03-27-20 U.S Senator Gardner: After CARES Act Becomes Law, Colorado Delegation Urges Immediate Action for Small Businesses

U.S Senator Gardner: After CARES Act Becomes Law, Colorado Delegation Urges Immediate Action for Small Businesses

Delegation asks Small Business Administration to implement new rules and guidance within days, if not hours

Washington, D.C. – Immediately after President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law, the Colorado congressional delegation requested that the Small Business Administration immediately implement the act’s loan programs for small businesses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant strain on American’s small businesses. We have seen businesses close and workers laid off, furloughed, or left with drastically reduced hours. Business owners are unsure if they can keep their doors open much longer, if at all,” wrote the Colorado congressional delegation. “Congress has done its part and we now rely on our agencies to act as quickly as possible, without delay to issue any and all guidance. We urge you to act immediately, issuing rules and regulations to begin this program in a matter of days—if not hours—to help businesses across the country.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below: Continue reading

03-27-20 CO Corn News: Stay informed, find resources on the COVID-19 webpage

CO Corn News: Stay informed, find resources on the COVID-19 webpage
COVID-19 Resources & Information

Colorado Corn staff and board of directors are taking steps to keep you, our members and stakeholders, informed and to provide you with helpful resources as we navigate through an unprecedented time together. Two ways we aim to do this are through this e-newsletter and a new webpage.

www.coloradocorn.com/covid-19/

Like many states across the country, Colorado is under Stay-At-Home orders as the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 continues. Agriculture was deemed a critical industry by the Department of Homeland Security and Governor Polis.

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03-27-20 U.S. Department of Education: Remarks by Secretary DeVos at the White House Coronavirus Task Force Press Briefing

U.S. Department of Education: Remarks by Secretary DeVos at the White House Coronavirus Task Force Press Briefing

WASHINGTON — Let me start by saying thank you, Mr. President, for your clear-eyed leadership during these challenging times for our country and for the world. The bold actions you have taken are making a significant difference. That’s certainly true for America’s students and teachers.

Most of them are experiencing unprecedented disruptions in learning and in their lives.

I want each of them to know that President Trump and his Administration are taking decisive action to keep them safe and healthy so they can continue learning.

We must rise to the challenge of educating all children from all walks of life who are all of a sudden in many, many different learning environments. They are counting on all of us to find solutions.

I’m pleased to be here today for the announcement of another terrific solution initiated under the President’s leadership. Secretary Perdue is going to share details of a public-private partnership—this one focused on making sure students impacted by school closures still have access to the school meals they rely on. Thank you, Secretary Perdue for all that you do for America’s students. Continue reading

03-27-20 Weld County: Call by Call, Epidemiologists Tackle COVID-19

Weld County: Call by Call, Epidemiologists Tackle COVID-19

Bert Plants, epidemiologist for Weld County’s Department of Public Health and Environment, working on COVID-19 investigations

Weld County – Typically, an epidemiologist working for the Weld County Health Department focuses on analyzing health data looking for trends and monitoring influxes in diseases such as rhinovirus and salmonella. But for the past three weeks, they have been knee-deep in COVID-19 investigations.

Seven days a week, the department’s three epidemiologists, and one retired doctor donating his time, have been working around the clock conducting investigations and helping in the fight against COVID-19. To date, their efforts have resulted in the investigation of more than 127 cases in Weld County.

“Investigating a case is intense and time-consuming,” said Dr. Wallace, Director of the WCDPHE. “Our staff has been, and continues to be, very responsive to this pandemic. We’ve made over 1,000 phone contacts investigating Weld County cases.”

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03-27-20 CO Governor Polis: Restaurant workers can now deliver food with less red tape and insurance delays

CO Governor Polis: Restaurant workers can now deliver food with less red tape and insurance delays

Actions aimed at growing safe opportunities for restaurant workers, protecting employers’ health insurance and property and casualty insurance

***INFORMACIÓN SEGUIDA EN ESPAÑOL***

DENVER – The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is taking action to protect Colorado insurance consumers and reduce insurance delays for restaurants and workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Earlier this month, in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a number of Public Health Orders that have limited normal business and employment for many in the state. These directives from the DOI will allow people to keep their insurance and should also help Colorado’s restaurants and their employees.

“The more we can free up the market and allow people to safely earn a living during this critical time, the better,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “I’m hopeful that some of those who lost their jobs when restaurants closed can now earn additional money working delivery while as a state we get past these difficult restrictions as soon as is scientifically possible.”

“Expanding safe opportunities for work is critical,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. “As people lose hours, get laid off or lose their jobs, holding onto their employer-sponsored health insurance and paying their auto or homeowners insurance premiums becomes more difficult. In addition to reducing red tape around insuring drivers, we are also calling on insurance companies to show flexibility and work with Coloradans to help them keep their insurance during the COVID-19 crisis.”  

Removing Restrictions on Auto Insurance for Drivers for Restaurant Delivery Continue reading

03-27-20 CCA: How Important is Food and Water Security? Preserving Irrigated Ag Land Helps Ensure Both

How Important is Food and Water Security?
Preserving Irrigated Ag Land Helps Ensure Both

by Phil Brink, CCA Ag Water NetWORK Consulting Coordinator

Phil Brink, CCA Ag Water NetWORK Consulting Coordinator

Empty store shelves – something rarely seen in America – have been commonplace since the coronavirus outbreak. Consumer stockpiling of food and goods has led to shortages that extend far beyond the media favorite: toilet paper.  Staple food products like ground beef, chicken, beans, bread, tortillas and potatoes are in short supply in supermarkets and warehouse clubs.  Even dog food has not been spared. The unfolding of the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) crisis has led to some urbanites driving to rural areas to purchase food from small town grocery stores – even buying potatoes directly from growers in the San Luis Valley. Continue reading

03-27-20 U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s Statement on President Trump Signing the CARES Act

U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s Statement on President Trump Signing the CARES Act

WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt issued the following statement today in response to President Trump signing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law:

“Since day one, President Trump has taken bold, decisive actions to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and his leadership in securing the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is another example of how he is affirmatively leading our nation’s response efforts to provide economic relief to small businesses and to support Americans’ health care needs. This law will provide unprecedented, additional financial support to Interior’s operations, furthering our efforts to deploy law enforcement and emergency personnel to critical areas, aid tribal governments, extend Bureau of Indian Education teacher and workforce salary needs and send additional medical supplies and equipment to the Territories and Freely Associated States.” Continue reading

03-27-20 Colorado Governor Polis Provides Update on State Response to COVID-19

Colorado Governor Polis Provides Update on State Response to COVID-19

DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19 and discussed the predictive modeling that is guiding the public health decisions the state is making as well as the updated public health order that corresponds with the stay-at-home executive order.

“I continue urging my fellow Coloradans to stay home whenever possible. This global pandemic is not a competition about what you think you can get away with. The data we put forth today shows that staying home is crucial to saving lives. These are not statistics on a page, these are your neighbors, your friends, and even your family members,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “Our community and our economy will come out of this stronger than before but that means everyone must do their part.”

The Governor thanked Dr. Jon Samet, Dean of the Colorado School of Public Health and his team who have been working hard to put together the modeling data in partnership with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The Governor provided a slide by slide presentation for members of the media and the general public today. View the slides the Governor presented today here. 

Gov. Polis and the Department of Health and Environment also updated the public health order corresponding with the stay-at-home executive order. The changes include: Continue reading

03-27-20 USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on Coronavirus Rescue Package

USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on Coronavirus Rescue Package

(Washington, D.C., March 27, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump signed the CARES Act:

“The passage of the Coronavirus response legislation will provide much needed relief to Americans across this country, especially workers and small-business owners who have been impacted by COVID-19. President Trump has made the safety and security of the American people a top priority during this national emergency, and this bill will help make Americans more financially secure. At USDA we will deliver relief assistance to farmers and ranchers as quickly as possible,” said Secretary Perdue. “Americans across the nation are stepping up to the challenges facing them during these uncertain times. At USDA we are doing our part to ensure those who need help will get it, whether it’s through nutrition assistance, ensuring the food supply chain is safe and secure, or through new flexibilities with our Rural Development loan programs.”
Background:

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03-27-20 What’s New on the USDA’s RMA Website March 21 – March 27, 2020

What’s New on the USDA’s RMA Website March 21 – March 27, 2020

Previous What’s New information available through the What’s New Archive.

SOURCE

03-27-20 ASI: Congress Passes Massive COVID-19 Response Bill With Relief for Livestock Producers

ASI: Congress Passes Massive COVID-19 Response Bill With Relief for Livestock Producers

Today, the House of Representatives passed by voice vote – following the Senate’s unanimous passage late on Wednesday evening – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. While this relief bill is massive – touching nearly every aspect of American business – for America’s sheep producers there were critical components.
While the bill fell short of the American Sheep Industry Association’s request to increase the Commodity Credit Corporation by $20 billion, the bill did replenish $14 billion in funding to stabilize and support farm income and prices. In addition, $9.5 billion in funding was directed to be used for livestock and specialty crops.

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03-27-20 National Potato Council Welcomes Ag Benefits in COVID-19 Relief Bill

National Potato Council Welcomes Ag Benefits in COVID-19 Relief Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Moments ago, the House passed by voice vote S. 3548, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion bill with significant benefits to the U.S. potato supply chain. This comes a day after the Senate passed by the bill by a 96-0 vote. The bill has been sent to President Trump for his expected signature.

National Potato Council (NPC) President Britt Raybould said, “We appreciate the commitment of our leaders to support U.S. ag producers. With spring planting underway in many areas of the nation, this bill lays the groundwork to improve the odds of a sustainable growing season in the coming weeks and months. Now, it’s time we do our part to rise to the challenge of continuing to supply food to our nation and the world.”

NPC CEO Kam Quarles said, “NPC and the other leaders of the specialty crop industry are already working with USDA to target these resources. In particular, we want to ensure that growers and businesses impacted by the huge drop-off in food service have a safety net. This crisis may impact the entire 2020 season and the federal government needs to stand behind these operations.”

The bill includes $48.9 billion for U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies and the Food and Drug Administration to continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the bill provides: Continue reading

03-27-20 U.S Senator Gardner Applauds House Passage of the CARES Act

U.S Senator Gardner Applauds House Passage of the CARES Act

Washington, D.C. –  U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the following statement on the House of Representatives passing H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Earlier this week the CARES Act passed the Senate by a vote of 96-0.

“I’ve spoken to countless Coloradans who are worried about their futures and how to provide for their families because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the CARES Act provides the much-needed relief that Coloradans and the American people need,” said Senator Gardner. “The CARES Act provides approximately $2 trillion in direct economic relief and will support our frontline healthcare providers, families, and workers in Colorado as we get through this crisis together. I encourage the President to sign the CARES Act into law right away to give the American people relief now.”

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03-27-20 U.S. Senator Bennet Applauds House Passage of Bipartisan Coronavirus Aid and Economic Relief Package

U.S. Senator Bennet Applauds House Passage of Bipartisan Coronavirus Aid and Economic Relief Package

Package Will Now Head to President’s Desk to be Signed into Law

Denver, CO – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the statement below following House passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion plan to fight the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and help Americans weather the economic fallout of the crisis. The package will now head to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“Right now, Colorado and the country are facing a challenge that’s greater than any since World War II. It’s a massive public health crisis that has precipitated a massive economic crisis. To stop the spread of the coronavirus, we’ve essentially had to stop our economy, and there’s no precedent for this in our history.

“This bill reflects the need for urgent and comprehensive action, including an increase in resources for hospitals and health care providers, fiscal assistance for state and local governments, a historic expansion of unemployment benefits, direct cash payments for the hardest hit Americans, and greater support for our small businesses.

“The challenge before us is enormous, and we must be prepared to respond further if necessary. I will continue to work with Governor Polis, our public health agencies, and Colorado’s Congressional Delegation to ensure that Coloradans across the state have the support they need in these trying times.”

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03-27-20 USDA-RMA Adds Flexibilities for Crop Insurance to Support America’s Farmers and Ranchers

USDA-RMA Adds Flexibilities for Crop Insurance to Support America’s Farmers and Ranchers

RMA Offering Remote Assistance and Authorizing Additional Flexibility for Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2020 –- USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is authorizing additional flexibilities due to coronavirus while continuing to support producers, working through Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) to deliver services, including processing policies, claims and agreements. These flexibilities include: enabling producers to send notifications and reports electronically, extending the date for production reports and providing additional time and deferring interest on premium and other payments.

“Crop insurance will continue to support farmers through the challenges ahead, and our RMA team is here to support them,” RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said. “We are working with the AIPs to continue to deliver crop insurance and to respond to farmer needs.”

Electronic Notifications Allowed for Required Reports Continue reading

03-27-20 U.S. Senator Bennet, Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Federal Trade Commission to Protect Seniors from Coronavirus Scams

U.S. Senator Bennet, Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Federal Trade Commission to Protect Seniors from Coronavirus Scams

In Response to the Recent Increase In Coronavirus-Related Scams, Senators Call on the FTC for Stronger Consumer Protections

Denver – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and 33 of his colleagues urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect seniors from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related scams. Responding to a recent increase in these scams, the letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons calls on the Commission to better inform seniors about coronavirus-related scams and their options for recourse should they fall victim to financial exploitation during the pandemic.

“At this time of heightened public fears, reports have highlighted that scams pertaining to the coronavirus are increasing, and that seniors—arguably the most vulnerable population to both the coronavirus and bad actors—have been targeted with calls telling them that the COVID-19 vaccination is ready when no such treatment currently exists,” wrote Bennet and the senators.

The letter continues: “Other reports have outlined how scammers have gone to the homes of elderly people to administer fake tests while also charging them and obtaining their social security numbers.  Although the FTC has sent warning letters to seven sellers of fraudulent COVID-19 treatments, we are concerned that further action is needed to protect the financial wellbeing of seniors—who lose an estimated $3 billion annually from financial scams.” Continue reading

03-27-20 USDA Rural Development Launches COVID-19 Resource Webpage

USDA Rural Development Launches COVID-19 Resource Webpage

(Washington, D.C., March 27, 2020) – – USDA Rural Development has launched a COVID-19 resource page to keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated on actions taken by the Agency to help rural residents, businesses, and communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Visit www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus for information on Rural Development loan payment assistance, application deadline extensions, and more.

03-27-20 CO Governor Polis: COVID-19 Relief Fund Accepting Grant Applications

CO Governor Polis: COVID-19 Relief Fund Accepting Grant Applications

DENVER – Last week, Governor Jared Polis announced the launch of joint efforts to raise relief funds and volunteer efforts to address this public health crisis.

Help Colorado Now has raised $7.7 million dollars from nearly 4,000 individuals, foundations and companies since the fund launched. More than 9,000 volunteers including 2,000 health care volunteers have signed up to date.

“This is exciting news at a tough time for our state, and this milestone could not have been achieved without the support and spirit of Coloradans,” said Gov. Polis. “This is an opportunity to reflect on what we can achieve when we work together and how we can help our fellow Coloradans and small businesses bounce back stronger than ever. I’m thankful for the support these efforts have received to date. Let’s all continue to rise to the challenge.”

The grant process has now begun and will be on a rolling basis. Those interested in applying for relief funds up to $25K can apply here. Continue reading

03-27-20 EPA Continues Efforts to Help Increase the Availability of Disinfectant Products for Use Against the Novel Coronavirus

EPA Continues Efforts to Help Increase the Availability of Disinfectant Products for Use Against the Novel Coronavirus

(Lenexa, Kan., March 27, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took steps to provide additional flexibilities to manufacturers of disinfectants and other pesticides. EPA intends for these flexibilities to increase the availability of products for Americans to use against the novel coronavirus. After meeting with stakeholders last week and discussing supply chain challenges posed by the pandemic, EPA is allowing manufacturers to obtain certain inert ingredients—or inactive ingredients like sodium chloride or glucose—from different suppliers without checking with the agency for approval.
“EPA is committed to doing our part to help ensure American families, communities, business and hospitals have access to as many effective surface disinfectant products as possible,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “There is no higher priority for the Trump Administration than protecting the health and safety of Americans, and the steps we are taking today are helping put more products on the shelves without sacrificing important public health and environmental protections.”

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03-27-20 Potatoes USA Elects 2020-2021 Leadership

Back from left to right: Ed Staunton of Tulelake, California; Heidi Randall of Friesland, Wisconsin; Steve Streich of Kalispell, Montana; Chris Hansen of Bliss, New York; Steve Elfering of Idaho Falls, Idaho; Jeff Jennings of Camden, North Carolina; and Blair Richardson, Potatoes USA CEO. Front: Mike Carter of Rosholt, Wisconsin; Phil Hickman of Horntown, Virginia; Marty Myers of Boardman, Oregon; Jaren Raybould of Saint Anthony, Idaho; and Jared Smith of Alamosa, Colorado.

Potatoes USA Elects 2020-2021 Leadership

DENVER (March 27, 2020) — Potatoes USA, the marketing and promotion board for the U.S. potato industry, elected its new leadership during its 48th Annual Meeting on March 11. The newly elected Chairman and Executive Committee will lead the 99 board members through 2020-2021.

Marty Myers of Boardman, Oregon was elected Chairman of the Board. Prior to this role, Myers served a six-year term on the board from 2010-2016 and co-chaired the International Marketing Committee for two of those years. He began his current term on the board in 2017 and co-chaired the International Marketing Committee for another three years.

Myers has been in the potato industry for 24 years and currently works for Threemile Canyon Farms, focusing on the chip, frozen and seed sectors. He is also R.D. Offutt Company’s Western Business Manager for Farming and Agriculture, where he oversees operations in Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

“It’s all about the great people in this industry,” Myers said when asked what he enjoys most about his work. “The potato industry truly is unique; it is a young, vibrant and diverse group.” Continue reading