03-15-19 Life-Saving Extreme Risk Protection Order Legislation Passes Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee

Life-Saving Extreme Risk Protection Order Legislation Passes Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee

Denver, CO – The Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee today voted 3-to-2 to pass HB19-1177, Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO), sponsored by Senators Lois Court (D-Denver) and Brittany Pettersen (D-Jefferson County). ERPO would save lives by allowing family members and law enforcement officers to request a court order to temporarily remove firearms from someone who is deemed a danger to themselves or to others. This bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. Continue reading

03-15-19 Farm Foundation: Issue Report spotlights interactions of agriculture & the courts

Farm Foundation: Issue Report spotlights interactions of agriculture & the courts

OAK BROOK, IL March 15, 2019: The U.S. food and agriculture sector is well aware of the role the legislative and executive branches have in creating and executing regulations and policies. A new Farm Foundation Issue Report highlights the role of the judicial branch in the system of checks and balances created by the nation’s founders.The report, “Agriculture and the Judicial Branch: The Third Leg of Governance,” was co-authored by Karen Carr, a partner at Arent Fox LLP, and Megan Provost, vice president of policy and programs at Farm Foundation. The report is available on the Farm Foundation website. Continue reading

03-15-19 US Senator Gardner: The Signing Ceremony for Bipartisan Public Lands Package

US Senator Gardner: The Signing Ceremony for Bipartisan Public Lands Package

I had the privilege of attending the signing ceremony for the Natural Resources Management Act, the Lands Package that includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). After working on this issue for four years, LWCF has finally been permanently reauthorized. I have continued to champion this crown jewel of conservation programs throughout my time in the Senate because of how important it is to all Coloradans who love our great outdoors. The program directly impacts the public lands in Colorado and will be used to protect our state’s natural beauty for future generations.

Sincerely,

Cory Gardner

United States Senator

Gardner-authored bills included in the package: Continue reading

03-15-19 Colorado Senator Coram Updates CLA Members on Legislative Activities

 

Colorado Senator Coram Updates CLA Members on Legislative Activities

GREELEY, CO –  Colorado Senator Don Coram was the guest legislator on the CLA Legislative Affairs Committee conference call this past Friday morning.

He addressed several of the bills he is sponsoring this session that are of concern to Colorado agriculture, including:

  • SB 19-139 – More Colorado Road and Community Safety Act Offices  (CLA Supports)
  • SB 19-186 -Expand Agricultural Chemical Management Program – Protect Surface Water. (Monitoring)
  • SB 19-016 – Severance Tax Operational Fund Distribution Methodology (Monitoring)
  • HB 19-1200 – Reclaimed Domestic Wastewater Point of Compliance (Monitoring)

If anyone would like to join the calls to hear directly from your legislators and have an opportunity to ask questions please contact Kellee Mitchell at kmitchell@coloradolivestock.org or call the office (970) 378-0500.

The next CLA Legislative Affairs Committee conference call will be March 29, 2019 at 7:00 am.

Colorado Livestock Association is a diverse multi-species member organization, representing ranchers, cattle and sheep feeders, dairy farmers, swine producers and agri-business partners. For more information about CLA visit www.coloradolivestock.org.

Continue reading

03-15-19 CDA: DEADLINE EXTENDED – Funding Available for Agricultural Energy Projects

Center pivot agricultural irrigation system in an alfalfa field

CDA: DEADLINE EXTENDED – Funding Available for Agricultural Energy Projects

BROOMFIELD, CO –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. Continue reading

03-15-19 Colorado economic forecast shows moderate growth and an additional $29.6 million available in General Fund

Colorado economic forecast shows moderate growth and an additional $29.6 million available in General Fund

DENVER — The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) today released its quarterly economic forecast.

Colorado’s economy continues growing, but at a more moderate pace than in 2017 and 2018. A rapidly growing labor force is allowing job growth to continue despite a low unemployment rate. Inflation is mild. Housing price growth and rental rate increases slowed in the second half of 2018 but affordability remains a concern. Commercial lending standards tightened slightly.

Under the forecast, an additional $29.6 million becomes available in the General Fund above the Governor’s budget request for FY 2019-20.

“We want to lift up Coloradans and their families by ensuring that they have every opportunity to succeed,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Our economy remains strong and the legislature will have $29.6 million more than anticipated to invest. My administration is focused on supporting Colorado families by relieving them from financial stress and free full-day kindergarten and lowering health care costs do just that.” Continue reading

03-15-19 Joyce E. McConnell named as finalist in search for next president of CSU

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Joyce E. McConnell named as finalist in search for next president of CSU

Joyce McConnell, provost and vice president for academic affairs at West Virginia University, has been named as the finalist to become the 15th president of Colorado State University.

The Board of Governors of the CSU System made the announcement following a highly competitive five-month nationwide search. The search was guided by a Search Advisory Committee representing key stakeholder groups, including tenured and non-tenure-track faculty, students, alumni, administrative professional and state classified staff, the Board of Governors, community leaders, and more.

“Joyce McConnell has an extraordinary track record in higher education leadership and a deep appreciation for Colorado State University’s mission and character,” said Rico Munn, chair of the CSU System Board of Governors. “She has shown a unique ability to lead with vision while bringing diverse groups alongside in a common drive for excellence. We are grateful to the Search Advisory Committee for its work and for the input from our CSU community that played a critical role in identifying Provost McConnell as finalist for consideration as the next president of CSU.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 15th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 15th

Lawmakers say No to Potential EU-U.S. Trade Agreement Without Agriculture

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is demanding the Trump Administration force the European Union to include agriculture in upcoming trade talks. A group of 114 lawmakers penned a letter this week to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer stating, “an agreement with the EU that does not address trade in agriculture would be, in our eyes, unacceptable.” The U.S. and EU recently reached a tentative agreement to allow the U.S. access to the EU hormone-free beef quota, but the EU is pushing back against talking ag in a broader trade negotiation. The group of lawmakers say any agreement between the EU and the U.S. without agriculture “would be deficient, significantly jeopardizing Congressional support.” USTR Lighthizer does seem to agree, telling lawmakers earlier this week that the U.S. “cannot have a trade deal with the EU without agriculture,” adding “we’re at a stalemate and we’ll see how that develops.” The letter was organized by House Republicans Jackie Walorksi (Wuh-lor-ski) and Virginia Foxx, along with House Democrats Ron Kind and Angie Craig.

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Ethanol Groups Condemn New Small Refinery Waivers

At the dismay of the ethanol industry, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued five new small refinery exemptions for 2017. The EPA is also being petitioned two grant two additional waivers for 2018. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor called the action a “slap in the face” to rural communities, noting that the new exemptions bring the total gallons of lost demand to 2.6 billion in 2016-2017. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper called the announcement “extremely disappointing and outrageous.” Under the Renewable Fuel Standard, refineries must demonstrate each year that they have blended certain volumes of renewable fuel into the nations fuel supply. The EPA can issue the waivers to small refiners if they prove compliance would impose a “disproportionate economic impact” on them. However, the Trump administration’s EPA has issued and alarming number of waivers, and to refiners of all sizes, according to the ethanol industry. Ethanol industry groups last year filed lawsuits against the EPA regarding the misuse of small refiner exemptions.

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Farm Groups Call on USDA to Oversee GE Animals

Agriculture groups are pressing the Food and Drug Administration to hand over the regulation of genetically engineered animals to the Department of Agriculture. The FDA oversees the review and safety of GE animals, but the USDA overseas GE plants. Politico reports that animal agriculture groups insist the FDA framework lacks clarity and the process is slow, pointing to the fact that the FDA has cleared just one GE animal, the AquaAdvantage salmon, in a process that took more than 20 years to complete. Leading the charge is the pork industry as gene-edited hogs resistant to disease are expected to be commercially available within a couple of years, specifically, resistant to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, a disease that costs the industry hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The move follows a similar action in which the industry was seeking joint regulation from USDA and the FDA regarding cell-based meats.

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U.S. Drought Area Shrinking, Flooding Common

To no surprise, the drought monitor shows a shrinkage of dry conditions throughout the nation compared to trends over the last year, but parts of Texas and the west remain dry. Conditions have improved in parts of the south, which received rain late in the last week that allowed a retreat of drought conditions. In the west, improving long-term soil moisture deficits, building snow pack, and the filling of reservoirs, are all leading to more widespread drought improvement. Still, roughly 47 percent of Texas remains in a classified drought, and states like Colorado, Utah and Oregon, are covered in drought classifications. Further, northern New Mexico has extreme and exceptional drought conditions. The Midwest and plains states remain saturated from above normal winter precipitation, and the Missouri River was expected to reach at or near record flood stages. Evacuations were issued in Northwestern Missouri and in areas of Iowa and Nebraska. By Thursday afternoon, flood warnings, watches, or advisories covered more than half of Nebraska and Iowa, and nearly the entirety of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, with an abundance of advisories and watches in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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Study Reveals Powerful Engine of American Economy: Corn Refiners

A nationwide economic study released this week shows how America’s corn refiners contribute to the nation’s economy, finding the industry has massive, outsized impacts across the country. The study shows the industry supports 8,300 direct jobs, and an estimated total of 237,000 total jobs, with a total output of $71 billion. Because corn refiners produce essential ingredients across so many industries, they have a powerful multiplier effect on the nation’s economy. The Corn Refiners Association says that for years, ingredients from corn have been used to make food taste better, cosmetics last longer, pharmaceuticals easier to swallow and plastics environmentally-friendly. Today, corn products are used in 3-D printing inks and studied by nanotechnology scientists as a method for delivering cancer treatments. Corn Refiners CEO John Bode says the study “reveals that our industry stands at a powerful juncture in corn’s economic value chain, helping turn the bounty of America’s heartland into an engine of economic growth.”

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Iowa Farmland Values Slipping

An Iowa-based Realtors group finds in recent research that farmland values in the state are beginning to decline. The REALTORS Land Institute – Iowa Chapter this week reported a statewide average decrease of cropland values of one percent for the September 2018 to March 2019 period. Combining the decrease with the 1.7 percent decrease reported in September 2018 indicates a statewide average decrease of 2.7 percent from March 1, 2018 to March 1, 2019. Farmland values, so far, have been thought to be the positive in the farm economy, keeping the deteriorating economic conditions from reaching a status seen in the 1980’s farm crisis. Still, the report says major factors supporting current farmland values continue to include limited amount of land on the market, government compensation like the Market Facilitation Program, the new farm bill, and higher than expected crop yields in some locations. Negative factors include trade uncertainty, decreasing levels of working capital, and slightly higher interest rates. The REALTORS Land Institutes – Iowa Chapter farmland value survey has been conducted in March and September since 1978.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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