03-19-20 CDA: U.S. Food Supply is Safe and Abundant; Colorado creates Ag Task Force

CDA: U.S. Food Supply is Safe and Abundant; Colorado creates Ag Task Force

BROOMFIELD, CO – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are ensuring that food production and supply systems nationwide remain safe and abundant. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States can transmit COVID-19, and no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods. Additionally, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.

“People across Colorado can rest assured that our state’s food supply systems are operating as intended:  To provide plenty of safe food for the public,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is working closely with the USDA, together ensuring the safety and timely delivery of the U.S. food supply while protecting the health of our employees during the COVID-19 National Emergency.”

Commissioner Greenberg has created a Food Security Task Force to work closely with Colorado’s agriculture producers and food companies across the supply chain to support their needs during the COVID-19 emergency. For more information about the Task Force, please contact Tom Lipetzky, Director of CDA’s Markets Division, or Jordan Beezley, CDA Legislative and Policy Advisor.

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03-19-20 USDA Announces Support for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation and Trade Disruption

USDA Announces Support for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation and Trade Disruption

(Washington, D.C., March 19, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to help facilitate the identification of foreign and domestic workers that may be available and eligible to transfer to other U.S. agricultural sector employers to fulfill critical workforce needs within the U.S. under existing regulatory authority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Listen to Secretary Perdue’s comments about the announcement:

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03-19-20 CDPHE News: State health department calls on people, especially those who think they might have the illness, to self-isolate

CDPHE: State health department calls on people, especially those who think they might have the illness, to self-isolate

Close contacts of sick people should self-quarantine

DENVER, March 19, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is urging self-isolation or self-quarantine for Coloradans and visitors to Colorado.

Self-isolation applies to people who: Continue reading

03-19-20 USDA-RMA: USDA Service Centers Encourage Visitors to Make Appointments in Advance Due to Recent Public Health Concern

USDA-RMA: USDA Service Centers Encourage Visitors to Make Appointments in Advance Due to Recent Public Health Concern

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2020 –- U.S. Department of Agriculture service centers are encouraging visitors to take proactive protective measures to help prevent the spread of new coronavirus.

All service center visitors wishing to conduct business with the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other service center agency should call service centers and make appointments before visiting.

Please ask yourself these three questions before visiting a service center: Continue reading

03-19-20 Governor Polis Secures Federal Loan Assistance for Colorado’s Small Businesses 

Gov. Polis Secures Federal Loan Assistance for Colorado’s Small Businesses 

Approval Unlocks Billions in Economic Recovery Loans for Small Businesses Impacted  by COVID-19

DENVER – Colorado small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can seek individual small business loans up to $2M as part of the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Small businesses throughout all 64 counties may seek SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Governor Jared Polis announced that Colorado’s application for federal disaster area designation has been approved.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 has been felt across our state. We are committed to protecting public health and safety and will continue fighting to ensure the pain that Colorado’s small businesses are feeling is limited. This critical designation allows small businesses in all 64 Colorado counties to seek federal recovery loans that can help them through this challenging time. I thank the Colorado federal delegation for their efforts to help unlock this assistance,” said Governor Polis. Continue reading

03-19-20 Colorado Continues to Take Action in Response to COVID-19

Colorado Continues to Take Action in Response to COVID-19

DENVER – On March 19th, Governor Polis announced a number of state actions to address the impact of COVID-19. Actions include a special enrollment period for uninsured Coloradans, executive orders temporarily suspending elective surgeries and reducing in-person contact related to election requirements, and an updated public health order from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“As a state, we are looking at all possible solutions to ensure we are protecting the health and safety of Coloradans and minimizing the duration of the crisis,” said Governor Jared Polis. “This is a coordinated effort with all state agencies and community partners to utilize every resource available during this difficult time to reduce the severity and duration of the crisis. Together, we will get through this.” Continue reading

03-19-20 RFA Hosts Media Call to Update on Coronavirus and Other Ethanol Industry Challenges

RFA Hosts Media Call to Update on Coronavirus and Other Ethanol Industry Challenges

Coronavirus, with its deep impact on energy markets, is just the newest threat to the solvency of the U.S. ethanol industry, coming on top of the strong attacks ethanol producers have already taken from trade disputes and small refinery waivers. With several ethanol plant closures and idlings since late 2018, the industry is now facing the potential of even more jobs lost.

In a conference call this afternoon for news media, Renewable Fuels Association leaders will discuss the impact of these hits on ethanol producers and the communities and customers they serve.

PRESENTERS

  • Geoff Cooper, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association
  • Jeanne McCaherty, CEO, Guardian Energy Management; RFA Vice Chair
  • Randy Doyal, CEO, Al-Corn Clean Fuel; RFA Board Member
  • Scott Richman, Chief Economist, RFA
LISTEN TO THE MEDIA CALL
(Lost Power here at The BARN prior to the call finishing)
About the Renewable Fuels Association

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03-19-20 Inside The BARN with Diane Mulligan of M & C Communications…

Inside The BARN with Diane Mulligan of M & C Communications…

the presenter for the CFVGA/CPSC FREE Webinar on March 25th

(BARN Media / FarmCast Radio – Briggsdale, CO) March 19, 2020 – The Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) and its grower members are very concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having on Coloradans’ physical, economic and social health. With that in mind, the CFVGA and the Colorado Produce Safety Collaborative will be hosting a free webinar for all farmers and ranchers to learn how to better communicate with their customers about produce and their operations during the pandemic.The hour-long, interactive webinar is Wed., March 25, beginning at 12:10pm. Joining the BARN on the Colorado Ag News Network is the presenter for that webinar Diane Mulligan, APR, President M & C Communications…

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW…

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REMINDER: To register for the FREE hour-long interactive webinar on March 25, 2020 @ 12:10pm MT go to the front page of CFVGA’s website: https://coloradoproduce.org 

VIEW THE FULL PRESS RELEASE

The CFVGA is comprised of roughly 250 members, including produce operations of all sizes and types of production throughout the state, as well as representatives of allied industries. The Colorado fruit and vegetable growing sector contributes nearly $485 million to Colorado at the farm gate and is multiplied as it goes through the distribution chain. Over 90,000 Colorado acres are in fruit and vegetable production. Learn more online at https://coloradoproduce.org 

03-19-20 Inside the BARN with CO Farm Bureau’s Vice President of Advocacy Shawn Martini…

Inside the BARN with CO Farm Bureau’s Vice President of Advocacy Shawn Martini…

(BARN Media / FarmCast Radio – Briggsdale, CO) March 19, 2020 – Joining the BARN on the Colorado Ag News Network to discuss issues facing Colorado’s ag industry is Shawn Martini,  Vice President of Advocacy at the Colorado Farm Bureau, discussing and reacting to several topics including:

  • COVID-19’s Impact on U.S. and Colorado Agriculture
  • COVID-19’s Impact on Trade & Commerce
  • FSMCA’s Hours of Service Exemption thru April 12th
  • CO State Budget
  • CFB Policy Watch Update
  • CFB Bill Tracker
  • COVID-19 Causing Recesses/Postponements/Cancellations
  • USMCA Ratified by Canada
  • Help Colorado Now / COVID Relief Fund 
  • Will the CFB reactivate their Disaster Relief Fund?
  • & More

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW…

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About: Shawn Martini, CFB VP of Advocacy

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03-19-20 NPPC Applauds Government Guidance Recognizing U.S. Agriculture as Critical Industry


NPPC Applauds Government Guidance Recognizing U.S. Agriculture as Critical Industry

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2020 –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance on critical industry workforce that should continue as the country addresses and responds to the coronavirus outbreak; U.S. food and agriculture was included among 16 critical industries.

Specifically, DHS recognized as essential a variety of pork production roles. Among these critical workers: Continue reading

03-19-20 U.S. DoI: Sportsmen and Sportswomen Generate Nearly $1 Billion in Conservation Funding

U.S. DoI: Sportsmen and Sportswomen Generate Nearly $1 Billion in Conservation Funding

Fish, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation and Local Communities Benefit from Excise Tax Revenues

WASHINGTON – America’s sportsmen and sportswomen generated nearly $1 billion in excise taxes last year that support state conservation programs. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced the disbursement of these funds, generated through excise taxes on hunting, shooting and fishing equipment and boat fuel to all 50 states and U.S. territories by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).

To date, the Service has distributed more than $22.9 billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects. The recipient state wildlife agencies have matched these funds with approximately $7.6 billion throughout the years, primarily through hunting and fishing license revenues.

“Our conservation model is funded and supported by America’s hunters, shooters, anglers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts. These stewards of conservation generated nearly a billion dollars last year alone and make our country’s conservation legacy the envy of the world,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. Continue reading

03-19-20 NRCS-CO: USDA Funding Available for Colorado Landowners to Help Protect Wetlands and Wildlife Habitat

NRCS-CO: USDA Funding Available for Colorado Landowners to Help Protect Wetlands and Wildlife Habitat

Applications into the ACEP Wetlands Reserve Easement Program Accepted until Friday, April 24, 2020.

DENVER, CO, March 19, 2020 — Clint Evans, State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Colorado, announces the opportunity for enrollment into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Wetlands Reserve Easement Program (ACEP-WRE).

Applications must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 2020, to your local NRCS Field Office located within the USDA Service Center that services your county.

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03-19-20 Colorado Takes Further Action to Address Public Health Threat of COVID-19

Colorado Takes Further Action to Address Public Health Threat of COVID-19 *UPDATED*

State extends suspension of downhill ski operations, limits gatherings to no more than 10 people, suspends in-person learning in public & private schools

DENVER – Today Governor Jared Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and announced new executive actions to protect the health and safety of Coloradans. Earlier today at a news conference, Governor Polis announced the launch of the Help Colorado Now effort where Coloradans can donate or volunteer, as well as the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, which has already raised nearly $3 million to help Coloradans impacted by the coronavirus.

“We are acting boldly and swiftly together to protect the health and safety of all Coloradans. The science and data tells us this will get worse before it gets better,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We are in this together and the state is taking the necessary actions to slow the spread of this disease.”

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03-19-20 Colorado Produce Industry Responds to COVID-19: Free Communicating with Customers Webinar on March 25th

CFVGA News: Colorado Produce Industry Responds to COVID-19

CFVGA to Offer Growers Free Webinar on Communicating with Customers March 25
The Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) and its grower members are very concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having on Coloradans’ physical, economic and social health.
“We join authorities in urging Coloradans to comply with safety guidelines laid out by our state and to be considerate of others by doing what we can to keep ourselves and others safe from the virus,” said CFVGA President Robert Sakata, Sakata Farms, Brighton.

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USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for March 19th

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

Weekly Export Sales for March 19th

03-19-20 USCA / LMA: Temporary Hours of Service Exemption for Livestock Haulers

USCA / LMA: Temporary Hours of Service Exemption for Livestock Haulers

(March 18, 2020) — Due to the COVID-19 emergency relief effort, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has exempted livestock haulers from compliance with federal Hours of Service rules that limit drive time until at least April 12. Drivers wishing to haul under this exemption are suggested to print out and keep in their cab a copy of the Expanded Emergency Declaration, available here.

The Expanded Emergency Declaration provides relief to those drivers hauling “food” and “immediate precursor raw materials… that are required and to be used for the manufacture of … food.” The Livestock marketing Association (LMA) has received official interpretation from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation that ALL livestock movement fits these exemption definitions. Once the driver has returned to the their “normal reporting location,” the driver must still receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty to rest.

PRINT THE EXEMPTION LETTER

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03-19-20 USDA: Agricultural Producers Encouraged to Visit Farmers.Gov for Updates on Services in Their Community

Agricultural Producers Encouraged to Visit Farmers.Gov for Updates on Services in Their Community

As proactive health measures are put in effect nationwide to reduce the spread of coronavirus, the USDA is taking measures to ensure the safety of its employees and customers. As a result, access to certain facilities may be limited while remaining open for business. All service center visitors wishing to conduct business with the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other service center agency are encouraged to call their service center to confirm availability for in-person or phone appointments before visiting. Producers can find their service center’s phone number at farmers.gov/service-center-locator. Agricultural producers should visit farmers.gov/coronavirus for the latest information on available services and the latest status of service centers impacted by these locally-specific health measures.

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, March 19th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, March 19th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farm Bureau Highlights Immediate Challenges Facing the Agriculture Sector

The American Farm Bureau has released its first assessment of the impact on farmers and ranchers in the wake of the national mitigation efforts to combat COVID-19. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, AFBF President Zippy Duvall pledged, “America’s farmers and ranchers will be with you every step of the way.” The letter, which will be updated as new issues materialize, outlines concerns from Farm Bureau members across the country. Those concerns include H-2A labor issues, With the State Department’s announcement to suspend all processing of new, non-emergency visa applications in Mexico, U.S. farms and ranches could face a serious labor shortage at a critical time for planting and harvesting crops essential to the domestic food supply. Additionally, AFBF noted supply chain concerns and market concerns. Duvall noted concerns from livestock producers regarding market manipulation and urged USDA to monitor the situation to protect ranchers and consumers alike from price manipulation.

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NPPC Renews Call for Labor Solutions

The National Pork Producers Council Wednesday renewed its call for government help to prevent a severe labor shortage from becoming a crisis. The decision by the U.S. State Department to suspend visa processing in Mexico threatens to worsen the labor shortage in the pork industry and across U.S. agriculture, according to the organization. Mexico is an important source of labor for U.S. hog farmers and packing plants. NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth says, “we are very concerned” about the State Department’s action and its implications on the U.S. pork industry. The pork industry, a farm sector that operates year-round, uses the H-2A visa program for specialized work, but cannot use the program for most labor needs because of its seasonal limitation. Hog farmers are major users of the TN visa program, which taps labor from Mexico. NPPC also seeks clarifications from the U.S. Department of Transportation that farms are part of the critical domestic infrastructure needed to produce the food that feeds America and the world.

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Senators Seek COVID-19 Federal Help for Rural Areas

A group of farm-state Senators seeks additional assistance from federal agencies for rural areas to cope with COVID-19. 24 Senators penned a letter to the Department of Interior and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the Department of Homeland Security earlier this week. The letter requests “immediate assistance in mobilizing agencies to offer coordinated support for rural counties, municipalities, and tribal communities as they respond to the coronavirus.” The lawmakers say rural communities are working to set up local emergency operation centers to help manage their response, but face challenges with limited staff capacity. The letter states, “some communities are already overwhelmed with the challenge.” Throughout rural America, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture employ thousands of federal civil servants who have the relevant experience to assist with emergency response. With this expertise available, the lawmakers say, ”it is crucial that the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide the authorities necessary and work with both agencies to deliver effective, coordinated assistance to rural communities.”

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Restaurant Industry Seeks Federal Help

The National Restaurant Association Wednesday asked President Donald Trump and Congress to take steps to provide the restaurant industry relief.  The letter outlined the projected economic impacts of at least $225 billion during the next three months, with job losses of 5-7 million jobs, stemming from COVID-19. The letter outlined a dozen steps, including three separate categories of protection for industry restaurants and employees, including directed/targeted financial relief, loans/insurance options for impacted small businesses, and tax measures. Sean Kennedy, National Restaurant Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, says, “We are revising our business model to provide meals in different ways, takeout, delivery, safety-enhanced dine-in, but we are facing economic headwinds that will lead many restaurants to shut down operations, lay off workers, and end service in our communities.” Kennedy adds, the proposals in the letter, “ensure that restaurants have increased liquidity and access to necessary financing to help the industry and its employees recover.”

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Grassley, Tester Call on USDA to Address Rule Change

Two farm-state Senators want the Department of Agriculture to change a rule in the Packers and Stockyards Act. Senate Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Senate Democrat Jon Tester of Montana recently sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting USDA “clarify an ambiguous proposed rule regarding the undue and reasonable preferences provision of the Packers and Stockyards Act.” Grassley and Tester are urging USDA to ensure the new rule protects small livestock and poultry farmers from unreasonable practices of packers and poultry companies. In their letter, they outlined specific changes to address this proposed rule. The Senators say the current rule, “not only fails to address many of these abusive and unreasonable industry practices, but it actively establishes criteria insulating packers and poultry companies from scrutiny.” The rule also appears to provide legal protection for packers who are able to justify a practice based on the need to save costs and reduce prices, or if their practices are deemed “customary” in the industry because they align with those of their competitors. 

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NCBA Seeks BQA Awards Nominations

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association seeks nominations for National Beef Quality Assurance awards. The 2020 National BQA Awards recognize five winners in the areas of beef producer, dairy, marketing and education. The awards, “demonstrate the pride we all have in the work being done to enhance our industry and the products we provide to consumers,” according to Glen Dolezal of Cargill Protein. The National BQA Awards are selected by a committee of BQA-certified representatives from universities, state beef councils, sponsors and affiliated groups. Nominations may be submitted by organizations, groups or individuals on behalf of a U.S. beef producer, dairy producer, marketer or educator. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, though the nominees are expected to be involved in the preparation of the application. Past nominees are encouraged to submit their application under the new nomination structure. Previous winners may not reapply. The Deadline for nominations is June 5, 2020. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association manages the BQA program as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. For more information, visit BQA.org.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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