03-10-20 NRCS-CO: USDA Offers Renewal Options for Expiring Conservation Stewardship Contracts

NRCS-CO: USDA Offers Renewal Options for Expiring Conservation Stewardship Contracts

DENVER, CO, March 10, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service is accepting Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) renewal applications through March 20. Local NRCS offices mailed contract renewal notification letters to all participants whose contracts expire in 2020. These letters contain instructions on how to apply for CSP renewal.

Participants with existing CSP contracts expiring on May 14, 2020 can renew their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on their lands. For 2014-1 CSP contract holders, only those who extended their contracts for one year in 2019 will be eligible for renewal.

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03-10-20 NPPC Seeks Labor Solutions for Potential COVID-19 Impact on Pork Supply Chain

NPPC Seeks Labor Solutions for Potential COVID-19 Impact on Pork Supply Chain

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 10, 2020 – The fallout from an ongoing labor shortage facing the U.S. pork industry and other agriculture sectors could significantly worsen due to the impact of COVID-19, the National Pork Producers Council said in a letter to U.S. government officials today. NPPC’s concerns regarding COVID-19 are labor specific. There is no evidence that pigs can contract the virus. Continue reading

03-10-20 Ethanol, Farm Groups Respond as Administration Mulls Appeal of Tenth Circuit SRE Ruling

Ethanol, Farm Groups Respond as Administration Mulls Appeal of Tenth Circuit SRE Ruling

Sioux Falls, SD – On March 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit approved requests by the U.S. Department of Justice, HollyFrontier, and CVR Energy for an extension of the deadline to file motions asking for a rehearing en banc of Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. EPAin which the Court found EPA vastly exceeded its authority in granting compliance exemptions to three refineries from 2016 and 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard obligations. The new deadline for requesting a rehearing in the Tenth Circuit is March 24.

The petitioners in the case — the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Coalition for Ethanol, and National Farmers Union — offered the following statement: Continue reading

03-10-20 CDA: Colorado is the Number One U.S. Producer of Gluten-Free Proso Millet

Proso Millet in the windrow, photo courtesy of The BARN

CDA: Colorado is the Number One U.S. Producer of Gluten-Free Proso Millet

What is Millet? Millet is a grain that is most often found in bird seed blends; however, this gluten-free grain is also gaining popularity in many recipes. Colorado is the number one proso millet producing state in the nation, with 275,000 acres producing nearly eight million bushels each year.

Each month the Colorado Department of Agriculture features a different commodity to highlight the variety and quality of products grown in the state. The following recipe is provided by Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., of 5280 Culinary, LLC.

Tropical Overnight Millet

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03-10-20 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: China Headlines Big Month for U.S. Pork Exports; Beef Export Growth Led by Taiwan

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: China Headlines Big Month for U.S. Pork Exports; Beef Export Growth Led by Taiwan

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

DENVER, CO – March 10, 2020 – Following a record-breaking performance in 2019, U.S. pork exports maintained a torrid pace in January, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). January export volume (273,603 metric tons, up 36% year-over-year) and value ($738.7 million, up 50%) were the second highest on record, trailing only December 2019.

China’s surging demand for U.S. pork continued in January, due in part to the ongoing impact of African swine fever on China’s domestic pork production. Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, explains that U.S. pork exports to China were record-large in 2019 despite very high retaliatory duties and rising trade tensions between the United States and China. He notes that the U.S.-China trade relationship has improved significantly in 2020, and although the total import duty rate for U.S. pork is still above 60%, China now allows importers to apply for exclusions that can lower the rate to 33% for U.S. pork muscle cuts and 37% for variety meat.

January beef export growth was led by Taiwan, where U.S. beef exports have set new value records for seven consecutive years and January exports reached $43.5 million. Haggard explains that Taiwan began as a low-end market for U.S. beef but now consumers there enjoy a wide range of high-quality chilled (never frozen) U.S. beef cuts.

Haggard JAN2020 Exports to China, Taiwan 3-9-20

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 10th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 10th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA Approves School Meals in Washington, California, During Coronavirus Closures

The Department of Agriculture over the weekend approved requests from California and Washington to allow meal service during school closures to minimize potential exposure to the new coronavirus. The meals are available at no cost to low-income children, and are not required to be served in a group setting, to ensure kids receive nutritious meals while schools are temporarily closed. The waivers are effective immediately and will continue through June 30, 2020. Brandon Lipps, Deputy Undersecretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, says the agency “stands ready” to provide additional assistance to California and Washington, along with any other areas impacted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Confirmed cases of the virus are expected to increase in the United States as the availability of test kits increases. USDA says all Food and Nutrition Service programs have flexibilities and contingencies built-in to allow them to respond to on-the-ground realities in the event of a disaster or emergency. For more information about the coronavirus response across USDA, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

Global Denatured Ethanol Demand Up

European demand for denatured ethanol recently doubled. Cargill told Reuters the spike comes as denatured ethanol is an ingredient in hand sanitizers, and demand for hand sanitizers has surged in recent weeks amid the global outbreak of the new coronavirus. The virus has spread to more than 105 countries across the globe, with more than 100,000 cases reported and 3,800 deaths, globally. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends people use hand sanitizers with a minimum of 60 percent alcohol to combat the virus. However, the best precaution, according to medical experts, is regular and thorough handwashing. A study released in September of last year reported the denatured ethanol market was projected to grow 6.8 percent in revenue by 2024, reported before the outbreak. At the time, MarketWatch said demand was low with excess supply. Since the outbreak, hand sanitizers have been quickly selling out on store shelves and online, as the global population seeks to protect itself from the virus.

Ag Events Postponed, Changed, Because of Coronavirus

Agriculture events planned for this spring are being impacted by the coronavirus spread in the United States. Alltech will transition ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference to a virtual setting because of the outbreak. In a Monday press release, Alltech noted the company will present ONE session topics online, instead of a live event in 2020. The event, planned for May 17-19 in Lexington, Kentucky, annually hosts more than 3,500 attendees from 70 countries. Also, a Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services Department meeting on Dietary Guidelines scheduled this Thursday and Friday will be held online. Meanwhile, Dairy Farmers of America last week announced the postponements of its annual meeting this month. On the DFA annual meeting website, dfa20am.com, the organization states, “out of an abundance of caution, DFA’s Annual Meeting, currently scheduled for March 16-18, is being postponed.” DFA cites coronavirus concerns as the number of cases continues to increase in the United States. DFA had planned the event in Kansas City, Missouri, for roughly 1,500 attendees.

EPA Taking More Time to Respond to SRE Ruling

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking more time to reply to a federal court ruling against Small Refinery Exemptions. The EPA Friday filed an extension to the Justice Department to grant the agency an additional 15 days to respond to the ruling. The request pushes the deadline to March 24, according to Politico. The Trump administration now plans to appeal the ruling that struck down three waivers granted back in January. The ruling could significantly narrow the scope of allowed waivers. An appeal would be upsetting to ethanol and corn groups. An effort to sway the White House to appeal the rule, led by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, is seen as a “misinformation campaign,” according to Growth Energy. In a joint statement by farm groups, including Growth Energy, they state, “The president needs to understand that Ted Cruz doesn’t care about this administration or families across the heartland who are counting on the White House to keep its promises.”

NMPF: Lactose-Free Milk is Growing Faster Than Plant-Based

In 2019, lactose-free milk sales grew twice as fast as plant-based beverages, with lactose-free poised to surpass almond-beverage sales this year. The National Milk Producers Federation says lactose-free milk is a prime example of how dairy is addressing per-capita drops in fluid-milk consumption. Dairy categories increasing their sales, including whole milk, lactose-free milk and flavored varieties, are giving plenty of reason for optimism about the future of milk. The organization does note plant-based beverage growth, but “from a tiny base.” Almonds, with about three-quarters of sales, drive the plant-based beverage category. And almond-beverage sales are growing, although not as fast as lactose-free milk. Among plant-based beverages that aren’t almonds, soy is number two. But soy is declining, in 2018, by more than 13 percent from $248 million to $215 million, a percentage drop much greater than any sales decline in dairy. Meanwhile, Americans bought $13.88 billion of milk in 2019, down from $13.93 billion.

U.S. Plant Based Food Retail Market Worth $5 Billion

The Plant Based Foods Association says retail sales of plant-based foods have grown 11.4 percent in the past year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $5 billion. The total U.S. retail food market has grown just 2.2 percent in dollar sales during this same period. The association, along with the Good Food Institute, says the leading drivers of plant-based sales continue to be plant-based milks, meat, dairy alternatives in general, and plant-based meals. The total plant-based meat category alone is worth more than $939 million, with sales up 18 percent in the past year. Refrigerated plant-based meat is driving growth, up 63 percent. Emerging plant-based dairy categories are growing even faster as more households are introduced to new plant-based dairy items. In the past year, plant-based yogurt has grown 31 percent, while plant-based cheese has grown 18 percent. Plant-based creamers alone account for almost $300 million, growing 34 percent with its share of total creamers growing from four percent a year ago to five percent in 2019.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service