04-09-19 U.S. Senators Bennet, Gardner Secure Drought Contingency Plan Win for Colorado

U.S. Senators Bennet, Gardner Secure Drought Contingency Plan Win for Colorado

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner this week helped secure congressional passage of the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act, following introduction of the bill six days earlier. Once signed into law by the president, the legislation will authorize the implementation of the Drought Contingency Plan agreements forged between the seven Colorado River Basin states and Indian tribes.

“The Colorado River is the lifeblood of our economy, but in recent years we’ve experienced some of the worst drought conditions in centuries.” Bennet said. “Passing the Drought Contingency Plan is a win for the millions of people across the West who rely on the Colorado River. Following the leadership of Coloradans and communities across the seven affected states, we are now one step closer to countering drought, addressing climate change, and strengthening Colorado’s agricultural and outdoor recreation-based economy.”

“Tens of millions of people in the western United States rely on the Colorado River to provide water for agricultural, municipal, and consumptive use, as well as support for our growing recreation economy,” Gardner said. “In the face of long term drought, the Colorado River states have come together to successfully create coordinated plans that would aid efforts to prevent severe water shortages in the region and stabilize water storage levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell. I’m glad to see this commonsense legislation head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.” Continue reading

04-09-19 US Senator Bennet, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Permanently Fund LWCF

US Senator Bennet, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Permanently Fund LWCF

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, with a bipartisan group of colleagues, today introduced the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at a level of $900 million.

“After permanently reauthorizing LWCF earlier this year, we now must fulfill our promise to the next generation of Americans by fully funding the program,” Bennet said. “Consistent full funding will ensure LWCF reaches its potential to protect and promote access to America’s parks, rivers, forests, and public lands. That includes the hundreds of projects in Colorado that span every county and benefit our statewide economy.” Continue reading

04-09-19 FCA board receives quarterly report on conditions in agriculture and the Farm Credit System

FCA board receives quarterly report on conditions in agriculture and the Farm Credit System

McLEAN, Va., April 9, 2019 — At its monthly meeting today, the Farm Credit Administration board received a quarterly report on economic issues affecting agriculture, together with an update on the financial condition and performance of the Farm Credit System (System) as of Dec. 31, 2018. Continue reading

04-09-19 USDA, EPA, and FDA Unveil Strategy to Reduce Food Waste

USDA, EPA, and FDA Unveil Strategy to Reduce Food Waste

Bring State and Local Partners Together to Increase Collaboration

(WASHINGTON, D.C., April 9, 2019) – Today, as part of the Trump Administration’s Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the release of a federal interagency strategy to address food waste. The agencies held an event at EPA headquarters to hear from state, local and community leaders and other stakeholders on how all levels of government can work together to reduce food waste.

“Our nation’s agricultural abundance should be used to nourish those in need, not fill the trash,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “As the world’s population continues to grow to nearly 10 billion people by 2050 and the food systems continue to evolve, now is the time for action to educate consumers and businesses alike on the need for food waste reduction. I look forward to what the future holds on this initiative and how we can work together to change the hearts and minds of Americans to reduce food waste.”

“With the release of this important interagency strategy, the Trump Administration continues to advance its efforts to reduce food waste and redirect excess food away from landfills and instead use it to feed communities and fuel our economy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The new strategy prioritizes six key action areas, such as improving consumer education and food labeling, that will help us maximize the value of our food resources. Today’s event brought together key federal, state, and private partners to further collaboration on innovative food waste solutions.”

“The issue of food safety and food waste are intertwined, with research showing that there is confusion over the meaning behind date labeling terminology on food packages that have an adverse effect on food waste. Contrary to popular beliefs, date labeling on food packages are often intended to communicate time ranges for optimal food quality, not safety,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas.“ With more than one-third of all available food uneaten through waste or loss and 1 in 6 Americans suffering a foodborne illness each year, it’s clear that many people are unnecessarily discarding food in fear of food safety issues. This is why the FDA is focused on taking steps to make date labeling on foods clearer and easier for consumers to determine when a food should be discarded. We remain committed to working with the EPA and USDA to better educate Americans on how to reduce food waste and how to do it safely.”

The interagency strategy announced today, Winning on Reducing Food Waste FY 2019-2020 Federal Interagency Strategy, includes six key priority areas the agencies will work together on over the next year: Continue reading

04-09-19 Federal Register: Deadline Reminder NASS Invites Comments on Proposed Changes to the 2019 Organic Survey

Deadline Reminder: NASS Invites Comments on Proposed Changes to the 2019 Organic Survey

In preparation for the 2019 Organic Production Survey, the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) is seeking public input on proposed changes to several specific questions and: Continue reading

04-09-19 CDA: Funding your Food Business

CDA: Funding your Food Business

BROOMFIELD, Colo.– Many food and agricultural entrepreneurs call Colorado home, and they often have questions about funding their businesses. The Colorado Department of Agriculture is hosting a funding workshop as part of its “Breakfast with the Pros” series on Friday, April 26, 8:30am-noon, in Broomfield.
“I hope these mini-workshops allow entrepreneurs to spend a short amount of time gaining the most knowledge available for each business development topic to be able to have their businesses grow and thrive,” said Danielle Trotta, Business Development Specialist with the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “Our speakers are actively engaged in the food system, and they are excited to share their expertise with others.” Continue reading

04-09-19 Inside the BARN with NestFresh’s Louise Howe: Charitable Giving, Eggs, Easter and More…

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Inside the BARN with NestFresh’s Louise Howe

Charitable Giving, Eggs, Easter and More…

(BARN Media – Briggsdale, CO) April 9, 2018 -Joining the CO Ag News Network once again is Louise Howe, Communications Team Member at NestFresh discussing several topics including charitable giving, eggs, easter and much more…

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Continue reading

04-09-19 LMA: Champion Auctioneer and Livestock Market Owners “Sell” Pies and Policy on Capitol Hill

LMA: Champion Auctioneer and Livestock Market Owners “Sell” Pies and Policy on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – D.C. policy leaders learned about issues affecting the livestock marketing industry and participated in a mock auction during Livestock Marketing Association’s (LMA) Washington D.C. Fly In.
World Livestock Auctioneer Champion, Jared Miller, auctioned pies during Hill staff briefings for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Legislative staff gained a better understanding of how the auction method of selling drives up price for producers’ livestock. Bidders from around the room joined in on the competition by raising their hands. The sale topping pie went for $100,000 of mock money. “Where else can you buy a pie for that?” joked Miller, who also owns LMA member market Lamoni Livestock Auction in Iowa. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 9th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 9th

Bomb Cyclone Take Two Expected This Week

Farmers appears set for a familiar weather event this week as forecasters say another bomb cyclone, or similar event, will hit parts of the Great Plains and Midwest. Numerous weather forecasters now say models are showing one to two feet of snow, if not more, in the northern reaches of the Missouri River basin, the same area that flooded in March from a bomb cyclone event. The storm this week overlaps areas hit last month, but the bulk of the predicted heavy snowfall is expected further north, into South Dakota and Minnesota. The so-called cyclone, which presents a unique shape clearly defined on weather maps, is expected to form Wednesday afternoon. The storm creates a swirling air pattern and includes conditions that allow for significant precipitation. However, forecasters say round two should not be as disastrous as the first bomb cyclone in March, as spring seasonal conditions are limiting the potential for storm. Still, the storm signals more flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The National Weather Service last month predicted flooding to last into July.

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Significant Work Remains in China Trade Talks

Significant work remains in trade talks with China, according to a statement from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s office. President Trump has indicated a deal could be reached in the next four weeks, but the two sides offered little details regarding last week’s meetings, according to Reuters. Lighthizer says negotiation team members “will be in continuous contact to resolve outstanding issues.” The most recent negotiations included intellectual property, or IP, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, purchases and enforcement. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has previously said the negotiations could conclude with a doubling or tripling of U.S. ag exports to China. U.S. agriculture is impatiently waiting for the results of the talks which stem from the trade war enacted last year between the U.S. and China. The talks are now expected to conclude sometime within the next few months, well beyond the original deadline set by President Trump of March first. However, Trump extended the deadline because the talks were making progress.

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FAPRI Releases The 2019 U.S. Baseline Outlook

Pressure on farm finances appears likely to continue, according to the 2019 U.S. Baseline Outlook from the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. The report finds projected net farm income will increase in 2019 but remains below the 2014-17 average. Longer-term projections suggest little change in real net farm income over the next decade, resulting in continued increases in the farm sector’s debt-to-asset ratio. Projected prices for U.S. soybeans and other products affected by current trade disputes remain below levels that would prevail if foreign tariffs were removed. Marketing-year-average soybean prices are projected to stay below $9.00 per bushel for a second straight year in 2019/2020, and corn prices are estimated to increase from averaging $3.53 in the current marketing year, up to $3.81. Further recovery in wheat prices could be limited by continued large global supplies, while cotton prices could fall in response to increased U.S. production. The estimates were prepared before the March 29 USDA planting intentions report was released, which suggests slightly more acres of corn and fewer acres of wheat and cotton than included in the outlook.

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USDA Responds to Washington Post Regarding New Swine Slaughter Inspection System

The Department of Agriculture in response to a critical report from the Washington Post says the newspaper “deciding to reprint the talking points of special interest groups while claiming the agency declined interview requests.” USDA jabs back in the opening of its response: “The Washington Post says that democracy dies in darkness. If that’s the case, then The Washington Post’s story about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is a solar eclipse.” The Washington Post published a story titled, “Pork industry soon will have more power over meat inspections,” which the pork industry and now USDA have criticized. The story focuses on the proposed New Swine Slaughter Inspection System, first proposed in February after “a 20-year evaluation,” according to USDA. Of the many facts disputed in the article, Washington Post reported: “the responsibility for identifying diseased and contaminated pork would be shared with plant employees.” However, USDA says under both the proposal and traditional inspection, establishment employees sort market hogs before FSIS inspection.

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Lawmakers Seek Expanded Rural Broadband Access

Lawmakers are seeking funding to expand rural broadband access across rural America and to ensure equal educational and economic opportunities in rural communities. Led by Illinois Republican Rodney Davis and Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a bipartisan letter sent to key House Appropriations Committee members ask them to boost funding for rural broadband internet infrastructure. According to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2018 Broadband Deployment Report, more than 30 percent of Americans in rural areas lack access to fixed terrestrial broadband at speeds of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps—compared to only two percent of Americans in urban areas. The Davis and Spanberger-letter calls for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies to provide $550 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program. Additionally, the letter requests $350 million for the rural broadband loan and grant program—an amount authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill. This funding would represent an overall increase of $350 million in rural broadband development funding from fiscal year 2019

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USDA Invests in Rural Electric Infrastructure and Smart Grid Improvements in 13 States

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced  $485 million of investment to rural electric systems across 13 states. The funding includes nearly $7.1 million for smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security. The loans, according to acting assistant to the secretary for rural development Joel Baxley, will “enhance rural economic development and help improve the quality of life for people who live and work in rural America.” USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. Topping the list includes South Dakota’s Northern Electric Cooperative, which is receiving a $24.8 million loan to build or improve 360 miles of line, while Missouri’s Central Electric Power Cooperative is receiving a $72 million loan to finance electric distribution and transmission facilities. USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program to improve rural electric infrastructure in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. These investments will help build or improve 2,635 miles of line.

 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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