06-12-19 NFU, FFA Cement Partnership at MOU Signing Ceremony

NFU, FFA Cement Partnership at MOU Signing Ceremony

Groups Work Together to Strengthen Youth Agricultural Education and Leadership

MINNEAPOLIS – As the average age of the American farmer approaches 60, National Farmers Union (NFU) and the National FFA Organization are working together to cultivate the next generation of American agricultural professionals.
At a ceremony in Minneapolis, Minnesota, NFU President Roger Johnson and National FFA Organization CEO Mark Poeschl formalized their joint commitment to agricultural education and cemented the two organizations’ longstanding partnership by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU summarizes the ways in which NFU and FFA will continue to encourage youth engagement and leadership, share resources, and elevate each other’s roles within farming communities.
“Many generations of young Farmers Union members have grown up in their local FFA chapters,” said Johnson. “This MOU is a logical next step in what has long been a mutually beneficial friendship between our two organizations.”

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06-12-19 Potato Industry Strongly Supports Immediate Passage of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

National Potato Council logo

Potato Industry Strongly Supports Immediate Passage of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Two Top Potato Export Markets At Stake

Washington, D.C. – The National Potato Council joined with over 950 farm groups and agricultural organizations in a letter urging Congress to immediately ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Canada and Mexico are two of our top three largest export markets. Passing the
USMCA is essential in building on the success of the NAFTA agreement and enhancing
the American jobs provided by the potato industry,” said Jared Balcom, of Balcom &
Moe, Inc. in Pasco, WA. Continue reading

06-12-19 $20,000 child agricultural injury prevention grants available

$20,000 child agricultural injury prevention grants available

Proposals are now being accepted by the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety for grants up to $20,000 to support small-scale projects and pilot studies that address prevention of childhood agricultural disease and injury. Application deadline is August 19, 2019.

Highest priority will be given to projects that: Continue reading

06-12-19 U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Takes on Capitol Hill

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Takes on Capitol Hill 

(WASHINGTON) – Members from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. on June 10-11 for the annual United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) Washington, DC Fly-In. Over 30 members were in attendance for the event, representing Colorado, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Wyoming, and Virginia.

USCA spent the two days on Capitol Hill working on its number one policy priority: strengthening the bottom line of U.S. cattle producers.

Attendees also met with Administration officials, including leadership at the U.S Department of Agriculture, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Food and Drug Administration, and the White House.

USCA President Kenny Graner issued the following statement: Continue reading

06-12-19 New U.S. Wheat Associates Officers Begin Terms at 2019 Annual Meeting

2019-2020 USW Officers (L to R) Darren Padget, Vice Chairman, Oregon; Doug Goyings, Chairman, Ohio; Chris Kolstad, Past Chairman, Montana; and Rhonda Larson, Secretary-Treasurer, Minnesota.

New U.S. Wheat Associates Officers Begin Terms at 2019 Annual Meeting

WHITEFISH, Montana — The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Board of Directors seated new officers at its annual meeting June 12, 2019, in Whitefish, Mont. USW is the export market development organization representing U.S. wheat farmers.

USW officers for 2019/20 are: Chairman Doug Goyings of Paulding, Ohio; Vice Chairman Darren Padget of Grass Valley, Ore.; Secretary-Treasurer Rhonda Larson of East Grand Forks, Minn.; and Past Chairman Chris Kolstad of Ledger, Mont. USW officers were elected to these one-year positions at the January 2019 board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C.

The board of directors also welcomed representatives of the Alberta Wheat Commission as special guests at their meeting. Geoff Backman, Business Development and Markets Manager, and Gary Stanford, Chairman and a wheat farmer from Lethbridge, Alberta, discussed the Canadian side of the current, shared trade issues. Casey Chumrau, USW Marketing Manager, Santiago, Chile, and a Montana native, updated the directors on new export opportunities in South America. Continue reading

06-12-19 Western Governors Association elect Governor Doug Burgum as Chair, approve policy resolutions

Western Governors Association elect Governor Doug Burgum as Chair, approve policy resolutions

The Western Governors elected North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum to serve as WGA Chair and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown as Vice Chair at the 2019 WGA Annual Meeting in Colorado.
Gov. Burgum closed the meeting by announcing his Chairman’s Initiative for the coming year: Reimagining the Rural West. The Initiative will examine challenges and opportunities in rural economic development, infrastructure and quality of life, identify best practices, and recommend policies to support vibrant rural communities in the West.

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06-12-19 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Avoiding Tariffs on Imports from Mexico a Major Relief to U.S. Meat Industry

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Avoiding Tariffs on Imports from Mexico a Major Relief to U.S. Meat Industry

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

The White House recently announced a plan to impose tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico unless more steps were taken to curb illegal migration at the U.S.-Mexico border. The tariffs were to begin June 10 at a rate of 5% and increase by an additional 5% each month until reaching 25% on Oct. 1. But on June 7, President Trump announced that Mexico has pledged to enhance its efforts to address border security issues. As a result, the proposed tariffs were not imposed.

This decision came as a major relief to the U.S. red meat industry, as Mexico is the largest volume destination for U.S. pork exports and the third-largest export market for U.S. beef. In late May, U.S. pork gained relief from a 20% retaliatory duty imposed by Mexico since mid-2018 in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, and U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom says it is essential that U.S. pork’s duty-free status is maintained. The 20% duty had a severe impact on U.S. pork exports in the second half of 2018, and through April of this year pork export value to Mexico was down nearly 30% year-over-year. Continue reading

06-12-19 USDA Proposes Bold Moves to Improve Forests Management, Grasslands

USDA Proposes Bold Moves to Improve Forests Management, Grasslands

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 12, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) released proposed changes to modernize how the agency complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed updates would not only give the Forest Service the tools and flexibility to manage the land and tackle critical challenges like wildfire, insects, and disease but also improve service to the American people. Revising the rules will improve forest conditions and make it simpler for people to use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands at lower cost to the taxpayer. The revised rules will also make it easier to maintain and repair the infrastructure people need to use and enjoy their public lands—the roads, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities.

While these proposed changes will save time and resources, they are ultimately intended to better protect people, communities and forests from catastrophic wildfire and ensure a high level of engagement with people and communities when doing related work and associated environmental analyses.

“We are committed to doing the work to protect people and infrastructure from catastrophic wildfire. With millions of acres in need of treatment, years of costly analysis and delays are not an acceptable solution – especially when data and experience show us we can get this work done with strong environmental protection standards as well as protect communities, livelihoods and resources,” said Secretary Perdue.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 12th

NIFA Jones ERS in Unionizing

Employees of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture joined the Economic Research Service in a vote to unionize, according to Agri-Pulse. The vote comes as the Department of Agriculture within the next few weeks is expected to announce the proposed sites for the agencies as part of its plan to relocate the two. USDA previously narrowed the list to the Kansas City Area, Raleigh, North Carolina, and multiple sites in Indiana. The controversial proposal prompted the Economic Research Service to unionize last month, and Tuesday, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture did the same. Both have formed a so-called bargaining unit with the American Federation of Government Employees. The Federation claims the proposed relocation would impact 568 out of 664 positions total between the two agencies. By establishing a union at the worksite, the USDA agencies are legally required to notify employees in advance of any proposed changes to their working conditions and to bargain with the union in good faith over those proposed changes.

Corn Production Forecast Lower Amid Wet Spring, Prevent Plant

Farmers are making progress on planting, but the wet spring means lower production. Department of Agriculture Crop Progress numbers show roughly 15.8 million acres of corn and 33.6 million acres of soybeans remains to be planted based. The World Agriculture Supply and Demand Report, released Tuesday, predicts U.S. corn production to fall 1.45 billion bushels to 13.7 billion. However, USDA left the soybean forecast unchanged, with “several weeks remaining in the planting season.” USDA raised the expected season-average corn price to $3.80 a bushel, and the season-average soybean price to $8.25 a bushel. Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue confirmed this week that prevent plant acres could not be included in the Market Facilitation Program. However, Perdue says USDA is “exploring legal flexibilities” to provide a minimal per acre payment to farmers who filed prevent plant and chose to plant an eligible cover crop. Perdue says USDA will provide more details “in the coming weeks.” The Market Facilitation Program is currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

NACD Encourages Producers to Implement Conservation Practices Amid Extreme Weather

The National Association of Conservation Districts is urging farmers to explore transitioning to conservation practices, including no-till and cover crops, to prevent further soil erosion in the face of extreme weather. The U.S. is currently experiencing the wettest 12 months on record, and farmers have faced a well-documented wet spring, and historically slow planting pace. In February, NACD hosted two focus groups at its annual meeting in San Antonio, for discussions on how soil health practices like cover crops and no-till have impacted farm fields in the face of extreme weather patterns. A total of 22 producers participated in the focus groups, representing 15 states. Reports compiled following the discussion are available to farmers considering what their options are, and provides an overview of the producers’ testimony, examining how they and their neighbors are responding to extreme weather events. The report states, “producers said they believe soil health practices make their operations more resilient in several ways,” allowing them to “withstand the extremes.” Find the reports online at www.nacdnet.org.

Massive Ag Coalition Urges USMCA Ratification

More than 950 agribusinesses and farm groups are urging Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement quickly. Canada, Mexico and the U.S. have all taken the first steps towards ratifying the agreement that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. However, recent threats of additional tariffs, and the slow pace of politics, are concerning for farmers and ranchers. Chuck Conner, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives president and CEO, says USMCA “will provide an important source of certainty in a climate where that commodity is in short supply.” The group is urging lawmakers to “move quickly to bringing up the agreement” once it is formally submitted to Congress. Mexico is expected to ratify the agreement next week, following negotiations with the U.S. last week to stop threatened tariffs by the Trump administration over migrants crossing the border into the United States. Trump claimed the recent talks would result in “immediate” sales of U.S. ag products to Mexico. However, Mexico confirmed Monday that the talks did not include a side deal for agriculture.

American Drivers Reach 10 Billion Miles Driven on E15

As President Trump visited an Iowa ethanol plant Tuesday, Growth Energy announced U.S. drivers have reached 10 billion miles driven on E15. The announcement follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent notice to allow for year-round E15 sales, likely to increase the pace of growth and miles driven on E15. Growth Energy works with retailers to grow E15 availability, including recent expansions announced by Casey’s General Stores and others, to give more drivers access to E15. Growth Energy says E15 is currently sold at more than 1,800 stations in 31 states. President Trump promoted the recent rule allowing for year-round E15 as part of his Iowa trip. The President joined Iowa Representative Cindy Axne and Governor Kim Reynolds for a tour of  Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, along with EPA administer Andrew Wheeler. Trump also met with ethanol industry officials in Des Moines, including POET CEO Jeff Broin. The EPA announced the final rule to allow year-round E15 last month at a separate Iowa ethanol facility.

USDA Helping Farmers, Businesses and Ag Producers Cut Energy Costs

The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced 58 grants to help farmers and rural businesses to reduce energy costs. The grants, awarded in 17 states and Puerto Rico, are provided through the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP. Congress allocated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in 2019. Tuesday’s announcement includes $1 million in renewable energy projects. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the coming weeks. Joel Baxley, acting assistant to the secretary for rural development, says lowering energy costs “helps businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs” in rural America. Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. They also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems, including insulation, lighting and refrigeration. Grants announced Tuesday include $100,000 for the University of Oregon to help rural agritourism operations and small businesses implement renewable energy systems. More examples of funded projects are available online at www.rd.usda.gov.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service