12-31-19 The BARN’s TOP 20 Livestream Webcasts of 2019

The BARN’s TOP 20 Livestream Webcasts of 2019

#1 – The 147th Colorado State Fair Junior Livestock Shows/Showmanship/Championships & Colorado Energy Cooperatives Junior Livestock Sale from Pueblo, CO 

#2 – 91st Colorado FFA State Convention from CSU-Pueblo

#3 – 2019 CO Auctioneer Association’s State Auctioneer Championship from Denver, CO

#4 – 1st-Ever Mile High Auctioneer Contest from the Beef Palace Auction Arena @ the 113th NWSS in Denver, CO

#5  The 2019 3R Symposium at the Big Red Barn at Highland Meadows in Windsor, CO Continue reading

12-31-19 The BARN’s TOP 20: Ag News & Interviews

The BARN’s Top 20 122719The BARN’s TOP 20: Ag News & Interviews

#1  Op-Ed from CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, “Evil D.C. Politics Infiltrates Colorado Capitol”

#2  CPW News: Colorado and Kansas sign historic agreement for a permanent water supply at CPW’s John Martin Reservoir State Park

#3  CSU Welcomes Dr. J. Brad Morgan to Animal Science Faculty

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

#5 Op-Ed from CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, “Government at its Worse” Continue reading

12-31-19 USDA RADIO: Coming Mid -January–Signing of Phase One Trade Deal with China

USDA RADIO: Coming Mid -January–Signing of Phase One Trade Deal with China

WASHINGTON D.C. – December 31, 2019  – The U.S. and China will sign a new trade agreement very soon. The signing place and date have been set. (Gary Crawford, President Donald Trump and Rob Johansson)

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12-31-19 U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s Statement on Heavy Drone Activity in Eastern Colorado

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s Statement on Heavy Drone Activity in Eastern Colorado

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, released the following statement regarding the heavy drone activity in Eastern Colorado:

“I’ve been in contact with the FAA and I’m encouraged that they’ve opened a full investigation to learn the source and purpose of the drones. I will continue to closely monitor the situation,” said Senator Gardner.

Background:

  • In December, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a proposed rule aimed at requiring drone users to implement a Remote Identification (Remote ID) system, which allows drones to be tracked and identified.
  • Senator Gardner supported Remote ID requirements in the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016, which prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to make this new proposed rule.

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.

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 31st

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 31st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Report says Phase One Trade Deal Signing May Happen This Weekend

Reports surfaced early on Monday that the Chinese Vice Premier will lead a delegation to Washington, D.C., to sign the Phase One trade deal. A source close to the situation tells the South China Morning Post that Liu (Lou) He will fly to Washington on Saturday to sign the agreement. The source said the U.S. extended the invitation and Liu has accepted. Farm Futures reports that Beijing and Washington haven’t confirmed the trip yet. China is already buying larger amounts of U.S. agricultural products, including soybeans, which was a big part of the agreement for U.S President Donald Trump. The possibility of making the deal official this weekend will mean increased purchases by China, as well as a partial end to the trade war that’s dominated headlines for the past 18 months. China’s soybean imports from the U.S. recently hit a 20-month high at 2.6 million tons, the highest number since March of 2018, when the trade war between the world’s largest economies began to pick up steam. Reports of higher food prices in China will likely mean a need for increased imports of U.S. agricultural goods in the months ahead to bring down those prices.

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White House Adviser says Agreement with China is a Done Deal

White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro said on Monday afternoon that the Phase One trade deal with China is wrapped up. “That’s a done deal,” Navarro says. “You can put that one in the bag.” The one thing he didn’t do was confirm a report by the South China Morning Post that China’s Vice Premier will be in Washington to sign the deal this weekend. Navarro giving his affirmation to the deal with China shows that President Trump doesn’t face pressure from conservatives to negotiate more favorable terms for the U.S. Navarro’s hostility toward China and its global trade and economic practices is well known in Washington, as he published a book during his career titled “Death by China.” Under the agreement announced on December 13, the U.S. put off implementing new tariffs on Chinese imports while reducing some existing duties. China agreed to bigger purchases of American agricultural products and made new commitments on intellectual property projections and forced technology transfers. As of now, the exact terms of the agreement haven’t been announced.  

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Ag Negotiator; $80 Billion in Purchases “Doable” for China

The Phase One trade agreement between China and the U.S. has the two nations in “close contact” as they work toward getting the deal finally signed. U.S. Chief Ag Negotiator Gregg Doud says the agreement between the world’s two largest economies will mean big numbers of Chinese agricultural purchases of U.S. ag commodities. He tells Farm Journal that, “China’s purchase commitment is built upon a base year of $24 billion in ag purchases, which occurred in 2017. What China has agreed to do is buy an additional $32 billion over the next two years on top of that $24 billion mark.” Doud did acknowledge there are those people who say China’s potential purchase levels will be hard to reach. However, he says that it doesn’t take into account some of the new structural changes in the agreement. “China imported $124 billion in ag products last year from around the world,” he says. “What we’re asking China to do is to commit to $40 billion out of that $124 billion total.” He thinks because of the structural changes in the deal, China will be more than able to accomplish that.

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U.S. Farm Exports to Philippines Hit Record

The United States has seen a lot of benefits from the Philippines’ growing demand for imported agricultural products. The USDA’s Foreign Ag Service says agricultural exports to the Philippines will reach a record of $3 billion by the end of this year as shipments continue to arrive. The U.S. currently commands 28 percent of market share in the nation, making it the largest supplier of agricultural products. Last year, the Philippines was the 11th-largest market for U.S. ag exports. The top five products included soybean meal, wheat, dairy products, pork and pork products, as well as poultry. Last year, ag exports to the Southeast Asian nation reached a record of $2.9 billion. U.S. soybean meal was the highest-value export, worth $884 million in 2018. USDA data shows that “While sales were down four percent from January to October year-on-year, Manilla officials still expect a record $3 billion as shipments picked up ahead of the holiday season.” U.S. food and beverage products alone will reach a record $1.2 billion by the end of 2019, which amounts to more than 29,000 container trucks.

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USDA Sets Requirements for Meat and Poultry Labels

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a clarification on its requirements for accuracy in labeling of meat and poultry products. An Agri-Pulse report says the Food Safety and Inspection Service says the only way beef can be labeled “grass-fed” is if they fed on grass or forage 100 percent of the time after they were weaned. Because cattle would then have to have access to pasture until slaughter, they can’t ever be put into a feedlot. Products that come from animals with less than 100 percent access to grass or forage before slaughter can’t use the term grass-fed. The only way that can happen is if the label makes it clear that at least some of the animal’s dietary needs came from grain. As an example, the report says an acceptable label could be “Made from cows that are fed 85 percent grass and 15 percent corn.” The guidance that came out late last week also says certified organic products can be labeled legally as “raised without antibiotics” or “no added hormones” with no documentation required. The farm that produced the organic livestock or poultry, as well as the processor, have to be certified organic under USDA standards.

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USB Sets Goals for 2020

United Soybean Board CEO Polly Ruhland recently announced her group’s priorities for the year ahead. 2020 goals will include improving farmer profitability by focusing in on meal, oil, and sustainability. One of the things they’re researching this year is to prove the amino acid profile, as well as how valuable it can be to livestock producers that feed soy to their animals. That’s why they’re looking further into both their meal and protein quality improvements in the soybean. Another area of focus for USB is enhancing and communicating the sustainability of soy. Improvements in technology over the years have allowed soybean farmers to grow more soybeans and use fewer acres of land to do it. They want the public to know that the sustainability of soy can help the planet and put profit into a farmer’s operation at the same time. Another 2020 objective is to focus their research on the benefits of soybean oil, more specifically in high oleic soybean oil. The objectives were highlighted this month during the United Soybean Board meeting in December.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-30-19 FSA-Logan County Colorado: Come Learn about the Conservation Reserve Program on Jan 8th!

FSA-Logan County Colorado: Come Learn about the Conservation Reserve Program!

The Logan County FSA Office will be hosting a producer meeting on January 8, 2020 at the Logan County Extension Service, 508 S 10th Ave, #1, Sterling, Colorado beginning at 1:00 pm. Producers are encouraged to attend this meeting to learn more about the CRP program including what land is eligible and ways that this program might be beneficial to their agricultural operation.

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12-30-19 Inside The BARN with Colorado AgrAbility’s James Craig: 2020 Winter Workshops & More…

Inside The BARN with Colorado AgrAbility’s James Craig: 2020 Winter Workshops & More…

BARN Media – Briggsdale, CO – December30, 2019Did you know that Colorado agriculture is a big, dangerous business? The state has 28,268 farms and it had 78 agricultural fatalities 1997-2000. Colorado has 1,600 injury compensation claims for agricultural-related injuries that result in a loss of over $8 million each year. There are an estimated 6,965-10,882 farmers/ranchers with disabilities. With that in mind, if you, a loved one or someone you know has suffered from an injury that has left them temporarily or permanently disabled and they need help on their farm/ranch…then you need to make plans on attending a Colorado AgrAbility Winter Workshop in your area in January or February…

Joining the Colorado Ag News Network to discuss the Colorado AgrAbility program and those upcoming 2020 Winter Workshops is Dr. James Craig, Rural Rehabilitation Specialist with Colorado AgrAbility, who is also a retired US Marine Corp veteran…

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Colorado agriculture is a big, dangerous business. The state has 28,268 farms and it had 78 agricultural fatalities 1997-2000. Colorado has 1,600 injury compensation claims for agricultural-related injuries that result in a loss of over $8 million each year. There are an estimated 6,965-10,882 farmers/ranchers with disabilities. Continue reading

12-30-19 NMPF’S Dairy Defined: NMPF’s Vitaliano Discusses Dairy’s Recovery

NMPF’S Dairy Defined: NMPF’s Vitaliano Discusses Dairy’s Recovery

ARLINGTON, VA – U.S. milk prices ended 2019 at their highest in five years. And while 2020 may see those gains cool off a bit, they should stay high enough for many producers to start recovering from the doldrums they faced in the second half of the 2010s.

“The bleeding of the past several years will probably stop, to some extent,” said Vitaliano, NMPF’s chief economist and creator of the Dairy Market Report, a monthly drill-down on what’s driving dairy markets. Still, producers must be vigilant to keep costs under control to stay competitive both domestically and internationally, given the cyclical nature of dairy prices, he said.  Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, December 30th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, December 30th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Skepticism Remains Over China’s Ag Purchases

An Associated Press report says there are still people on both sides of the Pacific Ocean who remain skeptical about the actual amount of farm goods that China committed to buy in the “Phase One” trade agreement with the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the amount will total $40 billion a year. However, President Trump says the total is actually “much more than $50 billion.” Is it realistic? Even in the best of times, exports to China has never been higher than $26 billion in any year. Beijing may be locked into contracts with other suppliers like Brazil and Argentina it lined up after the trade war broke out with the U.S. Chad Hart, an Ag Economist with Iowa State University, says, “History says we’ve never been close to that level. There’s no clear path to getting us there in one year.” However, the skepticism actually works both ways. A trade specialist at the University of International Business in Beijing says the figure is $40 billion and he wonders if the U.S. can ensure the full supply of products to equal that value. At this point, farmers that talked to the AP say they’re hopeful but guarded in their expectations. Iowa farmer Jeff Jorgeson says, “At this point, we have to see more details.”

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Don’t Forget about Wheat in the Phase One Trade Deal

When news broke about the Phase One trade deal between the U.S. and China, it made the soybean industry especially happy. A Bloomberg report says don’t forget about wheat, which could also be a big winner in the agreement. Speculation is rising that China will work to fill its wheat-buying quota as part of the agreement. That will likely create new demand for wheat because China has failed to live up to its wheat-purchasing promises in the past. Soybean purchases are likely to be somewhat more limited because of the African Swine Fever outbreak across the country, which will lower typical demand levels. If Chinese wheat purchases were to reach the quota mark of 9.6 million tons, that would represent a huge demand jump. In the six years prior to and up through 2017, buying has averaged less than 50 percent of that allotment. The timing could be good for U.S. farmers. Tighter corn supplies in Brazil and wheat supplies in Russia, the world’s top wheat exporter, have made American grain more competitively priced in the world market. That’s already causing Chinese importers to begin to boost their purchase levels from the U.S.

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China Changing Hog Production After AFS Outbreak

The Chinese Ag Ministry says large hog farms are lining up with the smaller family-owned farms as part of a state-initiated investment worth about $7.1 billion dollars. The goal of the new initiative is to boost hog operations across the country that were hit hard by the African Swine Fever outbreak. A Reuters report says fifteen of the country’s leading pig farms signed 19 agreements with local governments in 16 Chinese cities to raise pigs together. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs says these projects should produce over 22 million hogs for slaughter every year and will involve 33,000 poor rural families. While announcing the plan, the ministry didn’t give a specific timeline on when this would take place. Bigger farms are being encouraged to purchase a stake in or lease medium and smaller farms. They’re also being asked to make these arrangements as quickly as possible by building a number of standardized household-based farms, slaughterhouses, and refrigerating centers. China’s hog herds, once the biggest in the world, has dropped almost 40 percent since the ASF outbreak began in mid-2018. China is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of pork.

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USDA; Climate Change May Increase the Cost of Federal Crop Insurance

The USDA’s Economic Research Service looked into the ways that climate change could affect the cost of the Federal Crop Insurance Program. Researchers worked with statistical models to predict crop yields from historical weather data. They used weather simulations from climate models to build scenarios showing how yields might respond to climate change. Economic models then simulated how farmers and markets might respond to changes in weather and yield. The study explored the potential impacts in the year 2080. It compared climate scenarios arising from different projections of greenhouse gas emissions levels to a hypothetical future with a climate similar to that of the past several decades. Under that scenario with moderate emissions reductions, in which farmers adapt to changes in climate with adjustments to what they plant, where they plant it, and how they manage it, the cost of today’s Federal Crop Insurance Program would average about 3.5 percent higher than under a future with a climate similar to that of the recent past. Under the scenario in which emissions trends continue, the cost of the FCIP would increase by an average of 22 percent.

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Brazil Soybeans Taking Much of U.S. Market Share in China

While China has been the world’s largest importer of soybeans for some time, Brazil and the U.S. have been competing for the top spot as the world’s largest exporter to China. Back in the 1990s, the U.S. was the top soybean exporter. During the end of that decade, both the U.S. and Brazil increased their exports to answer a growing demand for soybeans in China. Brazil’s exports grew more quickly than the U.S. During the ‘90s, the U.S. supplied as much as 50 percent of China’s soybean imports, but that number gradually declined further into the 2000s. Brazil’s share first matched the U.S. total in 2002 when each country supplied about 35 percent of China’s imports. Between 2002 and 2011, each country’s share of soybean exports to China totaled between 35 and 50 percent. Brazil’s share jumped to 50 percent of all exports to China between 2012 and 2016 as the U.S. share dropped to about 40 percent. That number would drop to 30 percent in 2017 as China’s tariff on U.S. soybeans took effect later in the marketing year. During the first nine months of China’s 2018/19 marketing year, Brazil’s share of the soybean import levels rose to 77 percent, while the U.S. share was just 10 percent.

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Ten Signs of Farm Financial Stress to Watch Out For

Things have been hard in agriculture and more specifically, it’s been hard to be a farmer. Wet weather, low crop prices, as well as trade disputes have put some farmers on the edge. Financial stress is taking a toll and Successful Farming has put together a list of signs that may indicate a farmer is suffering from significant financial stress. Signs include isolation or withdrawal, as well as talking in a monotone voice or lacking facial expressions, and outbursts of anger or abrasive behavior toward others, including children. After that, they list confusion, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. Also on the list is blaming others such as banks or spouses, binge eating, gambling, or drinking. Sleeping too much or not enough is also on the list, as is a lack of pride in the appearance of the operation, including the buildings and grounds. Not caring for livestock is another sign to watch for, as are more farm accidents.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-27-19 Colorado AgrAbility announces 2020 Winter Workshops…

Colorado AgrAbility announces 2020 Winter Workshops…
About Colorado AgrAbility Project

Colorado State University Extension and Goodwill Industries of Denver work together on the Colorado AgrAbility Project to provide disability workshops, on-site evaluations, resource information, equipment modification, and assistive technology. The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides funding for the Colorado AgrAbility Project. Learn more online @ https://agrability.agsci.colostate.edu/

About Goodwill Industries of Denver

Goodwill Industries of Denver seeks to reverse the cycle of poverty through career preparation and skills training for at-risk youth, struggling families, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. Through its thrift retail operations and community programs, Goodwill is ensuring that every individual in our community has the opportunity to live to their fullest potential and overcome barriers to success and self-sufficiency. Visit www.goodwilldenver.org to learn more

USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for December 27th

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

Weekly Export Sales for December 27th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 27th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 27th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Chinese Soybean Purchases Rise in November

Soon after China announced a partial trade agreement with the U.S., their purchases of American soybeans in November jumped higher. November imports jumped to 5.4 million tons, which was almost 54 percent higher than last year. An Associated Press report says U.S. soybean imports into China more than doubled from the previous month’s 2.6 million tons. That number comes from AWeb.com, a news website that serves the Chinese farming industry. China cut off purchases of U.S. soybeans as the trade war with Washington, D.C., kicked into high gear. While the two countries announced the “Phase One” deal back in October, they haven’t released any specific details regarding the agreement. The AP report says U.S. officials now think the agreement could be signed as early as January. As a part of the agreement, U.S. officials say Beijing will be buying a lot more U.S. farm products. However, Chinese officials have yet to confirm how big the purchases will be. Chinese government spokespeople did confirm that importers were already placing orders in September but didn’t give out any details of those purchases. Chinese buyers use a lot of soybeans as animal feed and to crush for their cooking oil.  

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First U.S. Shipment of Chicken to China Arrives in January

USA Poultry and Egg Export President Jim Sumner tells Agri-Pulse that the first U.S. chicken shipment to China in a long time will enter the Asian country next month. It marks a resumption of those shipments after China lifted a ban on U.S. chicken just over a month ago. The Chinese ban was initially implemented after an avian influenza outbreak in the U.S. While that outbreak was stamped out a long time ago, China finally lifted its ban after the U.S. approved the importing of Chinese chicken, something Beijing had demanded for a long time. “The first shipment heading to China is chicken paws from Georgia that will head out from the Port of Savannah,” says Sumner. “We’re thrilled that the first shipment in years is coming from Georgia, the number one chicken producer in the nation.” The first shipment is expected to contain about 50,000 pounds of chicken paws and is the start of what should be a quick ramp-up in chicken shipments to China. The U.S. industry got Chinese approval for shipments from 172 facilities, but most of those cold storage units weren’t included. That should be rectified soon as 177 applications came in from cold storage facilities that should be approved any day now.

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USMEF Looks to Expand Pork Opportunities in Hong Kong

The U.S Meat Export Federation is planning to fill the fresh pork supply shortfall in Hong Kong with U.S. chilled pork. The African Swine Fever Virus caused the number of live hogs coming into Hong Kong from China to drop by fifty percent, with the numbers running below 2,000 head per day. “This has caused a shortage of local, fresh pork, and the fresh pork product that is available is being sold at much higher prices,” says Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. He says the opportunity could benefit the U.S. industry in both the short and long term, as more Asian consumers get used to chilled pork. “The opportunity for more pork supplies has never been better,” Haggard adds. It does take a bit more time shipping to Hong Kong than it does to Japan and Korea. Also, the wet market vendors in the country will need to be taught the proper way to handle the vacuum-packaged chilled product. “The product will initially be sold in supermarket chains,” Haggard says. “More than 100 supermarkets in Hong Kong are selling U.S. chilled pork, along with some of the city’s traditional wet markets.” Haggard says this is the largest chilled pork distribution that USMEF has ever seen, calling it, “satisfying to see it finally come to fruition.”

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Farmers Union Wants Improvements to USMCA

Back on December 10, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the White House and her chamber of Congress had reached an agreement on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal. While the National Farmers Union was happy to see an effort to update the old North American Free Trade Agreement, the group says that effort didn’t go far enough. They’re calling on the Senate for improvements to the deal before the final passage. “The free trade framework established by NAFTA has dominated international trade deals for 2.5 decades, to the detriment of American workers,” says NFU President Roger Johnson. “It’s contributed to the movement of rural manufacturing jobs overseas, caused our national deficit to skyrocket, lowered wages, and eroded national sovereignty.” Johnson says the deal doesn’t go far enough to specifically protect family farmers and the rural communities they live in. U.S. neighbors Canada and Mexico are the largest export markets for U.S. food and agricultural products, totaling more than $39.7 billion in 2018. A USDA report says those exports support over 325,000 jobs. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agreement is a big win for American workers, the economy, and farmers and ranchers.

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High Stakes, High Rewards Ahead for Hemp Production

Many farmers across the country are spending time thinking about the potential pitfalls and the possible opportunities that hemp production can offer them. Farm Journal’s Ag Web Dot Com says many are taking the leap into hemp production. Colorado farmer Dion Oakes says, “Hemp has a very promising outlook for farmers as a rotational cash crop that can be very viable for them.” Looking ahead to the new year, only four states, including Idaho, South Dakota, Mississippi, and New Hampshire, haven’t made it legal to grow industrial hemp within their borders. U.S. Hemp Growers Association Executive Director Caren Wilcox says she expects those four states to move toward legalizing it sometime next year. Wilcox says farmers will need time to relearn how to grow the crop. She says it will be important to get advice and counsel from those farmers who have hemp growing experience. Make sure to source where your seed comes from. She says farmers have to know their state’s regulations. The other big piece of advice is to have a customer lined up before planting their first crop.

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Have Action Plan in Place in Case of ASF

The National Pork Board put out an end of the year reminder about safeguarding the country’s pork farms against African Swine Fever and other Foreign Animal Diseases. U.S. pork farmers know full well that the virus is wreaking havoc on the international pork industry. While ASF isn’t in the United States at this time, the NPB says the possibility of it or another foreign animal disease means American pig farmers should be taking steps to protect the domestic pork industry. Last year, U.S. pork exports totaled 5.37 billion pounds and were valued at more than $6.3 billion. If a disease like ASF entered the country, the U.S. would lose valuable export markets for some time. NPB says anyone who works with pigs should know the signs of ASF in their animals. Those signs are high fever, decreased appetite and weakness, red and blotchy skin or skin lesions, diarrhea and vomiting, as well as coughing or difficulty breathing. To help farmers make sure they don’t miss those signs, the National Pork Board has free hard copies of Foreign Animal Disease barn posters and fact sheets available in English or Spanish. Get them free by going to the Pork Store at www.pork.org.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-26-19 Inside Viridix with CEO & Founder Tal Maor…

Inside Viridix with CEO & Founder Tal Maor…

The BARN – Briggsdale, CO – December 26, 2019 – The Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund, a seed-stage venture fund that invests in Israel’s promising start-up companies, announced back on October 31st of 2019, the closing of a $2.35 million seed round in Israel-based startup company, Viridix.  The Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund led the round and was joined by both current and new investors of the company. Viridix has developed a groundbreaking sensor together with a software platform that enables famers to increase crop yields and save water through precise measurement and actionable insights. With that said, joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio is Tal Maor, CEO of Viridix, the Israeli company that developed a smart solution for irrigation…

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10-31-19 Viridix Closes $2.35 million in seed round led by the Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund

Viridix Closes $2.35 million in seed round led by the Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund

Investment will support the scaling of Viridix’s precision irrigation management system

Colorado and Israel, Oct. 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund, a seed-stage venture fund that invests in Israel’s promising start-up companies, announced today the closing of a $2.35 million seed round in Israel-based startup company, Viridix.  The Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund led the round and was joined by both current and new investors of the company. Viridix has developed a groundbreaking sensor together with a software platform that enables famers to increase crop yields and save water through precise measurement and actionable insights.

“Viridix brings a unique technology with a solid team of visionary entrepreneurs.  The solution has been very well received in the Israeli, European and Asian markets and we can help accelerate its growth into the US market.” said Gili Elkin, Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund General Partner.  “We are very excited to partner with Viridix and help solve two of the world’s most critical problems around food production and water conservation.”

According to a paper funded by the US Dept of Agriculture, using soil moisture sensors to drive irrigation schedules can result in crop yield increases of 11-26%.  Viridix’s solution provides not only the ability to measure the soil moisture content, but also the insight into how to best irrigate the crops for optimal crop yield.

 “We are excited about partnering with the Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund which will allow our company to expand our solution to the US market. We have a clear target to become the leading global autonomous irrigation system and partnering with the leading irrigation companies to create it. With such strong backers, our journey towards achieving this goal will gain serious momentum” said Tal Maor, CEO of Viridix.

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12-26-19 Family Farm Alliance: FINAL REPORT ON PERCEPTIONS OF DEMAND MANAGEMENT IN WESTERN COLORADO

Family Farm Alliance: FINAL REPORT ON PERCEPTIONS OF DEMAND MANAGEMENT IN WESTERN COLORADO

December 23, 2019 – The Nature Conservancy commissioned a report exploring the perceptions of demand management on Colorado’s West Slope. It is intended to help shed light on the social/cultural issues that surround demand management in order to help everyone engaged in the discussion better understand the challenges and identify opportunities to move forward.

Click here for the full report.

Click here for the executive summary.

The work was completed by Kelsea MacIlory, a PhD candidate at Colorado State University. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 26th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 26th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Rural Mainstreet Index Rises Again

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index remained above growth-neutral in December. It’s the fourth-straight month that’s happened and the tenth time in the past 12 months. The index is a monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region that depends on agriculture and/or energy. While it’s still above growth-neutral, the index did drop from 54.2 in November to 50.2 in December. A Creighton University news release says, “Federal agriculture crop support payments and somewhat higher grain prices gave a boost to the Rural Mainstreet Index.” The index shows bank CEOs, on average, expect about 12 percent of grain farmers to experience financial losses in 2020. “However, this is down from last year at this time, when bankers expected about 15 percent of their grain farmers to have a negative cash flow during 2019,” says Dr. Ernie Goss of Creighton University. For example, Jeff Bonnett is president of the Havana National Bank in Illinois, who says, “If grain prices remain where they are today, we will have a small percentage of borrowers who will struggle with their cashflow.” There was some good news as the farmland and ranchland price index soared to 52.8 from a weak 40.4 in November.

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Ag Lenders Talk Economic Conditions During DC Testimony

Agricultural lenders were on Capitol Hill this week to talk to legislators about the current credit conditions in farm country. An Agri-Pulse report says the lenders appeared before the House Agricultural Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit. Steve Handke of the First Option Bank in Kansas, says agricultural portfolios are remaining stable but showing signs of deterioration. “Many bankers are concerned about low commodity prices and their negative impact,” he said during testimony. “While credit is plentiful, competition for loans is intense as interest rates remain near historic lows. All that is beneficial to farmers.” However, what’s not beneficial is the fact that $22.4 billion of the total farm income in 2019 came from government payments, which is not sustainable income. Shan Hanes of Heartland Tri-State Bank in Kansas told legislators that net farm income dropped an average of 85 percent in just six years. “I dare say, many of us wouldn’t survive if our paychecks were cut 85 percent,” he said during testimony. Other bankers testified that working capital levels, the difference between current assets and current liabilities, have declined sharply since 2013. A North Dakota banker says it’s the cushion against tough times that just isn’t there anymore.

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Israel is Latest Country to Chase a Trade Deal with China

A close ally of President Donald Trump and his biggest economic rival are looking at a possible trade relationship in 2020. Israel is another U.S. ally that’s now looking to conclude a free-trade agreement with China as early as next year. A senior Israeli official anonymously tipped off Bloomberg because the discussions aren’t public. The two countries first began talking back in 2016. The latest round of discussions is causing other countries to closely scrutinize the potential cooperation between a U.S. ally and adversary. The U.S. is pressuring Israel to be cautious when talking about China playing a role in its economy. From a trade perspective, it’s a balancing act for Israel, who faces a “more assertive China” as the United States takes a different military posture in the Middle East. Israeli and Chinese officials met about a month ago for their seventh round of talks. The official who spoke with Bloomberg says it’s still not yet a sure thing that Israel will be able to wrap up a deal next year. A political deadlock is preventing the establishment of a new government in Jerusalem.

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U.S. Won’t Implement Steel, Aluminum Tariffs on Brazil Imports

The president of Brazil, Jair (Jayr) Bolsonaro (Bowl-soh-NAH-roh) said late last week that U.S. President Trump won’t implement a new tariff on Brazilian steel and aluminum imports as threatened earlier in December. “I had a phone conversation with President Trump,” Bolsonaro said during a Facebook Live session. “He was convinced by my arguments and I decided to tell all Brazilians that our steel and aluminum won’t be hit by additional tariffs.“ A U.S. source confirmed to Reuters that the administration won’t be implementing the tariffs talked about by Trump earlier this month. Trump announced the possibility of tariffs on Brazil and Argentina during a Tweet on December 2, accusing the two countries of devaluing their currencies, a move that hurts U.S. farmers by making their agricultural commodities more expensive on the world market when compared to those from Brazil and Argentina. The U.S. had originally exempted steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina from the sweeping metal tariffs implemented in March of 2018.

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USDA Sends Livestock Dealer Trust Study to Congress

The USDA sent Congress details on a study to determine whether a Dealer Statutory Trust would improve the recovery of livestock sellers in cases of dealer payment defaults. The Hagstrom Report says the study, which was required under the 2018 Farm Bill, was undertaken by the Ag Marketing Service’s Packers and Stockyards Division. “Based on its analysis of industry data, public input, and experience with the livestock industry, USDA finds it would be feasible to implement a Livestock Dealer Statutory Trust,” says the Livestock Marketing Association in a news release. “Under current law, farmers, ranchers, and livestock auctions have been devastated when livestock dealers default on payments.” They say the sellers don’t often get the livestock back that they weren’t paid for. The producers also recover little from the dealer’s bond. The USDA report analyzes 83 dealer defaults that occurred between October of 2013 and June of 2019. The LMA says, “A Dealer Statutory Trust would give unpaid livestock sellers the legal right to reclaim the animals, or if they’ve been resold, proceeds from the livestock in the unfortunate event of a livestock dealer payment default.” The report found that existing statutory trusts in other segments of agriculture have been effective in improving financial recoveries and LMA says similar results could be expected in the livestock industry.

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U.S. Hog Inventory Climbs Higher

As of December first, U.S. farms contained 77.3 million hogs and pigs. That’s a three percent jump from December of last year, but down slightly from September first of this year. Those were some of the numbers released in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report this week, published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Other key findings in the report said of those 77.3 million hogs and pigs, 70.9 were market hogs while 6.46 million were kept for breeding purposes. Between September and November of this year, 35.1 million pigs were weaned across U.S. farms, which is up two percent from the same time in 2018. From September through November, U.S. hog and pig farmers weaned an average of 11 pigs per littler. U.S. producers intend to have 3.13 million sows farrow between December of this year and February of 2020. They’ll also have another 3.15 million sows farrow between March and May of next year. Iowa has the largest inventory among the states, coming in at 24.8 million head. North Carolina and Minnesota tied for second, with each having 9.2 million head of hogs in inventory.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-24-19 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Expanded Opportunities for U.S. Chilled Pork in Hong Kong

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Expanded Opportunities for U.S. Chilled Pork in Hong Kong

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

DENVER, CO -December 24, 2019 – A decline in Hong Kong’s fresh pork supply due to African swine fever (ASF) is creating new opportunities for the U.S. pork industry. Utilizing funding support from the National Pork Board and the USDA Market Access Program, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently announced plans to fill Hong Kong’s growing fresh pork supply gap with U.S. chilled pork.

Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, says ASF has caused the number of live hogs brought into Hong Kong from China to drop by about 50% – to below 2,000 head per day. This has caused a shortage of local fresh pork, and the fresh product still available is being sold a much higher prices. Haggard notes that this opportunity could benefit the U.S. industry in both the near and distant future, as more consumers adapt to chilled pork. More than 100 supermarkets in Hong Kong are now selling U.S. chilled pork, along with some of the city’s traditional wet markets.

Haggard on Hong Kong chilled pork 12-23-19

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 24th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, December 24th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

China Can Fulfill Pledge to Purchase $40 Billion in U.S. Farm Goods

China’s top agriculture consultancy said last week that it believes China can and will make good on a promise to purchase more than $40 billion in U.S. agricultural products per year. That pledge is part of a Phase One trade deal the two countries recently signed. Reuters says China will increase its agricultural purchases to anywhere between $40 and $50 billion over the next two years. The deal isn’t signed yet and that’s led to skepticism over whether China can handle purchases that large. Shanghai-based consultant group JCI released a document saying that most foreign media don’t believe China can fulfill that level of commitment. “As a Chinese consultant company on the agricultural market, JCI strongly believes that China has the ability and will fulfill its promise,” the company says. JCI estimates that China can buy approximately $41.3 billion worth of U.S. farm products every year, including around $18.7 billion worth of soybeans, which would amount to 45 million tons. The projections from JCI were based on what they say was a “careful study” of China’s import volume of U.S. farm products in the past and does assume favorable weather and pricing throughout the term of the agreement.

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China Lowering Tariffs on Goods from Around the World

China announced a change in tariff rates on imported goods from around the world that will start on January first. The country will lower tariffs on global imports in a move that’s designed to give domestic consumers some support, even as a trade truce with the U.S. takes some pressure off the Chinese economy. The New York Times says the move comes less than two weeks after China and the U.S. reached a Phase One trade deal. It also helps China by showing that the country is continuing to open up its market in spite of the more than yearlong conflict with the U.S. However, China’s economy still has some question marks to deal with as it tries to recover from a slowdown brought on by the tariff conflict. The deal with the U.S. hasn’t been signed yet and that means a lot of tariffs on American imports are still in place. China is opening its market to other countries to help satisfy consumer demand. A list of 859 products will face lower tariffs in 2020. Among the goods are frozen pork, which China has to have after its pig herds were decimated by African Swine Fever. Tariffs will also fall on grocery items like avocados, orange juice, and seafood.

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Pilot Insurance Coverage Available for Hemp Growers

The Risk Management Agency announced its offering a new crop insurance option for hemp growers in select counties across 21 states next year. The pilot insurance program will provide Actual Production History coverage (APH) under 508(h) Multi-Peril Crop Insurance. The offer is for eligible producers who raise the crop in certain counties throughout states like Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The MPCI coverage applies to hemp grown for fiber, grain, or CBD oil for the 2020 crop year. This is in addition to the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection coverage available to hemp growers that was announced earlier this year. “We are excited to offer coverage to certain hemp producers in the pilot program,” says RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. “Since it’s a pilot program, we look forward to feedback from producers in the program during the upcoming crop year.” To be eligible for the program, producers must meet several requirements, including complying with applicable state, tribal, or federal regulations for hemp production, they must have at least one year’s history of producing the crop, and they must have a contract for the sale of the insured hemp.

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NASS Looking for Survey Responses

The 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties and the 2019 Organic Survey are both underway now, with the National Ag Statistics Service looking for as many responses as possible. They’d also like producers to respond online if they can. Online responses are more user-friendly, accessible on most electronic devices, and can save time by calculating totals and automatically skipping questions that don’t apply to an individual operation. “Horticulture and organic agriculture are important segments of U.S. agriculture and our economy,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “When producers respond to the surveys, they’re helping associations, businesses, and policymakers advocate for their industry, influence program decisions, and educate others about the importance of these agriculture segments.” The Census of Horticultural Specialties is conducted once every five years to give a comprehensive picture of U.S. horticulture. The deadline for responding is February fifth of 2020. The Organic Survey asks more than 22,000 U.S. producers involved in certified or transitioning to organic farming questions about 2019 production, marketing practices, income, and expenses. The deadline to return the questionnaire or answer online questions is January tenth, 2020.

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“Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” Campaign Reaches Over One Billion Consumers

The “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” campaign relaunched two years ago. Over that time, the campaign has reached more than one billion consumers with informative digital marketing and social media content. The campaign was developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and funded by the Beef Checkoff. The campaign is designed to encourage families to make more meals with nutritious and delicious beef, as well as to connect consumers with stories of the farmers and ranchers who raise real beef. The “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” brand is reaching consumers more frequently and effectively than it ever has. Market research shows people who are aware of “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner,” are more likely to eat beef, do so more often, and they feel good about buying and preparing beef for their families. Laurie Munns is a cattle rancher from Utah and NCBA Federation Division Chair. She says, “For a brand to have a reach of more than one billion people in today’s crowded marketing environment is a major milestone. It’s clear that consumers want more information about beef, it’s nutrition profile, and the hardworking farmers and ranchers who raise the beef they eat.” The NCBA first introduced the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” campaign 25 years ago.

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EPA, Justice Department Want Glyphosate Ruling Reversed

The U.S. government jumped into a California court case that found glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, causes cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency filed a friend of the court brief last week that said it reviewed and approved the label on the weed-killing product and that a jury finding based on California law should be reversed. Even the Department of Justice joined the EPA in weighing in on the ruling in the long-running court battle over Roundup. Over the summer, the judge in the case cut the jury award to $25 million in the case of a man who claimed his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by years of Roundup use. However, the judge didn’t reverse the jury finding in the case, saying in his opinion that Roundup was defective because the label didn’t include a cancer warning. Back in May, the EPA issued a statement saying it “continues to find no risks associated with glyphosate if it’s used following the current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.” Bayer, which acquired Monsanto, the company that originally produced Roundup, was optimistic after the latest legal turn in the case, saying the company is encouraged after the U.S. government and other parties opted to support the company’s appeal.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-23-19 USDA Grants Mr. Claus Movement Permit in U.S.

USDA Grants Mr. Claus Movement Permit in U.S.

(Washington, D.C., December 23, 2019) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued a movement permit to Mr. S. Nicholas Claus of the North Pole, a broker with Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited. The permit will allow reindeer to enter and exit the United States between the hours of 7 p.m. December 24, 2019 and 7 a.m. December 25, 2019, through or over any U.S. border port.
“With a growing world population, Mr. Claus will have his busiest Christmas yet. At USDA, we want to ensure we are not hindering Mr. Claus’ important work of spreading Christmas Cheer for all to hear,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Ease of access into the United States for Mr. Claus and his nine reindeer will ensure that children all over the country – including my own fourteen grandchildren – will wake up on Christmas morning with joy and filled with the spirit of the season. USDA issued this permit in advance and waived all applicable fees to help ensure a smooth trip on Christmas Eve night.”
In addition to the normal disease testing requirements, flying reindeer must undergo additional tests to ensure they will be able to safely handle significant changes in altitude and temperature throughout their journey, and are fit for landing on rooftops. On this year’s health certificate, the accredited veterinarian noted that one of the reindeer named Rudolph was positive for “red nose syndrome,” however, it was also explained that this is normal for him and not an animal health concern. The veterinarian also verified the reindeer have been vaccinated against any diseases they could encounter on their trip around the world.

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