02-12-19 Make plans to attend the 6th Annual High Plains Organic Farming Conference in Cheyenne, WY Feb 27-28

Make plans to attend the 6th Annual High Plains Organic Farming Conference in Cheyenne, WY Feb 27-28…

Organic, sustainable crop production topics at Cheyenne conference

A lineup of 28 speakers will present a mix of science-based, how-to information, producer talks and panel discussions at the 6th Annual High Plains Organic Farming Conference Wednesday-Thursday, Feb. 27-28, at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.

The conference will appeal to anyone interested in sustainable agriculture, said Jay Norton, University of Wyoming Extension soils specialist.

Registration for the organic certification workshop Wednesday is $35 and $40 for day two, or $60 for both days. To register and download the conference agenda, go to https://www.highplainsorganic.org/.   Continue reading

02-12-19 RMFU: You’re Invited To The Pikes Peak Foodshed Forum Feb 22nd in Colorado Springs, CO

RMFU: You’re Invited To The Pikes Peak Foodshed Forum Feb 22nd in Colorado Springs, CO

…and A Statewide Farm To Institution conversation

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is partnering with LiveWell Colorado and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union to host the Pikes Peak Foodshed Forum. This year’s focus is Farm to Institution, and the forum will be packed with learning sessions and discussions on increasing your work growing or procuring food locally – with stakeholders from across the state. Continue reading

02-12-19 Show Up, Stand Up, Share Your Story…RMFU Members Did Just That At The Colorado Legislative Drive-In

Show Up, Stand Up, Share Your Story…

RMFU Members Did Just That At The Colorado Legislative Drive-In

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union’s Colorado Legislative Drive-In is over, yet for members attending the event their voice in policy development is just beginning.

State Legislators In Attendance Continue reading

02-12-19 RMFU: More than 300 Bills To Date, Including…

RMFU: More than 300 Bills To Date, Including… 

By Ed Bowditch, RMFU Government Relations For Colorado

The 2019 session is off to a strong start as new members are eager to pass the first bills of their legislative careers, and senior legislators are hopeful to pass the legacy bills of their careers. More bills are passing third readings in their chambers of origin and are moving to opposing chambers. We officially surpassed 300 bills to-date as more legislation was introduced addressing business regulations, tax policy, and education. Adding to the surge of bills in the Senate was the passage of supplemental budget appropriations bills for various state agencies.

Here is our full bill report: Continue reading

02-12-19 Tri-State and EDP Renewables announce 104 megawatt Crossing Trails Wind Farm

Tri-State and EDP Renewables announce 104 megawatt Crossing Trails Wind Farm

  • Tri-State continues investment in economically-beneficial renewable energy projects for its membership and the region
  • EDP Renewables’ Crossing Trails Wind Farm, located in eastern Colorado, is Tri-State’s fifth wind energy project investment
  • Project is EDP Renewables’ first renewable energy project in Colorado – expanding its operational footprint to fifteen U.S. states

(February 12, 2019 – Westminster, Colo.) Today, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri-State) and EDP Renewables (EDPR) announce a 104 megawatt (MW) 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) that will enable the continued development and eventual construction of the 104 MW Crossing Trails Wind Farm.  The project, which is expected to be operational in 2020, marks Tri-State’s fifth investment in a utility-scale wind energy project and expands EDP Renewables’ presence into its fifteenth U.S. state.

The Crossing Trails Wind Farm is located approximately 20 miles south of the Town of Seibert and is within both Kit Carson and Cheyenne Counties.  When operational, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to annually power more than 47,000 average rural Colorado homes and will also bring economic benefits – including jobs, landowner and tax payments, and money spent in local communities – to the region and the state. Continue reading

02-12-19 US Senator Gardner Successfully Includes LWCF Permanent Reauthorization in Senate-Passed Legislation

US Senator Gardner Successfully Includes LWCF Permanent Reauthorization in Senate-Passed Legislation

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the below statement after the Senate approved a public lands package, including permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as well as numerous other Gardner-authored bills that have a direct impact on Colorado.

Since his election to the Senate, Gardner has been an LWCF champion. Gardner spoke at an LWCF press conference touting the importance of making the LWCF program permanent by promoting its 100-day campaign in June, and led another press conference reiterating the need for this program in November. In July 2018, Gardner spoke on the Senate floor to address the necessity of this program being fully funded in order to conserve and preserve public lands, and joined his colleagues in a bipartisan effort to permanently reauthorize LWCF by introducing an amendment to the appropriations bill. In December of 2018, after years of work, Gardner played a key role in securing the first up-or-down vote on permanent reauthorization in the program’s history.

“After four years of working on this issue, the Senate was finally able to permanently reauthorize the crown jewel of conservation programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Senator Gardner. “I have championed this program throughout my time in the Senate because of how important it is to all Coloradans who love our great outdoors. The program has a direct impact on public lands in Colorado and will be used to protect our state’s natural beauty for future generations. I’m thrilled we were able to finally permanently reauthorize this commonsense program supported by Coloradans across the political spectrum. This is a great day for the future of Colorado’s public lands.”

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02-12-19 US Senator Bennet Applauds Passage of Natural Resources Management Act and Permanent Reauthorization of LWCF

US Senator Bennet Applauds Passage of Natural Resources Management Act and Permanent Reauthorization of LWCF

Download: Summary of Bennet-led provisions included in the lands package

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today applauded Senate passage of the Natural Resources Management Act, commonly referred to as the “lands package.” Bennet secured 10 provisions in the package that will improve land management and expand access to public lands in Colorado. Additionally, after a decade of fighting to save the program, Bennet helped secure permanent reauthorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

“Thank you to every Coloradan who has spoken up in support of LWCF, met with me across the state at an LWCF-funded project, and traveled to Washington to advocate for this critical program. It’s your persistence that has led to this historic vote in the Senate to permanently save the conservation fund,” Bennet said. “After a decade of leading the charge for permanent reauthorization, today is a victory for Colorado and a commitment to future generations.”

“It’s rare that a bipartisan lands package moves in Congress, so this bill is a significant accomplishment for communities across Colorado,” Bennet continued. “I am particularly pleased to know my bill with the late Senator John McCain of Arizona, who valued service to this country above all else, is one step closer to becoming law. Our bill takes the best of America—our youth, veterans, and great outdoors—and expands the pathway for one to help the other.” Continue reading

02-12-19 RMFU New Mexico’s Legislative Drive-In Highlights & Results

Pam Roy welcomes RMFU members to the Legislative Drive-In held in Santa Fe.

RMFU New Mexico’s Legislative Drive-In Highlights & Results

By Pam Roy
RMFU Government Relations For New Mexico

A diverse group of participants with a variety of interests attended the 2019  Rocky Mountain Farmers Union New Mexico Legislative Drive-In. The afternoon “Round Table” presentations and discussions were highlighted by presentations from the Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte, State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richards, and former Representative Bill Gomez. Continue reading

02-12-19 RMFU Presents Golden Triangle Award to Michelle Lujan Grisham for Contributions to Ag

RMFU Presents Golden Triangle Award to
Michelle Lujan Grisham for Contributions to Ag

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union members today presented the Golden Triangle Award to New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. The Golden Triangle, first presented by National Farmers Union in 1988, is the family farm organization’s highest legislative honor and it symbolizes the core principles of the general farm organization: education, cooperation, and legislation.

This is the fifth Golden Triangle Award presented to Lujan Grisham for her service in the United States Congress. Her dedicated advocacy for farm and ranch families on the House Agriculture Committee and 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee, plus her work championing local foods programs and protecting the nutrition title of the Farm Bill are just a few of the reasons why National Farmers Union selected her for this honor. Former Representative Lujan Grisham is today the Governor of New Mexico. Continue reading

02-12-19 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. announces Duane Highley as next Chief Executive Officer

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. announces Duane Highley as next Chief Executive Officer

  • Mike McInnes announces retirement as CEO after long cooperative career
  • Leadership transition at cooperative power supplier takes effect April 5, 2019

(February 12, 2019 – Westminster, Colo.) The Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Board of Directors has selected Duane Highley as the cooperative wholesale power supplier’s next chief executive officer. Highley, who currently serves as president and chief executive officer for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Inc., will succeed Mike McInnes on April 5, 2019.

Duane Highley will lead the wholesale electric power supplier’s executive management team in its strategic and operational initiatives while reporting to the association’s 43-member board of directors.

“As CEO, Duane will work with our board of directors to advance a strong vision for the association’s future,” said Rick Gordon, chairman and president of Tri-State. “Duane is a proven CEO adept at leading complex cooperative organizations.  He has spent the past 35 years working with two financially strong cooperatives and demonstrates leadership collaborating with members, key stakeholders and public officials. Continue reading

02-12-19 CDA: Funding Available for Agricultural Energy Projects

Center pivot agricultural irrigation system in an alfalfa field

CDA: Funding Available for Agricultural Energy Projects

BROOMFIELD, Colo. –The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) and the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) are seeking applicants for agricultural energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The total amount available for assistance in FY 2019 is $250,000. The funding is available to Colorado agricultural irrigators, dairies, greenhouses, nurseries, and cold storage facilities.
The funding is part of the multi-agency Colorado Agricultural Energy Efficiency Program, which provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers to install and maintain projects that address natural resource concerns in Colorado. The current funding amount includes $200,000 for energy efficiency projects and $50,000 for renewable energy projects. This funding is provided by CDA’s Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ACRE3) grant program.

Continue reading

02-12-19 Morgan County Agri-Business Incubator Interest Survey

Morgan County Agri-Business Incubator Interest Survey

A food/agriculture oriented business incubator is being considered for Morgan County.  As one of your neighboring counties in Eastern Colorado, we know this region has the ideal combination of proximity to market, lower costs of production, and a strong ag-food production history. Dubbed here as an agri-business incubator, this project would focus on small and startup businesses working in production, marketing, adding value, and growth of food and agriculture related products and services. It could include a facility in which food producers can rent time and space in a fully-equipped commercial kitchen, and an accessory space such as secure and cold storage. The incubator also could give these small and startup food and agriculture businesses easy access to business assistance, through workshops and one-on-one help. This agri-business incubator also might rent office and other space to companies that want to locate there, even if they aren’t in agriculture, and house one or more food producers who would do co-packing for others. Also, under consideration is a hydroponic greenhouse in which vegetables and other plants might be grown year-round. Continue reading

02-12-19 RFA Outlines 2019 Priorities at National Ethanol Conference

RFA Outlines 2019 Priorities at National Ethanol Conference

The Renewable Fuels Association kicked-off their National Ethanol Conference today, looking back at the many battles that the ethanol industry has fought the past year.
RFA President & CEO Geoff Cooper opened the conference with the State of the Industry report. “Our industry made significant strides in 2018 to expand the market for E15 and flex fuels like E85. Thanks to the persistent and vocal advocacy efforts of our industry, our partners in agriculture, and our champions in Congress and the Administration, we got a firm commitment from President Trump in October to eliminate what he called an “unnecessary and ridiculous” regulatory barrier to year-round E15 sales before this summer driving season begins.”

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, February 12th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, February 12th

Democrats Green New Deal Calls for Working with Ag to Eliminate Greenhouse Gasses

The “Green New Deal” introduced by Democrats last week seeks to work with farmers and ranchers to achieve “net zero greenhouse gas emissions.” The resolution is nonbinding, which means it would create no new programs if it did pass Congress, according to the Hagstrom Report, but it is a framework for discussion, especially in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The  Food & Environment Reporting Network says one section of the resolution addresses agricultural production, calling for collaborative work with U.S. farmers and ranchers “to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible,” including by supporting family farming, investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health, and “building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food.” Rob Larew, senior vice president of public policy and communications for the National Farmers Union, says the organization understands “the need for action on climate change,” adding “NFU stands ready to work with Congress” to ensure that any federal legislation recognizes “what’s at stake for farm families and rural communities.” The Green New Deal, however, isn’t expected to gain any approval from Republicans.

USDA to Release More Long-Term Ag Outlook Data Tables

The Department of Agriculture will release data for the upcoming USDA Agricultural Projections to 2028 report. The data tables, due out Thursday, will include projections for farm income, U.S. fruits, nuts and vegetables supply and use, and global commodity trade. Data tables containing long-term supply, use, and price projections to 2028 for major U.S. crops and livestock products as well as supporting U.S. and international macroeconomic assumptions were released in November of last year. USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson says the complete USDA Agricultural Projections to 2028 report will be released on March 13, 2019, and will include a full discussion of the projections for U.S. commodity supply and use, farm income, and global commodity trade. USDA’s long-term agricultural projections represent a departmental consensus on a ten-year representative scenario for the agricultural sector. The projections do not represent USDA forecasts, but rather reflect a conditional long-run scenario based on specific assumptions about macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather and international developments, with no domestic or external shocks to global agricultural markets.

Canada Canola Exports Facing Delays to China

Since the arrest of a Huawei official in Canada, commodity flows between Canada and China have slowed. Reuters reports that the political dispute between China and Canada over the arrest of a Huawei executive is slowing canola shipments through Chinese ports and causing some importers to hesitate to buy from their biggest supplier. Cargoes of Canadian canola in the time since the arrest have taken longer to clear Chinese customs and GMO permits. Canola stocks in Canada have reached record-high year-end levels and trade analysts call the delays by China in approving the shipments unusual. Normally, China buys some $2.5 billion of Canadian canola each year. Trade officials suspect that China is likely carrying out the heightened checks to “pressure Canada” amid the current diplomatic tensions. A dozen traders, some with direct knowledge of sales in Canada and China, and others in the U.S. who monitor sales, told Reuters the shipping pace has noticeably slowed since the political dispute began.

Survey Suggests Increased Cotton Plantings in 2019

U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 14.5 million cotton acres this spring, up 2.9 percent from 2018, according to the National Cotton Council’s 38th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey. Upland cotton intentions are 14.2 million acres, up 2.8 percent from 2018, while extra-long staple intentions of 264,000 acres represent a 6.3 percent increase. The survey results were announced over the weekend at the NCC’s 2019 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.  NCC’s Dr. Jody Campiche (CAM-pea-CHEE) says history shows that “U.S. farmers respond to relative prices when making planting decisions.” For the 2019 crop year, many producers have indicated a desire to reduce soybean acres due to low returns in 2018. As a result, corn is expected to provide the strongest competition for cotton acres in 2019, according to Campiche.  The NCC questionnaire, mailed in mid-December 2018 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asked producers for the number of acres devoted to cotton and other crops in 2018 and the acres planned for the coming season. Survey responses were collected through mid-January.

Montana Lawmakers Mull COOL Bill

A new bill in the Montana legislature seeks country-of-origin labeling on meat products. Senate Bill 206 would restore COOL for beef and pork sold in Montana. Supported by the Northern Plains Resource Council, the council says the bill would require that placards be placed in meat counters to inform consumers about where the meat was born, raised, harvested and processed. Northern Plains is working with the Montana Cattlemen’s Association and Montana Farmers Union to reinstate COOL during the 2019 legislative session, according to AgWeek. The Council helped pass a similar bill in 2005 with a sunset if a federal law was enacted. While a federal COOL measure was approved in 2009, it was repealed in 2015. If passed, the law would be implemented by Montana’s Department of Labor and Industry. The bill was introduced last week and was referred to the Montana Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee.

National Toast to Farmers Friday

Coors is brewing up a national toast to farmers this Friday, promising “more details to come” on Twitter. So far, little information has emerged, but in the Tweet Sunday, Coors says “Let’s all raise a cold one to the hard working American farmers.” The upcoming national toast to farmers Friday stems from the spat that started with a Bud Light Superbowl commercial, blasting Miller Lite and Coors Light for including corn syrup in their ingredients. Corn syrup is used in the brewing process by Coors, and while the ingredient doesn’t end up in the final product, the company says Bud Light attacked “hard-working American farmers who grow our great ingredients.” In a reported statement to distributors, Coors says the brand is “standing up for our beers, our ingredients, and the farmers who grow them.” Meanwhile, just last week, Pete Coors joined members of the National Corn Growers Association during action team meetings in Denver.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service