10-28-19 Op-Ed from CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg

Op-Ed from CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, “No on both CC and DD”


STERLING, CO – October 28, 2019 @ 5am MT – In an era of money-hungry government, this election cycle seeks to move us further down a path asking taxpayers to give more, fund more, pay more.

Water has long been at the forefront of my agenda over the duration of my career in the state legislature. I have served as the Water Committee Chairman several times and have become one of those “water guys” from whom others seek information.

I have remained publicly neutral on Proposition DD as several questions were not answered. Instead, I proposed policy changes to require transparency. Those questions remain unclear and any transparency policy has so far been rejected.

This proposition asks permission to add sports betting to Colorado’s current list of approved games, in response to the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that individual states can authorize betting on sports. I know people who already bet using their smart phones.

Voters are asked to approve that list and then allow a tax on sports betting with the revenue going to the “Water Plan.”

On the surface this seems great: we need to make sure we have funding available to build storage and keep Colorado’s water in Colorado. Except, just like Prop CC, the legislature can raid funds set aside for water and use them for something else. And they have in the past – since 2002, $322 million dollars specified for water projects has been spent elsewhere.

If Prop CC fails and Prop DD passes, will the legislature take the money they had hoped would be generated by Proposition CC to fund the ongoing government overspending? The law says they can!

Let’s assume that we can trust the legislature to spend this money on the “Water Plan.” Will that money be used to build storage? Or will it fund other projects such as removing water from agriculture for recreation or instream flows or urban growth? A past director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board has been quoted saying that some rivers need to be 100% owned by the state to meet the agency’s conservation goals. That scares me and it should scare agriculture!

Most recently, as I try to decide if this is a good policy for Colorado, I can’t help but focus on the questions that are not being answered. It would appear that there are some hidden agendas involved.

To me, it boils down to this: should gamblers be made to fund our water needs? Should we raise taxes on something like gambling to replace a noticeable reduction in water funds used because of the curtailed oil and gas production? Can we trust the legislature to spend this money on what it is promised for?

I can’t answer yes to any of those questions.

Jerry Sonnenberg
Colorado Senate District 1
     4465 CR 63
     Sterling, CO 80751

To learn more about CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg – CLICK HERE

10-28-19 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Germany Emerges as Leading European Destination for U.S. Beef

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Germany Emerges as Leading European Destination for U.S. Beef

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

DENVER, CO -October 28, 2019 – Yuri Barutkin, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) representative in Europe, discusses the factors that make Germany the leading European market for high-quality U.S. beef. These include Germany’s high standard of living, large per capita meat consumption and receptive attitude toward imported food products.

Barutkin also discusses recent U.S. beef promotional activities in Germany, conducted with support from the Beef Checkoff Program. In Cologne, USMEF collaborated with major European importer Nice to Meat to hold Barbecue Prime Night, promoting alternative beef cuts such as chuck roll and inside skirt. During Hamburg Food Week, a special U.S. beef menu was showcased at several local restaurants. USMEF also held an educational dinner for prospective customers and culinary media in Düsseldorf.

U.S. beef exports to the European Union continue to be constrained by the lack of adequate capacity in the EU’s duty-free high-quality beef quota. Germany is one of the markets that holds excellent growth potential once the United States has a country-specific share of the duty-free quota – a provision on which the U.S. and EU recently reached agreement, but which still requires approval from the European Parliament. USMEF hopes to see it implemented in early 2020.

Barutkin on U.S. beef in Germany 10-28-19

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10-28-19 USDA: Voting Begins for 2019 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections

USDA: Voting Begins for 2019 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections

Eligible Voters to Receive Ballots Week of November 4th

WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots on November 4 to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections.

“Our county committee members play a key role in our efforts to provide assistance to producers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “We value the local input of the over 7,000 members nationwide who provide their valuable knowledge and judgment as decisions are made about the services we provide, including disaster and emergency programs.”

To be counted, ballots must be returned to the local FSA county office or postmarked by December 2.

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10-28-19 NCBA: Cattlemen Applaud Introduction of Real MEAT Act of 2019

Cattlemen Applaud Introduction of Real MEAT Act of 2019

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2019) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today applauded the bipartisan introduction of the Real MEAT (Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully) Act of 2019 by U.S. Reps. Roger Marshall (R – 1st Dist., Kansas) and Anthony Brindisi (D – 22nd Dist., N.Y.)

“A growing number of fake meat products are clearly trying to mislead consumers about what they’re trying to get them to buy,” said NCBA President and Tennessee cattlewoman Jennifer Houston. “Consumers need to be protected from deceptive marketing practices, and cattle producers need to be able to compete on a fair, level playing field. We want to thank Congressmen Brindisi and Marshall for leading the way on this very important issue.”

Specifically, The Real Meat Act will: Continue reading

10-28-19 USCA: House Introduces The Real MEAT Act

USCA: House Introduces The Real MEAT Act

“USCA members have played a critical role in the effort to ensure Truth in Labeling, not only on beef products Born, Raised and Harvested in the U.S.A., but also on alternative protein products. The Real MEAT Act satisfies part of USCA’s ask to USDA FSIS in its 2018 petition for rulemaking by defining ‘beef’ as a product that is derived exclusively from the flesh of a bovine animal. USCA is pleased to see Rep. Brindisi and Rep. Marshall join the effort in establishing a federal beef definition and clear, transparent regulations governing the labeling of plant-based proteins. USCA will be urging co-sponsors in the House and bill introduction in the Senate.” – Lia Biondo, Director of Policy and Outreach

(WASHINGTON) – Today, U.S. House of Representatives members Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced the The Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully (MEAT) Act of 2019 to combat the rise of misleading labels on alternative protein products.

The Real MEAT Act will codify the definition of beef for labeling purposes, reinforce existing misbranding provisions to eliminate consumer confusion, and enhance enforcement measures available to the USDA if the FDA fails to take appropriate action. Continue reading

10-28-19 U.S. Animal Health Association Coverage by JoAnn Alumbaugh: “Next Generation of Veterinarians is High Priority for USAHA”

U.S. Animal Health Association Coverage by JoAnn Alumbaugh: “Next Generation of Veterinarians is High Priority for USAHA

Baby boomers are retiring in all professions, but the oncoming void seems to be more evident in the veterinary profession than in many others. The long hours, the stress of dealing with animal health issues, the cost of vet school – all these factors weigh heavily has young people consider what they want to do as a career.

On the other hand, the rewards can be great, Dr. Valerie Ragan told students attending the 2019 U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) annual meeting this week in Providence, R.I. Dr. Ragan is with the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM), and her passion for students is evident. She knows how important it is to cultivate the next generation of animal health professionals and she’s making every effort to do just that.

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10-28-19 U.S. Animal Health Association Coverage by JoAnn Alumbaugh: “5 Animal Health Topics to Think About”

U.S. Animal Health Association Coverage by JoAnn Alumbaugh: “5 Animal Health Topics to Think About”

Behind the scenes, animal health officials are working on behalf of producers and the livestock industry. Some issues are top-of-mind, like African swine fever, but others might not be on your radar. Participants of the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials met on Friday, Oct. 25, in conjunction with the 2019 U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) annual meeting in Providence, R.I. Here are six topics of interest discussed during the meeting. Continue reading

10-28-19 NMPF: Dairy Defined – Working Together is the Heart of Dairy

NMPF: Dairy Defined – Working Together is the Heart of Dairy

ARLINGTON, Va. – Dairy is a quirky commodity. It’s a highly perishable product “harvested” every day. It’s in all 50 states. And more than for most other commodities, dairy farmers are organized into cooperatives, putting the cooperative principle of working together at the heart of the industry. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, October 28th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, October 28th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Chinese Importers Buy Even More U.S. Soybeans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that private exporters reported the sale of 264,000 tons of U.S. soybeans to China for delivery in the 2019/2020 marketing year. The deal comes as hopes continue for a partial trade deal between the world’s two largest economies. Reuters says this is the first U.S. government confirmation of a soybean sale to China since October 11, when President Trump announced that China will buy up to $50 billion in American farm commodities thanks to a partial trade agreement. A prior report showed U.S. soybean export sales of 475,200 tons, which included just 68,300 tons to China during the week ending on October 17. Those numbers were quite a bit lower than analysts’ projections for that week, ranging from 800,000 to 1.6 million tons. Earlier last week, Beijing had offered major Chinese and international soybean processors waivers that would exempt them from tariffs on imports of up to 10 million tons of U.S. soybeans. USDA has confirmed sales totaling six million tons of soybeans to China since the marketing year began on September 1. That compares with just 431,000 tons over the same time in 2018, as well as 8.4 million tons during the same period in 2017, before the trade war.


Ag Sales Could Hit Pre-Trade War Levels by 2020 Election

U.S. farmers could see a return to a pre-trade war level of ag sales to China by the 2020 election. Bloomberg says that would relieve economic pressure on one of President Trump’s key voting blocs as he campaigns for another term. The president announced a tentative partial trade deal back on October 11. China is looking to buy $20 billion worth of agricultural products per year if the partial deal with the U.S. is signed. People familiar with the negotiations told Bloomberg that China would consider boosting that level of purchases as high as $40-50 billion. That would take China’s imports of American commodities back to near-2017 levels before the feud broke out between the White House and Beijing. People close to the situation say increasing the level of purchases would depend on President Trump removing remaining punitive tariffs. Beijing says it will exempt some U.S. agricultural goods from tariffs if the U.S. removes tariffs imposed on September 1 and cancels the tariff hike scheduled for December. President Trump is hoping that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign a phase-one deal when they meet in Chile next month. Chinese officials have also said publicly that talks are progressing.


Mexico Says U.S. Congress Will Move on USMCA Trade Deal Soon

Mexico’s Deputy Foreign Minister for North America said Friday that he believes U.S. lawmakers will begin the process of approving the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement soon. He believes it will move forward in the U.S. Congress now that Mexican President Obrador has vowed to increase wages and funding for labor reforms. A Yahoo Dot Com article says the USMCA must win approval in a divided U.S. Congress, where Republicans control the Senate and Democrats control the House. At a news conference last week, the Deputy Foreign Minister said, “The progress made in dialogue with House Speaker Pelosi, U.S. lawmakers, and negotiators makes us think that the end to this complex story is near, that soon we’ll see the United States initiate the formal process for approving the trade deal.” Mexican President Obrador has vowed to increase wages and other labor provisions in a campaign to convince House Democrats to ratify the North American trade agreement. When reporters asked if Mexico’s push to convince U.S. lawmakers about its commitment to implement the labor reforms was working, the Deputy Minister said, “I think we’re getting there.” President Obrador sent a letter recently to Speaker Pelosi calling for ratification “soon,” to not have the 2020 election process “Impede or delay” its finalization.


Rabo Agrifinance Offering Industry’s First Organic Transition Loan

Farmers looking for organic certification on all or part of their operations can get some financial help from Rabo Agrifinance. The company has developed a loan product so farmers can get the capital they need up front to help with costs associated with changing production practices. Farmers can then schedule loan repayments when they get additional revenue from selling certified organic products. The USDA requires a three-year transition period for farmers to get their land certified as organic. The deputy head of Rabo Agrifinance says, “During that transition period, farmers often experience yield loss in comparison to conventional production, and they can’t collect organic premiums for that land’s production to compensate for the lower yield. That challenge has created a financial barrier against making the transition to organic production.” Farmers want to take advantage of consumer demand for organic products, but they often have trouble penciling out how they’ll survive the transition period it takes to be able to meet that demand. Stephen Nicholson, a grain and oilseed analyst at Rabo Agrifinance, says the demand for organic products has grown faster than domestic production.  


USDA Releases Partial List of Agricultural Projections to 2029

The USDA will release selected tables prepared for the upcoming “USDA Agricultural Projections to 2029” report on November 1. USDA will post online tables containing long-term supply, use, and price projections to 2029 for major U.S. crops and livestock products. The tables will also include supporting U.S. and international macroeconomic assumptions. The short-term projections from the October 11, 2019, WASDE report are used as a starting point. The complete USDA Agricultural Projections to 2029 will be released in February of 2020. The complete report will include a full discussion of the commodity supply and use projections, as well as projections for farm income and global commodity trade. The early-release tables will be posted to the Office of the Chief Economist’s website at www.usda.gov/oce. USDA’s long-term agricultural projections represent a departmental consensus on a ten-year representative scenario for the agricultural sector. The projections don’t represent USDA forecasts, but rather reflect a conditional long-run scenario based on specific assumptions about macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments, along with no domestic or external shocks to global agricultural markets.


Legislation Will Protect America’s Food Supply

The Senate unanimously approved bipartisan legislation designed to address the shortage of agricultural inspectors who protect the nation’s food supply and agricultural industries at the border. The Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019 would ensure the safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across the nation’s borders. It authorizes the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire additional inspectors, support staff, and even canine teams to fully staff American airports, seaports, and land ports of entry. “Agriculture is a critical economic driver across the country, but longstanding shortages of agricultural inspectors limit Customs and Border Protection’s ability to prevent pests, diseases, and other dangers from entering our country and putting production agriculture at risk,” says Michigan Democrat Gary Peters, one of four senators who introduced the legislation. Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Robers says, “By strengthening the agricultural inspector workforce at the border, American agriculture and our entire food system will be safer.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service