11-19-19 Farm Foundation: FFAR Awards $10.3 Million to Support Ecosystem Services Markets for Farmers and Ranchers

Farm Foundation: FFAR Awards $10.3 Million to Support Ecosystem Services Markets for Farmers and Ranchers 

ESMRCOAK BROOK, IL November 19, 2019 – In a lead up to the Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Indianapolis, the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) jointly announced on November 19 the award of $10.3 million from FFAR to establish the research component of ESMC that supports the development of a national environmental credit marketplace. ESMC and its members will match the grant over three years to fund research and development projects in this public-private partnership for a total investment of $20.6 million. Continue reading

11-19-19 USDA Invests in Drinking Water Quality and Wastewater Management for 784,000 Rural Residents and Businesses in 42 States, including CO

USDA Invests in Drinking Water Quality and Wastewater Management for 784,000 Rural Residents and Businesses in 42 States, including CO

Projects will Improve Water Pressure, Address Public Health and Environmental Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 19, 2019 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that the department is investing $635 million in 122 projects (PDF, 315 KB) to improve water systems and wastewater handling services in rural communities in 42 states. USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.

“These investments will bring reliable infrastructure to rural communities. They will replace old, fragile, leaking water pipes with new ones and allow upgrades to water handling systems that are decades old, boosting water pressure and cutting water losses. Working with our partners, these investments create jobs and improve public health and safety,” LaVoy said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

The projects announced today are in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Eligible applicants include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits.

Below are examples of water and wastewater projects in rural communities that will receive funding:

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11-19-19 Together We Grow expanding with new center, executive director at Colorado State University

Together We Grow expanding with new center, executive director at Colorado State University

Denver, Colo. – Together We Grow (TWG), a consortium of some of the world’s largest agribusiness interests focused on building a skilled, diverse, and inclusive agricultural workforce, today announced plans to expand the organization’s reach by establishing an educational and research center at Colorado State University.

TWG’s Center for an Enhanced Workforce in Agriculture will be headquartered at the CSU System Campus at the redeveloped National Western Center in Denver. The Center will be led by newly named executive director Kristin Kirkpatrick, a leader in promoting food literacy education in schools nationwide, and will focus on building a more diversified pipeline of talent for the agricultural industry.

“Our industry has a unique challenge and opportunity to nourish the world, and diversity and inclusion are the proven keys to the success we need to address this challenge,” said Michael D’Ambrose, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), who founded the TWG consortium. “Together We Grow gives us a platform to freely and openly share best practices across the industry and demonstrate the power of an aligned group committed to taking innovative industry-wide actions. The creation of TWG’s Center for an Enhanced Workforce in Agriculture will help us to take these efforts to the next level, and we are excited that CSU and Kristin have stepped in to lead the way forward.”

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11-19-19 CFVGA Sixth Annual Conference Feb. 24-25, 2020

CFVGA Sixth Annual Conference Feb. 24-25, 2020

The Power of Produce Research & Marketing Expert to Keynote Opening Session

John Cravens, Yercic Label,

The Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) will hold its sixth annual conference Feb. 24-25, 2020, at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel. Kicking off the conference will be John Cravens, Yercic Label, addressing the latest in produce trends and research findings.

“High-quality produce remains the number one driver in a consumer’s grocery store choice, which provides Colorado fruit and vegetable growers with tremendous opportunity,” said Cravens. “In addition, 53 percent of shoppers said they want to see an expanded local assortment in their produce section.”

11-19-19 WGCD Announces 2020 Conservation Scholarship Opportunities

WGCD Announces 2020 Conservation Scholarship Opportunities

West Greeley Conservation District (WGCD) hosts a scholarship award program annually for eligible graduating high school seniors whose families live within WGCD boundaries and are taxpayers to the District.

Applicants must be planning to be full-time students attending a Colorado institution of higher learning and studying agriculture, conservation and related degree fields. Students must be graduating with a 3.0 or better grade point average.  Scholarship Application packets must be received by 4 p.m. Friday, March 20th. The Scholarship award is $5,000 per student.

– A map showing our District boundaries can be found at: Continue reading

11-19-19 WGCD’s 2019 Conservation Poster Winners Recognized

WGCD’s 2019 Conservation Poster Winners Recognized

Greeley, CO – Three local students were recognized at the West Greeley Conservation District’s (WGCD) Annual Dinner Meeting and Awards Thursday (11/14/2019) in front of over 200 attendees at Island Grove Regional Park. These students earned this recognition by creating lovely conservation posters exhibiting this year’s theme:

“Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper.”

First place went to Autumn Tracy a 6th grade student at Windsor Middle School in Corrina Hotra’s Art class. Second and third place honors went to 6th graders in Mindy Hughes class at Dayspring Christian Academy. Second place recognized Isabella “Bella” Flores artwork and 3rd place was earned by Chloe Wright.

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11-19-19 WGCD Annual Meeting and Awards Recap

WGCD Annual Meeting & Awards Recap

Greeley/Weld County CO – The West Greeley Conservation District (WGCD) hosted over 200 District members at their 71st Annual Meeting and awards supper Thursday, November 14th at the Island Grove Regional Park Event Center. Following their annual meeting John Leone, President of the Board of Supervisors, presented two local individuals Conservation Awards. Dr Ben Brown, DVM & Don Brazelton were recognized during the awards ceremony. Continue reading

11-19-19 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Hong Kong Protests Weigh Heavily on City’s Economy and Impact Consumer Choices

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Hong Kong Protests Weigh Heavily on City’s Economy and Impact Consumer Choices 

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

DENVER, CO -November 19, 2019 – At the recent U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Ariz., Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, reported to producers and exporters on the volatile situation in Hong Kong, where large-scale street protests have been taking place for several months.

Haggard, a longtime resident of Hong Kong, notes that protesters have been successful in disrupting Hong Kong’s public transportation system, often stifling economic activity in the city’s main shopping areas. The number of tourists, especially from mainland China, has declined significantly since the protests heightened, which is having a harsh impact on Hong Kong’s hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector. On the other hand, neighborhood supermarkets and taverns have seen brisk activity, as Hong Kong residents are more inclined to eat at home or choose food and beverage outlets closer to home.

Haggard adds that the economic slowdown is definitely impacting Hong Kong’s demand for imported meat, but it is not the only factor holding back red meat trade this year. Traders’ ability to re-export from Hong Kong has been in decline for some time, and mainland China’s tight hog and pork supplies due to African swine fever are also lowering the volumes of fresh pork entering Hong Kong.

10:15am Session 11-7-2019

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 19th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 19th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA Announces Second Round of MFP Payments

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the second round of Market Facilitation Program payments will be heading out to farmers suffering from trade retaliation by foreign nations. The payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving. Producers of eligible commodities will now be eligible to get 25 percent of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50 percent they already received. “The second round of payments, along with the already provided disaster assistance, will give farmers, who’ve had a tough year due to unfair trade retaliation and natural disasters, much-needed funds in time for Thanksgiving,” Perdue says. “While we continue to have confidence in the President’s negotiations with China, this money will show that President Trump is following through on his promise to help and support farmers as he continues to fight for fair market access. Earlier this year, President Trump authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in aid through various programs, which is in line with the estimated impact of the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.

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Monopoly Concerns Surround DFA Acquisition of Dean Foods

Dean Foods, one of America’s largest dairy companies, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. A New Food Economy report says that leaves a lot of dairy producers up in the air about where they’ll be selling their milk in the future. The timing of the bankruptcy couldn’t be worse as milk prices are still low, even though they’ve bounced back somewhat in recent months. In the announcement last week, Dean Foods said it was “engaged in advance talks with Dairy Farmers of America about a possible acquisition.” DFA is the country’s biggest dairy cooperative. However, one antitrust expert says the potential deal causes serious concerns about anti-competitive activity. Cooperatives negotiate with processors like Dean Foods on behalf of producers to get the best price they can for their farmers. “The problem with DFA is the conflict of interest that will result from trying to lower prices to farmers to increase their revenue as a milk producer,” says Peter Carstensen, a University of Wisconsin Law School Professor. Some farmers have accused the co-op in the past of trying to suppress milk prices to maximize its profits. Dairy Farmers of America represents over 13,000 dairy producers and controls 30 percent of the milk production in the U.S.

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Moderate Democrats Now Pushing for USMCA

More than a dozen House Democrats from key battleground states are now trying to rally support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Politico says they held a special caucus meeting to talk through the issue. The push marks the newest sign that moderate House Democrats are getting impatient over a lack of movement toward getting the deal finally done. Some of the moderate Democrats worried about potential pushback from progressives, which they did get from Representatives Jan Schakowsky (Sha-KOW-skee) and Bill Pascrell. Schakowsky did say after the meeting that she’s confident they can reach an agreement before the end of this year. However, she cautioned those who are “anxious just to move the deal,” saying they need to make sure it gets done the right way. Late last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave a positive indication of USCMA’s fate in Congress. The California Democrat said a deal between House Democrats and the Trump Administration was “imminent.” Politico says that means an announcement could be coming within days. “I do believe if we can get this to a place it needs to be, which is imminent, this can be a template for future trade agreements,” she said. “A good template.”

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Biodiesel Coalition Sends Joint Letter to Congress on Tax Incentives

The National Biodiesel Board teamed up with 140 member companies, allied trade associations, and industry partners to send a letter to House and Senate leadership on expired tax incentives. They’re asking Congress to extend those incentives before the end of 2019. The Hagstrom Report says the letter attempts to convince Congressional leadership that an “immediate extension of the biodiesel tax incentive is vital to prevent a severe economic disruption of the U.S. biodiesel industry.” The groups say 10 biodiesel plants have closed or cut back on production since the start of 2019. Several hundred workers have been furloughed and as the economic impact spreads across the U.S. economy, it will impact more than 7,500 jobs. Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Texas have all seen work slowdowns or stoppages at their biodiesel plants. NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik says an immediate extension of the tax credit is vital to prevent more plants from closing, more production cutbacks, as well as potentially many more jobs being lost. “Continued uncertainty about the tax incentive impacts businesses, workers, and industry partners across the economy and in every state,” Kovarik adds. “The number of companies and trade groups that joined us on the letter demonstrates the broad impact of the expired incentives.”

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Farm Finances Weaken Further Amid Uncertainty

Farm credit conditions within the Federal Reserve’s Tenth District steadily deteriorated in the third quarter of 2019. The Kansas City Fed Report says in spite of a slight increase in the price of some agricultural goods, as well as additional support from government payments, farm income declined at a modest pace. Loan repayment rates also declined at a modest pace in the third quarter. District bankers say agricultural economic conditions were influenced by uncertainty about crop production, agricultural trade uncertainty, as well as a variety of other factors, all contributed to commodity price fluctuations. Continuing weakness in the ag sector put even more pressure on farm finances. Signs of modest increases in credit stress continued in the third quarter of 2019. Farm borrowers made additional cuts in spending in response to the continued lower-revenue environment. 75 percent of bankers reported farmer working capital deteriorated at least modestly in 2019, compared with 90 percent as recently as 2016. However, farmland values continue to be a positive note in the sector. Those values remained stable and continue to provide ongoing support to an otherwise struggling economic sector.

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House Ag Chair Leads Letter on Midwest Propane Shortages

House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson of Minnesota and a group of bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to the Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The letter sent on behalf of farmers and rural residents in the Midwest is intended to bring awareness of the need for a continued supply of propane to the Midwest states. The letter details how farmers and grain elevator operators are dealing with propane shortages while trying to finish harvest and prepare their grain for storage. The propane shortage is hitting because of early cold temperatures in the region, which has picked up residential use of propane to heat homes. Back in 2014, the commission took extraordinary measures to address catastrophic conditions and shortages of propane. The letter is intended to remind commissioners that they do have the tools needed to help address the conditions facing rural communities. The letter says, “We hope to avoid a disastrous situation with cold temperatures and snow in the forecast spiking demand for residential deliveries just as farms are needing to heat poultry and livestock barns. Crop farmers also need to dry down their commodities after one of the most frustrating harvest seasons in years.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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