06-28-19 USDA-NASS-CO Grain Stocks Report…


GRAIN STOCKS – June 1 2019

ARIZONA

Off-farm corn stocks in Arizona on June 1, 2019 were 1.78 million bushels, down 11 percent from June 1, 2018, according to the June 1 Agricultural Survey and June Grain Stocks Report conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Off-farm all wheat stocks in Arizona on June 1, 2019 were 3.38 million bushels. Other Arizona grain stocks were not published separately to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.

COLORADO

All corn stocks in Colorado on June 1, 2019 were 35.09 million bushels, down 13 percent from June 1, 2018, according to the June 1 Agricultural Survey and June Grain Stocks Report conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. All corn stocks stored on farms amounted to 16.00 million bushels, down 16 percent from a year ago. All corn stored off farms amounted to 19.09 million bushels, down 11 percent from a year ago. Off-farm sorghum stocks were 1.71 million bushels, down 26 percent from last year. Off-farm oat stocks in Colorado were estimated at 49,000 bushels, up 172 percent from last
year. Off-farm barley stocks totaled 5.89 million bushels, down 21 percent from last year.

All wheat stocks in Colorado on June 1, 2019 were 21.04 million bushels, down 26 percent from June 1, 2018. All wheat stocks stored on farms amounted to 3.90 million bushels, up 18 percent from a year ago. All wheat stored off farms amounted to 17.14 million bushels, down 32 percent from a year ago. Other Colorado grain stocks were not published separately to avoid disclosing data for individual
operations.

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06-28-19 NASS Colorado Acreage Report

NASS Colorado Acreage Report

ACREAGE – JUNE 2019

COLORADO HIGHLIGHTS

Colorado principal crop planted acreage, which includes acres planted to all major crops and those expected to be cut for all hay, is up less than one-half percent from 2018 to 6.18 million acres, according to the June 1 Agricultural Survey conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA.

Colorado corn producers planted 1.47 million acres of corn this year of which they intend to harvest 1.20 million acres for grain in 2018. This is no change from last years planted acreage for all purposes and harvested grain acreage.

Sorghum plantings, at 350,000 acres, are down 1 percent from the previous year and acreage expected to be harvested for grain, at 310,000 acres, decreased 5 percent
from 2018.

Barley planted area, at 80,000 acres, is 38 percent more than last year’s acreage. Expected harvested acres, at 77,000 acres, are 48 percent above 2018.

Winter wheat producers planted 2.30 million acres in the fall of 2018 for harvest in 2019, up from 2.25 million acres planted for the previous year’s crop. Acreage expected to be harvested for grain is up 200,000 acres from last year to 2.15 million acres.

Proso millet seedings are expected to total 310,000 acres this year, up 3 percent from 2018.

The area to be harvested for hay is expected to increase 40,000 acres from a year ago to 1.46 million acres. Alfalfa hay harvested acreage is expected to be unchanged from last year at 730,000 acres and all other hay harvested acreage is expected to increase 40,000 acres to 730,000 acres.

All sunflower planted area, at 87,000 acres, is 21,000 acres above last year. Oil type varieties totaled 70,000 acres, up 12,000 acres from 2018 while non-oil type varieties are set at 17,000 acres, up 9,000 acres from last year. Harvested acres are expected to total 63,000 acres for oil type and 15,000 acres for non-oil.

Sugarbeet plantings decreased 1,000 acres from last year to 25,300 acres. The expected harvested area, at 25,000 acres, is 500 acres below last year. Acres planted to dry beans, at 40,000 acres, are down 5 percent from last year. Harvested acres are expected to total 38,000 acres.

Fall potatoes located in the San Luis Valley showed a 4 percent decrease in planted acres from 51,800 acres last year to 49,500 acres this year. Fall potatoes located outside the San Luis Valley in Colorado (included in Summer Potatoes prior to 2013) totaled 4,500 planted acres, up 1,000 acres last year.

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06-28-19 Ridgway Old West Fest Plans Take Shape in Colorado

Ridgway Old West Fest Plans Take Shape in Colorado

John Wayne in the movie True Grit Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Plans are well underway for the first Ridgway Old West Fest to be held October 11-13, 2019 in Ridgway, Colorado.  The festival, which will become an annual event, is intended to highlight the town’s film, ranching and railroad heritage and to celebrate all things Western.

“We have a lot of fun activities planned, and there should be something for everyone, young and old,” said Eve Becker-Doyle, Ridgway Western Heritage Society president. “The 2019 Old West Fest is free. It does not have a registration fee. While some of the events require a paid ticket, the majority do not. That makes a really cost-effective weekend for our attendees. Right now we are also looking for business sponsors and vendors,” said Becker-Doyle.

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06-28-19 USDA RESEARCH IS DRIVING TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION

USDA RESEARCH IS DRIVING TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION

USDA scientists and researchers reported 320 new inventions in 2018

Salinas, California, June 28, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today released its annual Technology Transfer Report, which highlights innovations from scientists and researchers that are solving problems for farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers; and creating opportunities for American businesses to thrive. Yesterday, Secretary Perdue discussed the release of the Technology Transfer Report at the Forbes AgTech Summit held in Salinas, CA during a fireside chat with Mike Federle, the CEO of Forbes.

USDA’s Technology Transfer Report revealed 320 new inventions from USDA laboratories in fiscal year 2018, along with 471 licenses, 120 patent applications and 67 actual patents. Discoveries include a repellent made from coconut oil to ward off blood-sucking insects that cost the cattle industry more than $2.4 billion annually, technology that keeps almond crops from being lost to heavy rains, and a treatment for peanut allergies.
“Long before anyone ever coined the modern-day phrase of ‘technology transfer,’ it was part of the culture at USDA to deliver solutions to the people of America,”Secretary Perdue said. “Today, USDA is still helping to drive technological innovation – both on the farm and off. Studies show that every dollar invested in agricultural research returns $20 to our economy. Innovations produced by USDA scientists and through public-private partnerships add value to American agriculture and the U.S. economy, create jobs, and help American producers compete in the global marketplace.”
Innovation highlights mentioned in the report include (along with corresponding page numbers in the report for each):

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 28th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 28th

U.S., China Reach Tentative Truce on Tariffs

The U.S. and China have agreed to forgo the next round of tariffs that President Trump threatened to impose on $300 billion in Chinese goods. That report comes from both Politico and the South China Morning Post. It comes ahead of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi (Zhee) Jinping this weekend at the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. One source tells the South China Morning Post that Trump’s decision to temporarily halt raising tariffs on more Chinese goods was President Xi’s price for agreeing to meet with him in Japan. It’s well known that agriculture has been one of the hardest-hit economic sectors by Trump’s trade dispute with China. Other countries have responded to American tariffs on imports by trying to exert pressure on a big part of the electorate that ultimately helped Trump win the presidency. Also on the trade front, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer made a pre-Japan visit down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., this week to get some more face time with House Democrats before heading overseas for the G-20 gathering. Trump’s trade boss left Democrats feeling more optimistic about getting their concerns with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement resolved

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China Bans Canadian Beef/Pork Imports

China issued a sudden ban on Canadian beef and pork exports, which will create a huge loss for Canada’s livestock sector. A livestock industry group says China is one of its top five international markets. Chris White, president of the Canadian Meat Council, says this decision will affect everyone in the entire Canadian value chain, including the farmers who raise the animals and the packers that process the product, as well as the companies that ship the product overseas. The Chinese Embassy said Tuesday that it asked Canada to suspend all meat exports after a shipment of pork was found to contain traces of ractopamine. It’s a feed additive that’s restricted in China. After detecting the residue, China says a further investigation found forged veterinary health certificates attached to that batch of pork. The CMC says the Canadian government is asking why beef products were also suspended because the failed certificates pertained just to pork. Canadian exports to China had been experiencing a big jump in 2019 when compared to last year. With the ban, Canadian companies now have to find other markets to ship their products to.

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USDA Will Defend Trade Aid at WTO

The World Trade Organization has been receiving complaints about the aid money that U.S. farmers are getting from the government. However, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says he’s not concerned that the payments will be a problem. “We had to design a program very carefully to make sure we do not violate the WTO limit,” he said to reporters in Washington. “We feel like we’re safely within those confines and we’re prepared to defend that should anyone challenge it.” China, India, the European Union, Ukraine, and Australia have all fired off criticism at the USDA’s two aid packages for farmers that could total up to $28 billion in assistance designed to counteract retaliatory tariffs implemented on U.S. farm goods. Australia calls the aid a “dangerous precedent” that could distort world markets. China says they appreciate that the U.S. respects the interest of its farmers. “We would appreciate it if the U.S. can also respect the WTO rules,” China says. An Agri-Pulse report says several member countries in the WTO are fearful that the U.S. will give its farmers a third trade assistance package next year, which Perdue says he won’t rule out.

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ASF Claims More Territory in Asia

A Pork Checkoff news release says in just 30 days, the African Swine Fever Virus is claiming more territory across all parts of Asia. Statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization say that ASF is now in Cambodia, China, Laos, Mongolia, North Korea, and Vietnam. Experts predict its relentless march won’t stop there. The death loss continues to grow. In Vietnam, officials say more than 2.5 million pigs have been culled from the national herd due to ASF. The disease has spread to almost every province in the nation. Pork makes up 75 percent of the total meat consumption in Vietnam, which is a country of 95 million people. The Chinese picture doesn’t look a whole lot better. The Chinese government and larger private producers are doing what they can to improve the situation but it’s still a struggle. The nation’s swine herd shrank nearly 21 percent on the year to a level not seen since the early 1990s. Dutch lender Rabobank forecasts the herd will decline between 20 and 30 percent in 2019 from the previous year. China had a record herd size of 428 million head in 2018. A senior analyst at Rabobank says Chinese farmers haven’t tried to rebuild their herds in spite of calls from the government to do so. They’re worried that they could lose their stock again due to the disease. The Rabobank analyst says it typically takes two or three years to have a recovery of stock. However, with the size of China’s herd, it will likely take up to five years.

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Rural Mainstreet Index Above Growth Neutral in June

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index climbed above growth neutral in June. The monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture shows a positive growth in the region. “Higher agricultural commodity prices and rebuilding from recent floods boosted the RMI for the month,” says Dr. Ernie Goss, founder of the index. “Despite the negatives from the ongoing trade war, almost 70 percent of the rural bankers support either raising or continuing tariffs.” Jeff Bonnet is president of the Havana National Bank in Illinois, who says estimates go as high as 15 to 20 million acres that farmers couldn’t get planted to crops. Bonnet says, “Based on this information, corn prices should be nearly six dollars per bushel, if not more. What are we missing here?” It’s the sixth time in the past seven months that the Rural Mainstreet Index climbed above growth neutral. Unfortunately, more than one in four bank CEOs reported rising loan defaults due to farmer financial woes. Almost half the bankers say that because of crisis-level farm income, farmers in their area have responded by selling the farm, or otherwise leaving it.

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Perdue Tells Farm Co-Ops to Call Congress on USMCA

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue met with members of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives earlier this week. He told their executives to talk to Congress about voting on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement on trade. Noting that he can’t directly encourage lobbying, Perdue told members they should follow their “hearts and minds” in talking with Congress. Perdue told the executives in attendance that he’s very positive about the role of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, saying she’s “taking her deliberations on the USMCA very seriously.” He says there are some tweaks that are “doable” to satisfy Democrats who are critical of the bill. He covered a wide variety of topics, including the Market Facilitation Program. He says details should be coming shortly, noting that the USDA has been “opaque” about the details because the administration didn’t want the aid program to influence planting decisions. As the planting season is all but wrapped up, it’ll be much more time appropriate to release more detailed information.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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06-27-19 Inside the BARN with NACD Secretary-Treasurer Ian Cunningham…

Inside the BARN with NACD Secretary-Treasurer Ian Cunningham…

His Background and family operation in MN, Cunninham’s Testimony to US House Subcommittee rwgarding Soil Health, Gray Wolf Delisting Comment Period Deadline, Farm Bill Implementation Update on Title II Conservation, Upcoming Signups & Deadlines, 2019 NACD Summer Conference in South Dakota, Upcoming CACD Events & More

BRIGGSDALE, CO – June 27, 2019 Within the interview with Ian Cunningham, Secretary-Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Conservation Districts, he weighs in on several issues from his home state of Minnnesota, including:

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06-27-19 Chad Rupe Appointed as USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator

Chad Rupe Appointed as USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator

Washington, D.C., June 27, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today released the following statement on President Donald Trump’s appointment of Chad Rupe as Administrator of the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service.

“Chad served us well as Rural Development State Director in Wyoming for the past two years, and we are excited for him to join the team here in Washington, D.C. With more than 15 years of experience in commercial and community banking, Chad brings much-needed expertise and knowledge to the Rural Utilities Service. I know Chad is committed to helping rural Americans prosper and thrive,” Secretary Perdue said.

Background:

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USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for June 27th

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

Weekly Export Sales for June 27th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 27th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, June 27th

Pressure Mounting on Trump, Xi to Get Agreement in Place

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi (Zhee) Jinping will meet Saturday on the sidelines of the G-20 political summit in Osaka, Japan. Politico says both leaders are under mounting economic and political pressure to end their trade war. It’s a high-stakes meeting that may or may not mark a turning point in the negotiations after talks slammed to a halt back in May. Each side’s top trade official got things going with a phone call this week. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke on the phone on Monday. Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Muh-NOO-chin) are expected to get together with their Beijing counterparts before Trump and Xi go face-to-face on this weekend. Trump’s trade war is taking a huge toll on U.S. farmers and causing major uncertainty for American businesses. Financial conditions in agriculture have gotten much worse, with that weakness starting to show up in lending data and threatening the broader rural economy. Xi faces economic growth in China that’s lagging, food prices are soaring, and his administration could take a hard knock if Trump follows through on his latest tariff threat.

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Mnuchin: the U.S., China Trade Deal 90 Percent Done

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Muh-NOO-chin) told CNBC that the U.S. and China are getting much closer to a trade deal than people realize. He’s also optimistic that progress will be made when Presidents Trump and Xi meet face-to-face this weekend at the G-20 in Osaka, Japan. “We’re about 90 percent of the way there and I think there’s a definite path forward to completing this,” he said on CNBC. Mnuchin also says he’s confident that Trump and Xi will make additional progress in the stalled trade talks. “The message we want to hear is that they want to come back to the table and continue,” he says. “I think there’s a good outcome for their economy and the U.S. economy to get balanced trade and continue to build on the relationship between the two countries.” What he didn’t provide to CNBC was additional details on what the final 10 percent of the agreement entails, or what some of the more important sticking points still are. The outcome of Saturday’s meeting is very important to the global economy and financial markets, which have been shaken up by the 1.5-year trade dispute between the economic giants. A survey of investors says they don’t expect a deal this weekend, but they don’t expect any new tariffs either.

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Perdue Says Farmers Are “A Casualty” in Trade War

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue acknowledged in an interview earlier this week that farmers are “casualties” in President Trump’s trade war with China. Perdue told CNN he didn’t think a trade deal was likely this weekend when Trump and Chinese President Xi meet in Japan. He’s now hoping a deal can be reached by the end of this year. The administration has set aside aid money for farmers, who make up a key group of voters that pushed Trump over the top in the last presidential election. However, they’ve been among the hardest-hit groups in the country by this trade dispute with China, once a top market for U.S. soybeans. “I think they are one of the casualties in the trade war, yes,” Perdue says. “We knew going in that when you throw a penalty flag on China, any retaliation would come right at the American farmer.” Perdue tells CNN that he’s told the president “you can’t pay the bills with patriotism,” adding that the president understands that. That why Trump is trying to supplement the damage they’re facing from the trade disruption with market facilitation payments. The trade dispute escalated earlier this month after Washington and Beijing raised tariffs on each other’s goods. It’s left U.S. farmers sitting on record volumes of soybeans as China halted purchases.

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House Passes Ag Appropriations in Minibus Spending Bill

The U.S. House passed H.R. 3055, a minibus of appropriations that does include the fiscal year 2020 Ag Appropriations Bill. The Hagstrom Report says the final vote was split mostly along party lines. The Ag section of the bill covers the Agriculture Department, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Farm Credit Administration. The funding runs from October 1 of this year through September 30, 2020. New York Democrat Nita Lowey is Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, who says that “The bill makes important investments that will strengthen communities and improve millions of lives. It invests billions into America’s infrastructure, strengthens and modernizes public housing, and delivers on the promise of broadband to rural communities.” House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Sanford Bishop of Georgia says, “Few people may recognize the far-reaching jurisdiction of the agriculture subcommittee. From food safety and agricultural research to rural development and nutrition assistance, the programs touch the lives of every citizen on a daily basis.” He says that why they rejected the administration’s “draconian cuts” to programs that assist America’s rural communities and vulnerable populations.

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Animal Antibiotic Sales are Dropping

The incentives that companies use to help develop new antibiotics for food animals are coming under pressure. A USDA research economist says those incentives are being pressured by high development costs, changing markets, and shifting consumer trends. The trade industry website Meating Place Dot Com says sales in antibiotics in both the U.S. and Europe are dropping, and incentives for companies that manufacture new branded or generic products are slipping as well. Those pharma companies have to cope with research-and-development costs that could run for 10 years from the first idea to market. The companies also have to contend with regulations that ban the use of medically important antibiotics which are used to treat humans. They also have to respond to growing consumer demand for food from animals that haven’t been treated with antibiotics. It’s becoming more expensive for companies to develop alternatives, even if it’s reforming earlier antibiotics. Livestock farmers who can’t use antibiotics to treat their animals are in for slower animal growth rates, a higher cull rate, and even could be affected by growing ineffectiveness of the current drugs. Industry experts say government regulators want to see non-medically important antibiotics developed for animals to treat bacterial infections once they appear.

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Brain Drain Coming for Economic Research Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture economists have been saying for some time that Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue’s plan to move the Economic Research Service from Washington to Kansas City won’t be a positive for the agency. Those economists say the potential move was causing a “brain drain” of veteran scientists. An Agri-Pulse report says nearly 70 percent of the employees at the ERS who’ve been ordered to make the move to Kansas City will leave the agency instead. A survey from American Federal Government Employees says even more than that are considering quitting. Now that the first group of agency employees is set to be relocated by August first, that number will likely accelerate. USDA gave the workers tapped for relocation until July 15 to make a decision, just one month after Perdue announced the final site selection. The secretary says the move will save money and improve customer service by bringing the agency closer to farming regions. However, some ERS economists say they see it as retaliation for their reports that cast an unflattering light on Trump administration policies. Not a single employee in the Information Services Division said they were likely to move. About 90 percent of the employees that study topics like food assistance, climate change, and the rural economy are thinking of quitting.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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06-26-19 Colorado teachers recognized at National Agriculture in the Classroom® conference

Andy Klatt (center) received a National Award for Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture at the 2019 National Agriculture in the Classroom® annual conference. Dr. Scott Angle, director, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (right) and Jennifer Scharpe, Colorado state contact for the Agriculture in the Classroom® program assisted with the award presentation.

Colorado teachers recognized at National Agriculture in the Classroom®conference

Westminster, Colo. – Colorado had a strong representation of teachers attending the recent National Agriculture in the Classroom® annual conference. Roughly 450 educators from 45 states, the District of Columbia, American Somoa, and Puerto Rico convened in Little Rock, Ark., for the “AgVenture in the Natural State” conference, which was held June 19-21, 2019.

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06-26-19 USDA Farm Bill Implementation Progress Update

USDA Farm Bill Implementation Progress Update

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced an update on the implementation status of the 2018 Farm Bill. President Trump signed this Farm Bill into law on December 20, 2018, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) promptly began implementing key programs. In addition, USDA held several listening sessions with stakeholders and the public specific to each agency’s respective mission areas.

“America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers depend on the certainty and availability of USDA’s programs and assistance. That is why we are working diligently to implement the 2018 Farm Bill with efficiency and accuracy,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have listened to our stakeholders and consulted with our customers. As we continue to implement the Farm Bill, USDA is committed to focusing on responsiveness and putting our customers first.”
Implementation Progress:

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06-26-19 USDA Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Kicks off the 2019 Feds Feed Families Nationwide Food Drive

USDA Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Kicks off the 2019 Feds Feed Families Nationwide Food Drive

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2019 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today kicked off the 10th annual Feds Feed Families Campaign at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) headquarters in Washington D.C. The food drive is an annual event in which federal employees around the country collect food for distribution by food banks, food pantries, and shelters.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 26th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 26th

Ag Lenders Are Feeling Squeezed by the Struggling Economy

President Donald Trump’s trade war seems to be pushing the rural economy closer and closer to a meltdown. Politico says economic challenges in agriculture are weighing heavier on banks that lend to farmers and ranchers. Farmers are getting slammed on all sides by retaliatory tariffs, unusually bad weather, as well as a five-year drop in farm incomes. Even the African Swine Fever outbreak in China will affect U.S. farmers because it will put a big dent in the demand for American soybeans, even if the trade war with Beijing is finally resolved. Iowa corn and soybean farmer Grant Kimberly tells Politico that agriculture has seen more than its share of “black swans” in the past couple of years. “We’ve had bad weather, we’ve had African Swine Fever, and we’ve had trade wars,” he says. “I’d say this is pretty unprecedented territory. We haven’t seen anything like this since the 1980s.” During the first quarter of 2019, the farm loan default rate hit the highest level it’s been at in seven years. One in five farm borrowers increased the amount of debt they carried over from 2018 to the first quarter of this year. Producers are estimated to hold approximately $427 billion in debt this year, the most since the 1980s farm crisis.

Justice Department Intervenes in Poultry Price-Fixing Court Case

The U.S. Department of Justice intervened last week in a price-fixing lawsuit against some of the nation’s biggest poultry companies. The Fern Dot Org website says that could signal that the department’s own grand jury investigation into the chicken sector might result in criminal indictments. The Justice Department asked the U.S. District Court in northern Illinois to stop discovery in a class-action lawsuit brought by food distributor Maplevale Farm, saying in a motion that a “limited stay is needed to protect the grand jury’s investigation.” The stay applies to all “defendant employee and former employee depositions” and was granted on a temporary basis. There will be a hearing later this week on the DOJ request for a six-month stay. A professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison law school calls the development “significant.” The investigation signals that the DOJ feels “there are serious violations here that require the grand jury inquiry and the potential for criminal indictments.” The lawsuit alleges that the companies colluded on price hikes by relying on Agri Stats, a secretive information sharing service used by poultry companies. The suit also says those companies manipulated prices up to artificially high levels.

 Farmers’ Working Capital “Critically Low”

The agriculture sector is suffering from working capital that’s fallen to critically low levels. That news is from the forecasting firm Agricultural Economic Insights. The firm recently analyzed data put out by the Economic Research Service, saying the declines in working capital are stark. Brent Gloy, a Nebraska farmer and economist, writes that “Working capital is projected to fall by 25 percent from last year to this year. This is right on the heels of a 30 percent decline from 2017 through 2018.” Gloy says the current level of working capital amounts to just 31 percent of what was available back in 2014. It’s only 23 percent of the working capital that was available in 2012. He says, “The Market Facilitation Payments are large enough to actively move the needle on financial conditions in the Ag sector. However, they will clearly not rebuild working capital to levels that are necessary to give long-term financial stability to the American agricultural sector.” Gloy also says the declines in the farm sector’s working capital are substantial and should cause some serious concerns about the financial health of the farm sector.

Pelosi: Deportation Delay Won’t Lead to Immigration Deal

Agriculture may be waiting a while for the nation to improve the immigration program it relies on to provide farm laborers. President Donald Trump agreed to a two-week postponement of mass deportation of illegal immigrants while asking Congress to work out an agreement on changes to the nation’s asylum laws. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had asked the president to delay the deportations. However, she says Congress will not be working out a deal with Republicans to reform asylum laws. Instead, Pelosi tells the Washington Examiner that the two-week delay will simply give activists and the religious community more time to speak out against the deportations. Trump pulled back on plans last week to round up thousands of illegal immigrants, with an emphasis on deporting those who posed security and safety risks. Trump, along with many Republicans, want to change the asylum laws, which they think makes it too easy to get into the United States. Many of the 100,000 illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border each of the past three months claimed asylum. Pelosi says there will be no negotiating on the asylum laws. She says Democrats instead want a complete overhaul of the immigration system, as well as a pathway to citizenship for the illegal immigrants already in the country.

Pork Exports to Taiwan Jumping in 2019

While Taiwan is still a relatively small market for U.S. pork to date, exports are surging so far in 2019. Through April, U.S. pork shipments to Taiwan totaled 8,819 metric tons, an incredible 80 percent higher than last year. Drovers’ Ag Web Dot Com says those pork exports also took a significant jump in cash value, coming in 55 percent higher than last year at $19.3 million. Taiwan is also a tremendous place to send U.S. beef exports. Exports topped $500 million dollars for the first time in 2018. Last year’s exports totaled 60,000 metric tons and came in at $550 million, nearly doubling in volume and more than doubling in value over a period of just five years. Joel Haggard is the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s senior vice president for the Asian Pacific. He feels Taiwan is an excellent opportunity for future growth in U.S. exports. Beef’s presence continues to expand in Taiwan’s restaurants and retail stores. Taiwan is also a new market for U.S. lamb exports. Lamb producers regained access to the Taiwanese market back in 2016.

USDA Still Has Over $2 Billion to Invest in Rural America

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more than $2 billion available this year to invest in community facilities and infrastructure projects in rural areas. “Modern and accessible education, health care, public safety, and municipal services are the foundation for a high quality of life,” says Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley. “The USDA is committed to be a strong partner for rural communities to build the facilities they need for their essential services, as well as improve the infrastructure those services rely on to operate in rural America.” USDA is already making those kinds of investments in rural communities across the country and has additional funding available through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. More than 100 types of projects are eligible for funding under the USDA’s Community Facilities Program. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and federally-recognized Native American tribes. Congress appropriated $2.8 billion for the Community Facilities direct loans and grants in the fiscal year 2019.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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06-25-19 US Senator Gardner Announces $8.2 Million in Airport Infrastructure Grants

US Senator Gardner Announces $8.2 Million in Airport Infrastructure Grants

Washington, D.C. – Today Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award $8.2 million in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants to four airports in Colorado. The funding includes a $4.6 million grant to Eagle County Regional Airport for a deicing pad.

“I am excited to announce this important funding for several of our airports across Colorado,” said Sen. Gardner. “Modernizing our infrastructure and transportation systems is important for our quality of life and our economy. I will continue my efforts to support Colorado’s transportation priorities at the federal level.”

The Colorado grants include awards of: Continue reading

06-25-19 US Senators Bennet, Cassidy, Bilirakis, Crist Unveil New Tax Credit for Working Families, Small Businesses Preparing for Natural Disasters

US Senators Bennet, Cassidy, Bilirakis, Crist Unveil New Tax Credit for Working Families, Small Businesses Preparing for Natural Disasters

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Charlie Crist (D-FL), introduced the Shelter Act, to help Americans protect their homes or businesses against hurricanes, tornados, floods, drought, and wildfires. The Shelter Act would create a first-of-its-kind disaster mitigation tax credit for families and business owners in disaster-prone areas.

“For millions of people in Colorado and across the country, a devastating natural disaster isn’t a matter of if, but when,” said Bennet. “While Americans can receive federal tax relief following a disaster, there isn’t an incentive to prepare for future threats. Our Shelter Act would change that by encouraging taxpayers to make critical investments in safeguarding their homes and businesses—helping to defend properties from future disasters and save lives.”   Continue reading

06-25-19 NPPC Launches ‘Keep America First in Agriculture’ Campaign

NPPC Launches ‘Keep America First in Agriculture’ Campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2019 Today, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) launched “Keep American First in Agriculture,” a new campaign to highlight the importance of establishing a proper regulatory framework for gene editing in American livestock.

Gene editing technology, which introduces useful genetic variation into food animal breeding programs, promises significant animal health benefits, including a natural immunity to disease and a reduction in the need for antibiotic use.

“Gene editing is a huge step forward for America’s farmers, as it offers a powerful new way to combat animal disease,” said Dr. Dan Kovich, NPPC’s deputy director of Science & Technology. “With gene editing, livestock breeders can knock out specific genes that make animals vulnerable to viral infections. Healthier animals benefit both farmers and consumers,” he said. 

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06-25-19 New online database puts sharper focus on U.S. agricultural injuries

New online database puts sharper focus on U.S. agricultural injuries

A newly updated online tool is providing a clearer picture of injuries in agriculture.

AgInjuryNews.org enables users to search the largest database of publicly available U.S. agricultural injury and fatality reports, getting a near real-time snapshot of the distribution and nature of trauma incidents, both nationally and locally.

“The innovation here is the combination of capturing, coding, and redistributing publicly available data on agricultural injuries and fatalities, primarily mined from media reports, and coupled with relevant prevention materials,” said project leader Bryan Weichelt, Ph.D., an associate research scientist with the National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute.

Insurers, lenders, agricultural employers, government statisticians, media professionals, educators, policy-makers and researchers are using AgInjuryNews.org to guide research priorities, safety initiatives, and public policy.

Anyone can set up a free account and search thousands of unique incidents, including more than 600 in 2018 alone. To create an account, visitwww.AgInjuryNews.org and click “Register.”

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06-25-19 Culver’s #Farming Fridays Social Media Series Returns on June 28th

Culver’s #Farming Fridays Social Media Series Returns on June 28th

 Restaurant Chain to Share Stories From Agricultural Influencers

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis.—June 25, 2019—America is home to 2.1 million farms—and every person involved with farming has a story to tell. That’s why Culver’s created #FarmingFridays in 2016. This social media series profiles influential people who are passionate about educating others about the agricultural industry and feeding a growing population.

Back for its fourth consecutive year, #FarmingFridays returned back on April 26th and resumes on June 28th (SEE BELOW). The influencers will share their stories on Culver’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat accounts. The full #FarmingFridays lineup is:

  • June 28, Marie Zick: Zick’s Wisconsin dairy farm has been in her husband’s family for over 150 years. The Zick family cares for 160 Jersey cows, whose milk is used for cheesemaking. Continue reading

06-25-19 NACD TESTIFIES TO CONGRESS ON IMPORTANCE OF SOIL HEALTH

NACD TESTIFIES TO CONGRESS ON IMPORTANCE OF SOIL HEALTH

WASHINGTON D.C. – June 25, 2019 – Today, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Secretary-Treasurer Ian Cunningham testified before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry about the importance of soil health practices.

Cunningham owns and operates a fifth-generation family farm with his son in southwest Minnesota, producing corn, soybeans and beef cattle.

“Soil health is a top priority across our 800-acre operation,” Cunningham said in written testimony to the subcommittee. “We have come to realize that healthy soil is the key to addressing many natural resource concerns. It is clear that healthy soil is the bedrock and should be the priority of our conservation efforts.” Continue reading

06-25-19 Opinion: FDA overreach on gene-editing threatens US agriculture’s global technology lead

Opinion: FDA overreach on gene-editing threatens US agriculture’s global technology lead

Written by David Herring

For more than a century, advances in science and technology have made the U.S. food supply the safest, most abundant and most affordable in the world. Our farmers have led the way in applying new developments in sanitation, robotics, GPS and scientific livestock breeding.

But for the first time in our history, U.S. farmers are now at risk of falling behind Argentina, Brazil, Canada and other global competitors in the use of a vital new technology: gene editing. While the U.S. is making great strides in this effort, regulatory overreach by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hampering progress. Continue reading