04-03-19 CEO – CDA: Energy Smart Agriculture Workshop Series to Detail Cost Savings and Climate Resiliency Opportunities

CEO – CDA: Energy Smart Agriculture Workshop Series to Detail Cost Savings and Climate Resiliency Opportunities

Session will focus on energy efficiency, on-farm renewables and funding assistance

DENVER – Tuesday, April 2, 2019 – The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) today announced a series of energy smart agriculture workshops to be held in late April that will detail energy savings and climate resiliency opportunities for Colorado farmers and ranchers. Created through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service, state government and agricultural industry leaders, the workshops will focus on energy efficiency, on-farm renewables and funding assistance.

Colorado farmers and ranchers spend more than $400 million annually on energy, and the workshops will help agricultural producers consider how utilizing clean energy holds the potential to reduce cost of production, modernize infrastructure and improve margins. The series provides the opportunity for Colorado producers to discuss local concerns about agricultural energy and climate resilience with public officials and industry experts. Workshop attendees will learn about technical assistance to address barriers that prevent investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as how to access local, state and federal funding.
The workshops will feature presenters from Colorado State University, CDA and CEO. In addition, the Colorado Climate Center will give an update on climate and weather considerations, energy, water and agriculture. The series will be co-hosted by the USDA, Colorado Livestock Association, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee/Colorado Association of Wheat Growers, Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Dairy MAX, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Colorado Farm Bureau and Colorado Rural Electric Association.
Registration is free, and lunch/dinner and refreshments will be served. To register, RSVP via the following links: Continue reading

04-03-19 Bill to Prioritize Health and Safety of Coloradans, Empower Local Communities Passes Final Vote in the Senate

Bill to Prioritize Health and Safety of Coloradans, Empower Local Communities Passes Final Vote in the Senate

Denver, CO — The Colorado State Senate today voted unanimously in favor of concurring with the House Amendments to SB19-181, Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations. The Senate then voted to repass SB19-181, as amended, by a vote of 19-16. The bill originally passed the Senate chamber in mid-March, but needed a second approval due to additional amendments added during debate in the House of Representatives. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk. Continue reading

04-03-19 Save the Date: CCALT’s 2019 Forever BBQ is July 13th at the Steel Ranch in Buena Vista!

Save the Date: CCALT’s 2019 Forever BBQ is July 13th at the Steel Ranch in Buena Vista!

Spring has sprung! The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) is in the midst of a busy spring and gearing up for an even busier summer. We are excited to announce that the date and location of our 2019 Forever Colorado BBQ have been selected. We hope to see all of you at the Steel Ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado on Saturday, July 13th!
Buena Vista and Salida are both very busy during the summer months, so if you plan to stay overnight following the BBQ we recommend making room reservations as soon as possible.
For more information on the 2019 Forever Colorado BBQ visit www.ccalt.org or contact Jayne at Jayne@ccalt.org or 720.557.8264.

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04-03-19 USDA Launches New Farmers.gov Features to Help with H2A Applications, Managing Loans

USDA Launches New Farmers.gov Features to Help with H2A Applications, Managing Loans

(WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2019) – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched two new features on farmers.gov to help customers manage their farm loans and navigate the application process for H2A visas.

“Customer service is our top priority at USDA and these new features will help our customers as they manage their farm loans and navigate the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program,” said Secretary Perdue. “In my travels across the country, I have consistently heard people express a desire for greater use of technology in the way we deliver programs at USDA. As we adopt new technology, we are introducing simple yet innovative approaches to support our farmers, ranchers, producers, and foresters as they support the nation every day. It’s my goal to make USDA the most effective, most efficient, most customer-focused department in the entire federal government, and farmers.gov is a big step in that direction.”

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04-03-19 National Farmers Union Urges Trump Against ‘Disastrous’ Closing of the Southern Border

National Farmers Union Urges Trump Against ‘Disastrous’ Closing of the Southern Border

WASHINGTON – Amidst escalating rhetoric and threats from President Donald Trump to close the U.S.-Mexico border, National Farmers Union (NFU) today insisted the President avoid such a “disastrous” decision, which would effectively cripple trade with U.S. agriculture’s top trading partner.

NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to the President’s remarks:


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04-03-19 Fungal mating: Next weapon against corn aflatoxin?

This corn cob is infected with Aspergillus spp. in a field located at the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station in Rocky Mount, NC. Photo credit Ignazio Carbone

Fungal mating: Next weapon against corn aflatoxin?

Native fungi combinations show promise against aflatoxin

It’s not fun when a fungus contaminates crops.  Safe native fungi, however, show promise in the fight against toxic fungal contamination. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 3rd

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 3rd

Disaster Aid Comes Up Short in the Senate

The Senate rejected disaster-relief proposals from both Democrats and Republicans on Monday. Politico says the legislation’s fate is now uncertain after the House passed a $14.2 billion aid package in January. Communities hit hard by disasters have waited months for Congress to approve additional federal aid. States from the Southeast all the way to California have been battered by hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, and now floods in the Midwest and Plains states. The $13.5 billion Senate aid package included $3 billion for farm disaster aid, as well as $150 million to rebuild rural facilities. Republicans criticized Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate, many of whom recently campaigned in Iowa, for voting against the GOP plan. It included assistance for Midwestern states recovering from catastrophic flooding last month. Democrats blame Republicans because the GOP took out aid money for Puerto Rico that was included in the House plan. Lawmakers planned to introduce new legislation as early as Tuesday that would provide billions of dollars in new disaster funds for farm-belt states that were hit by the recent flooding.


Trump Threatens to Close Mexican Border; Ag Groups Concerned

President Trump wrote a series of Tweets on Friday that caught agriculture’s attention. The Hill Dot Com says he threatened to close the southern border unless Mexico took steps to stop the illegal border crossings. The tweets come as the administration continues to warn of a crisis at the border. Trump blames both Democrats and Mexico for the problem, even accusing Mexico of making “a fortune” from the U.S. that is greater than the cost of protecting the border. In the meantime, both the business and ag communities are pushing back against the threat. The president hasn’t said yet how it would actually work, but business groups are preparing for the worst. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the threat alone “creates a degree of economic uncertainty that could potentially wipe out the administration’s other economic policies.” Dairy producers point out that Mexico remains the largest export market for U.S. milk products. Mexico accounted for $1.4 billion in dairy exports last year. Dairy Export Council President Tom Vilsack says, “Closing the southern U.S. border to Mexico would be a gut punch that could set the industry back by a decade or two.” The move would also hurt American consumers at the grocery store because nearly half of the U.S. vegetable imports and 40 percent of fruit imports come from Mexico.


China Buys More Soybeans Ahead of Negotiations

Monday was the second-straight day that USDA announced China had purchased U.S. soybeans. An Agri-Pulse report says that may be a good sign as U.S. and China trade negotiations are set to resume in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. The USDA says that China purchased 828,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans for delivery during the 2018-2019 marketing year. Last Friday, USDA made a similar announcement as China purchased 816,000 metric tons. However, soybeans aren’t the only commodities that China has purchased in spite of the ongoing trade war. Just over a week ago, China bought 300,000 metric tons of U.S. corn, which drew praise from U.S. Grains Council President Tom Sleight (Slate). “The corn purchase is very welcome news for U.S. agriculture,” Sleight says, “and we see it as a positive sign for the U.S. and China relationship as the intense negotiations are continuing.” On the trade policy front, a House Small Business Subcommittee held a hearing on Tuesday that looked at the impact of Trump’s trade policy on agriculture and labor.  


Corn-Ethanol Greenhouse Gas Emissions Lower Than Standard Gasoline

A new study released this week from the USDA shows that greenhouse gas emissions from corn-based ethanol are 39 percent lower than regular gasoline. The study also shows that when ethanol is refined at natural gas-powered refineries, the greenhouse gas emissions are even lower, coming in at 43 percent less than gasoline. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the new findings provide even further evidence that biofuels from America’s heartland reduce greenhouse gases even more than first thought. “It also shows our farmers and ethanol plants continue to become more efficient and effective,” Perdue says. “Expanding the sale of E-15 year-round will provide consumers with more choices when they fill up at the pump, including environmentally friendly fuel with decreased emissions.” Perdue also says he appreciates Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler moving quickly to finalize the E-15 rule before the start of the summer driving season. The study was published in the trade journal Biofuels and it supports findings of other research that ethanol has a significantly better greenhouse gas profile than previously thought.


Meet Chuck, the Virtual Beef Assistant

The beef industry is going high-tech when it comes to promoting its products. The “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” brand is launching what it calls a “beef virtual assistant.” Chuck Knows Beef is powered by Google artificial intelligence and brings together a rancher’s knowledge, a chef’s expertise, and the humor of the average dad into kitchens across the country. The new virtual go-to expert on beef can be found at Chuck Knows Beef Dot Com. Customers can also access Chuck by enabling Chuck Knows Beef with Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant Devices. Chuck will provide instant access to recipes, cuts, nutrition information, cooking tips, and more. Consumers can ask questions like, “What should I cook tonight?; what’s a strip steak?; or at what temperature is a steak well-done?” Chuck can also help shoppers by texting recipe shopping lists to consumers who are out shopping for beef. The new virtual assistant if funded by dollars from farmers and ranchers through the National Beef Checkoff. The goal is to help shoppers feel more confident when approaching the meat case, as well as shopping for and cooking beef for their families.


Groups Unite to Protect Farm Bill Conservation Funding

Many of the nation’s leading farm, conservation, and wildlife groups worked together to protect Conservation Title Funding in the 2018 Farm Bill. Now, more than 140 of those groups are working together again to protect those hard-fought conservation funds and programs in the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Process. Groups like the National Farmers Union, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Association of Conservation Districts, and many others delivered a letter to appropriators asking them to respect the funding decisions made in the 2018 Farm Bil. They’re also asking appropriators to reject any proposed cuts to farm bill conservation funding through the appropriations process. Farm bill conservation programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and many others all play a vital role in helping farmers keep their operations sustainable and profitable for generations. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says, “As America’s farmers and ranchers endure significant environmental and economic challenges, it’s as important as ever that we maintain funding for voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service