs committed $9.6 billion in drinking water and clean water infrastructure loans and refinancing and disbursed $8.8 billion for drinking water and clean water infrastructure. This level of funding was facilitated through EPA’s contribution of $2.2 billion to the state revolving funds in 2018.

Below are regional projects funded in part by EPA’s SRF programs: Continue reading

02-07-19 NFU: President Trump’s SOTU Ignores Dire Economic Conditions in Farm Country

NFU: President Trump’s SOTU Ignores Dire Economic Conditions in Farm Country

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump gave his second annual State of the Union Address.
In the 82-minute-long speech, President Trump touted his administration’s work on a broad range of issues that affect agricultural and rural communities, including tax reform, immigration, the farm bill, trade negotiations, opioid misuse, and infrastructure. On most of these issues – excluding immigration – his comments were overwhelmingly positive.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, February 7th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, February 7th

Trump Talks Trade During SOTU Speech

President Donald Trump had a lot to say about trade during his State of the Union speech before Congress. However, there may be a battle over trade policy coming in the near future. Trump’s hardline policies are drawing increased scrutiny on Capitol Hill. There’s another bipartisan bill coming before Congress designed to limit the president’s ability to impose duties based on national security. As the president made his first-ever address to a divided Congress, he spoke about his signature achievement, the USMCA trade agreement. Politico says the new agreement now partly rests in the hands of the Democratic majority in the House. Trump calls the agreement a “win for farmers and manufacturers,” as well as a no-brainer when compared to the “historic trade blunder and catastrophe known as NAFTA.” Democrats are already asking for some changes to the USMCA, including stronger labor protections. Several lawmakers also told Politico that there isn’t any hope of passing the pact while the steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico are in place. Trump was more guarded in talking about trade discussions with China, saying “any agreement with Beijing must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce the chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.”


Ag Reacts to SOTU Speech

Agriculture groups heard some good things in the State of the Union speech. However, the reactions were somewhat mixed. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland group spokesman and former Congressman Charles Boustany (Boo-STAN-nee) reacted to President Trump asking Congress for more authority to impose tariffs through the Reciprocal Trade Act, which is currently before Congress. “The fact that the bill is dead on arrival in Congress is a good sign that Congress has had enough,” Boustany says. “it’s not surprising that a bill abdicating Congressional authority to oversee tariff increases isn’t popular.” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston says, “We welcome President Trump’s call for passage of the USMCA agreement. With 96 percent of our potential consumers outside of our borders, foreign access is key for cattle producers.” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “Farmers and ranchers across the country need reforms to our immigration system, and we echo the president’s call for Congress to pass the USMCA agreement.” National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the speech didn’t recognize the harsh realities facing U.S. farmers. “If the President truly wants to support American farm families, he’ll begin to restore our reputation as a reliable trading partner and stop straining relationships with our top trading partners,” says Johnson.


Battle Looming on President’s Right to Impose Tariffs

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and two other coalitions with dozens of trade associations involved are backing legislation dealing with tariffs in national security situations. Legislation before Congress would require congressional approval before the president can impose tariffs based on “national security.” President Donald Trump used that authority to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and he’s threatened to do the same thing with foreign-made vehicles and imported auto parts. Similar bills introduced last year to limit that authority didn’t make it through Congress. However, it’s a little more uncertain now that the Democrats control the House of Representatives. Business groups of all varieties say that the Trump tariffs and retaliatory duties that came from our trading partners in response have hurt American businesses. They say U.S. industry, farmers, and workers have all suffered financial strain and it’s time for Congress to step up and assert itself when it comes to American trade policy. Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, says, “The support of such a broad cross-section of industry, agriculture, and retail groups says a lot about how harmful the steel and aluminum tariffs have been.” The Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act was introduced in both the House and Senate on January 30th, and supporters are still trying to figure out how much interest there is from other lawmakers.


Beef Production Likely to Grow in 2019

A Drovers report says the final beef production numbers for 2018 will soon be out as USDA data is moving again after the government shutdown. The current numbers for 2019 will also soon be released by USDA. The January Cattle on Feed Report will come out on February 22nd. With all but the last few days of slaughter and carcass data out, 2018 beef production totals are all but wrapped up. Commercial beef production in 2018 should total 26.9 billion pounds. That’s 2.6 percent higher than the previous year and just lower than the record U.S. beef production total of 27.1 billion pounds in 2002. Beef production in 2019 is expected to continue growing. The forecast for this year comes in at a record 27.4 billion pounds, 1.8 percent higher than last year. Drovers says the total beef production number is likely to grow through at least 2020. Steer carcass weights increased just two pounds year-over-year in 2018 to 880 pounds, a smaller increase than most expected. Heifer carcass weights increased five pounds over the same period to 816 pounds. The modest increase in steer and heifer carcass weights helped to alleviate industry concern that relatively inexpensive feed would lead to even higher carcass weights.


New Regulations Must Protect Both Farmers and Wetlands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is moving forward on Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations. The American Farm Bureau submitted comments to the agency asking it to make sure the new Interim Rule balances the benefits for both farmland and wetland, as Congress intended. As it was written, the Interim Rule makes it much more difficult for producers to participate in the program and fails to give farmers an opportunity they should have to participate in the process. Farm Bureau says in written comments to the USDA that, “These conservation compliance programs operate fundamentally as regulatory programs, so they should operate with all the duties and rights that such a regulatory program entails. Equally important, all guidance, policy, and rules must match up with the statute.” Farm Bureau says USDA has been making regulatory determinations for far too long based primarily on guidance and policy that wasn’t put through the required public process. Farm Bureau says that error permeates the wetland identification and appeals process. “USDA holds all the cards, leaving farmers without the necessary tools to protect their property and due process rights,” the group says in its written comments.


Brazil Soybean Harvest Lower but Still Solid

Soybean harvest in Parana (PAIR-ruh-nah), Brazil’s second-largest soybean-producing state, reached 25 percent, well ahead of last season’s pace. Government forecasting agency Deral says, although the state suffered through a mini-drought in December, early yield results show no material losses. Only six percent of the state’s soy fields are reportedly in bad condition, compared to none last year. Deral says another 24 percent are considered “average,” compared to 14 percent in the previous cycle. The remaining fields are considered in good condition. So, what does all that mean for farmers who are keeping an eye on the Brazil harvest? The weather issues in Brazil are not widespread nor significant enough to put a major dent in production. Brazil’s crop will be short of the record-high estimates of 122 million metric tons. Elsewhere in South America, Argentina is said to be looking at a good harvest, although they are still early in the season. Harvest expectations in Argentina look like a 53-to-55 million metric ton crop there, coming off 38 MMT in 2018.


SOURCE: NAFB News Service