06-14-19 US Senator Bennet Urges Financial Regulators to Provide Guidance, Certainty for Hemp Farmers and Processors

US Senator Bennet Urges Financial Regulators to Provide Guidance, Certainty for Hemp Farmers and Processors

 

Washington, D.C. – June 14, 2019 – This week, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet sent a letter pressing federal financial regulators to provide guidance to financial institutions so that hemp producers and processors can gain access to the banking system. Despite the removal of hemp as a Schedule 1 drug last December following passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018  (“2018 Farm Bill”), many growers and processors are still unable to access financial services due to a lack of clarity from regulators.

“In my home state of Colorado, farmers cultivated hemp on over 21,000 acres of land last year,” Bennet wrote. “Nonetheless, farmers generally continue to lack access to the banking system even though hemp is no longer a Schedule 1 drug.”

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06-14-19 Larkin Martin elected to lead Farm Foundation Board

Larkin Martin elected to lead Farm Foundation Board

OAK BROOK , IL  June 14, 2019: Alabama farmer Larkin Martin, CEO of Martin Farm, has been elected Chair of the Farm Foundation Board of Directors. Martin, who will serve a two-year term, succeeds Joe Swedberg of Longmont, CO, a retired executive of Hormel Foods Corporation.
“With the nation’s agriculture and food sector facing diverse and complex economic and public policy issues, the need for objective information and constructive dialogue–the primary work of Farm Foundation–has never been greater,” says Martin of Courtland, AL. “From my experiences both on the farm and across the food and agriculture value chain, I know how finding common ground to focus diverse voices can achieve innovative and workable options. I look forward to working beside the other Board members and our staff to continue the Foundation’s unique and important work.” 

06-14-19 WGA 2019 Annual Meeting Recap: Keynotes, public discussions examine biggest Western issues; new Chair Initiative launched

WGA 2019 Annual Meeting Recap: Keynotes, public discussions examine biggest Western issues; new Chair Initiative launched

The Western Governors’ Association 2019 Annual Meeting this week brought 12 Governors to Colorado for three days of public discussion about significant policy issues facing the region and nation. Attending governors included, from left, Doug Burgum (North Dakota), Laura Kelly (Kansas), Kristi Noem (South Dakota), David Ige (Hawai’i), Brad Little (Idaho), Lou Leon Guerrero (Guam), Jared Polis (Colorado), Gary Herbert (Utah), Steve Sisolak (Nevada), Kate Brown (Oregon), and Mark Gordon (Wyoming). Not pictured, but in attendance, Michelle Lujan Grisham (New Mexico).

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06-14-19 The Water Center at CMU Op-Ed: “Black Swan” Water Planning in the Colorado River Basin and Western Colorado

The Water Center at CMU Op-Ed: “Black Swan” Water Planning in the Colorado River Basin and Western Colorado

 Written by: Hannah Holm, Hutchins Water Center at Colorado Mesa University

By now, it’s old news that the Colorado River – notwithstanding the current abundant water year – is generally shrinking, and is expected to shrink more in coming decades. The states that share the river completed a drought plan earlier this year that brings them closer to living within currently available supplies, and a new round of negotiations on long-term management of the river is due to begin next year.

However, a new report warns that planning for gradually declining water supplies, as difficult as that is, may not be enough to adequately prepare for the future. In May, the Colorado River Research Group released a report warning that water planners should also take into account “black swan” low probability, high impact events. The research group is a consortium of well-known scholars focused on the Colorado River Basin, and all their reports can be found at www.coloradoriverresearchgroup.org.

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06-14-19 NMPF Thanks USDA, Urges Farmers to Sign Up for Dairy-Friendly DMC Program

NMPF Thanks USDA, Urges Farmers to Sign Up for Dairy-Friendly DMC Program

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Milk Producers Federation welcomed USDA’s announcement that signup for the long-awaited Dairy Margin Coverage Program will begin June 17, applauding the department’s inclusion of the cost of high-quality alfalfa feed in payment calculations, a boon for dairy farmers facing a fifth year of low prices.

“The DMC provides a stronger safety net for America’s dairy producers, one sorely needed as low prices, trade disturbances and chaotic weather patterns combine to create hardships,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the NMPF. “We have advocated for months that margin calculations must consider the higher feed costs dairy producers pay to properly nourish their livestock. USDA’s decision to include premium and supreme quality alfalfa feed is appropriate and is another win for dairy farmers that will provide additional, crucial aid.” Continue reading

06-14-19 Tri-State issues sixth renewable energy request for proposals

Tri-State issues sixth renewable energy request for proposals

  • Solicitation requests projects of 10 to 200 megawatts
  • Tri-State has increasing interest in owning solar projects
  • Previous solicitations have added 656 megawatts of wind and solar resources

(June 13, 2019 – Westminster, Colo.) Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has issued its sixth request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy resources. Tri-State is the not-for-profit cooperative power supplier to 43 member electric cooperatives and public power districts that serve rural communities in four states.

“Steady investment in renewables from Tri-State and our members means one of every three electrons consumed in our association comes from emissions-free renewable resources,” said Duane Highley, chief executive officer of Tri-State. “This RFP advances our drive to be a 21st century power supplier for our members that is increasingly flexible and clean.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 14th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 14th

ERS and NIFA Will Relocate to the Kansas City Region

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says the USDA will move the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to the Kansas City Region. Perdue says the site selection process was rigorous and the Kansas City Region provides a win-win. “It maximizes our mission function by putting taxpayer savings into programs and providing affordability, easy commutes, and extraordinary living for our employees,” Perdue says. “The Kansas City Region has proven itself to be a hub for all things agriculture and is a booming city in America’s Heartland. USDA conducted a cost-benefit analysis and conservative estimates show a savings of nearly $300 million nominally on things like employment costs and rent over the course of a 15-year lease term. That will mean savings of about $20 million per year, which will mean more funding will be available for researching critical needs like rural prosperity and agricultural competitiveness. The move will also help USDA retain programs and employees for the long term. Perdue says, “We didn’t undertake these actions lightly. We’re doing this to enhance the long-term sustainability and success of these agencies. The considerable taxpayer savings will allow us to be more efficient and place a lot of USDA resources closer to many important stakeholders.”

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Missouri, Kansas, Welcome Relocation of USDA Agencies to Kansas City

Missouri and Kansas celebrated after a successful united effort to bring two Department of Agriculture agencies to the Kansas City region. Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst responded to the USDA announcement and says that “Kansas City is the heart of our farm economy and is deservedly the right choice for USDA.” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the Economic Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture would move to the region as part of a controversial proposal. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas says the research that will occur at the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in nearby Manhattan, Kansas, and research that “already occurs throughout the K.C. Animal Health Corridor makes Kansas City a natural fit.” However, the process to reach Kansas City has been mired by controversy and a lack of transparency, according to the National Farmers Union. NFU President Roger Johnson says the move could “negatively impact the ability of these agencies to produce and fund high-quality research and communicate with legislators. Employees of both agencies voted to unionize to negotiate in opposition to the move.

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Dairy Margin Coverage Signup Starts on June 17

Signup for the new Dairy Margin Coverage Program begins on June 17th. It’s operated by the Farm Service Agency and is a big part of the dairy safety net designed to help dairy farmers manage the volatility of milk and feed prices. The new program offers protection for dairy farmers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount that’s selected by each producer. “With an environment of low milk prices, high economic stress, and a new safety net program with higher coverage levels and lower premiums, it’s the right time for dairy producers to give enrollment some serious consideration when signup opens,” says Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. “The choice is likely a no-brainer for many smaller dairies as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.” The program is retroactive to January 1, 2019, with applicable payments to follow soon after enrollment. Other than a $100 administrative fee, DMC offers catastrophic coverage to a producer at no cost. Producers can opt for greater coverage levels for a premium combined with the administrative fee.

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Wisconsin Senator Wants Details on Secret Ag Deal with Mexico

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin is demanding that President Trump release more details of the deal he announced with Mexico to increase U.S. ag exports. Over the weekend, Trump said on Twitter that “Mexico has agreed to immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product from our great Patriot farmers.” However, the administration hasn’t given out any details of this claim and there isn’t a lot of evidence to back it up. The Mexican Foreign Minister denies there is an agricultural element to the agreement with the U.S, saying Mexico didn’t “immediately begin to do anything different” regarding American agricultural products. Agricultural trade staff members said earlier in the week that they had no details on the supposed agreement with Mexico. Baldwin says in the letter, “Farmers need full details of the agreement in order to make the many decision they need to that affect their livelihood and business. I’m asking that you release details of this agreement or announce that one never actually existed.”

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Midwest States Get Most Help From 2018 MFP Payments

American Farm Bureau analysis says farmers in five Midwestern states claimed just about half of the more than $8.5 billion in trade help from the USDA as compensation for losses due to trade disputes. The analysis shows that Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Indiana received just about half of the Market Facilitation Program payments that have been made up to May 13. Retaliatory tariffs have been especially hard on soybeans, so soybean farmers received a large share of payment help. The average payment rate was $1.65 per bushel, so soybean producers have received $7 billion as of May 13. Cotton payments were calculated at six cents per pound, with producers receiving payments totaling $471 million. Dairy received just two percent of payments sent out as of May 13, coming in at $180 million in assistance. Corn producers also received only two percent of payments so far. The payment rate for corn farmers was one cent per bushel, with farmers receiving about $132 million. The American Farm Bureau says those direct payments are “no replacement for lost markets.” However, they do help farmers meet some immediate financial needs.  

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Tyson Announces plant-based, blended proteins

In a move anticipated for weeks, Tyson Foods introduced its first-ever venture into plant-based meat alternative products. The company also announced it will be selling additional products that combine traditional meat blended with plant proteins. Tyson will add a new brand to its collection of products, which will be called Raised & Rooted. The company says the first product under the new brand name will be plant-based nuggets, coming out later this summer through various national retailers. Blended burgers will be available to the general public in the fall. Tyson says these are “healthier than competing plant-based-only patties.” Tyson President Noel White says, “Today’s consumers are seeking more protein options, so we’re creating new products for the growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both plant-based protein and meat.” White says this move is all about “and” instead of “or” They remain firmly committed to growing their traditional meat business and expect to be a market leader in alternative protein as well. “Alternative protein is experiencing double-digit growth and could be a billion-dollar business for our company,” White adds.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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