12-13-19 U.S. Senator Bennet Unveils Discussion Draft to Create New Tax Credit for Farmers and Ranchers to Capture Carbon in the Land Sector

U.S. Senator Bennet Unveils Discussion Draft to Create New Tax Credit for Farmers and Ranchers to Capture Carbon in the Land Sector

Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today released a discussion draft of legislation to establish a new tax credit for farmers and ranchers, state and local governments, and tribes, to sequester carbon in agriculture, forestry, rangelands, and wetlands.

“I’ve had countless conversations with farmers and ranchers across Colorado, and time and again I hear that the changing climate is making it harder for them to grow their business and make ends meet,” said Bennet. “The discussion draft we are releasing today is a first step in empowering farmers and ranchers to both improve their bottom line and be a part of the solution to a changing climate. And I believe this is an effort that both parties can unite around.”

In the most recent United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, scientists estimated that the land sector can sequester 30 percent of global carbon emissions. In Colorado, many farmers and ranchers are already implementing innovative solutions to sequester carbon, but the cost of initial investments often presents a serious challenge.

The tax credit in Bennet’s proposal has two parts: Continue reading

12-13-19 USDA Accepting Proposals for Conservation Collaboration Grants

USDA Accepting Proposals for Conservation Collaboration Grants

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 13, 2019 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest $35 million in grants to enhance our outreach to the nation’s farmers and ranchers for the delivery and adoption of conservation measures. Proposals are due February 7, 2020, for projects that target agricultural producers in multiple states, including Tribal, socially disadvantaged, limited-resource or beginning farmers and ranchers as well as veteran farmers or ranchers.

“Our top priority is delivering excellent customer service to all of the nation’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners, and these grants are an important tool for reaching underserved communities,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “Through these partnerships we will be better equipped to expand our reach and add to our customer base those producers seeking to implement conservation.

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12-13-19 The 2020 Western Slope Beef Cow Symposium is set for Jan. 10th in Montrose, CO – GET REGISTERED!

The 2020 Western Slope Beef Cow Symposium is set for Jan. 10th in Montrose, CO – GET REGISTERED!

(Montrose, Colorado) All cattlemen and women are invited to attend the 2020 Western Slope Beef Cow Symposium held Friday, January 10, 2020, beginning at 9 a.m. at Friendship Hall located at the Montrose County Fairgrounds. Cattle producers from all segments of the beef industry will benefit from this day full of education and networking.

This year’s Western Slope Beef Cow Symposium features industry-leading speakers from Colorado State University, IMI Global, Superior Livestock Auction, the Livestock Marketing Information Center, and more. The $35 registration fee includes lunch, sponsored by Kinikin Processing, access to the trade show, and entry into the door prize drawings. Register online at http://2020bcs.eventbrite.com. This symposium is sponsored by AgRisk Advisors, American Ag Credit, and Bank of Colorado.

The 2020 Western Slope Beef Cow Symposium will cover topics including, Identifying and Managing Calf Health Issues, Returns to Beef Quality Assurance in Video Auctions & PRF Insurance Decision Tool, Cattle Market Outlook: Fundamental Drivers Impacting Marketing Decisions, Value Added Programs, and Marketing Cattle in Western Colorado.

For more information about the 2020 Western Slope Beef Cow Symposium, please visit http://2020bcs.eventbrite.com or call 970-249-3935. Online or phone registration is required by January 3, 2020, to attend this event.

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12-13-19 USWA-NAWG JOINT STATEMENT – Wheat Organizations Encouraged by Progress on Phase One Deal with China

JOINT STATEMENT – Wheat Organizations Encouraged by Progress on Phase One Deal with China

Washington, D.C. (December 13, 2019) – WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are encouraged by news today that the United States and China have agreed on the text of a “Phase One” trade deal that apparently would roll back tariffs and re-open China’s important market for U.S. agricultural imports.

Earlier this year, China agreed to new policies related to new agricultural tariff rate quotas (TRQ), including a 9.6 million metric ton reduced tariff TRQ for wheat imports. China had imported as much as 1.65 million metric tons of U.S. wheat in marketing year 2016/17 and an additional 866,000 metric tons in 2017/18 before implementing retaliatory tariffs in March 2018. We also believe that China’s flour millers and growing baking industry would welcome the opportunity to purchase high-quality U.S. wheat classes again.

We want to thank the negotiators in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for their dedicated effort and we look forward to learning more details about the agreement. Continue reading



The 2020 Family Farm Alliance Annual Conference will be held February 20 – 21, 2020 at the Eldorado Resort Casino in Reno, Nevada.

Our general session agenda is taking shape, and will feature invited keynote speakers Brenda Burman (Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation) and Russell George (recipient of the 2018 Citizenship Medal, one of the highest honors given to citizens and organizations throughout Colorado). Continue reading

12-13-19 USDA RADIO: U.S. and China Confirm Phase One of Trade Agreement

USDA RADIO: U.S. and China Confirm Phase One of Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON D.C. – December 13, 2019  – Government officials from both our nation and China confirmed Friday that agreement has been reached on the first phase of a new trade deal, which in part would boost U.S. ag exports. (Rod Bain. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Tim Atkinsson of the National Sorghum Producers.)



12-13-19 CSU System names its campus at National Western Center: Spur

CSU System at NWSS - SPUR logo
CSU System names its campus at National Western Center: Spur

Denver, Colorado – Today, the Colorado State University System unveiled “Spur” as its new brand for the university system’s presence at the National Western Center.

The CSU System is building a campus within the 250-acre National Western Center campus. Spur, CSU System’s campus, is scheduled to break ground in the first quarter of 2020, and to be complete by late 2022. Continue reading

12-13-19 National Farmers Union Board Backs Amended USMCA

National Farmers Union Board Backs Amended USMCA

Deal a Modest Improvement to NAFTA, But Still Falls Short

WASHINGTON – In a closely divided vote, the National Farmers Union (NFU) Board of Directors opted to support an amended U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) released earlier this week. The decision was contingent on a number of changes made to the deal at the insistence of House Democrats, including the omission of a provision that would have granted pharmaceutical companies marketing exclusivity for biologic drugs for a minimum of 10 years. The board, which is comprised of state Farmers Union presidents, was also encouraged by the elimination of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) arbitration procedure, as well as the addition of stronger labor standards, more robust enforcement mechanisms, and some modest improvements to environmental protections. Notwithstanding these revisions, the agreement remains largely similar to its predecessor, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in its approach to agriculture. The board expressed disappointment that USMCA neither meaningfully addresses import dumping, nor does it reinstate mandatory Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL), both of which NFU has strongly advocated.

In a statement, NFU President Roger Johnson thanked House Democrats for working to improve the deal and summarized the board’s outstanding concerns:

12-13-19 Four States Irrigation Council Annual Meeting Set for Jan. 8-10 in Fort Collins; Colorado River Compact, Water-Infrastructure Projects to Highlight Discussions

Four States Irrigation Council Annual Meeting Set for Jan. 8-10 in Fort Collins; Colorado River Compact, Water-Infrastructure Projects to Highlight Discussions

Timely and critical water-infrastructure issues will be at the center of discussions Jan. 8-10 in Fort Collins, as ditch and irrigation company representatives, state and federal officials, farmers and others convene for the Four States Irrigation Council’s 2020 Annual Meeting. The general public and media are also invited to attend the event, which will take place at the Hilton Fort Collins, located at 425 W. Prospect Road. Continue reading

12-09-19 CO Governor Polis Will Lower Flags on Friday to Honor Sgt. Joshua Voth, Rep. Kimmi Lewis, and Firefighter Ken Jones

CO Governor Polis Will Lower Flags on Friday to Honor Sgt. Joshua Voth, Rep. Kimmi Lewis, and Firefighter Ken Jones

DENVER – Gov. Polis ordered flags lowered to half staff on all public buildings statewide from sunrise to sunset on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, to honor the passing of Sgt. Joshua Voth, Rep. Kimmi Lewis, and Summit Fire & EMS firefighter Ken Jones.

Sgt. Joshua Voth was killed in the line of duty in an accident at the Fremont Correctional Facility on Dec. 4, 2019. Sgt. Voth had been with the department since 2016 and was a Correctional Support Licensed Trade Supervisor who helped teach offenders valuable trade skills. He was a husband and father of three young children who was beloved by his family, friends and his fellow DOC staff members.

Rep. Kimmi Lewis passed on Dec. 6, 2019 after a battle with cancer. She served in the legislature since 2016, representing her community on the eastern plains.

Summit Fire & EMS firefighter Ken Jones was killed Dec. 7, 2019 while fighting a fire at a condo building at Copper Mountain. He was a 20-year veteran of Summit Fire & EMS. Jones is survived by his wife, and two children.

Services for Sgt. Voth, Representative Lewis, and firefighter Jones will be held on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 13th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 13th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

China, U.S. Reach Tentative “Phase One” Trade Agreement

President Trump signed off on the “Phase One” trade deal on Thursday afternoon. The agreement between the worlds’ two largest economies averts the December 15th introduction of a new wave of U.S. tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese goods. Bloomberg News reports the agreement was reached on Thursday afternoon and presented to the president shortly afterward. The deal does include a promise from China to buy more agricultural products. Officials also talked about possible reductions in existing duties on a number of Chinese products. The terms have been agreed on, but the legal text hasn’t been finalized yet. A White House spokesman declined a request for comment. In addition to a significant increase in Chinese agricultural purchases, officials also say the phase-one pact would include commitments from China to do more to stop intellectual property theft, something the administration has been pushing for. The phase one deal also includes commitments from both countries to no longer manipulate their currencies. Negotiators had been working on the phase one deal for months after the president announced the countries had reached an agreement.


House Passes Farm Workforce Modernization Act

The House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act by a vote of 260 to 165. The bill would ease immigration for agricultural workers. It won the support of over 300 farm groups, as well as the United Farm Workers. The Hagstrom Report points out that the California Farm Bureau supported the bill but the American Farm Bureau Federation did not. AFB fears the bill will lead to higher wages for farmworkers and increase the legal vulnerability of farm employers. President Zippy Duvall says several amendments that would have addressed Farm Bureau concerns were blocked from consideration, so they “do not support the final bill passed by the House.” Heritage Action for America says it grants amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without doing anything to “reform our broken immigration system.” Zoe Lofgren of California, the lead sponsor of the bill, says, “Our bill offers stability for American farms by providing a path to legal status for our farmworkers.” Republicans weren’t happy about the bill’s formula for calculating farm wages and complained that the year-round visa pilot program doesn’t include the meat and poultry sectors. They also objected to providing “amnesty” to undocumented immigrants working on U.S. farms. The bill’s prospects in the Senate and with President Trump are described as problematic.


Ag Groups, Organizations React to House Passing Labor Bill

Several agricultural groups and organizations reacted positively to the news that the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The National Farmers Union says the bill is the product of negotiations between a diverse array of agricultural stakeholders and farmworker advocates. “Our current farm labor system is badly broken,” says NFU President Roger Johnson. “This bill secures a legal and adequate supply of workers for family farmers and ranchers, as well as stability for farmworkers who help put food on our tables.” United Fresh Produce Association says the produce industry has suffered for far too long under a system that doesn’t meet its need for labor. The organization says, “This represents an important step in ending decades of uncertainty for growers of fresh fruits and vegetables.” Dairy groups, one of the hardest-hit ag sectors when it comes to labor shortages, are also pleased with the bill’s passage. The National Milk Producers Federation says the legislation helps to address the dairy industry’s unique workforce challenges, which is the need for year-round labor. The current labor program is seasonally-based. NMPF CEO Jim Mulhern says, “Agricultural reform is long overdue.” Mike McCloskey, Chair of the NMPF’s Immigration Task Force, says, “The urgency to reform the agricultural labor system cannot be overstated for dairy farmers.”


United Soybean Board Elects New Chair

The United Soybean Board farmer-directors have elected Jim Carroll III as Chair at the annual board meeting this week. Additionally, 19 new directors appointed by Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue were sworn in by the USDA. Carroll is a farmer from Brinkley, Arkansas. He says, “We’ve made great strides to innovate beyond the bushel and infuse every opportunity we can into growing markets and creating new uses for soybeans. We have a lot to be proud of but also have tremendous potential to further demand as we continue our progress through wise and strategic investments.” Carroll says one of his priorities as Chair will be to recognize the performance and sustainability of U.S. soy and to show their customers its many capabilities as a renewable alternative. The recent USB board meeting included remarks from Gregg Doud, Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Doud highlighted recent trade negotiations and opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers in the international marketplace. Other session topics included the Global Landscape for U.S. Soy, What’s Next for High Oleic Soybean Oil, and Agriculture’s Advantage in Capturing Carbon.


Rise in Iowa Land Prices Not Seen as a  Market Rebound

The difficulties of 2019 for agriculture have been numerous. One positive note at the end of the year is a two percent rise in the price for farmland in Iowa. Favorable interest rates, strong yields, and limited land supply combined to push Iowa’s farmland values up for just the second time in the past six years. An Iowa State University news release says the statewide value of an acre of farmland is estimated at $7,432. That’s a 2.3 percent increase, totaling about $168, since last year. That number represents the average of low, medium, and high-quality farmland prices. An Iowa State University expert says that the reprieve in the land market isn’t driven by a stronger ag economy. “The recent modest increases in land values reflect a lower interest rate environment and slowly improving U.S. farm incomes,” says Dr. Wendong Zhang, leader of the Iowa Land Value Survey effort. While the growth in land values is positive, Zhang says it shouldn’t be thought of as a “sound rebound” in the land market. “Market Facilitation Payments helped to stabilize farm income and the land market,” he adds. “However, escalation of the U.S. and China trade war will put more downward pressure on farm income and land prices.”


Arkansas Temporarily Stopped from Enforcing Meat-Labeling Law

A federal judge restricted Arkansas from enforcing a law that bans the use of terms like “burger” or “sausage” when selling plant-based or vegan products. An Associated Press report says U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted a preliminary injunction keeping the state from enforcing the law against the Oregon-based Tofurky Company, while the constitutionality is being challenged. Tofurky produces products like tofu, as well as plant-based sausage, deli slices, and burgers. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Good Food Institute, and the Animal Defense Fund got behind Tofurkey and filed suit in July. They say the law amounts to an “unconstitutional effort” to boost the state’s meat industry. Under the law, which hasn’t been enforced yet, companies can be fined up to $1,000 for each violation of the labeling law. While putting the injunction in place, Baker did note that Tofurkey does face a credible threat of retroactive penalties under the law. The labeling law is similar to ones passed in other states like Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Dakota.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service