01-06-20 EPA at 50: Progress for a Stronger Future

EPA at 50: Progress for a Stronger Future

WASHINGTON (January 6, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its 50th anniversary theme, “EPA at 50: Progress for a Stronger Future.”

“For fifty years, EPA employees and our many partners have worked together to fulfill the agency’s mission to protect human health and the environment. Today, Americans enjoy cleaner land, air and water than ever before,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I look forward to celebrating the agency’s accomplishments throughout the year, and I hope that we can inspire the next generation of environmental leaders to continue building on our progress for the next 50 years.”

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01-06-20 RMFU: 2020 Legislative Previews for CO, WY, and NM

RMFU: 2020 Legislative Previews for CO, WY, and NM

Colorado – The 2020 legislative session is on the horizon with the General Assembly set to convene on Wednesday, January 8 and adjourn on Wednesday, May 6. With the Democrats remaining the majority in both the House and Senate, we anticipate legislative priorities will continue to be lowering healthcare costs, expanding in early childhood education, and investing in renewable energy and the environment. The Colorado Department of Agriculture is also seeking state funding to support Colorado farmers and ranchers in implementing energy efficiency measures and soil health modifications.  In addition, bills seen in the past are expected to return including the creation of paid family leave, investments in rural economic development, and expanding support for local food markets. While most sessions tend to be contentious, this session may see more stall tactics and late nights than usual due to it being a major election year at the federal and state level. All the state’s House seats and half the Senate seats will be up for election in November 2020, thus legislators on both sides of the aisle will introduce statement pieces taking positions on the death penalty, gun rights, vaccinations, the national popular vote, oil and gas regulations, and more.

Wyoming – The 2020 Budget session of the Wyoming Legislature is set to convene on Feb. 11 and adjourn on March 12. The overriding topic is the biennial state budget for the fiscal years 2021 and 2022. Bills drafted in this interim by Joint Standing Committees are guaranteed receive consideration. Any other piece of legislation will need to pass a two-thirds majority vote for introduction. The budget situation is not rosy, but the proposed budget submitted by Governor Gordon is flatlined except for efforts to diversify the state’s economy and existing agency funding can be met by dipping into reserves. The Joint Appropriations Committee met through Dec to quiz agencies on their respective budget proposals. We expect to see considerable discussion on the proposal by Rocky Mountain Power to shut down coal fired power plants earlier than the targeted shut down dates are reached. The state is looking at all options to sustain the coal production that remains. Many county central committees of the Republication Party are urging legislators to adhere to the party platform and resist any tax increases. It remains to be seen if the party can keep their members in line.

New Mexico – Last year, a new governor and money in the coffers set the stage for new or expanded programs including increased wages, education, and energy reforms. With expansion of oil and gas extraction in the New Mexico’s Permian Basin, increased oil and gas severance tax revenues paved the way to pay for more than a third of the state budget and its new programs. New Mexico legislators have worked all year to figure out how to pay for programs into the future and grapple with the mysteries of how long the oil boon will last. Still, communities, advocates, and legislators are optimistic. Continue reading

01-06-20 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: U.S. Industry Ready to Reclaim Red Meat Market Share in Japan

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: U.S. Industry Ready to Reclaim Red Meat Market Share in Japan

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

DENVER, CO -January 6, 2020 – Jesse Austin, U.S. Meat Federation (USMEF) vice president of marketing, recently returned from meetings in Japan with importers, distributors and other customers of U.S. pork and beef, which he discusses in the attached audio report.

Austin on Japanese market visit 1-6-20

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01-06-20 RMFU Leadership Summit, Drive-In Set For February 2-3

RMFU Leadership Summit, Drive-In  Set For February 2-3

And, Yes, We Make Sure You Will Have Fun-In

The RMFU Leadership Academy will be held Sunday, February 2, at the Hilton Garden Inn the RMFU office in the Tech Center south of Denver.  We have an awesome group of speakers and amazing workshops coming together that will allow you to identify and strengthen your natural leadership skills. As a reminder, we’ll cover hotel rooms for two people per chapter for Sunday night (and Saturday night for chapters that have a long drive).  We encourage your chapter to send one experienced officer and one up-and-coming leader.  Please try to RSVP to us by Jan 17. Continue reading

01-06-20 Colorado Secretary of State: “Restoration of Gray Wolves” Initiative Qualifies For 2020 Ballot

Colorado Secretary of State: “Restoration of Gray Wolves” Initiative Qualifies For 2020 Ballot

January 6, 2020 — The Elections Division at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced today that Proposed Initiative 107 (“Restoration of Gray Wolves”) has qualified for the 2020 General Election ballot.

The “Restoration of Gray Wolves” Initiative is a statewide initiative and therefore requires at least 5% of the total number of votes cast for all candidates for the office of secretary of state at the previous general election, which in this case is 124,632. This requirement is outlined by Article V, Section 1 (3) of the Colorado constitution.  After reviewing a 5% sample of the 215,370 submitted signatures, the projected number of valid signatures is greater than 110% of the total number required. Continue reading

01-06-20 Dairy MAX: Inside the US Dairy Export Council with Chairman Larry Hancock…

Dairy MAX: Inside the US Dairy Export Council with Chairman Larry Hancock…

Texas dairy farmer takes trade mission trip to Mexico & more

The BARN – Briggsdale, CO – January 6, 2020 – Texas dairy farmer and chairman of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) Larry Hancock recently traveled to Mexico, which is the United States’ number one importer of its dairy products, on a trade mission trip. Hancock was joined by four other U.S. dairy farmers to learn about the dairy industry in Mexico, observe how U.S. dairy products are being utilized in the country, and discuss how the two countries can continue working together to advance the dairy industry and demand for its products. Joining the CO Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio at this time is Larry Hancock


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01-06-20 USRSB Recognizes Where Food Comes From BeefCARE™ Standard

USRSB Recognizes Where Food Comes From BeefCARE™ Standard 

DENVER (January 6, 2020) – The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB), a full beef stakeholder initiative focused on continuous improvement, recognized the Where Food Comes From (WFCF) BeefCARE™ standard for its alignment to the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework (Framework). The alignment signifies proper incorporation of cow-calf sustainability indicators and metrics into BeefCARE™.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of our new BeefCARE™ standard, which is now available to cow/calf ranches and stocker/backgrounder operations throughout the U.S. that are eager to share their sustainability stories with processors, retailers and consumers,” said Leann Saunders, president of IMI Global and WFCF. “By being a third-party verified program, CARE™ certification is intended to add value to operations through consumer marketing as well as measured and improved sustainability practices. The program is inclusive of animal husbandry, environmental stewardship and people and community standards.”

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01-06-20 Kansas Water Office: Winter Water Technology Expo in Garden City on January 9th

Kansas Water Office: Winter Water Technology Expo in Garden City on January 9th

TOPEKA, Kan. — Farmers and ranchers in southwest and south central Kansas who want to learn more about improving their bottom line through water management tools, soil moisture monitoring, crop selection and other technologies are invited to attend the Winter Water Technology Expo on January 9 in Garden City. The Expo is from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Finney Co. Fairgrounds Exhibition Building at 409 Lake Avenue in Garden City and will feature a wide variety of companies and organizations focused on water technology issues and opportunities.

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01-06-20 American Gelbvieh Association Elects Board of Directors

The American Gelbvieh Association elected directors and officers for 2020 during its national convention in Billings, Montana. Front row (left to right): Secretary John Carrel, Columbus, Mont.; Treasurer Derek Martin, Bucklin, Kan.; Vice President Klint Sickler, Gladstone, N.D.; President Dan McCarty, Rifle, Colo.; Executive Director Megan Slater, Lincoln, Neb. Back row (left to right): Lori Maude, Hermosa, S.D.; Leland Clark, Barnard, Kan.; Mark Covington, Montrose, Colo.; Jeff Loveless, Spanish Fork, Utah; Dustin Aherin, Phillipsburg, Kan.; Jeff Swanson, Oxford, Neb.; Lowell Rogers, DVM, Seminary, Miss.; Andrea Murray, Kingfisher, Okla. Not pictured are Todd Bickett, DVM, Chickamauga, Ga. and Randy Sienknecht, Gladbrook, Iowa.

American Gelbvieh Association Elects Board of Directors

LINCOLN, NE – Members of the American Gelbvieh Association (AGA) elected five candidates to the board of directors at the annual membership meeting held December 6, 2019, during the 49th Annual AGA National Convention in Billings, Montana.
Newly elected board members are Mark Covington, Montrose, Colorado, and Tom Vehige, Billings, Missouri. Re-elected to serve a second term were John Carrel, Columbus, Montana; Leland Clark, Barnard, Kansas; and Klint Sickler, Gladstone, North Dakota. Continue reading

01-06-20 *CSU Ext News* Ron Meyer: Dicamba Use Requirements

*CSU Ext News* Ron Meyer: Dicamba Use Requirements

BURLINGTON, CO – Dicamba herbicides continue to be categorized as restricted use when used on tolerant soybeans and requiresextra steps for producers to purchase and use Dicamba. As a result, requirements must be met when applying Dicamba products to crops such as tolerant soybeans. First, as with any restricted-use pesticide, an applicator license (private or commercial) is required to purchase dicamba herbicides. Private or commercial licenses can be obtained by passing the appropriate exams and are administered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

In addition, extra training is also required to apply specific Dicamba products such as FeXapan®, Engenia®, XtendiMax®, or Tavium®. The training options are accomplished via on-line video classes and are required training when applying Dicamba herbicides to crops such as tolerant soybeans. Following are sites where training can be found: Continue reading

01-06-20 USDA Invites Input on Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Rule

USDA Invites Input on Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 6, 2020 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).  ACEP is USDA’s premier conservation easement program, helping landowners protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. The rule – now available on the Federal Register – takes effect on publication and includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Through easements, agricultural landowners are protecting agricultural lands from development, restoring grazing lands and returning wetlands to their natural conditions,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “The new changes to ACEP under the 2018 Farm Bill make it stronger and more effective and will result in even better protection of our nation’s farmlands, grasslands and wetlands.”

NRCS is investing more than $300 million in conservation easements for fiscal 2020. NRCS state offices will announce signup periods for ACEP in the coming weeks.

Changes to ACEP for agricultural land easements include: Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, January 6th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, January 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Senate to Continue Ordinary Business During Impeachment Hearings Delay

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled an opportunity to quickly consider the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. In a speech on the Senate floor Friday, McConnell says the Senate will “go about ordinary business,” because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding the articles of impeachment, thought to delay USMCA consideration in the Senate this month. A hearing is on the calendar Tuesday morning for the Senate Finance Committee to markup the implementing legislation for USMCA. McConnell charged Democrats in the House were “searching desperately for some new talking point” on impeachment, and alleged they were developing cold feet. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded, however, that “instead of trying to find the truth,” comments by McConnell indicate there will not be a fair impeachment trial. Senate consideration of USMCA was expected after the impeachment trial in the Senate. However, with a delay and fighting amongst lawmakers regarding the trial, USCMA could sneak through before a trial begins.

R-CALF: Cattle Importers Control U.S. Policy

The Department of Agriculture last week issued a proposed rule to reapportion the Beef Checkoff Program’s Cattlemen’s Beef Board. R-CALF says the proposed rule reveals importers control more cattle inventories than any state in the United States except Texas. To make its calculations regarding who controls domestic cattle inventories, R-CALF says USDA counts imported live cattle and converts imported beef into a live cattle equivalent. Importers now control about 6.9 million cattle in the U.S. market. Only the state of Texas, which controls about 12.6 million cattle, exceeds the importers’ control. The organization says the combination of cattle and beef imports represent the largest agricultural commodities imported from Canada and Mexico. USDA data shows U.S. imported $4.1 billion in cattle and beef from Canada and Mexico in 2018. R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard claims the importers dominant control over cattle inventories “affords them extraordinary influence” on U.S. lawmakers, adding cattle and beef importers are opposed to mandatory country-of-origin labeling because “they do not want consumers to know the origins of their cheaper-sourced products.”

Bunge Sells Share of U.S. Ethanol Plant

Bunge last week announced the sale of its share of an ethanol production facility. Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, or SIRE, repurchased Bunge’s membership units effective December 31, 2019. The purchase was made under the terms of the Bunge Membership Interest Purchase Agreement and ends Bunge’s 13-year ownership interest in SIRE. Andrés Martín, North America country manager for Bunge, stated, “As Bunge focuses our resources on our core businesses, selling our shares in SIRE, while maintaining a relationship, is an attractive opportunity.” SIRE is located on 275 acres in Council Bluffs, Iowa, operating an ethanol plant that is permitted to produce 140 million gallons per year. In addition to the stock repurchase, SIRE will assume responsibility for originating corn and selling dried distillers grains produced by the plant. Under a revised agreement, Bunge will continue to purchase all of the ethanol produced by SIRE.  SIRE will also continue to lease rail cars from Bunge under existing lease agreements.

Corn Growers Call EPA Atrazine Decision a Reasonable Approach

Corn farmers say the Atrazine Preliminary Interim Decision is a positive for farmers who rely on atrazine for weed control. The Triazine Network, a coalition including the National Corn Growers Association and advocates for science-based regulatory decisions regarding atrazine, welcomed the document published in the Federal Register last week. The coalition says the decision supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s commitment to using credible scientific research in setting a reasonable aquatic ecosystem Level of Concern for atrazine. The decision corrects a recommendation made in the 2016 Ecological Risk Assessment to set the Level of Concern at 3.6 parts per billion, an ultra-low level that would have banned the use of atrazine in much of farm country. The lower level was based on questionable research, according to the coalition, including studies that had been turned down by EPA’s 2012 Science Advisory Panel. The publication of the atrazine decision in the Federal Register opens a 60-day comment period that ends on March 2, 2020.

AFIA: December Spending Bills Improve Feed Ingredient Approval Process

The American Feed Industry Association says spending bills passed last month will improve the approval process for animal feed ingredients. The 2020 fiscal year appropriations package allocates new dollars to the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to hire additional staff specifically for reviewing new animal food ingredient submissions. The $5 million allocation from appropriators will allow the FDA to nearly double ingredient approval staff, which will reduce the length of review time by the agency in the approval timeline. Constance Cullman, AFIA’s president and CEO, says, “the lengthy ingredient review processes have hindered the approval process for animal feed ingredients” that can improve the safety, quality and nutrition of feed. A study funded by the Institute for Feed Education and Research found that for every year of delay in the approval process, submitting companies across the animal food manufacturing industry were losing an average $1.75 million annually in revenue per ingredient.

Syngenta Announces Crop Challenge Prize Committee

Syngenta and the Analytics Society of INFORMS have selected the prize committee for the 2020 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics, a competition in which entrants develop data-driven models to address various challenges inherent in agriculture. Now in its fifth consecutive year, the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics is a collaborative effort between Syngenta and the Analytics Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, or INFORMS. In the 2020 challenge, entrants are tasked with developing data-driven methodologies that can help predict the performance of potential corn seed products. Judges include experts from U.S. universities, Syngenta, American Airlines and Land O’Lakes. The prize committee will evaluate entries following the January 21, 2020, submission deadline, and finalists will be announced in March 2020. Winners will be announced during the 2020 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics in April. The first-place winner will receive $5,000, the runner-up will be awarded $2,500, and the third-place winner will receive $1,000.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service