03-18-19 NRCS-CO: Farmers and Ranchers Continue to Make Eastern Colorado’s Farming Evolution Workshop…A MUST SEE EVENT

NRCS-CO: Farmers and Ranchers Continue to Make Eastern Colorado’s Farming Evolution Workshop…A MUST SEE EVENT

Denver, CO March 18, 2019 – Eastern Colorado’s 2019 Farming Evolution workshop drew hundreds of attendees and marks the 8th year of the highly popular event. This workshop has grown from a demonstration of a rainfall simulator to a hand-full of landowners by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to one of Colorado’s most sought-after events of the year. Today’s workshops are designed to provide farmers and ranchers with a peer to peer educational experience and information from technical experts from around the world, who help may revolutionize farming and ranching operations.

“This is a great workshop for farmers, ranchers and really anyone who wants to learn more about soil health, and its success comes directly from word of mouth. After the rainfall simulator field demonstration, interest in seeing and learning more about soil health grew from one farmer to another and the rest is history,” says Dan Palic, NRCS District Conservationist for Holyoke and Julesburg, CO. “It is great to see how the workshop has grown because we provide assistance on an individual basis to so many who still seek us out about this subject. This workshop allows us to reach hundreds at a time along with other technical experts and landowners who share experiences, both successes and failures in their soil health journeys.” Continue reading

03-18-19 NRCS Continues to Partner to Protect Colorado’s Prime Working Ag Lands

NRCS Continues to Partner to Protect Colorado’s Prime Working Ag Lands

DENVER, Colorado, March 18, 2018 – Within the past three months, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service assisted in the protection of nearly 3,000 acres of prime working lands by partnering with four Colorado families as well as Colorado Open Lands, Rio Grande Headwater Land Trust, and Boulder County Parks and Open Space. NRCS contributed $4.96M through its Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) to help secure the properties and ensure their agricultural longevity.

ACEP-ALE is designed to protect prime working agricultural lands and from 2014-2018, NRCS invested over $32M, helping 39 Colorado families conserve 106,590 acres.

“ACEP-ALE provides tremendous opportunities,” said Clint Evans, NRCS State Conservationist in Colorado. “One of the biggest benefits of the program is that it affords us the ability to partner to leverage greater opportunity to help us reach one of our top priorities which is to conserve Colorado’s working farm and ranch lands.” Continue reading

03-18-19 RMFU: Colorado Senate Keeps Going During Blizzard

RMFU: Colorado Senate Keeps Going During Blizzard

By Ed Bowditch, RMFU Government Relations For Colorado

Despite more long nights, the speed of the legislature stalled this week as procedural debates on Monday delayed Senate floor work on the death penalty and oil and gas reform bills. Those debates transitioned from the legislature to the courts where Republicans filed suit against Senate President Garcia on Tuesday. As the storm ravaged the state Wednesday, the Senate continued working to make up for lost time while the House took a snow day. That evening, the FAMLI leave bill passed its first committee hearing in Senate Business. Thursday picked up pace and by Friday, we closed the week with a positive quarterly revenue forecast, triggering the negotiations on the state budget and priority areas for surplus spending. Our official bill count continues to rise slowly, increasing to 437 bills to-date.

Here is our full bill report

Bill action this week: Continue reading

03-18-19 Join CCA at Colorado’s Agriculture Day at the Capitol

Join CCA at Colorado’s Agriculture Day at the Capitol

Each March, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) joins its counterparts and friends in the industry to celebrate National Agriculture Week. Ranchers and farmers across the nation play a vital role in the production of wholesome, safe food  and in the stewardship of our environment. In conjunction with the week-long celebration, Colorado also hosts Ag Day at the Capitol, which showcases Colorado’s diverse agriculture production in partnership with state legislators and chefs. This year, the event will be held on Wednesday, March 20 at the Colorado State Capitol on the first floor. Lunch will be served from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Continue reading

03-18-19 USDA Announces Rural Community Facilities Investments

USDA Announces Investments in Rural Community Facilities that will Benefit Nearly 300,000 Americans

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2019 – Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $91 million to build or improve community facilities (PDF, 108 KB) and essential services for nearly 300,000 rural residents in 12 states.

“Modern community facilities are key drivers of economic development,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building and maintaining these institutions that are foundational to quality of life and prosperity.” Continue reading

03-18-19 National Pork Board and RIPE.IO Partner to Enhance Responsible Pig Farming Practices Through Blockchain

National Pork Board and RIPE.IO Partner to Enhance
Responsible Pig Farming Practices Through Blockchain

DES MOINES, IOWA – March 18, 2019 – The National Pork Board and Ripe Technology, Inc. have entered an agreement to pilot blockchain technology use in the U.S. pork industry.

Through this partnership, ripe.io will enable an ecosystem that will allow pork producers to monitor, evaluate and continuously improve their sustainability practices based on the We CareSM framework – six defined ethical principles guiding the U.S. pork industry. Launched in 2008, these principles provide industry standards in food safety and public health, animal well-being, protecting the environment, and improving the quality of life for the industry’s people and communities. The standards also serve as the pork industry’s commitment to continuous improvement.

“The growing demand across the entire food supply chain – including end consumers – is to ‘Know Your Food.’ The ripe.io platform generates powerful levels of transparency and trust by enabling collaboration and consensus of data and activities within food systems,” said Raja Ramachandran, co-founder of ripe.io. “Through blockchain, customers like the National Pork Board can enable its organization and members to create shared, immutable trusted records that address critical food issues such as sustainability, quality, traceability, waste and fraud.” Continue reading

03-18-19 NPPC STATEMENT ON ILLEGAL PORK SEIZURE

NPPC STATEMENT ON ILLEGAL PORK SEIZURE

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 18, 2019 – On March 15, 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it intercepted a large shipment of illegal pork products from China before it could enter the United States. The contraband shipment, which will be safely and securely destroyed in accordance with U.S. government policy, reportedly contained products derived from pork, such as flavorings in ramen noodles, and did not include fresh meat. It is illegal to import pork products from countries, like China, that are positive for African swine fever (ASF), a disease that only affects pigs and that poses no human health or food safety risks, to the United States. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) issued the following statement.

“Preventing the spread of African swine fever to the United States is our top priority. We are thankful to CBP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their increased vigilance and the expanded resources they have put in place to prevent ASF’s spread to the United States, a development that would threaten animal health and immediately close our export markets at a time when we are already facing serious trade headwinds. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, March 18th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, March 18th

U.S. Beef Agreement with EU Still Needs Approval

The European Union currently has a quota in place that allows up to 45,000 tons of hormone-free beef imports. Thanks to a new agreement between Washington and Brussels, 35,000 of those tons will come from U.S. beef producers. Politico says it’s important to remember the deal still needs approval from EU nations and the United States. As part of the new agreement, Brussels wants Washington to declare a final settlement in the original 2009 World Trade Organization dispute over the EU’s hormone-treated beef ban. The guaranteed share of the quota for American producers would be phased in over a five-year period. Australia, Uruguay, and other major U.S. competitors could still file a WTO lawsuit against the European Union, claiming they’re being discriminated against in favor of U.S. exports. While the EU is still against including agriculture in a potential deal with the U.S., Politico says the EU is trying to ease tensions with President Donald Trump through “one-off” moves like the beef deal, buying more soybeans, and approving oilseeds for use in European biofuel production.

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Bomb Cyclone Clobbers Farm Country

An intense winter storm known in weather-forecasting lingo as a “bomb cyclone” of snow and wind has stranded a large number of drivers and shut down roads across the Rockies and Plains States. MPR News Dot Org says blizzard conditions were expected to continue in multiple states through the end of last week, including Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, as well as parts of Minnesota. The storm even reached as far south as Texas. There was widespread flooding, power outages, as well as numerous canceled flights. The Nebraska Lincoln Journal Star reports that very heavy rains have trapped cattle in fields, forcing ranchers on dangerous rescue missions in 40-mile-per-hour winds. Faulkton, South Dakota beef producer Troy Hadrick posted a video on Twitter this week saying they had to turn around twice because of heavy snow and wind when trying to get to their barns to feed cows. Visibility was so low that they couldn’t see where they were going. Colorado Public Radio says the National Guard was called out to help stranded drivers on highways. Photos of flooding in states like Nebraska are popping up all throughout various social media platforms.

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States Dealing With Hemp Differently

More than a month after being introduced, the Idaho House Agriculture Committee voted to advance a bill that would legalize hemp production in the state. With just two committee members voting no, the bill now heads to the House floor for debate. During the debate over the bill while in committee, members pointed out that hemp is an industrial use product. The Idaho Statesman Dot Com says debate even reached back into the history books, saying that there was 162 tons of hemp on the Mayflower when it came to the U.S. The bill’s proponents say there are currently 26,000 uses for the hemp product. At the other end of the spectrum, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vetoed a hemp production bill that was passed by the legislature. The Argus Leader Dot Com says she reiterated her support for farmers during tough economic times, but also says legalizing industrial hemp “opens the state up to consequences that are too large a risk right now.” She’s not sure what impact the legislation will have on the state as a whole. Noem also vetoed the bill because it would have legalized CBD oil. She says states shouldn’t legalize CBD oil until it’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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U.S. Ethanol Consumption Drops for First Time in 20 Years

Between 2017 and 2018, U.S. ethanol consumption dropped for the first time in two decades. The Renewable Fuels Association says the decline follows years of rising numbers of waivers being handed out to oil refiners by the Environmental Protection Agency in order to subvert the requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard. The waivers have destroyed demand for at least 2.6 billion gallons of ethanol. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says U.S. farmers and ethanol producers are struggling through the most difficult economy in years while the Administration continues to undermine its own promises to support the ethanol industry. “The actions on the part of the Trump Administration to subvert the will of Congress, undermine the positive growth of the U.S. biofuels industry and destroy demand for U.S. farm products is appalling,” Johnson says. “The President has promised family farmers for more than two years to advance the biofuels industry, and thereby to expand markets for U.S. farm products.” Johnson points out that the president’s actions, as well as those of his EPA, are to blame for family farmers losing significant markets. “The handing out of these waivers to large corporations must end immediately,” Johnson says, “and the demand that has been destroyed to date must be made up in future RFS obligations.”

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Study Shows Ag Plays a Big Role in the U.S. Economy

A new study shows that agriculture plays a big role in the success of the overall U.S. economy. More than one-fourth of the nation’s job total and more than one-fifth of the nation’s economy are tied, either directly or indirectly, to the food and agriculture sectors. A coalition of 23 agriculture groups commissioned the economic impact study that came out last week. It’s the foundation of a new website called Feeding the Economy. Among some of the bigger report highlights, it shows that the total number of food and ag job come in at 45.5 million. The total wages amount to $2.06 trillion, with total taxes on the income at just over $913 billion. Agriculture exports total $154.4 trillion. The total food and industry economic impact is $7.06 trillion. Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts says people are more interested in learning about the food they eat, but folks in agriculture must also ensure those same people know the value of what farmers and ranchers do. “Everyone can benefit from knowing about the great contributions of agriculture to our economy, to our rural communities, to our security, and to our natural resources,” Roberts says. “We need resources like the Feeding the Economy Dot Com website report to better tell this story.”

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4-H and FFA Students May Get to Keep More Income

A recently introduced House bill is designed to put more money in the pockets of young people in agriculture. It would allow 4-H and FFA students ages 21 and younger to keep more of the modest income they earn. The students could then turn around and put the money they earn toward higher education or future agricultural projects. The Student Agriculture Protection Act of 2019 (H.R. 1770) would create a tax exemption on the first $5,000 of income students earn from projects completed through either 4-H or the FFA. The American Farm Bureau Federation supports the measure, saying the long-term sustainability of agriculture depends on talented young people pursuing careers in farming and ranching, as well as related agricultural fields. “Student agricultural projects encourage interests in fields of study that will provide the next generation of farmers, ranchers, food scientists, agricultural engineers, agronomists, horticulturalists, and soil scientists,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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