07-23-19 National Farmers Union Announces New Education Priorities

National Farmers Union Announces New Education Priorities

Curriculum Will Incorporate Farm and Ranch Business Health Assessment

WASHINGTON – Today’s farmers have to do more than just grow food; running a successful operation requires a broad range of skills, including marketing, business management, mechanical repair, and agronomy. To more effectively meet the growing needs of family farmers and ranchers, National Farmers Union Foundation (NFUF) has refocused its general farm education programs around the Farm and Ranch Business Health Assessment (BHA) and a new Farm Business Toolbox. These free resources will help farmers identify their operations’ strengths and weaknesses and offer opportunities to improve their business acumen.

07-23-19 Gardner Testifies at First Senate Banking Committee Hearing on Cannabis Challenges

Gardner Testifies at First Senate Banking Committee Hearing on Cannabis Challenges

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) testified at the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for a hearing titled, “Challenges for Cannabis and Banking: Outside Perspectives.” The hearing focused on the challenges for cannabis owners and sellers in states where marijuana has been legalized. Senator Gardner testified about two bills he is leading in the Senate, S. 1200, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 to address conflicting federal and state marijuana laws, and S. 1028, the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act).

NOTE: Click here or on the picture above to download Gardner’s remarks

Remarks as delivered: Continue reading

07-23-19 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filing supports Tri-State clean energy initiatives

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filing supports Tri-State clean energy initiatives

  • Single rate regulator benefits members as Tri-State develops Responsible Energy Plan
  • FERC rate regulation aligns Tri-State with rate regulation of other wholesale power providers
  • Tri-State will continue to comply with resource planning, renewable energy and environmental issues
(July 23, 2019 – Westminster, Colo.) Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has made tariff application filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Tri-State expects the FERC to accept the filing in 60 days. When the filing is accepted, Tri-State will be fully rate regulated by the federal commission.
The FERC filing follows Tri-State’s July 17 announcement of its Responsible Energy Plan. As Tri-State develops the plan<https://www.tristate.coop/tri-state-announces-transformative-responsible-energy-plan>, consistent and predictable rate regulation is critical.
“Tri-State is positioning our cooperative for the future,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State’s chief executive officer. “Rate regulation certainty is necessary as we accelerate our pursuit of renewable energy and member flexibility, decrease emissions and strive to lower members’ wholesale rates.”

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07-23-19 Governor Polis announces Bobby LeFebre as New Colorado Poet Laureate

Governor Polis announces Bobby LeFebre as New Colorado Poet Laureate

DENVER – Governor Polis announced today that Bobby LeFebre has been selected as the new Colorado Poet Laureate, succeeding Joseph Hutchison.

“Bobby LeFebre has an amazing ability to empower and connect communities through the wisdom of his words; that is why we are confident he will make a fantastic Poet Laureate,” said Governor Jared Polis. “He embodies the spirit of a ‘Colorado for All’ where everyone is included. I know he will be a strong advocate for the arts and art education as a way to bring us together.”

The Poet Laureate position was created to promote an appreciation of poetry in Colorado and to honor outstanding Colorado poets. The Poet Laureate serves as an active advocate for poetry, literacy, and literature by participating in readings and other events at schools, libraries, literary festivals, and the State Capitol. The Poet Laureate will also provide the Governor with an annual account of the impact and success of the Colorado Poet Laureate program and prepare a poem for the opening of the legislative session upon request.

Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book and Colorado Creative Industries jointly support the honorary position, providing a $2,000 honoraria and up to $2,000 in travel expenses related to public presentations for each of the four years of the term.

LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer, and cultural and social worker with “indigenous roots in the San Luis Valley that predate statehood.” A performance artist of the highest order, he says he is “fusing a non-traditional multi-hyphened professional identity to imagine new realities, empower communities, advance arts and culture, and serve as an agent of provocation and social transformation, equity and  change.” Continue reading

07-23-19 Gardner, Hassan, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan AIRWAVES Legislation to Support Wireless Innovation and Close the Urban-Rural Divide

Gardner, Hassan, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan AIRWAVES Legislation to Support Wireless Innovation and Close the Urban-Rural Divide

Washington, D.C. – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today reintroduced the Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum (AIRWAVES) Act, which will encourage the federal government to continue to free up spectrum for commercial licensed and unlicensed use and leverage the success of spectrum auctions to help close the urban-rural divide. Continue reading

07-23-19 American Agri-Women announces 2019 Champion of Agriculture Award winners

American Agri-Women announces 2019 Champion of Agriculture Award winners

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Congressman David Rouzer of North Carolina received AAW’s most prestigious award

Washington, D. C. (AgPR) July 23, 2019 — American Agri-Women (AAW) proudly presented the 2019 Champion of Agriculture Award to two very deserving individuals in Congress during its annual Fly-In in Washington, D.C. in June. AAW presented Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Congressman David Rouzer of North Carolina with the organization’s most prestigious Champion of Agriculture Award. Continue reading

07-23-19 Costco’s Wilson Elected President of The Center for Food Integrity Board

Costco’s Wilson Elected President of The Center for Food Integrity Board

KANSAS CITY, MO. – July 23, 2019 – Costco’s Craig Wilson is the new president of The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) Board of Directors. Wilson, vice president of quality assurance and food safety at Costco Wholesale Corporation, is among a new slate of officers and board memberswho represent the diversity of today’s food and agriculture industries and will bring unique perspectives to CFI’s mission of earning trust in today’s food system. Wilson was elected by the CFI board at its July meeting in Kansas City.

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07-23-19 Inside the BARN with CLA CEO & Secretary Bill Hammerich…

Inside the BARN with CLA CEO & Secretary Bill Hammerich…

Trade, BLM Move to CO, Gray Wolf, PAW Committee, CO State Fair & more

The BARN – Briggsdale, CO – At the end of July, Congress will be taking their annual August recess, with a lot of work yet to be done, including ratification of the United States Mexico Canada Trade Agreement, which would officially replace the out-dated North American Free Trade Agreement. In fact, Mexico’s Congress has already ratified USMCA and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they are ready to ratify it as soon as the United States Congress approves it. From the perspective of the livestock industry, getting the USMCA thru Congress would be a HUGE WIN for producers across this nation. Joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio to discuss the stalled USMCA is Bill Hammerich, CEO and Secretary of the Colorado Livestock Association dicussing several topics including:


Colorado Livestock Association (CLA) was formed in 1998 through a restructuring of the then 43-year-old Colorado Cattle Feeders Association (CCFA). CLA members are cattle and sheep feeders, cow/calf producers, dairy farmers, swine operations, and industry partners. CLA works on behalf of its members in the regulatory and legislative arenas in Colorado. For more information about CLA visit www.coloradolivestock.org

07-23-19 Gardner, Bennet, Buck Announce Nearly $8.3 Million INFRA Grant for Ports-to-Plains Project

Gardner, Bennet, Buck Announce Nearly $8.3 Million INFRA Grant for Ports-to-Plains Project

Washington, D.C. – Today Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Representative Ken Buck (CO-04) announced the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is awarding the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) a nearly $8.3 million Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant for its US 287 project. The project seeks to add approximately 12 miles of passing lanes along US 287 in Southeastern Colorado known as the Ports-to-Plains Corridor.

“I am thrilled to see US 287 is receiving this important funding, as it is a vital freight route and is key to Southeastern Colorado’s connectivity,” said Senator Gardner. “This funding will help upgrade infrastructure in rural Colorado, bolster safety, reduce congestion, and create a more efficient path for commercial freight to travel in and out of Southeast Colorado.”

“Colorado’s Ports-to-Plains Corridor is crucial to our state and our country’s energy, agriculture, and tourism industries,” said Senator Bennet. “To keep pace with Colorado’s growth, our highways require significant investment. This grant will enable CDOT to add passing lanes along US 287, alleviating congestion and enhancing safety.”

“Infrastructure is an important facet of our nation’s economy and vital to our way of life in eastern Colorado,” said Congressman Buck. “I’m glad to see the U.S. Department of Transportation award CDOT with much-needed funding for our state’s Ports-to-Plains project so we can help ease commercial freight travel and improve safety along the US 287 corridor.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation will receive $8,297,000 for the Ports-to-Plains project. Senators Gardner, Bennet, and Representative Ken Buck sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in March of 2019 supporting the US 287 Passing Lanes Project.

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy

07-23-19 The 20th Annual National Farmers Market Week August 4-10, Highlights Benefits to Farmers & Food Businesses

The 20th Annual National Farmers Market Week August 4-10, Highlights Benefits to Farmers & Food Businesses

July 16, 2019 – The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), a national organization committed to strengthening farmers markets, announces the launch of its nationwide campaign for the 20th annual National Farmers Market Week on August 4th – 10th, 2019. National Farmers Market Week is a celebration started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that highlights the important role farmers markets play in the nation’s food system. The campaign runs throughout the first full week of August each year and is formally declared by a USDA proclamation. This year, Farmers Market Coalition is joined by Farm Aid, Hodo Foods, and Yankee Candle as sponsors of the celebration.

FMC’s 2019 National Farmers Market Week campaign will highlight the important role that farmers markets play in fostering entrepreneurship. By providing a low-barrier to entry point, maximum return on investment, and immediate feedback on products, farmers markets serve as an innovation lab for small businesses.

“Hodo began with one farmers market stand and is now a national plant-based foods brand found in more than 4,000 retail stores across the country. Farmers markets serve as a unique launch setting, facilitating direct engagement with retail consumers and chefs. Those who shop at farmers markets are often curious and are advocates for fresh ingredients, clean products, and have discerning tastes. Engagement at the farmers markets created opportunities for Hodo to test new products, educate consumers and chefs, and build long lasting relationships based on the premise of food with integrity.” said Minh Tsai, Founder and CEO of Hodo. Continue reading

07-23-19 USDA Proposes to Close SNAP Automatic Eligibility Loophole

USDA Proposes to Close SNAP Automatic Eligibility Loophole

USDA is working to ensure benefits are provided with integrity to those most in need

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today proposed closing a loophole that allows states to make participants receiving minimal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits automatically eligible to participate in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Listen to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps opening statements from an embargoed press confeence call that took place on July 22, 2019 @ 3pm MT


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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 23rd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 23rd

Still No EU/U.S. Trade Talks a Year Later

Politico says it’s been almost a year since the U.S. and the European Union struck a temporary truce in transatlantic trade tensions. However, there seems to be little left in the new phase of trade relations as no trade talks have started. EU trade boss Cecilia Malmstrom has said the U.S. will likely slap retaliatory tariffs on $25 billion worth of European imports. It’s part of a dispute that began because of airline subsidies. Washington has also started an investigation into a digital services tax in France. Several EU officials are also warning that President Trump will soon carry out a longstanding threat to impose auto tariffs, possibly as soon as November. The EU Commission’s second-highest ranking trade official will be in Washington through today (Tuesday) for meetings with Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeff Gerrish and other key players in the Washington trade community. Earlier this year, Trump had agreed to hold off on his plan to impose new tariffs on European Union imports while the two sides worked to avoid a full-blown trade war. In announcing the cease-fire, the two sides said they had agreed to remove all non-auto tariffs, increase cooperation on energy purchases, as well as work together to help reform the World Trade Organization.


New Zealand Pushing for Bilateral Trade Deal with the U.S.

The United States doesn’t seem to be as interested in trade deals with most of the Asia-Pacific region. The Washington Post says those words come directly from New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda (Ja-SIN-dah) Ardern (AR-dern), who spoke last week about trade with America. Ardern also expressed her concerns about China’s growing influence in the region. Ardern spoke with her counterpart from Australia to talk about greater regional cooperation. She says, “There has been a view recently that the United States hasn’t given our region the same level of attention it’s given to others. That’s becoming a concern for both New Zealand and Australia.” Arden’s comments come as her country pushes for a free-trade deal with the United States. Last week, the New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister made a speech in Washington D.C. and pushed for a new trade deal. Winston Peters says, “New Zealand has a real concern about the lack of U.S. trade agreements with the Indo-Pacific region.” Australia has had a free-trade agreement with the United States that dates back to 2005.


Chinese Buyers Seek Tariff Exemptions for Purchasing U.S. Farm Goods

Bloomberg says some Chinese companies are applying for U.S. tariff exemptions as they inquire about the possibility of buying U.S. agricultural goods. That announcement comes over a week after President Donald Trump had complained about China not increasing its purchases of U.S. products. The exemption applications will be evaluated by experts that are appointed by the Customs Tariff Commission. Last week, Trump said once again that he could impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports because China wasn’t buying the large volumes of U.S. agricultural goods that he claims Chinese President Xi (Zhee) promised to buy. The two leaders then agreed to a truce in their endless trade conflict after talks had collapsed in May. A release from the official Chinese news agency (Xinhua) says, “In order to meet the needs of Chinese consumers, Chinese enterprises are willing to continue importing certain agricultural products from the U.S. that are marketable in China.” Chinese authorities told the news agency that they’re “hopeful” that the U.S. will meet China halfway and “earnestly implement its commitments.”


U.S. Ethanol Plants Expected to Cut Output

In the coming weeks ahead, U.S. ethanol plants will sharply cut down on their output. Reuters says it’s due to a steep rise in Midwest corn prices and the U.S-China trade dispute, which have both led to weak margins and oversupply. Most U.S. ethanol production takes place in the Corn Belt. The margins to produce ethanol in that region have fallen to a four-year seasonal low, while ethanol inventories haven’t been this high in nine years. Industry sources told Reuters that the glut in ethanol means inevitable cuts, especially as corn prices are making production costs even more expensive. That could ultimately boost fuel prices. Josh Bailey, CEO of Eco-Energy, which markets and distributes ethanol, says, “Plants have exhausted all resources and I think we will start seeing some real cuts in production.” He says most producers are losing money on every gallon of ethanol they produce because of the weak margins. Producers have been fighting with deteriorating market conditions for the past year. Pacific idled parts of its plant in Aurora, Nebraska, late last year and has no near-term plans for a restart. Green Plains agreed to sell three of its ethanol plants to Valero, as well as suspended its quarterly dividend.


More African Swine Fever Shows Up in Bulgaria

African Swine Fever continues its march across the globe. Over the weekend, U.S. News Dot Com says Bulgaria reported an outbreak of African Swine Fever at a breeding farm for pigs in the northeast part of the country. A spokeswoman for the National Food Safety Authority says, “All pigs on the holding, about 17,000 animals, will be culled.” It may not stop with just that farm, either. All pigs in a three-kilometer quarantine zone established around the farm may also be culled as well. Bulgaria has stepped up its efforts to prevent the spread of deadly African Swine Fever into its national herds after reporting more than 30 cases of the disease in several regions of the country earlier this month, including areas around the border with Romania. ASF is a highly contagious disease that affects domestic pigs as well as wild boar. It does not affect human health.


Legal Advocacy Group Gearing Up to Take Down “Big Ag”

A legal advocacy group that calls itself the Public Justice Food Project says it’s expanding efforts toward “dismantling systems that prop up industrial agriculture.” Meating Place Dot Com says they’ll do that by bringing litigation “built to win and focused on high-impact structural reform.” This effort will include expanding the group’s legal staff. One of their more recent additions is Brent Newell, a leading attorney on air pollution and climate change impacts from “industrial animal agriculture.” Part of their push is a new website, food.publicjustice.net, which will provide resources for lawyers looking to apply their skills to suing “Big Ag.” They’ll also have resources to local communities, farmers, workers, and others who want to support Public Justice’s work. Public Justice’s attorneys have been the lead counsel in two cases involving independent beef producers against multinational meatpackers. They’ve also led efforts to strike down state laws barring undercover investigations at agricultural facilities.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service