03-25-20 CDPHE News: State of Colorado announces suspension of vehicle emissions testing requirements

CDPHE: State of Colorado announces suspension of vehicle emissions testing requirements

Denver (March 25): The Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced today that it is suspending the state’s vehicle emission testing in response to the ongoing COVID-19 response and Governor Polis’ declaration of a statewide stay-at-home order. The order applies to emissions testing for both gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.

“Our state government is unified in finding all possible ways to limit and slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect Coloradans in this difficult time,” said Garry Kaufman, director of the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division. “Suspending emissions testing for the time being gives Coloradans one less reason to leave their home.”

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03-25-20 CSU to lead testing qualification for protective masks in COVID-19 fight

Colorado State University to lead testing qualification for protective masks in COVID-19 fight

FORT COLLINS – Colorado State University has been asked by Gov. Jared Polis and the State of Colorado to organize testing of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the state’s healthcare workers from the COVID-19 virus. CSU’s role will be to initiate and coordinate testing to provide recommendations to the state on PPE distribution. Continue reading

03-25-20 Colorado Governor Polis Issues Statewide Stay-At-Home Order in Response to COVID-19

Colorado Governor Polis Issues Statewide Stay-At-Home Order in Response to COVID-19

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Shelby Wieman|shelby.wieman@state.co.us |303-957-6011


Gov. Polis Announces Statewide Stay-At-Home Order, Provides Update on Colorado Response to COVID-19

***INFORMACIÓN SEGUIDA EN ESPAÑOL***

CENTENNIAL – Today Gov. Polis announced a statewide stay-at-home order beginning on Thursday, March 26 at 6:00 a.m. and will last until April 11, 2020. The Governor also provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and actions taken to limit the spread of the virus.

“Coloradans are living through a global pandemic and this decision was made to help save lives,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We will continue doing everything we can to get the resources Colorado needs to address COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Coloradans. In true Colorado spirit, we’re seeing our friends, family and neighbors rise to the challenge, donating their time, money or extra supplies to support relief efforts at the state and local levels. We are in this together and this is the season to stay at home to save lives.” 

This executive order means Coloradans should not be leaving their homes except for critical activities including: Continue reading

03-25-20 Colorado State health department to distribute resources from Strategic National Stockpile

Colorado State health department to distribute resources from Strategic National Stockpile

DENVER, March 25, 2020: The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) are distributing critical resources today to help communities respond to COVID-19.

This week, Colorado received a second allotment from the Strategic National Stockpile, which it will begin distributing across the state today.

The Strategic National Stockpile is “the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.” This week Colorado received its second allotment, which included: Continue reading

03-25-20 U.S. Department of Education: Readout of Vice President Pence and Secretary DeVos’ Conference Call with Education Stakeholders

U.S. Department of Education: Readout of Vice President Pence and Secretary DeVos’ Conference Call with Education Stakeholders

WASHINGTON — Today, Vice President of the United States Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos held a conference call with leaders of several national K-12 education organizations to answer their questions and to provide an update on what the Department of Education has done so far to support students, parents, and educators during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The Vice President and Secretary began the call with opening remarks and provided an update on the following topics: Continue reading

03-25-20 WELD COMMISSIONERS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVE FINANCIAL RELIEF TO BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS THROUGH INTEREST REDUCTION ON DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAX PAYMENTS

WELD COMMISSIONERS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVE FINANCIAL RELIEF TO BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS THROUGH INTEREST REDUCTION ON DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAX PAYMENTS

Greeley, CO – During today’s meeting, the Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to reduce the interest charged on delinquent property taxes. This reduction is in effect for both businesses and residents until October 31, 2020.

“We know our business community and our families are facing economic pressures due to COVID-19,” said Commissioner Chair Mike Freeman. “We want to help as much as we can when they’re faced with figuring out which bills to pay first or which employees to keep on staff.”

In a letter sent to the Board by Weld County Treasurer John Lefebvre, Lefebvre explained that he will partially waive the 12% per year interest for delinquent payments, and instead only charge approximately 1% per year on delinquent property tax payments, if those payments and interest due are paid in full through October 31, 2020. This action is Pursuant to Section II.I. of Governor Polis’ Executive Order D 2020 010, dated March 20, 2020. Continue reading

03-25-20 CDA: COVID-19 AND FOOD SAFETY FAQ – IS CORONAVIRUS A FOOD SAFETY ISSUE?

CDA: COVID-19 AND FOOD SAFETY FAQ
IS CORONAVIRUS A FOOD SAFETY ISSUE?

The Colorado Department of Agriculture exists to support the state’s agriculture industry and serve the people of Colorado through regulation, advocacy and education. Our mission is to strengthen and advance Colorado agriculture, promote a safe and high-quality food supply, protect consumers, and foster responsible stewardship of the environment and natural resources. Learn more online at colorado.gov/ag

03-25-20 CO Farm Bureau: In a Time of Uncertainty Agriculture Remains “Open for Business”

CO Farm Bureau: In a Time of Uncertainty Agriculture Remains “Open for Business”

Farmers and ranchers celebrate Colorado Ag Day in the fields

CENTENNIAL, Colo.—March 25, 2019 Even though the 2020 Ag Day celebration at the Colorado Capitol is canceled, the Colorado Farm Bureau assures Coloradans that the agriculture industry is “Still Open for Business” and farmers and ranchers are committed to maintaining a reliable and resilient food supply.

“We are all navigating a time that is unlike any other. There is uncertainty all around us and many unanswered questions about what the future holds,” says Chad Vorthmann, Executive Vice President of the Colorado Farm Bureau. “However, even in all this uncertainty, Colorado agriculture remains open for business. Farmers and ranchers around the state and around the country will continue producing high quality food for your table.”

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03-25-20 Stimulus Bill Would Address Most Urgent Concerns for Family Farmers and Rural Hospitals, NFU Says

Stimulus Bill Would Address Most Urgent Concerns for Family Farmers and Rural Hospitals, NFU Says

WASHINGTON – To alleviate the current and potential economic fallout from the global COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. lawmakers are poised to pass a response, relief, and stimulus package with a nearly $2 trillion price tag.

The bill, which is the most expensive in the country’s history, includes direct payments to individuals, $130 billion for hospitals, $14 billion to support family farmers and ranchers through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), $150 billion for local and state governments, and $300 billion in financial aid for small businesses. Additionally, it allocates funding for nutrition assistance programs, rural broadband, and rural health resources, as well as assistance for specialty crop growers, local food producers, and livestock and dairy farmers.

National Farmers Union (NFU) is extremely concerned about the public health and financial implications of this pandemic for rural and agricultural communities. On behalf of its nearly 200,000 family farmer and rancher members, the organization has asked the administration to ensure that rural hospitals are adequately prepared for this crisis and that that our food system can continue to operate. In a statement, NFU President Rob Larew thanked Congress for heeding many of those requests and urged them to enact the legislation as soon as possible.

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TEXT OF NFU PRESIDENT ROB LAREW… Continue reading

03-25-20 NPPC Statement on Economic Stimulus Package


NPPC Statement on Economic Stimulus Package

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 25, 2020 – Today, Congress released language on its third stimulus package to aid those sectors of the economy impacted by COVID-19. As part of the funding, $14 billion was provided to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation to help agriculture, as well as a separate appropriation of $9.5 billion for livestock and specialty crops. A Senate vote is scheduled for later today, with the House expected to follow suit shortly thereafter. National Pork Producers Council President Howard “A.V.” Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin, had the following statement:

“There is nothing more essential than food and water. U.S. pork producers can’t telecommute and remain hard at work to provide pork products to American kitchens. But we have already suffered losses due to COVID 19-related concerns. These new financial setbacks come on the heels of two very difficult years during which pork was at the tip of the trade retaliation spear. We are pleased that the stimulus package includes funding for much-needed relief to livestock farmers, and we recognize a vote is pending. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to make sure that all pork producers can access this critically important lifeline as we remain committed to keeping food on American tables.” Continue reading

03-25-20 USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19

USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19

(Washington, D.C., March 25, 2020) – USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serverural America.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMMEDIATE RELIEF Continue reading

03-25-20 FERC accepts Tri-State rate filings as cooperative’s board approves greater member contract flexibility

FERC accepts Tri-State rate filings as cooperative’s board approves greater member contract flexibility

  • Federal regulator’s action aligns Tri-State rate regulation with other wholesale power providers.
  • Tri-State board advances Responsible Energy Plan goal for increased member contract flexibility.
(March 25, 2020 – Westminster, Colo.) –The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today issued orders accepting Tri-State’s tariff filings, ensuring consistent wholesale rate regulation for the cooperative’s member distribution utilities across four states. Tri-State’s market-based rates and open access transmission tariff were accepted by the FERC.
“This is a significant moment for our members, whose goals for cleaner energy and increased contract flexibility are greatly advanced by having FERC as Tri-State’s wholesale rate regulator,” said Rick Gordon, chairman of Tri-State and director of Mountain View Electric Association in Limon, Colo. “FERC regulation of our wholesale rates ensures greater certainty in our contracts and rate setting, as we increase members’ self-supply and local renewable energy opportunities.”

03-25-20 CONSERVATION OFFICIALS ASK FOR INCREASED FUNDING DURING NACD VIRTUAL ADVOCACY DAY

CONSERVATION OFFICIALS ASK FOR INCREASED FUNDING DURING NACD VIRTUAL ADVOCACY DAY

WASHINGTON – Today, conservation district officials and employees assembled online to advocate for locally-led conservation in coordination with the National Association of Conservation Districts’ (NACD) Virtual Advocacy Day.

The Virtual Advocacy Day takes the place of NACD’s annual Spring Fly-In, allowing local leaders to communicate with their Members of Congress on region-specific issues and how they can help with the locally-led conservation mission.

“Our conservation districts have a legacy of success, helping to deliver conservation solutions across a variety of landscapes,” NACD President Tim Palmer said. “It’s crucial that our knowledgeable, hardworking conservation district officials are heard on Capitol Hill, and that our federal representatives understand how locally-led, voluntary conservation is key to program success.”

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03-25-20 U.S. Department of Education Secretary DeVos Directs FSA to Stop Wage Garnishment, Collections Actions for Student Loan Borrowers, Will Refund More Than $1.8 Billion to Students, Families

U.S. Department of Education Secretary DeVos Directs FSA to Stop Wage Garnishment, Collections Actions for Student Loan Borrowers, Will Refund More Than $1.8 Billion to Students, Families

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today that, due to the COVID-19 national emergency, the Department will halt collection actions and wage garnishments to provide additional assistance to borrowers. This flexibility will last for a period of at least 60 days from March 13, 2020.

“These are difficult times for many Americans, and we don’t want to do anything that will make it harder for them to make ends meet or create additional stress,” said Secretary DeVos. “Americans counting on their tax refund or Social Security check to make ends meet during this national emergency should receive those funds, and our actions today will make sure they do.”

At the Secretary’s direction, the Department has stopped all requests to the U.S. Treasury to withhold money from defaulted borrowers’ federal income tax refunds, Social Security payments, and other federal payments. Such withholdings, known as “Treasury offsets,” are permitted by federal law and applied toward repayment of defaulted federal student loans. At the same time, the Secretary directed the Department to refund approximately $1.8 billion in offsets to more than 830,000 borrowers. The Department expects the number of borrowers who will benefit from this relief to increase as servicers work through additional offsets in the queue at the time of this announcement. Continue reading

03-25-20 CO Governor Polis Provides Guidance to Local Law Enforcement and Detention Centers

CO Governor Polis Provides Guidance to Local Law Enforcement and Detention Centers

DENVER – Today Gov. Polis released guidance to local governments and law enforcement agencies on limiting and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“I’m grateful to all of our law enforcement agencies who are working to keep Colorado safe during this difficult time. Their service to our communities is critical in addressing the spread of this virus,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We have worked closely with local law enforcement to develop this guidance to protect our first responders and those in custody. We will continue working with counties, municipalities, all law enforcement agencies, and all detention centers as the situation develops to safely reduce our incarcerated population and limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The guidance is meant to improve safety for all law enforcement officers and the Coloradans they interact with as well as detention center staff and individuals held in custody. Continue reading

03-25-20 CDA Commissioner Kate Greenberg: CDA Celebrates Colorado’s Farmers & Ranchers

CDA Commissioner Kate Greenberg: CDA Celebrates Colorado’s Farmers & Ranchers

To all who work in agriculture: the Colorado Department of Agriculture thanks you!
At the Colorado Department of Agriculture, we celebrate Colorado’s farmers and ranchers every day. But this week is particularly special.
Today is Colorado Ag Day. Normally we would be celebrating together under the Gold Dome, but instead we celebrate with a virtual “Hats Off!” to our farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, truck drivers, processors, suppliers, and all the rest who help get food from the field to our plate. In honor of Colorado agriculture, Governor Polis has officially recognized today as Colorado Ag Day. Continue reading

01-25-20 Renewable Fuels Coalition Welcomes Administration’s Decision Not to Seek Re-Hearing of Tenth Circuit SRE Ruling

Renewable Fuels Coalition Welcomes Administration’s Decision Not to Seek Re-Hearing of Tenth Circuit SRE Ruling

March 25, 2020 – Ethanol and farm groups today welcomed the Trump administration’s decision not to seek a re-hearing of a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that struck down certain small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard. On Jan. 24, a panel of Tenth Circuit judges unanimously ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had vastly exceeded its authority in granting exemptions from 2016 and 2017 RFS requirements to three refineries.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, March 25th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, March 25th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Implementation of China Agreement Continues

Implementation of the Phase One Agreement continues, according to the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. In a news release Tuesday, the two announced continued progress in the implementation of the agriculture-related provisions.  Among the recent actions, both countries signed a regionalization agreement that, in the event of a detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza or virulent Newcastle disease in a particular region of the United States, China will allow U.S. poultry exports from unaffected areas. China also notified the U.S. of proposed maximum residue levels for three hormones commonly used in U.S. beef production. U.S. beef producers, for the first time since 2003, will have access to nearly all beef products into China. U.S. pork producers will also be able to significantly expand the types of pork products shipped to China. China also updated its list of U.S. facilities eligible to export distillers dried grains with solubles, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a notice to facilitate the registration of animal feed manufacturing facilities for export to China.

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Agriculture Groups Call on Lawmakers to Support Farmers

A group of agriculture organizations is calling on Congress to expand the Department of Agriculture’s borrowing authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation. The groups say Congress must act to ensure the CCC has the authority and funding to assist farmers and ranchers facing serious cash flow challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. The letter, addressed to both Senate and House leaders reads, “Farmers, ranchers and the supply chain that support them will not let Americans down during this unprecedented crisis, and they are asking the same of you.” The organizations say, “Millions of producers will need help with cash flow given the rapid and unanticipated decline in commodity prices, the likely closures of ethanol processing plants, the effective elimination of direct-to-consumer sales and decline in full-service restaurant and school meal demand.” Groups representing food, fuel and fiber signed on to the letter, including the American Farm Bureau Federation. The groups say Congress must ensure the CCC has ample authority and funding to help farmers and ranchers survive during this emergency.

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NMPF Thanks USDA for Coronavirus Response, Outlines Dairy Needs

Dairy farmers welcome the response by the Department of Agriculture to the coronavirus crisis, but say more relief is needed. The National Milk Producers Federation sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue detailing the needs of dairy farmers during the crisis. NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern says in the letter, “The demand shock experienced by our entire economy is turning what initially looked to dairy farmers like the first decent year in the last five into one of potentially widespread economic devastation.” Dairy farmers expect to face price declines and unstable demand over the next several months, as joblessness rises, schools remain closed, and farm and dairy processing operations face unprecedented logistical challenges. In its letter, NMPF said it looks forward to working with the USDA in program implementation, trade facilitation and other areas, but said additional remedies will be needed. Those include additional dairy product purchases, compensation for milk disposal, and reopening of signup in the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

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United Fresh Urges Congress to Take Immediate Action

Produce suppliers are looking for federal assistance, as many industry sectors seek relief from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The United Fresh Produce Association, representing the fresh produce supply chain, has requested urgent action by Congress to mitigate the challenges facing the sectors that have been impacted most severely. The immediate impact felt by the fresh produce supply chain is $5 billion for exposure for lost inventory and risk to growers, $1 billion a week in lost sales, and tens of thousands employee furloughed, according to the organization. Those recommendations include the establishment of a $1 billion fund, to address claims filed by foodservice distributors who have outstanding expenditures to grower-shippers. However, the group says the need may skyrocket to $5 billion. The group also requests USDA Immediately make an additional $1 billion available to help meet the needs of schools and all emergency feeding sites. Finally, they request the federal government provide $225 million funding for the Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children to accommodate a temporary increase to the cash-value voucher benefits.

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TFI Urges Governors to List Industry as Critical

The Fertilizer Institute is urging state governors to follow federal guidelines and list the fertilizer industry as essential service and critical infrastructure. TFI says in a letter to governors, the declaration will “ensure that American agriculture can remain operable and continue to provide food security.” TFI represents fertilizer manufacturers, transporters, wholesalers, importers, brokers and retailers. The fertilizer industry supports nearly 500,000 American jobs and has an economic impact of over $130 billion annually. The letter says the next six to eight weeks will be crucial to its members and their farmer customers, as they conduct spring planting activities. TFI says the timely delivery of plant nutrients to American farmers is critical to their ability to produce food, fuel, and fiber. In order to get plant nutrients to the farm, the fertilizer industry relies on a safe and efficient transportation network, including rail carriers, ports, barges, pipelines, and trucks. In addition, the ability to move products across the borders of Canada and Mexico is also an important part of the fertilizer supply chain.

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Fund Launched to Help Farmers Affected by the COVID-19 Crisis

American Farmland Trust Tuesday announced a fund to help farmers affected by the coronavirus crisis. Announced on National Ag Day, the fund will award eligible farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The initial focus will be on farms that sell at farmers markets or to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products. That focus could change over time as the negative impacts of the crisis become more widespread within U.S. agriculture. A new report estimates that local and regional food systems could lose up to $1.3 billion between just March and May of this year. While all farmers and ranchers will likely be seriously impacted by the market disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the organization says, “some farmers are losing their primary markets because people can’t eat in restaurants or shop at farmers markets.” The Farmer Relief Fund program details can be found at www.farmland.org/relief.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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