03-17-20 Colorado Governor Polis Pushes for Federal Funding for Small Businesses

Colorado Governor Polis Pushes for Federal Funding for Small Businesses

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis sent a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for federal funding in order to provide relief for Colorado’s small businesses dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The Governor and the Polis administration are proactively working with Colorado’s federal delegation to ensure Colorado has the resources available to address this pandemic. 

“Colorado’s small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and are woven into the fabric of our way of life. As a person who came to government from the private sector, I understand the challenges and hurdles entrepreneurs and small business owners face. We will get through this together and I urge the federal government to quickly approve our loan application so we can provide relief to the state’s small business community during this global pandemic,” said Governor Polis.  Continue reading

03-17-20 Colorado National Guard specialized teams assist local, state partners with COVID-19 response

CLICK HERE For the latest on COVID-19 in Colorado

Colorado National Guard specialized teams assist local, state partners with COVID-19 response

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – By order of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, about 50 Colorado National Guard members have been mobilized and are on State Active Duty to support the State Emergency Operations Center and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment with medical support and logistics at drive-up COVID-19 testing centers in various communities throughout the state.

The CONG’s 8th Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package are supporting San Miguel County at an appointment only drive-up testing center in Telluride March 17, 2020.

The CONG will provide support in other Colorado communities that the state designates during the next 10 days.

“The National Guard has unique capabilities that can provide our state additional resources to combat COVID-19,” The Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mike Loh said. “Most of the personnel responding now are our state’s resident-trained and equipped experts in biological hazards.”

Members of the Colorado National Guard assist San Miguel County and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment with a COVID-19 drive-up testing station in Telluride, Colorado, March 17, 2020. The CONG’s 8th Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package are Colorado’s resident trained and equipped experts in biological hazards. Colorado’s 8th WMD-CST and CERFP are available to the governor and Federal Emergency Management Agency Region Eight. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Dinsmore, San Miguel County Sheriff’s Department)

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03-17-20 Colorado launches new COVID-19 website

Colorado launches new COVID-19 website

Site features variety of informational resources, including case summary data visualization

DENVER, March 17, 2020: The State of Colorado has launched a new website with a breadth of informational resources and improved data visualization for COVID-19. The website will be the state’s primary resource for information related to COVID-19 and will feature statewide coordinated response information.

The new website is covid19.colorado.gov. Continue reading

03-17-20 USDA Working with Private Sector in Response to COVID-19

USDA Working with Private Sector in Response to COVID-19

Washington, D.C., March 17, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced new contacts to encourage communication with USDA to help feed kids and ensure the United States food supply chain remains strong in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:

“Food is essential all year round, but in the face of a pandemic it is critical the shelves remain stocked and supplies remain plentiful. America’s farmers and ranchers, and those on the front lines in the food service industry are doing their part,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump is encouraging a whole of America approach to the challenges we currently face. At USDA we know when we work together to solve the problems facing us, we can overcome this time of uncertainty and fear. If you have ideas or solutions for USDA, I urge you to reach out – we want to hear from the experts in the field.”

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03-17-20 CME Group Statement on U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Proposal to Shorten Trading Hours

CME Group Statement on U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Proposal to Shorten Trading Hours

CHICAGO, March 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In response to U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s comments today regarding the possibility of shortening financial market hours to address high volatility due to the coronavirus outbreak, CME Group Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy issued the following statement:

“We were quite surprised to hear Secretary Mnuchin say he is coordinating with the New York Stock Exchange on possible shortened trading hours, even though he has not reached out to all cash equity and futures markets including CME Group and Nasdaq.  Shorter hours make no sense.  Financial markets are critical to managing risk and ensuring the resilience of the U.S. and global economies.  Therefore, they must remain open, especially during this unprecedented crisis when news, information and events are changing at such a rapid pace.  Markets are global, so shortening U.S. hours would not decrease volatility.  Rather, it could actually increase as investors turn to other venues outside the U.S. when developments occur.”

CME Group has already suggested other steps that could be considered in coordination with all markets including: Continue reading

03-17-20 Livestock Marketing Association on COVID-19 Precautions

Livestock Marketing Association on COVID-19 Precautions

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (March 17, 2020) – Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) is actively working to keep livestock auction markets functioning while following the rapidly changing field of guidance and mandates for businesses in light of COVID-19. Livestock auction markets are essential to maintaining infrastructure and food supply as well as access to capital for the thousands of farmers and ranchers who depend on livestock auction markets to sell their livestock.

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03-17-20 USDA Ensures Food Safety During COVID-19 Outbreak

USDA Ensures Food Safety During COVID-19 Outbreak

Washington, D.C., March 17, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is ensuring the safety and timely delivery of the U.S. food supply while protecting the health of USDA employees during this COVID-19 National Emergency. Yesterday, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach and USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Mindy Brashears sent a letter to stakeholders reassuring them that APHIS, AMS, and FSIS are rising to meet the challenges associated with COVID-19.

“As leaders of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, and Food Safety and Inspection Service we can assure you that the agencies are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees while still providing the timely delivery of the services to maintain the movement of America’s food supply from farm to fork… As we come together as a country to address this public health threat, know that USDA remains committed to working closely with industry to fulfill our mission of ensuring the safety of the U.S. food supply and protecting agricultural health,” Under Secretary Ibach and Deputy Under Secretary Brashears said in the letter to stakeholders.
You may click here to read the letter in its entirety.
Additional Information:
Food Safety and Inspection Service:
  • Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspection services continue as normal.
  • Planning for absenteeism is a part of normal FSIS operations and as such, FSIS is closely monitoring and tracking employee absenteeism to plan for and minimize impacts to operations.
  • FSIS is also working to prioritize inspection at establishments based on local conditions and resources available.
Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
  • APHIS and AMS continue to provide critical inspections and grading services.
  • APHIS and AMS are ensuring the health and safety of USDA employees while still providing the timely delivery of the services to maintain the movement of America’s food supply moving from farms to forks.
  • APHIS and AMS are prepared to remedy any possible disruptions in their services.
  • AMS will continue to report commodity prices through its market news service.
  • Commodity markets can be assured that the USDA will keep America’s food supply safe as well as abundant during this national emergency.
For more information from the USDA, you may visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
The latest information directly from the CDC can be found at www.coronavirus.gov.

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03-17-20 USDA Continues Focus on Service During COVID-19 Outbreak

USDA Continues Focus on Service During COVID-19 Outbreak

Washington, D.C., March 17, 2020 – While President Donald J. Trump continues to take action during this COVID-19 National Emergency and enact measures to ensure Americans are safe, secure, and healthy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to be open for business to provide services to the American people. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recorded the following video message reassuring the American people that the U.S. supply chain remains strong. Additionally, the Secretary thanked those on the front lines of the American food supply: folks stocking the shelves of local grocery stores, truck drivers keeping supply networks open and functioning, food service workers in kitchens across the country preparing the products at markets, school lunch workers keeping America’s families and children fed during closures, and USDA’s food safety inspectors ensuring the food we eat is safe, healthy, and nutritious.

03-17-20 CCA/CBC/CLA: Amid COVID-19 Outbreak Beef Producers Remain Vigilant

CCA/CBC/CLA: Amid COVID-19 Outbreak Beef Producers Remain Vigilant

March 17, 2020- Denver, CO – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a serious and rapidly changing situation throughout Colorado and the entire United States. The virus and its impacts are being taken very seriously throughout the beef industry. The health of the public and our employees is of the highest priority, as well as our responsibility to produce and deliver safe and wholesome food throughout the nation and the world. Continue reading

03-17-20 USDA Announces Feeding Program Partnership in Response to COVID-19

USDA Announces Feeding Program Partnership in Response to COVID-19

Collaboration will provide nearly 1,000,000 meals to rural children
Washington, D.C., March 17, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a collaboration with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, PepsiCo, and others to deliver nearly 1,000,000 meals to students in a limited number of rural schools closed due to COVID-19:
“Feeding children who are affected by school closures is a top priority for President Trump and this Administration. USDA is working with private sector partners to deliver boxes of food to children in rural America who are affected by school closures,” said Secretary Perdue. “Right now, USDA and local providers are utilizing a range of innovative feeding programs to ensure children are practicing social distancing but are still receiving healthy and nutritious food. This whole of America approach to tackling the coronavirus leverages private sector ingenuity with the exact same federal financing as the Summer Food Service Program. USDA has already taken swift action to ensure children are fed in the event of school closures, and we continue to waive restrictions and expand flexibilities across our programs.”
“We are grateful to come alongside USDA, PepsiCo, and McLane Global to ensure that children impacted by school closures get access to nutritious food regardless of where they live. We know from first-hand experience that families with children who live in rural communities across the U.S. are often unable to access the existing food sites. Meal delivery is critical for children in rural America to have consistent access to food when school is out. This is one way we, as citizens of this great nation, can respond to our neighbors in need,” said Jeremy Everett, Executive Director, Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty.
“McLane Global was proud to take part in the success of the summer Meals-2-You home delivery pilot program in 2019. It was a great opportunity to bring private industry best practices together with the USDA to combat rural hunger. Given the rapid disruptions driven by COVID-19, we can work together to swiftly take this model nationwide. McLane Global is ready to do its part to support the fight against hunger through this crisis,” said Denton McLane, Chairman, McLane Global.
“As schools around the country close, millions of schoolchildren now don’t know where their next meal is coming from. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, it’s critical that the private sector help ensure these students have access to nutritious meals,” said Jon Banner, Executive Vice President, PepsiCo Global Communications and President, PepsiCo Foundation. “PepsiCo is committing $1 million to help Baylor create a solution with USDA to identify children most in need and then we will help reach them with at least 200,000 meals per week—one way we are deploying our food and beverage resources to help those most vulnerable.”

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03-17-20 USDA Statement to Industry

USDA Statement to Industry

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is rising to meet the challenges associated with the new coronavirus disease, Covid-19. As leaders of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Agricultural Marketing Service, we can assure you that the agencies are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees while still providing the timely delivery of the services to maintain the movement of America’s food supply from farm to fork.

These agencies are prepared to utilize their authority and all administrative means and flexibilities to address staffing considerations. Field personnel will be working closely with establishment management and state and local health authorities to handle situations as they arise in your community. As always, communication between industry and government will be key. We are all relying on early and frequent communication with one another to overcome challenges as they arise.

In this time of much uncertainty, we know that many of you have questions about how the department will continue to ensure that grading and inspection personnel are available. We have all seen how consumers have reacted to the evolving coronavirus situation and how important access to food is to a sense of safety and wellbeing. It is more important than ever that we assure the American public that government and industry will take all steps necessary to ensure continued access to safe and wholesome USDA-inspected products.

As we come together as a country to address this public health threat, know that USDA remains committed to working closely with industry to fulfill our mission of ensuring the safety of the U.S. food supply and protecting agricultural health.

Dr. Mindy Brashears
USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety

Greg Ibach
USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs

SOURCE

03-17-20 NPPC: U.S. Pork Producers Committed to Special Responsibility


NPPC: U.S. Pork Producers Committed to Special Responsibility

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2020 – The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) supports Trump administration guidelines announced today to maintain the continuity of critical U.S. infrastructure, including the food supply. U.S. pork producers supply the world’s safest, most nutritious and lowest-cost pork in the world and remain committed to supplying Americans and consumers worldwide with the healthy protein they need.

“We are committed to maintaining the core infrastructure of America’s food supply: farms,” said NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “Pork producers and other farmers take seriously the special responsibility we hold for keeping people fed. Telecommuting is not an option for us; we are reporting for work as always while taking all necessary precautions to protect our health and the health of those we work with.”

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 17th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 17th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farm Economy Outlook Depends on Trade, Evolution of Disease Outbreaks

The outlook for the United States farm economy depends on the implementation of new trade agreements and the evolution of animal and human disease outbreaks. The University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute reports that while net farm income increases in 2020, under a baseline assumption of continued trade friction with China, other indicators of the health of the farm economy are not as positive. Projections show that with an assumed return to normal planting and growing weather in 2020, there will be an increase in projected area, yields and supplies and lower prices for corn and soybeans in the 2020/21 marketing year. With trend yields, 2020 corn production increases to 15 billion bushels, putting downward pressure on prices, which are projected to average $3.57 per bushel. With soybeans, an increase in production drops prices to $8.48 per bushel, before considering the possible impacts of the “Phase 1” trade agreement. Additionally, potential African swine fever impacts, along with the impact of COVID-19, could change the farm economy in 2020, as well.

https://www.fapri.missouri.edu/carousel/changes-for-the-2020-baseline-outlook/

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COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Additional Food Aid

The House-passed bill to ease economic burdens caused by COVID-19 includes additional food benefits. The Senate will consider the bill early this week. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill “crucial legislation for the American people.” McConnell says, “It is clear that confronting this virus will take boldness, bipartisanship, and a comprehensive approach.” Politico reports the legislation includes an additional $1 billion in food benefits for students and workers. The Department of Agriculture has already granted more than 25 waivers to states to serve meals to low-income students during school closures. Further, the legislation includes $500 million for pregnant women and mothers under the WIC program, as well as $400 million in emergency aid for the Agriculture Department to purchase and distribute items to food banks. The bill also would suspend SNAP work requirements during the crisis. The legislation includes other economic measures, as well, intended to help America deal with the financial burden of the crisis.

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Food Industry Stands with Trump to Keep Grocery Stores Open and Stocked

Food industry representatives spoke with the President over the weekend, as the U.S. grocery supply chain seeks to keep up with crisis demands. President Donald Trump urged consumers to “chill,” saying, “You don’t have to buy so much. Take it easy. Just relax,” referring to panic purchases of food items across the nation. Trump added food retailers are “committed to remaining open.”  The Food Industry Association says the organization and its members offered to “stand ready with the President” to ensure “the viability of the supply chain and the availability of safe, affordable food and consumer products.” FMI says the grocery industry is working 24-hours-a-day to replenish and restock while ensuring the cleanliness of stores and facilities. FMI CEO Leslie Sarasin adds, “We want to ensure that all Americans know the government is working closely with all stakeholders across the and consumer products supply chain to ensure that stores can stay open and stocked with the products consumers need through this emergency.

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Cattle Groups Respond to COVID-19 Market Disruption

The United States Cattlemen’s Association Monday called on the Department of Agriculture to take immediate steps to address the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. cattle market. In a letter to USDA officials, the organization says producers’ bottom lines are suffering because of the outbreak’s impact on the cattle and beef industries. The Association says, “We must act expeditiously to return normalcy to the cattle marketplace.” USCA has created a special task force to address the market fallout as a result of the coronavirus. The announcement follows a statement from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association last week. NCBA CEO Collin Woodall says NCBA, “has been in daily communication with participants from every sector of the beef supply chain,” as the industry finds ways to “remove possible barriers to beef production.” Woodall says, “Although the full beef supply chain is being challenged by the outbreak, all segments of the industry are working closely together and must continue to do so.”

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Lawmakers Introduce SALE Act

A bipartisan bill introduced Monday would address livestock industry issues relating to dealer payment default. Republicans, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Monday, introduced the Securing All Livestock Equitably, or SALE Act. The lawmakers say the Act will make sure both livestock dealers and farmers are protected moving forward without negatively impacting their bottom line. Quick turnaround between the purchase and resale of cattle by a dealer often leaves the rancher who originally owned the cattle with little recourse if a dealer defaults on a purchase because the livestock has often already been resold. The legislation would establish dealer statutory trusts, mimicking existing packer statutory trusts, to ensure cattle sellers receive payment should a livestock dealer become insolvent. The 2018 Farm Bill contained a provision directing the Department of Agriculture to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of establishing a livestock dealer statutory trust. The results helped inform the senators’ ongoing effort to establish the creation of a Livestock Dealer Statutory Trust.  

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USDA Announces New Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Team

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced a new team of USDA staff that will lead a department-wide effort focused on serving beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky says the move will help “support the next generation of agricultural producers who we will soon rely upon to grow our nation’s food and fiber.” Sarah Campbell was selected as the national coordinator to lead USDA’s efforts. A beginning farmer herself, Campbell held previous positions with USDA and has a wealth of experience working on issues impacting beginning farmers and ranchers. She recently served as acting director of customer experience for the Farm Production and Conservation Business Center, where she led the piloting of innovative, customer-centric initiatives. In her new role, she will work closely with the state coordinators to develop goals and create plans to increase beginning farmer participation and access to programs while coordinating nationwide efforts on beginning farmers and ranchers.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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