Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force – March 31, 2020
Rural Mental Health Resources are Here for You
CENTENNIAL, CO —March 31, 2020— This is a challenging time for all of us. Coloradans are trying to figure out how to navigate the situation, and the toll it takes on all of us can be overwhelming. Life is different and that’s okay. We are all in this together and we are all doing the best we can.
Rural Colorado has been working through stress for quite some time. Before this pandemic, the agriculture industry was suffering from high input costs and low returns. Now, farmers and ranchers continue to work and grow food in order to keep our supply chain stable and moving, but that doesn’t make times easier. Prices are still low and Spring brings added pressure of keeping baby calves and lambs healthy and it’s also a busy time for farmers who are planting. Labor is hard to come by and small businesses are suffering. It’s not easy.
It’s okay to feel stress. There is help.
It’s incredibly important that we take care of ourselves, our families and our communities.
If you or someone you love is struggling, please know that there is help. Colorado Crisis Services is here to help you get through this. To talk to someone, call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.
About the Colorado Farm Bureau Continue reading
CO Farm Bureau: State Legislative Session Still in Limbo
The General Assembly reconvened briefly on Monday morning after the two week recess in response to the COVID-19 global health pandemic. A quorum was not present, so the assembly recessed until Thursday April 2nd, the longest they can do so without a quorum. The General Assembly is still awaiting a ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court (CSC) on whether the 120 days of the general assembly are consecutive or if there can be a pause in the session for a health emergency. Once a determination has been made by the CSC, the general assembly will proceed with planning for the rest of the session. Continue reading
AFBF: Pandemic Injects Volatility into Cattle and Beef Markets
The self-distancing and quarantine protocols put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 have reduced economic growth, shuttered consumers in their homes, and changed the way Americans purchase and consume food. A slowing economy is bad for all of the animal proteins, but beef — typically the highest priced of the proteins and considered a luxury product in economic terms – stands to suffer the most when consumers spend less in response to wage cuts and job losses. Additionally, beef is used more heavily in the food service channel than pork. We already know that consumers will be shifting more of their food dollars to at-home spending as opposed to eating out (a one-two punch to food service in the form of greatly reduced demand caused by the recessionary pressures and social distancing efforts practiced by consumers). This shift by consumers, combined with panic buying as families stock up on supplies, is sending shockwaves through the American food, meat, and beef supply chain.
Record Jump in Boxed Beef Cutout
Beef prices tend to move higher in March and April as warmer weather drives spring features and we see increased traffic at food service restaurants. However, warmer weather cannot account for the historic jump that has occurred in the boxed beef cutout (Figure 1). In just a week, the daily boxed beef cutout has jumped 25% (calculated from the daily reported cutout as the difference between the peak and the low point preceding the peak, not the weekly boxed beef cutout report). The last time we saw a jump nearing this magnitude was in April/May 2017, and then it was spread out over a period of 27 days from low to high, and, at 21%, still a smaller percentage. In August 2019, another black swan event, a fire at one of the nation’s largest packing plants, caused a significant runup in the cutout as well, but that was an increase of 12% in seven days. Since its peak, the cutout has begun to weaken somewhat over the last few days. Continue reading
Readout of the U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 Conference Call with Higher Education Stakeholders
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with several senior Department officials, held a conference call today with higher education leaders to provide an update on the Trump Administration’s whole-of-government response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) national emergency.
The Secretary began the call by welcoming the participants, including state higher education executive officers, college and university presidents, accreditors, and leaders of national higher education organizations, and thanking them for their continued work on behalf of students. Continue reading
NFU: Fuel Standards a Missed Opportunity for Farmers, Consumers, and Environment
WASHINGTON – In the final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today relaxed fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2021-2026 passenger vehicles.
When the rule was initially proposed a year and a half ago, National Farmers Union (NFU) urged EPA to incorporate greater access mid-level ethanol blends as a way to boost octane and increase vehicle efficiency. Despite widespread support from automakers and retailers for a higher minimum octane level for gasoline, the agency ultimately decided against the change. Additionally, EPA declined to adopt new incentives for the production of flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) because such incentives were deemed outside the scope of the rulemaking.
NFU President Rob Larew issued the following statement in response to the rule:
TEXT OF STATEMENT:
U.S Senator Gardner Requests COVID-19 Testing for Colorado Tribes
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) is requesting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provide additional COVID-19 testing kits to the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes in Colorado and ensure they have the testing capabilities necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There have already been two confirmed positive cases on the Southern Ute Indian reservation, and the Indian Health Service expects an increase in positive cases amongst all tribes in the coming weeks. The federal government needs to fulfill its trust responsibility to tribal governments and ensure they have access to the resources they need,” wrote Senator Gardner. “It is crucial that FEMA provides a sufficient amount of testing kits both to the state of Colorado and to our tribal communities in order to ensure that they are able to respond to the grave threat that COVID-19 poses.”
LMA: Auction Market Owners Share Issues With Lawmakers
Livestock Marketing Association brings boots-on-the-ground effort to D.C. in the pre-dawn of the nation’s COVID crisis.
USDA NASS Colorado Prospective Plantings Report
PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS – MARCH 1, 2020
As of March 1, Colorado growers intend to plant 1.65 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2020, up 100,000 acres, or 6 percent from last year’s plantings, according to the March 1 Agricultural Survey conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Sorghum planting intentions total 410,000 acres, up 45,000 acres from last year. Growers intend to plant a record low 45,000 acres of barley in 2020, down 9,000 acres from last year’s actual plantings.
Winter wheat seeded last fall for harvest in 2020 is estimated at 1.85 million acres, down 300,000 acres from the 2019 crop. Hay producers in the State intend to harvest 1.43 million acres this year. This is down 30,000 acres from the acreage cut for hay in 2019. Growers intend to plant 63,000 acres of sunflowers this year, up 4,000 acres from what they planted in 2019. The acreage of oil varieties is expected to total 43,000 acres, down 4,000 acres from last year’s plantings. The area for non-oil varieties is expected to be up 8,000 acres to 20,000 acres this year.
The area planted to sugarbeets is expected to be up 100 acres from last year’s actual plantings to 25,200 acres. Dry edible bean acreage is expected to total 45,000 acres, up 22 percent from the 37,000 acres planted in 2019. As of March 1, mountain snowpack was 111 percent of average, statewide. Final acreages actually planted for several crops will be determined by irrigation water prospects, soil moisture levels at planting time, and changes in economic conditions between now and actual planting.
UNITED STATES HIGHLIGHTS Continue reading
Colorado State Emergency Operations held a Remote Press Briefing at 11am MT – Here’s all the Audio
March 31, 2020 – To comply with social distancing guidance, support transparency, and keep the media informed, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) held a remote press conference for inquiries regarding the state response to COVID-19.
The call included:
- Scott Bookman, Incident Commander for state COVID-19 response,
- & Mike Willis, Director of the State Emergency Operations Center
Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.
CSU Ext/NRCS: Special Edition Small Acreage Landowner Newsletter
Getty Equine Nutrition: COVID-19 Response
U.S. Animal Health Association Update by JoAnn Alumbaugh…Foot and Mouth Disease Preparedness is High Priority
MARCH 31, 2020
By JoAnn Alumbaugh
The world knows how quickly a virus can spread, as COVID-19 extends its tendrils throughout the globe. The coronavirus epidemic reminds U.S. livestock producers how critical it is to have a vaccine bank in advance of a foreign animal disease (FAD) threat like foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). While FMD is not zoonotic (it impacts cloven-hooved animals only), its economic impact would be significant if it were to hit the U.S. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations, “the global annual cost of FMD in terms of production losses and the need for prevention by vaccination has been estimated to be approximately $5 billion. In a severe event in 2001 in the United Kingdom, the direct and indirect impacts are estimated to have cost as much as $30 billion.”
Getting the ball rolling Continue reading
ACE: Final SAFE Vehicles Rule Missed Opportunity for High Octane, Low Carbon Ethanol
Sioux Falls, SD – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks today. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings called the rule a missed opportunity to provide a pathway for high octane, low carbon fuel in his following reaction to the final rule:
“The final rule is a missed opportunity to provide a roadmap for high octane mid-level ethanol blends after EPA specifically requested comments on the role 100 Research Octane Number (RON) E30 could play to help automakers meet fuel economy and emissions standards. We are also disappointed the rule appears to give special treatment to natural gas vehicles but fails to extend much needed incentives for the continued production of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), just another example of EPA choosing fossil fuels over low carbon fuels and rural America. Continue reading
RMFU Members: Join the Virtual Lunch ‘N’ Learn featuring NFU President Rob Larew via ZOOM on April 9th
Register in advance for this webinar at: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Q3fMjEOnR9u6hQcKwRlPBg
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Continue reading
Hana Fancher To Focus on RMFU Members In Wyoming
Hana Fancher is the new Membership Field Representative in Wyoming for Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. She will be working with members and FUSA Insurance agents to strengthen sustainable communities whose economic, social, and historic roots draw from the families who farm and ranch across Wyoming.
RMFU: Fill Out This COVID-19 Letter, Print It And Carry It With You
To Whom it May Concern:
I am a worker in the agriculture industry. Pursuant to Section 2 of the Colorado Public Health Order 20-24 (“PHO”), amended March 25, 2020, “agriculture” has been deemed by the state of Colorado to be “critical infrastructure.” Continue reading
This will help us record what is happening to our members and develop a qualitative and quantitative picture of how COVID-19 is impacting agriculture and rural communities.
We are continuously in touch with officials who want to know what is happening on the ground, and this information will help us develop accurate reports.
If you are looking for information that will help you respond to the impacts of COVID-19, please let us know and we will do what we can to find the answer. Share your story at https://www.rmfu.org/what-we-do/legislation/covid-farmers/