03-11-19 Colorado Governor Polis Announces Boards and Commissions Appointments

Colorado Governor Polis Announces Boards and Commissions Appointments

DENVER — Governor Polis has announced Boards and Commissions Appointments including:

State Agricultural Commission

The Commission formulates policy with respect to the management of the Department of Agriculture. The Commission also advises and makes recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly.

for a term expiring March 1, 2023:

  • Kathryn Bedell of Grand Junction, Colorado, a Democrat, from the Fourth Agricultural District, to serve as a member from the State at-large, appointed;

  • Segundo Diaz of Alamosa, Colorado, a Republican, from the Third Agricultural District, reappointed;

  • George Whitten, of Saguache, Colorado, a Democrat, from the Third Agricultural District, to serve as a member from the State at-large, appointed;

  • Colleen Peppler of Platteville, Colorado, a Democrat, from the Second Agricultural District, to serve as a member from the State at-large, appointed;

  • Brant Harrison, of Palisade, Colorado, a Republican, from the Fourth Agricultural District, reappointed.

Children’s Trust Fund Commission Continue reading

03-11-19 FINALISTS FOR COLORADO LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD SELECTED

FINALISTS FOR COLORADO LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD SELECTED

ARVADA, Colo. – Three finalists have been selected for the prestigious 2019 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes ranchers, farmers, and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.

In Colorado the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The finalists are:

  • The Livingston Ranch of Stratton in Kit Carson County: Mike and Julie Livingston raise cattle, wheat, milo, corn and hay with their children Kari and Justin, and their families. Cover crops and no-till practices have improved soil health, while reducing water runoff and soil erosion. Their beef cattle and land have benefitted from an efficient watering system and planned grazing system across 119 pastures. Wildlife habitat is important to this operation and has been included in all conservation efforts.
  • Off Ranches of Del Norte in Rio Grande County: Cory Off raises beef cattle and hay at his ranch along the Rio Grande River. The combination of innovative grazing management, fencing and watering systems, have made the ranch more resilient, both ecologically and economically. Conservation improvements to the ranch’s landscape, such as the establishment of buffer areas around wetlands, have bolstered wildlife habitat and attracted a variety of plants, birds and wildlife.
  • Gregg, Chris and Brad Stults of Wray in Yuma County: The Stults’ have implemented a variety of conservation practices on their cattle ranch. Cover crops and no-till practices have increased soil health, retained water, and reduced erosion while growing wheat, milo, sunflowers and hay millet. Their land provides habitat for 53 species of birds, including Greater Prairie Chickens and the western yellow-billed cuckoo. Beaver dams are credited with spurring beneficial streambank vegetation.

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03-11-19 NAWG Voices Concern About President’s 2020 Budget Proposal

NAWG Voices Concern About President’s 2020 Budget Proposal

Washington, D.C. (March 11, 2019) – Today, the White House Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russ Vought released the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget of the United States Government: “A Budget for a Better America: Promises Kept. Taxpayers First.”

In response, NAWG President and Lavon, TX wheat farmer Ben Scholz issued the following: Continue reading

03-11-19 RMFU: Colorado Legislature Hits The Halfway Point

RMFU: Colorado Legislature Hits The Halfway Point

By Ed Bowditch, RMFU Government Relations For Colorado

This week, the legislature officially passed the halfway point of session. This year’s major pieces of legislation are quickly moving through the process to make way for other priorities still being introduced. Leading the pack, legislation addressing sex education and gun safety have both passed the House and are making their way through the Senate.

Coming in quickly just behind them is the new oil and gas reform bill, which passed Senate Energy Tuesday, Finance Thursday, and Appropriations by Friday. Meanwhile, two more major bills were introduced last week: one repeals the death penalty and the other mandates paid family leave insurance. With major legislation consuming the time of lawmakers, floor work and committee hearings are beginning to be held well past midnight. We anticipate more long nights ahead as legislators hope to make enough time for major legislative efforts in addition to the hundreds of other bills still hoping to make it to the governor’s desk. Our total bill count has slowed at only 412 bills introduced to date, about 100 fewer bills than this time last year. Meanwhile, the Governor signed more bills into law including state agency supplemental appropriations and stipends to certified school professionals.

Here is RMFU’s full bill report.

Bill action this week: Continue reading

03-11-19 USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Budget Proposal

USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Budget Proposal

March 11, 2019, Washington D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after President Trump submitted his FY 2020 budget proposal to Congress:

“Our economy is booming, and unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades. While the agriculture community still faces challenges, the Trump economy is creating new opportunities for all Americans to thrive,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump’s budget is fiscally conservative and lays out a vision for an accountable federal government that cuts spending. With our national debt soaring to over $22 trillion, we can no longer kick the can down the road. The time to act is now and USDA will actively do its part in reducing federal spending. We are stewards of other people’s money and must be diligent in spending it more carefully than we would our own when it comes to delivering our programs. At the same time, we will maintain a safety net for farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, and people who need assistance in feeding their families.” Continue reading

03-11-19 USDA Seeks Public Comments on Conservation Practice Standards

USDA Seeks Public Comments on Conservation Practice Standards

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today it is seeking public input on its existing national conservation practice standards as part of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill. NRCS offers 150-plus conservation practices to America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to help them meet their business and natural resource needs on their working lands. NRCS is requesting public comments on how to improve conservation practice standards that support programs. The comment period ends April 25, 2019. Continue reading

03-11-19 NFU: President’s Budget Yet Again Neglects Severity of Farm Economy

NFU: President’s Budget Yet Again Neglects Severity of Farm Economy

CLICK HERE to view the budget for yourself

WASHINGTON D.C. – March 11, 2019 – President Donald Trump today revealed his proposed fiscal year 2020 budget, proposing cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies in order to increase spending on a proposed border wall and defense initiatives.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the proposal continues the administration’s disturbing trend of neglect for the welfare of farm families across the United States:

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03-11-19 Colorado Farm Bureau urges confirmation of David Bernhardt to Department of Interior

Colorado Farm Bureau urges confirmation of David Bernhardt to Department of Interior 

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Colorado Farm Bureau sent a letter on Mon., March 11 to U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, urging the confirmation of Acting Secretary David Bernhardt to the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI).

“I strongly support the nomination and timely confirmation of David Bernhardt as the secretary of the Department of the Interior,” wrote Don Shawcroft, Colorado Farm Bureau President, in the letter.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, March 11th

CLICK HERE to listen to The BARN’s Morning Ag News w/Brian Allmer every day

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, March 11th

NAFTA Withdrawal Coming to Pressure Congress on USMCA?

The Congressional Research Service is looking into whether or not President Trump can legally withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement on his own. Politico says it’s a question the trade world would like an answer to sooner rather than later. Can the president withdraw without Congressional support? Politico says the answer is not clear. Congresses’ research arm says, if you look solely at international law, it looks like the Trump Administration would be able to act on its own. However, it’s quite likely that the president would have problems based on domestic law. It’s difficult to say how a court case would get resolved if affected companies pursued litigation. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the original NAFTA agreement as a way to put pressure on Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement. Administration aides have told Politico that there are no immediate plans to back out of the existing deal. One factor that might increase the possibility of legal action is if Congress signals disapproval of any attempt to withdraw from NAFTA. In the past, the Supreme Court typically says presidential power to act unilaterally is at its weakest when the White House takes action that Congress doesn’t agree with.

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Regulation Framework in Place to Regulate Cell-Grown Meat

Two separate government agencies will come together to regulate the new market of lab-grown meat. The Washington Examiner says the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service will share regulation of the products. Scientists will create products by multiplying animal cells to mimic traditional chicken, pork, beef, and fish. The products will have to be approved by both agencies before they’ll be allowed in stores. Under the new regulatory agreement, the FDA oversees cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth. FSIS will step in after that to oversee food production and how it’s labeled. The Trump Administration had to hold several meetings to talk about how the emerging market and its products should be regulated. They don’t fit neatly under the jurisdiction of either agency. In a statement from the FDA, the agency says, “Collaboration between the USDA and FDA will allow us to draw upon the unique expertise of each agency in addressing the many technical and regulatory considerations that arise with the development of animal-cell cultured food products for human consumption.” The traditional meat industry was concerned about the impact the new products would have on their industry and lobbied the Trump Administration to have the cultured foods be regulated by both agencies.

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NPPC Elects New President, Officers

The National Pork Producers Council elected a new president at its annual business meeting. The National Pork Industry Forum took place last week in Orlando, Florida. Pork Business Dot Com says David Herring, a hog farmer from North Carolina, is the new president. Herring is Vice President of Hog Slat, which supplies equipment to pork operations, as well as the VP of TDM Farms. He and his two brothers started the farm as a feeder pig operation in 1983. It’s now a sow farrow-to-finish operation, with farms in North Carolina, Illinois, and Indiana. Herring takes over for Jim Heimerl, an Ohio pork producer who now becomes the immediate past president and chair of the NPPC Trade Committee. Howard A.V. Roth, a Wisconsin hog farmer, was elevated to the president-elect position with the organization. The fifth-generation farmer owns and operates Roth Feeder Pigs. Jen Sorenson, Iowa Select Farms communications director, was elected vice president by the NPPC Board of Directors. “David, A.V., and Jen all have a lot of good experience and leadership that will benefit NPPC and our producers greatly,” says NPPC CEO Neil Dirks. “With the additions to our Board of Directors, NPPC again has a strong team guiding our work of protecting the livelihoods of America’s pork producers.”

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Pork Producers Set Resolutions on 2019 Important Issues

The annual business meeting of the National Pork Producers Council took place last week in Orlando, Florida. In looking ahead to the rest of 2019 and beyond, delegates at the Pork Industry Forum adopted several important policy issues they’ll be working on. African Swine Fever was top-of-mind for delegates. They adopted a resolution on strengthening the pork industry’s efforts to prevent foreign animal diseases from entering the U.S. One of the many ways they’ll do this is working with USDA and the Food and Drug Administration on restricting imports of soy-based animal feed from countries with a high risk of transmitting foreign animal diseases. They’ll also continue to work on changing the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Hours of Service Rules. Haulers must remain in their trucks when animals are loaded, which the NPPC says should not count towards their “on-duty” time. They also passed a resolution calling for the USDA and FDA to be transparent in their regulation of cell-cultured meat products. “These resolutions reflect the concerns of the U.S. pork industry and the efforts we need to take to protect the livelihoods of producers,” says NPPC President David Herring. “NPPC will work with Congress, the Trump Administration, and others to tackle these and other issues important to our industry.”

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U.S. Beef Exports Reach New Heights in 2018; Pork Hurt by Tariffs

USDA export numbers compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation show U.S. beef exports in 2018 topped both volume and value records that were set in 2017. Pork export volume came up just shy of the 2017 record and the value also fell one percent. Strong demand in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the Asian region helped drive beef exports seven percent higher in 2018, coming in at 1.35 million metric tons. Export value climbed to $8.33 billion, 15 percent higher than in 2017. “There may have been no greater success story than U.S. beef exports to Korea,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF CEO. “Less than a decade removed from the street protests opposing the reopening of the market, Koreans now consume more U.S. beef per capita than any international destination.” Korea drove half the $1 billion surge in beef exports. Exports to Japan climbed seven percent in volume and 10 percent in value. However, Halstrom says that the U.S. position as the number one beef supplier in Japan is tenuous because of the widening tariff rate gap between America and its main competitors. 2018 pork exports totaled 2.44 million metric tons, .5 percent below the 2017 record. Pork value dipped one percent to $6.39 billion. Retaliatory tariffs in place because of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum hurt pork exports in the second half of 2018.

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Hemp Industry Looking at Establishing a Trade Association

A coalition of hemp farmers, farm service companies, processors, crop insurance agents and lenders, as well as other stakeholders, are looking at possibly establishing a trade association group. The Hagstrom Report says the goal is to have an organization that represents the hemp industry in Washington, D.C. Hemp is currently used to make textiles, paper, paint, oil, biodegradable plastics, and many more items. The coalition is working with three veteran Washington lobbyists, including Scott Graves, Christopher Thorne, and Matthew Valesko. “Hemp has enormous potential in the United States as a source of fiber, seed, and oil,” Graves says. “it’s a high-value crop that needs fewer inputs and fewer acres, and it’s resistant to both drought and cold.” The coalition notes that the 2018 Farm Bill “includes language permitting the growth of industrial hemp, but leaves it to each state to determine its own rules for cultivating, transporting, and selling hemp. Graves adds, “There are estimates that the U.S. hemp market could double in the next five years, going from $800 million to nearly $2 billion,” Graves adds. “That would be a major shot in the arm for American farmers.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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