07-17-19 Tri-State announces transformative Responsible Energy Plan

Tri-State announces transformative Responsible Energy Plan

  • Plan to support transition to clean energy resources, ensure reliability, with goal to reduce rates
  • Gov. Ritter and Center for the New Energy Economy to facilitate stakeholder engagement process
  • Cooperative’s membership pursuing contract changes to allow more flexibility for local renewables
  • New mission statement reinforces responsibility
  • Proactive agenda will address electric industry challenges and cooperative utility needs
  • Nucla Station to be retired in early 2020
July 17, 2019 – Westminster, CO –Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is pursuing an aggressive Responsible Energy Plan<https://www.tristate.coop/responsibleenergyplan> to transition to a cleaner energy portfolio, while ensuring reliability, increasing member flexibility and with a goal to lower wholesale rates.
“Our membership and board are unified in our pursuit of a cleaner, reliable and lower-cost resource portfolio,” said Rick Gordon, chairman of the cooperative’s board of directors. “We are making a strong and unequivocal commitment to transform Tri-State’s resource portfolio in a prudent and responsible manner.”
Tri-State’s Board of Directors has passed several resolutions to support the development of a plan that will guide the cooperative in its energy transition. Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan will set goals and pathways to:

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07-17-19 U.S. Senator Gardner Urges Swift Ratification of USMCA

U.S. Senator Gardner Urges Swift Ratification of USMCA

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) took to the Senate floor yesterday to urge swift ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA is a proposed trade agreement among the three countries supporting North American manufacturing and fair trade. Senator Gardner has called for modernization of the NAFTA agreement. Mexico was the first country to ratify the agreement on June 19, 2019.

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07-17-19 NMPF: On “Almonds Don’t Lactate” Anniversary, Dairy Farmers Call on FDA To Do Its Job

NMPF: On “Almonds Don’t Lactate” Anniversary, Dairy Farmers Call on FDA To Do Its Job

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Milk Producers Federation today marked the one-year anniversary of then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s famous observation that “almonds don’t lactate” by reminding the agency it still has not resolved the issue and that citizens who heeded its call for comments with thoughtful responses deserve answers.

“An almond doesn’t lactate, I must confess,” Gottlieb said last July 17, admitting that FDA has been lax in enforcing its own rules on the use of dairy terms on products containing no dairy ingredients. “Have we been enforcing our standard of identity? The answer is, probably not,” he said, while pledging agency action in “something close to a year.”

“FDA’s longstanding inaction on enforcing its own standards of identity is perpetuating the marketing of products using milk and dairy terms when those products don’t match the nutritional content of the dairy products they are imitating,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Dairy farmers have never called for bans on fake-food competitors, nor have they called for market censorship. They do want the FDA to enforce its own rules defining what a product is and what it isn’t, in keeping with similar standards enforced in other countries around the globe. The clock is still ticking. We are not going away.”

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, July 17th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, July 17th

Economists Predict Highest MFP Payments Headed to the Corn Belt

An economic analysis predicts Delta region and Corn Belt farmers will receive the majority of Market Facilitation Program funds. Agricultural Economic Insights projects those regions will benefit the most simply due to soybean production. China has targeted all U.S. agricultural products, but tariffs on U.S. soybeans and pork have hurt the most. The White House says it’s approved the $16 billion trade aid program for farmers. The Department of Agriculture is expected to release further details, including payment rates and schedules quickly. $14.5 billion is earmarked for payments to producers. USDA officials last week signaled payments could begin next month. This is the second round of funding made available for farmers as the U.S. remains embattled in a tit-for-tat trade war with China. Previously, the Trump administration allocated $12 billion in payments to farmers, distributed in two payments. The 2019 aid was announced in May, and is expected to include three rounds of payments, along with more funding for trade promotion and commodity purchases.

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Private Analysis Projects Corn Acres at 79.6 Million

A private analysis of farmland predicts U.S. planted acres of corn totals 79.6 million acres this year, 89 percent of the historical norm. AgMarket.net also projects the national average yield could reach 156 bushels per acre, following an aerial photography survey. The effort measured more than 157,000 acres across a five-state area. AgMarket surveyed the corn crop the week before July 4th in the western Corn Belt and the week after July 4th in eastern Corn Belt. The company says the equipment used was sophisticated enough to allow analysts to count stalks and populations to determine yield potential. Meanwhile. the Department of Agriculture in last week’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand report, estimated yield at 166 bushels per acre. USDA’s June Acreage report estimated corn acreage at 91.7 million acres. However, that report did not take into account acres not planted do to spring and summer flooding. USDA has said it will resurvey planted acres and update the projection next month.

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Farm Groups to Evaluate H-2A Proposal

Agriculture groups are evaluating the Department of Labor’s H-2A proposal announced earlier this week. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall welcomed the proposal, thanking the Trump administration for “recognizing the need to reform” the program. However, noting the rule is lengthy, Duvall says AFBF will “evaluate it closely for its potential to assist growers with their labor needs.” A comment period on the nearly 500-page proposal will close in September. The proposal claims to streamline the H-2A application process, strengthen protections for workers, expand enforcement tools, and update methods used to determine the Adverse Effect Wage Rates and prevailing wages. The proposal also expands the program to include employers engaged in reforestation and pine straw activities. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the proposal will release farmers from “unnecessary and burdensome regulations.” The proposal comes as Republican Representative Rick Crawford of Arkansas recently introduced legislation to make similar changes to the program, along with moving authority of H-2A to the Department of Agriculture.

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China Talks Moving Forward This Week

Negotiations this week may lead to a U.S. trade delegation returning to China. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says talks over the phone this week, if productive, will result in a trip to China for further discussions. During a White House briefing, Mnuchin told reporters “I think there’s a good chance we’ll go there,” if the talks this week make “significant progress.” This week marks the second round of negotiations since China and the U.S. agreed last month to restart talks during a meeting at the G20 Summit. President Trump also claimed China would begin making purchases of U.S. ag products. However, China has yet to do so, and Democrats call the claims fake. Trump has expressed disappointment that China has yet to move forward with the purchases. China recently announced economic growth in the nation has slowed to 6.2 percent, its lowest level since 1992. Trump claims via Twitter that the U.S. tariffs are “having a major effect on companies wanting to leave China for non-tariffed countries.”

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Judge Reduces Glyphosate Damage Award, Bayer to Again Appeal

A federal judge reduced a court-ordered penalty against Bayer to $25.2 million from $80.2 million. The award stems from a lawsuit against the company by a California man who claims glyphosate in Roundup caused his cancer. Edward Hardeman says he used Roundup for years, and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014, but is now in remission. The federal judge in San Francisco says the higher award was “constitutionally impermissible” because it was nearly 15 times the compensatory damages award, according to Reuters. The judge last year supported the $5.27 million in compensatory damages awarded by a jury. However, the judge stated, “Monsanto’s conduct, while reprehensible, does not warrant a ratio of that magnitude, particularly in the absence of evidence showing intentional concealment of a known or obvious safety risk.” Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, called the decision a “step in the right direction,” but plans to appeal. Bayer says the verdict and damages award conflict with “extensive science that supports the safety of Roundup.”

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USDA Announces Record-Breaking Funding for 2019 Farm to School Grants

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Tuesday announced more than $9 million in USDA Farm to School Program grants will be awarded in 2019. This year marks an all-time high of funding and projects in the program, with grants supporting 126 selected projects across 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The projects are expected to serve more than 3.2 million students in over 5,400 schools. Perdue says the program helps “connect schools with the farmers, ranchers, and producers in their communities,” while inspiring youth to consider careers in agriculture. The record-breaking year for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program was made possible by increased funding from Congress for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The increase allowed USDA to award 52 more grants than the previous highest year of 2016 when 74 were granted. Grants range from $20,000 to $100,000 and fund equipment purchases and experiential learning activities, including planting school gardens, offering taste tests to children, and organizing field trips to local farms and food producers. 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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The Denver Cash Grain Bids…

GL_GR110
Greeley, CO Wed Jul 17, 2019 USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News
Daily Grain Bids for Denver and Surrounding Areas
Spot bids to producers for grain delivered to terminal and country
Elevators. Bids dollar/bu. except for Barley which is dollar/cwt.
Bids available by 3:00 PM MST.
Source: USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News Service, Greeley, CO
Tammy Judson, Market Reporting Assistant (970)353-9750
24 Hour Market Report (970)353-8031
1330M hmd

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07-16-19 U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s Statement on BLM Realignment

U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s Statement on BLM Realignment

WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt released the following statement on Bureau of Land Management Realignment:

“A meaningful realignment of our operations is not simply about where functions are performed; rather, it is rooted in how changes will better respond to the needs of the American people. Under our proposal, every Western state will gain additional staff resources. This approach will play an invaluable role in serving the American people more efficiently while also advancing the Bureau of Land Management’s multiple-use mission. Shifting critical leadership positions and supporting staff to western states — where an overwhelming majority of federal lands are located — is not only a better management system, it is beneficial to the interest of the American public in these communities, cities, counties, and states.”

07-16-19 US Senator Bennet Statement on Proposal to Begin Establishing BLM Headquarters in Grand Junction

Bennet Statement on Proposal to Begin Establishing Bureau of Land Management Headquarters in Grand Junction

Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the statement below following a proposed plan from the U.S. Department of the Interior to begin establishing the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction by moving 27 employees to the city:

“For over two years we’ve worked with the Colorado delegation and the local community to bring the BLM national headquarters to Grand Junction. A move like this would be an investment in Grand Junction, and should lead to improved decision making and increased resources for our public lands. Continue reading

07-16-19 US Senator Gardner Releases Details on BLM Move

US Senator Gardner Releases Details on BLM Move

Senator Gardner, the chief architect of the plan to move the Bureau of Land Management’s HQ to Grand Junction, shares further details of the broad impact BLM relocation will have on Colorado

Washington, D.C. – United States Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), the chief architect of the plan to move the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters to Grand Junction, shared a letter from the Department of Interior today revealing more details about the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters relocating to Grand Junction, Colorado. Gardner’s steadfast commitment to his proposal, along with public legislative action and behind-the-scenes work with key Administration officials, is the reason the BLM’s new home will be in Colorado.

“I am thrilled that the Bureau of Land Management and its senior leadership will be relocating to Grand Junction,” said Senator Gardner. “This is a smart decision that transcends political parties and will generate a positive economic ripple effect through the state of Colorado. I commend the Department of Interior for relocating the Agency closer to the people it serves and the public lands it manages. Government is best when it is closer and more accountable to the American people, and relocating the directorate of the BLM to Western Colorado will ensure our public lands are protected for many future generations to enjoy.”

Note: Full letter available here.

The letter reads in part:

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07-16-19 USDA Announces $16 Million Funding Opportunity to Support Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

USDA Announces $16 Million Funding Opportunity to Support Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced up to $16 million in available funding to help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). The program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

“All farmers and ranchers deserve equal access to USDA programs and services,” said Mike Beatty, director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “2501 grants go a long way in fulfilling our mission to reach historically underserved communities and ensure their equitable participation in our programs.”

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07-16-19 Pork Checkoff Announces #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces

Pork Pork Checkoff Announces #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces

DES MOINES, IOWA – July 16, 2019 –The Pork Checkoff has selected 13 college students to represent the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces team this year. Candidates were selected based on their involvement in the pork industry and their strong communication skills. The team will be active July through December.

“Social media is ingrained in young people’s lives,” said Claire Masker, director of sustainability communications for the Pork Checkoff. “It’s an easy tool for them to share their insights and inspiration about an industry that they are so proud to be a part of. With so many diverse social media channels, they each have an opportunity to share their passion for pig farming with their followers.”

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07-16-19 HerdDogg and National Bison Association Launch Bison Field Management App

HerdDogg and National Bison Association Launch Bison Field Management App

WESTMINSTER, CO (July 16, 2019) – HerdDogg, an innovator of precision livestock and remote animal health, has partnered with the National Bison Association to deliver the NBA Bison Producer’s app. The application was custom-designed by HerdDogg to serve the thousands of bison producers and the more than 350,000 estimated bison in the United States today. Continue reading

07-16-19 USDA Announces Record-Breaking Funding for 2019 Farm to School Grants

USDA Announces Record-Breaking Funding for 2019 Farm to School Grants

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today the award of more than $9 million in USDA Farm to School Program grants that will increase the amount of healthy, local foods served in schools and create economic opportunities for nearby farmers.
This year marks an all-time high of funding and projects in the program, with grants supporting 126 selected projects across 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These projects are expected to serve more than 3.2 million students in over 5,400 schools.
“The farm to school grants announced today connect schools with the farmers, ranchers, and producers in their communities,” Secretary Perdue said. “Everybody wins with Farm to School. USDA is proud to help the next generation better understand where its food comes from, while strengthening local economies.”

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07-16-19 U.S. Pork Industry Battling Challenges From Trade to Labor Shortage, NPPC President Tells Capitol Hill

U.S. Pork Industry Battling Challenges From Trade to Labor Shortage, NPPC President Tells Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 16, 2019 The U.S. pork industry faces numerous challenges both at home and abroad that, if not addressed, will pose significant harm to our farms, rural communities and ultimately consumers, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., testified this morning before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.

“One of the most damaging threats to the U.S. pork industry has been the punitive, retaliatory trade tariffs that China and other countries have imposed,” Herring told the subcommittee.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 16th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 16th

China Economy Slowing, Planting More Soybeans

Growth of China’s economy is slowing as China remains embattled in a trade war with the United States. China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported China’s gross domestic product grew at 6.2 percent in the second quarter of 2019, the slowest rate since 1992. China says its economy continues to face “downward pressure.” The report, however, says China’s agricultural production was “sound.” The value added of crop farming grew by 3.9 percent year on year, 0.5 slower than the first quarter. The overall output of summer grain was 141.74 million metric tons, an increase of 2.93 million over last year, up by 2.1 percent. China says it’s soybeans and cotton plantings increased, while livestock production was down 2.1 percent. China is buying less U.S. soybeans due to tariffs enacted in the tit-for-tat trade war between the two countries. China agreed to reopen trade talks last month and U.S. officials will soon travel to China. However, the outcome of future talks remains uncertain.

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Senator Calls on Trump to Stop False Claims Regarding Purchases of U.S. Ag Products

Senator Tammy Baldwin is calling on President Trump to stop making false claims regarding China purchasing U.S. ag products. The Wisconsin Democrat penned a letter to Trump claiming the President’s “exaggerated claims about export opportunities” make doing business in agriculture difficult. Last month, the President claimed Mexico had agreed to immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural products from U.S. farmers. More recently, Trump claimed that China will buy “a tremendous amount of food and agricultural product” but has so far offered no evidence or details to support the claim. Trump made the China claims following a meeting with China, where both sides agreed to reopen trade negotiations. However, China has not confirmed the purchases and trade experts say no agreement on ag products exists. U.S. agricultural exports to China dropped from $25 billion in 2015 to a projected $6 billion this year. Baldwin notes the impact of the trade war as part of the reason Wisconsin has lost more than 1,600 dairy farms since Trump took office.

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House Judiciary Committee Bill Would Increase Farm Debt Coverage under Chapter 12

A bill passed by the House Judiciary Committee would increase the amount of farm debt covered by chapter 12 bankruptcy. Last week, the committee passed the Family Farmer Relief Act. Introduced by New York Representative, Democrat Antonio Delgado, the bill would increase the current debt limit used to determine whether a farmer is eligible for relief under chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code, a specialized form of bankruptcy relief specifically intended for farmers, from approximately $4.4 million to $10 million. Delgado says the bill gives “farmers and growers the flexibility they need to continue operations.” The bill, which is the House companion to legislation introduced by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Senate Democrat Amy Klobuchar, is endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union. Delgado says the changes reflect the increase in land values, as well as the growth over time in the average size of U.S. farm operations and are meant to provide farmers additional options to manage the downturn in the farm economy.

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Crawford Introduces Legislation to Reform H-2A Program

Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives would transfer jurisdiction for agricultural guest workers from the Department of Labor to the Department of Agriculture. The bill comes as the labor Department Monday opened a comment period on proposed rulemaking changes to the program. The changes “strengthen protections” for workers. Meanwhile, the Agricultural Guest Worker Reform Initiative, or AGRI Act, introduced by Arkansas Republican Rick Crawford, would transfer the program to USDA which is “better equipped” to address the need for temporary workers and will make the program more accessible to farmers. The legislation would also allow employers to offer market-based contracts and wages, and increase the security of the program by requiring workers to return to their country of origin for one month following every 10 months of labor in the United States. By returning, workers payroll taxes will be refundable at the U.S. consulate in their home country. The legislation also requires the Department of Homeland Security to provide guest workers with a traceable, biometric ID card.

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Report: Iowa Farmland Values Decline Four out of Last Five Years

A new report shows Iowa farmland prices have declined four out of the last five years. Researchers from Iowa State University say lower commodity prices and higher interest rates have forced the declines. Based on the Farmland Value Survey, the 2018 Iowa land values have fallen 17 percent off the 2013 peak. However, despite these decreases, current Iowa farmland values are still almost three times more than the 2000 values, 66 percent higher than the 2009 values, and eight percent higher than the 2011 values. The report compared farmland values and the S&P 500, to determine which provided a better investment. While the results varied, the report suggests that with the decline in farm income and a possible increase in interest rates, farmland values may continue to recede in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, the S&P market is increasingly influenced by the global economy, especially emerging markets like China, trade and world security. Regarding which is a better investment, the report says, “timing is everything in the success of a rain dance.”

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Public Lands Council Opens 2019 Annual Meeting Registration

Online registration is now open for the Public Lands Council 2019 Annual Meeting in Great Falls, Montana, scheduled September 25-28. The PLC Annual Meeting features legislative updates, educational seminars, and a federal lands range tour. During the 2019 meeting, more than 20 speakers will share updates regarding federal lands ranching policy. Speakers include key decisionmakers from the Department of the Interior, the Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Resource Conservation Service. Additional industry partners such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Sheep Industry Association, and the National Association of Grasslands will also provide updates. Since 1968, the Public Lands Council has represented public lands ranchers in Washington, D.C. PLC President Bob Skinner says the meeting offers attendees “a better understanding of the issues impacting their grazing permits.” The 2019 event also features a predator tour along the Rocky Mountain front. Attendees can take advantage of early bird registration rates through September 1st. To register for the PLC Annual Meeting visit, publiclandscouncil.com.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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07-15-19 US Senator Gardner Announces BLM Will Relocate Headquarters to Grand Junction

US Senator Gardner Announces BLM Will Relocate Headquarters to Grand Junction

Gardner was the chief architect of the plan to move the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters West

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the following statement today announcing that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will relocate its headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado.

Note: Click here to watch Senator Gardner’s remarks

“Today is a historic day for our nation’s public lands, western states, and the people of Colorado,” said Senator Gardner. “Relocating the Bureau of Land Management to the Western Slope of Colorado will bring the bureau’s decision makers closer to the people they serve and the public lands they manage. The problem with Washington is too many policy makers are far removed from the people they are there to serve. Ninety-nine percent of the land the BLM manages is West of the Mississippi River, and so should be the BLM headquarters. This is a victory for local communities, advocates for public lands, and proponents for a more responsible and accountable federal government.”

Senator Cory Gardner—in his effort to reshape the way Washington bureaucracy interacts with Americans its rules and regulations impact—was the chief architect of the plan to move the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters West. Gardner’s steadfast commitment to his proposal, along with public legislative action and behind-the-scenes work with key Administration officials, is the reason the BLM’s new home will be in Colorado.

Timeline: 

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07-15-19 Colorado Governor Polis Statement on BLM’s move to Colorado

Colorado Governor Polis Statement on BLM’s move to Colorado

DENVER – Governor Polis released the following statement regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to move their headquarters to Colorado.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Bureau of Land Management and their employees to the great state of Colorado. As I stated to Secretary Bernhardt many times, Grand Junction is the perfect location for the BLM because of community support, location closer to the land BLM manages, and the positive impact it will have on our western Colorado economy,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Hard to think of a better place to house the department responsible for overseeing our beloved public lands.”


www.colorado.gov/governor

07-15-19 USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on the Department of Labor’s Proposed H2A Modernized Rule

USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on the Department of Labor’s Proposed H2A Modernized Rule

Washington D.C. July 15, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement on the Department of Labor’s proposed rule to modernize the H-2A program to reflect stakeholder concerns and improve access to a legal source of agricultural labor:

“President Trump once again shows his commitment to helping America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers continue to be the most productive in the world by increasing their access to a stable and legal workforce. The proposed rule will increase access to a reliable legal agricultural workforce, easing unnecessary burdens on farmers, increase enforcement against fraud and abuse, all while maintaining protections for America’s workers. When this rule goes into effect, our farmers will be released from unnecessary and burdensome regulations allowing them to do what they do best.”

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07-15-19 U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources: Chairman Rob Bishop’s Statement on BLM Reorganization

U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources: Chairman Rob Bishop’s Statement on BLM Reorganization

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 2019 – Today, Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (R-Utah) released the following statement on the Department of the Interior’s decision to relocate the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

“Secretary Bernhardt is promoting a thoughtful, methodical approach that is a true win for the West. I’m pleased that a significant number of personnel will be coming to Utah and other Western states. The BLM personnel will be moved where they will have a greater impact on, and input by, the people who live in the regions where their influence is greatest. Not by bureaucrats from thousands of miles away.

“I will continue to work with the Secretary to determine that the positions moving to Utah are placed in the most effective areas in the state. Secretary Bernhardt’s efforts have brought logic to where these positions will be most effective and I sincerely hope that politics and dogma in Washington don’t stifle this effort to make government more responsive.” Continue reading