03-20-20 CDPHE News: State law enforcement and public health officials urge Coloradans to follow state public health order during coronavirus emergency

CDPHE: State law enforcement and public health officials urge Coloradans to follow state public health order during coronavirus emergency

Enforcement guidance includes voluntary compliance, stronger action when necessary

March 20, 2020 (DENVER, Colo.)— State officials today provided guidance to local law enforcement and local public health agencies on enforcing the state public health order that the state health department issued earlier this week to protect Coloradans from the widespread transmission of COVID-19.

Officials from the Attorney General’s Office, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and the Colorado Department of Public Safety are urging Colorado residents to exercise civic and personal responsibility and voluntarily comply the public health order. Leaders from these state agencies, however, said they will use their authority under state law to enforce the order when necessary and appropriate.

“The State has taken decisive action to protect Coloradans from the spread of COVID-19. We understand that residents may feel anxious or frustrated by limits on gatherings or closures of businesses and institutions around the state,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser. “Our expectation is that residents will respect their fellow Coloradans, use good judgment and follow the public health order. When necessary and appropriate, however, we will work with our state and local law enforcement partners to ensure that residents obey the order.”

“The gravity of the public health orders are appropriate for the gravity of this situation,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of CDPHE. “The transmission of COVID-19 is an event unlike anything we have seen and we must take dramatic precautions to save lives. These policy decisions are grounded in science and what has been learned from other countries and states. The swifter and more decisively we act, the greater the possibility that we can flatten the epidemiological curve, preserve the availability of hospital beds for those who need them, and eventually return to normal life.” 

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03-20-20 Governor Polis Announces State’s Economic Response to COVID-19

Governor Polis Announces State’s Economic Response to COVID-19

***Comunicado de prensa en español a continuación***

DENVER – Today, Governor Polis provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19 and announced a number of actions the state is taking to support Colorado’s economy.

“This virus has significantly impacted our economy here at home and across the world. We know this has been challenging for our local businesses and workers, and we are working to provide relief including deferral of taxes and suspension of evictions to Colorado families and individuals. These times are difficult, but they are temporary. Coloradans should rest assured that we will get through this together and we will be well-positioned for success when this all blows over,” said Governor Jared Polis. Continue reading

03-20-20 ASI News: Apply Now for the Sheep Heritage Foundation Scholarship

ASI News: Apply Now for the Sheep Heritage Foundation Scholarship
The Sheep Heritage Foundation Memorial Scholarship – offered through the American Sheep Industry Association – in the amount of $3,000 is being made available for sheep-related graduate studies.
May 31 is the deadline to apply, and a final selection is expected to be made in June or July.
The scholarship is for the advancement of the sheep industry – lamb and wool – through financial support of a graduate-level (MS or Ph.D.) student who is attending a school in the United States.
Applicant requirements:

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03-20-20 Lamb Checkoff and Sheep Center Director Nominations Due to ASI by April 24th

Checkoff and Sheep Center Director Nominations Due to ASI by April 24th
The American Sheep Industry Association is seeking nominations of sheep producers to serve on both federal boards affiliated with the sheep business. ASI is certified to nominate producers and feeders to the American Lamb Board and is the only organization that can nominate directors to the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center.

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03-20-20 ASI News: Lamb Industry Presses for USDA Meat Purchases

ASI News: Lamb Industry Presses for USDA Meat Purchases

The American Sheep Industry Association and the National Lamb Feeders Association sent a letter to USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach today calling for prompt solicitation of bids under a Feb. 19 Pre-Solicitation Notice Announcement for Trade Mitigation Purchase of Lamb Products. Lamb meat sales to food service industries are struggling thanks to developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the closure of many restaurants around the United States.
“The Easter/Passover season is traditionally the single largest lamb consumption period of the year, so the loss of sales is devastating,” read the letter. “Decreased slaughter during this run up to the largest lamb processing period can lead to back-up of live lambs in the feedlots, which again supports an aggressive use of USDA lamb meat purchases. We ask that every consideration is made of any additional lamb products for near term solicitations, as well as use of Section 32 procurement funds, as appropriate.” 

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The number of cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Colorado feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger
was estimated at 1,050,000 head as of March 1, 2020. The latest inventory was 4 percent below last month’s inventory of
1,100,000 head, but no change from the March 1, 2019 inventory. Cattle feeders with 1,000 head or larger capacity marketed
an estimated 210,000 head of fed cattle during February 2020, 11 percent above the previous month’s marketings and 24
percent above the marketings one year earlier. An estimated 165,000 head of cattle and calves were placed on feed during
February, down 19 percent from the previous month and down 11 percent from February 2019 placements. Of the number
placed in February, 18 percent weighed less than 600 pounds, 18 percent weighed from 600 to 699 pounds, 24 percent
weighed from 700 to 799 pounds, 27 percent weighed 800-899 pounds and 12 percent weighed 900 pounds or greater. Other
disappearance for February, at 5,000 head, was unchanged from last month and last year.

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03-20-20 NASS-CO: USDA Gathers Monthly Yield Data to Measure Crop Production

NASS-CO: USDA Gathers Monthly Yield Data to Measure Crop Production

 LAKEWOOD, Colo. – March 20, 2020 – Starting in May and continuing through November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct a monthly Agricultural Yield survey. The information captured in this survey will help NASS track changes in yields that can occur due to weather, pests, disease and other factors, from farmers and ranchers in the Mountain Region states of Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

“This survey is critical in assessing the true state of agriculture in the Mountain Region,” said William Meyer, Director, Mountain Regional Field Office. “The data that farm operators provide through NASS’s Agricultural Yield survey allows us to provide the necessary information that producers, agribusiness and local, state and federal authorities need to make sound business decisions.”

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03-20-20 Potatoes USA: Tips for Purchasing, Storing and Cooking Potatoes from U.S. Potato Farmers

Potatoes USA: Tips for Purchasing, Storing and Cooking Potatoes from U.S. Potato Farmers

DENVER (March 20, 2020) — Many consumers are stocking up on potatoes during these uncertain times, and it’s important to make the most of these purchases. Heidi Alsum Randall, a potato farmer and mother from Wisconsin, provided the following thoughts:

“We know many people are spending more time in their homes right now, looking for ways to prepare easy and nutritious meals for themselves and their families. We are hearing from grocery retailers that people are stocking up on potatoes. That makes perfect sense to us as potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable with a long shelf-life.

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03-20-20 National Conservation Partnership Message on COVID-19

National Conservation Partnership Message on COVID-19

This week, the National Conservation Partnership held discussions and agreed to send a joint message on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As you may be aware, beginning Monday, March 23, USDA service centers will be instituting locked door policies, with no public access to USDA offices. One employee per agency will be permitted in the office (one conservation district employee, one NRCS employee, one FSA employee, etc.) on a rotating schedule. High-risk employees will not be subject to rotation during this full telework plan. We encourage all conservation district and partner offices to follow the protocols outlined by USDA during this time. Continue reading

03-22-20 CSU Golden Plains Extension’s PestSweep! has been POSTPONED

CSU Golden Plains Extension’s PestSweep! has been POSTPONED

As a result of recent situations, Colorado State University will be postponing the Pest Sweep program that was scheduled for this spring.

The program will be postponed until later this year.

Should anyone have questions feel free to contact Ron Meyer at the Kit Carson County Extension Office, 719-346-5571.

03-20-20 USCA Statement on Efforts to Restore U.S. Cattle Markets

USCA Statement on Efforts to Restore U.S. Cattle Markets

(WASHINGTON) March 20, 2020 – Following Congressional efforts to provide immediate, short-term relief for U.S. cattle producers during these historic times, United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) President Dr. Brooke Miller issued the following statement:

“USCA would like to recognize efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to keep the U.S. agriculture system running as smoothly as possible and providing certainty in uncertain times.

“Secretary Sonny Perdue, senior officials, and staff have worked around the clock to ensure continuity and we greatly appreciate the continued dialogue with industry and other stakeholders.

“Transportation, inspection, and processing of beef is critical during this time. From the transportation of beef across the country, inspections in plants, export ports and import stations – it’s essential all of this continues during these challenging times. Further, USCA requests that the Department continue its market oversight responsibilities and examine any anticompetitive buying practices currently taking place in the marketplace. 

“USCA would also like to thank Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Thune (R-SD) Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and others for answering the call from U.S. cattle producers to help restore fair and balanced livestock markets.

“While there is still work yet to be done, we now have viable solutions that we can press forward with as producers handle the fallout from COVID-19. USCA will continue to convene industry leaders via our policy committees to find consensus on the issues that matter most to our members.

“USCA looks forward to working with both Congress and the Administration to find a way for our members to get back to doing what they do best: restocking grocery store shelves with the highest quality beef in the world.”

COVID-19: The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association will continue to monitor this ongoing issue and provide timely updates. Continue reading

03-20-20 Farm Credit Administration responds to COVID-19 pandemic

Farm Credit Administration responds to COVID-19 pandemic

McLEAN, Va., March 20, 2020 — The Farm Credit Administration has taken several steps to respond to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning Monday, March 16, the agency directed most of its workforce to telework from home or an alternate work location for at least two weeks. It also suspended all onsite examinations and restricted business travel and in-person training. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (see March 16 release) and other regulators have taken similar measures.

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03-20-20 USDA Rural Development Now in Enterprise-Wide Remote Operational Status

USDA Rural Development Now in Enterprise-Wide Remote Operational Status

Remote Status Protects the Health of Employees, Customers and the Greater Community

(Washington, D.C., March 20, 2020) – Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand announced today that USDA Rural Development is implementing enterprise-wide remote operational status effective immediately. Rural Development leadership and managers will continue to provide excellent customer service while following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) direction for social distancing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 20th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 20th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA and DOL Announce Information Sharing to Assist H-2A Employers

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Thursday announced a partnership to help agriculture find labor. The partnership between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Labor seeks to help facilitate the identification of foreign and domestic workers, specifically those that may be available and eligible to transfer to other U.S. agricultural sector employers to fulfill needs under existing regulatory authority during the COVID-19 pandemic. Secretary Perdue says of the partnership, “Ensuring minimal disruption for our agricultural workforce during these uncertain times is a top priority for this administration.” USDA and DOL have identified nearly 20,000 H-2A and H-2B certified positions that have expiring contracts in the coming weeks. There will be workers leaving these positions who could be available to transfer to a different employer’s labor certification. The data, available on www.farmers.gov, includes the number of certified worker positions, the current employer name and contact, attorney/agent name and contact, and the worksite address.

FDA Scaling back Some Domestic Inspections

The Food and Drug Administration announced a scale-back of domestic inspections to protect agency workers. Specifically, the FDA has temporarily postponed all domestic routine surveillance facility inspections. These are facility inspections the FDA traditionally conducts every few years based on a risk analysis. The FDA says all domestic for-cause inspection assignments will be evaluated and will proceed if mission-critical. In keeping with federal guidance, this week, the FDA also directed all eligible FDA employees to begin teleworking. While this does not apply to those carrying out non-portable activities, such as certain lab activities or the monitoring of imported products, the agency will continue to adjust its approach to several activities, including facility inspections for all FDA-regulated products such as food, animal feed, drugs, biological products, devices and tobacco. Earlier this month, the FDA announced the postponement of most foreign facility inspections through April and that inspections outside the U.S. deemed mission-critical will be considered on a case-by-case basis as this outbreak continues to unfold.

Coronavirus Bill Includes Nutrition Provisions

The first approved coronavirus bill includes several nutrition provisions. Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Donald Trump Wednesday. Among other things, the legislation provides more than $1 billion to provide food to pregnant women and mothers with young children, help food banks, and provide meals to families and seniors. The bill creates a Health Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to allow states to increase benefits for families who need additional food assistance during this crisis. The legislation also lifts certain restrictions that make it harder for families to continue to get food during this time. The legislation also Improves child nutrition programs to allow schools and nonprofits to serve children during closures and allows multiple meals to be taken home or delivered. The bill allows alternative meal distribution methods such as mobile delivery. Additionally, the bill expands eligibility to schools and nonprofits, establishes a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer for families that rely on school meals, expands food distribution through food bank funding, and allows states to waive burdensome requirements.

NCGA Assembling Coronavirus Task Force

The National Corn Growers Association Thursday announced the formation of a task force to assess coronavirus impacts. The NCGA task force will provide recommendations on recovery efforts and facilitate coordination along the value chain. The task force will compile more information, coordinate with the industry, and provide recommendations to mitigate the economic fallout. NCGA President Kevin Ross says, “We’re in unchartered territory here, the economic impacts across all industries are likely to be massive, and we encourage you to be patient as we come together to get through this challenging time.” NCGA’s Board of Directors has also commissioned an economic analysis of implications for corn farmers to evaluate how best to move forward. Further, as congressional leaders and the Trump Administration have indicated there will likely be many federal efforts to address the economic fallout of COVID-19, NCGA’s Public Policy team is making sure the Department of Agriculture and lawmakers in Congress know what farmers experiencing on the ground.

Ethanol Demand Declines as Americans Stay Home

Gasoline demand in the United States is falling, along with demand for biofuels. As Americans stay home amid the national shut in to slow the spread of COVID-19, many are working from home and not needing as much fuel for their vehicles. Now, the U.S. ethanol industry is urging the Trump administration to adhere to a court decision that would limit small refinery waivers. The American Coalition for Ethanol says preliminary economic forecasts estimate the lack of gasoline consumption caused by the coronavirus will likely reduce ethanol demand by hundreds of millions of gallons and “cut corn grind by hundreds of millions of bushels.” Additionally, the organization says the Environmental Protection Agency should restore 500 million gallons to the Renewable Fuel Standard in compliance with the 2017 D.C. Circuit Court case regarding the improper use of EPA’s waiver authority. ACE is also asking President Donald Trump to reduce or remove Chinese tariffs on DDGs, as China earlier this week released a list of U.S. companies eligible to export DDGs.

Study Finds U.S. Soybean Industry Has $115 Billion Impact on the American Economy

A new study shows the economic impact on the U.S. economy from the soybean sector averaged $115.8 billion, based on data from 2014-15 and to 2016-17. The National Oilseed Processors Association Thursday announced the study, The Economic Impact of the U.S. Soybeans and End Products on the U.S. Economy. The study examines the value of the American soybean industry. NOPA partnered with the United Soybean Board in commissioning an independent economic consulting firm to develop the study. The study found the soybean sector supported an average of 357,000 people, comprising 280,000 paid, full-time equivalent jobs as well as an additional 78,000 family members, beyond growers themselves, who support and are supported by soybean farming operations. The total wage impact of the sector averaged $11.6 billion. Economic impacts highlighted in the study are quantified in terms of revenue, wages, jobs, and number of people dependent on the sector — all focused on the production, distribution and use of soybeans, across the value chain. Find the report online at www.nopa.org.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service