03-28-19 NFU: How to Help Farmers Affected by Flooding

NFU: How to Help Farmers Affected by Flooding

Record flooding across the Midwest have proved catastrophic for family farmers and ranchers in the region. It has cost the agriculture industry billions of dollars in crop loss, livestock deaths, and building damage, and has incapacitated large swaths of rural infrastructure. It will likely take months, if not years, for many operations to recover.
If you would like to help those affected by flooding, Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) is accepting tax deductible donations to support flood relief efforts for family farmers, ranchers, and members of rural communities. You can donate online here, or send checks to 1305 Plum Street, Lincoln, NE 68502. If you are a farmer in need of assistance, you can find national disaster resources here, and state-specific resources here.

03-27-19 Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation Activates Disaster Relief Fund to Support Nebraska Flood Relief Efforts

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Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation Activates Disaster Relief Fund to Support Nebraska Flood Relief Efforts

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — March 27, 2019 — The Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation has activated its Disaster Relief Fund to help the farmers and ranchers directly impacted by the massive floods in the neighboring state of Nebraska. One hundred percent of the funds raised will go directly to aid producers as they face the aftermath of this catastrophic natural disaster.

“Many of our members have asked how we can support our neighbors in Nebraska during this difficult time, so we decided to open our relief fund and allow Coloradans to pitch in,” said Don Shawcroft, President of the CFB Foundation. “The flooding is like nothing anyone has ever seen and it will take a huge effort to help Nebraskans recover from this event.”

One hundred percent of the funds raised by the Foundation will be sent to ag producers in Nebraska. For more information on how to donate please visit: https://www.coloradofarmbureau.com/foundation/

Checks payable to Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation, cash and credit card payments are being accepted at this time. Please note Disaster Fund-NE Flood in the memo line on the check. Cash and checks can be sent to:

Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation
Attn: Disaster Fund
9177 E. Mineral Circle
Centennial, CO 80112

To make an online donation, click here. All major credit cards are accepted. Continue reading



DENVER – A long-awaited scrapie rule was published this week in the Federal Register. The rule – which was first proposed in 2015 by U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – has been anticipated by the American sheep and goat industry since 2016.

03-27-19 NCGA Provides Comment on Farm Bill’s Trade Programs

NCGA Provides Comment on Farm Bill’s Trade Programs

NCGA President Lynn Chrisp today submitted comments on the 2018 Farm Bill’s Trade Title (Title III) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help advance the department’s implementation of the new bill. America’s corn farmers derive an estimated 33 percent of their incomes from the export of corn and corn products. Farmers’ ability to benefit from these exports is driven, in part, by the export promotion and market development programs administered by USDA.
NCGA encouraged USDA to consult closely with both Congress and agriculture stakeholders to ensure the positive changes to the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program are implemented as Congress intended. Increased investment for both MAP and FMD were top NCGA farm bill priorities.

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03-27-19 NAWG: National Wheat Improvement Committee (NWIC) Holds Annual Washington Fly-In to Discuss Research Priorities for Wheat

NAWG: National Wheat Improvement Committee (NWIC) Holds Annual Washington Fly-In to Discuss Research Priorities for Wheat

Washington, D.C. (March 27, 2019) – This week a group of researchers, growers, and millers took to Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of wheat research and appropriations priorities for FY 2020. The National Wheat Improvement Committee (NWIC) is composed of 24 voting members whose mission is to communicate, educate and advocate on behalf of the scientific well-being of the U.S. wheat industry. In addition to meeting with the majority and minority staffs for the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees and Agriculture Committees, the NWIC members met with most of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee Member offices, with over 60 meetings in total.

“To maintain an adequate food supply and food safety, ensure farmers can battle disease and pest pressures, and to keep the United States as the world’s source of premier quality wheat, we must have robust and stable federal, state, and private investment in wheat research,” said NAWG President and Lavon, TX farmer Ben Scholz. “We very much appreciate the support of Congress for continued investments in research over the years, and in particular for key provisions in the Farm Bill research title that will help wheat farmers.” Continue reading

03-27-19 First National Bank Supports Colorado FFA Foundation

First National Bank Supports Colorado FFA Foundation

Donation will serve as an investment in the future of agriculture

FORT COLLINS, Colo. March 11, 2019 – First National Bank is supporting the Colorado FFA Foundation and investing in the future of agriculture with a $2,500 donation, announced Mark Driscoll, Colorado market president. First National Bank’s contribution is part of its broader efforts to celebrate National Agriculture Week and will help provide positive educational experiences for the students enrolled in agricultural education in Colorado. First National Bank and its affiliates are among the largest Agribusiness lenders in the country.

“We’re proud to support the next generation of farmers in Colorado through our partnership with the state FFA Foundation,” added Driscoll. First National Bank is also donating to the Nebraska FFA Foundation and local FFA chapters in Illinois and South Dakota.

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03-27-19 NFU: Hearing Highlights Impacts of ERS, NIFA Relocation on Family Farmers, Consumers, Researchers

NFU: Hearing Highlights Impacts of ERS, NIFA Relocation on Family Farmers, Consumers, Researchers

WASHINGTON – Highlighting concerns among legislators, farmers, rural residents, consumers and researchers for the proposed reorganization and relocation of two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research agencies, the U.S. House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee today held a hearing to examine the impacts of such a move. USDA has initiated a process to move the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside of the nation’s capital and place the ERS under the purview of the Chief Economist.

On the heels of the hearing, National Farmers Union (NFU), the nation’s second largest general farm organization and a strong proponent of public agricultural research, urged USDA to stop the move. NFU sent a letter to USDA in September highlighting the NFU Board of Directors opposition the ERS and NIFA proposal.

NFU Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew issued the following statement shortly after the hearing:

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, March 27th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, March 27th

Canada, Mexico, Continue to Press for Removal of Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

Canada and Mexico this week are again pressing the Trump administration to remove steel and aluminum tariffs. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer earlier this week and threatened to withhold ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement if the duties remain in place, according to Politico. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and others have previously said that if the tariffs remain in place following the implementation of the USMCA, the tariffs would offset any gains reached in the agreement. Specifically, Freeland of Canada is urging the administration to lift the tariffs without replacing them with a quota, telling reporters “Canadians feel the right thing is there should be no 232 tariffs or retaliatory measures between our two countries.” A trade official from Mexico echoed the comments, saying “what industry in North America needs is the elimination of this tariff.”

Trump Effort to Change China Trade Drawing Global Support

The efforts by the Trump Administration that seek trade policy changes by China are drawing global support. Reuters reports the European Union shares many of the same frustrations over China’s technology transfer policies and market access constraints and is a “quiet supporter” of Trump’s efforts with China. That comes though as the U.S. is seeking trade talks with the EU, as well, which agriculture is a key sticking point. The ongoing talks with China continue later this week, and the Trump administration claims to be in the final stages of the negotiation. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has previously said China could double, or even triple its purchases of U.S. agricultural products as part of a trade agreement. The current tariff climate between China and the U.S. slowed China’s purchases of U.S. farm products, including soybeans and pork. Originally thought to be completed at the end of March, some experts now say a deal may be finalized early this summer.

Upper Midwest Farm Bankruptcies on the Rise

The Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank reports farm stress and bankruptcies have increased in the upper Midwest, which includes dairy country. The Federal Reserve Ninth District reported 103 chapter 12 bankruptcies in 2018, compared to 79 in 2017. Farmers in the region continue to face low prices for commodities, including dairy products, and high production costs. Total costs for inputs like seed, fertilizer, pesticide, fuel, and electricity have risen by 50 percent since 2006 for Minnesota farmers. The district of the Federal reserve includes parts or all of Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Dairy farmers in particular have seen hard times, with overproduction and low prices. Many farms have gone out of business or shifted to other agricultural production sectors, while surviving dairies are growing. Bankers apparently don’t have the optimism of farmers either as the Minneapolis Fed reports the most recent quarterly ag credit survey conducted in January found that bankers widely predicted lower capital spending and net farm income for the coming three months, as well as more weakness in loan repayments.

FSA Permits Emergency Grazing on Conservation Reserve Program Acres in Nebraska

The Farm Service Agency this week authorized emergency grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres for 45 Nebraska counties impacted by the recent weather events. The emergency grazing authorization is effective immediately and ends April 30, 2019. The authorization was granted to address the impacts of the recent extreme weather, including flooding, snowmelt and mud. CRP contract holders who are interested in using the emergency grazing authorization must contact their FSA county office to complete required paperwork before allowing grazing to begin. Farmers should also contact their local FSA office to report all damages and losses. CRP participants who use this option will need to obtain a modified conservation plan, which includes emergency grazing provisions, from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. CRP participants can allow others to use their CRP acres under the emergency grazing authorization. However, the livestock owners also will need to complete FSA paperwork indicating their grazing land was adversely impacted by severe weather.

Flooding Impact Could Include Thousands of Rural Water Wells

Thousands of water wells are located within flooded areas of the Midwest that could be contaminated with E. coli, according to the National Ground Water Association. The Association says the number of wells impacted could be substantial because a large portion of the Midwest affected by flooding relies on groundwater for rural and small municipal water supply. Household, farm, and small business wells could be standing in water for several days, raising the potential for contamination. While the exact number of wells possibly affected by contaminated floodwater cannot be readily counted, Census Bureau data show over one million wells in 300 counties impacted by flooding. This estimate includes counties flooded in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota,  Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin during the March 2019 winter storm. Following a flood, disinfection and wellhead repair may be common needs among well owners. Well relocation and elevation may also be useful and protective. The association says well owners should continue to monitor and test their systems.


USDA Announces Investments in Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 23 States

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced a $116 million effort to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure for 171,000 rural Americans in 23 states. USDA is working with local partners to provide financing for 49 water and environmental infrastructure projects. The funding is being provided through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley called the funding “foundational to health, safety and economic development.” One of the larger projects includes a $2.3 million loan for Lake City, Arkansas, to modernize its wastewater treatment and collection system, which serves more than 2,000 residents. Another effort in rural Northwest Indiana includes a $3.4 million loan and a $1.7 million grant to connect three unserved areas of the city to the sewer system and to replace the main water lift station. Find the list of projects at www.rd.usda.gov.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service