04-03-20 Colorado Proud: How Can You Buy “Local” during the COVID-19 Situation?

How Can You Buy “Local” during the COVID-19 Situation?

Colorado Proud Has 10 Ideas to Support Your Appetite – and Our Economy

DENVER, April 3, 2020 – Food and groceries feel more important than ever during the COVID-19 situation. In response, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg reminds every Colorado resident how local food is adding extra value to our lives and, of course, to the grocery shelves: “Thanks to our farmers and ranchers across the state, our local food system is abundant, and our supply chains are healthy. This is a moment for us to continue coming together to support Colorado agriculture and buy local food.”

Colorado farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, truckers, retailers, chefs and food manufacturers continue to put food on our tables, while doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Locally-grown and -raised produce, dairy, meat, grains and other locally-made products are abundant. And local chefs continue to prepare takeout meals using seasonal, local ingredients. While consumers may see some empty shelves, that is only because people have been purchasing food at a higher rate than normal — not due to lack of supply. There is plenty of food coming from Colorado farms, ranches and food makers. Food systems are operating as intended; and as more food is purchased at retail, the food supply chain is adjusting to increased consumer demand.

“More than ever, local buying and eating are not only good for agriculture; they are good for all Coloradans. Every time we buy local food and products, we are simultaneously boosting Colorado’s economy and heritage — with agriculture as one of the biggest economic drivers in the state,” said Wendy White, marketing specialist for Colorado Proud.

“It’s not just the responsibility of the farmers and ranchers; it’s important for everyone to take an active role in feeding Colorado – both literally and economically. After all, every bite is helping our state,” added White.

Here are 10 ideas for how every Coloradan can nourish our farmers, ranchers and food and beverage businesses, while buying and eating local food: Continue reading

04-03-20 ACE urges EPA to immediately correct RFS implementation missteps for biofuel producers, farmers hit by COVID-19 economic fallout

ACE urges EPA to immediately correct RFS implementation missteps for biofuel producers, farmers hit by COVID-19 economic fallout

Sioux Falls, SD – Today, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address a shortcoming in the Agency’s implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which has been exposed with the recent nosedive in gasoline use as a result of COVID-19, and reminded EPA of pending actions it can take to mitigate the economic fallout for biofuel producers and farmers. Continue reading

04-03-20 US Senators Bennet, Gardner Urge Administration to Ensure Small and Rural Communities Receive Fair Share of CARES Act Funding

US Senators Bennet, Gardner Urge Administration to Ensure Small and Rural Communities Receive Fair Share of CARES Act Funding

Pair Request Treasury Allocate $150 Billion in Emergency Support for State and Local Governments as Congress Intended: Flexibly, Inclusively, and Quickly

Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) called on the Trump Administration to follow Congressional intent as it distributes the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, which provides emergency funding for state and local governments as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Provisions of the CARES Act stipulate that only jurisdictions with populations over 500,000 residents can apply directly for this emergency funding, shortchanging smaller and rural communities that also face staggering budget shortfalls. Bennet and Gardner did not support these provisions, and in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, they urged the Department to ensure small and rural communities receive their fair share of the funds, while allowing all state, tribal, and local governments to use funds flexibly to address the many unanticipated expenditures and fill revenue gaps caused by the public health and economic crisis.

The letter, which drew on input from community leaders across Colorado, comes as the Trump Administration develops guidance to allocate $150 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to state, tribal, and local governments.

“We request that you develop guidance for the state recipients of the funding consistent with Congress’s intent that local governments with populations below 500,000 should receive their fair share of the remaining funding allocated to the state,” wrote the senators. “Clearly, Congress intended to provide fiscal support not only to states and larger local jurisdictions, but also to acutely affected local jurisdictions with fewer than 500,000 residents.” Continue reading

04-03-20 Colorado Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on State Response to COVID-19

04-03-20 Colorado Governor Polis Provides Update on State Response to COVID-19

AUDIO ONLY, COURTESY OF THE BARN

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**INFORMACIÓN SEGUIDA EN ESPAÑOL***

DENVER – Gov. Polis today provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor discussed what is being done to support the state’s economy, including workers and businesses and called upon all Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings when they go out of the house for essential functions like grocery shopping.

“We know that Coloradans across our state are making personal sacrifices to prioritize the public health and safety of their family and neighbors,” said Governor Jared Polis. “The better job we do at staying home and wearing facial masks whenever we absolutely must go out to contain the virus in Colorado, the sooner we can return to something resembling economic normalcy. Refusing to stay at home will only extend the state’s economic pain.”

The Governor announced that he is asking all Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings when they go out of the house for essential functions like grocery shopping. Data suggests up to 1 in 4 people infected with COVID are asymptomatic and spreading infected respiratory droplets. Masks offer minimal protection for the wearer, but they make a big difference in helping to protect others if a person is infected and doesn’t know it. The state has partnered with ColoradoMaskProject.com, where people can find patterns for making their own masks and ideas for how to help others who can’t make their own, get one. To learn more, read the FAQ document here and visit https://www.coloradomaskproject.com/

Here is Nathaniel Rateliff’s PSA encouraging Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings.

Continue reading

04-03-20 U.S. Senator Gardner Asks SBA to Fix Implementation of CARES Act

U.S. Senator Gardner Asks SBA to Fix Implementation of CARES Act

“The Small Business Administration’s guidance must make it easier to help more workers and small businesses.”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the following statement today regarding the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization (CARES) Act:

“People in Colorado and across the nation are suffering and small businesses are closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary action, and the Small Business Administration’s implementation of the CARES Act must rise to meet the moment,” said Senator Gardner. “Congress passed the CARES Act to immediately provide relief for small businesses and it should be implemented in a way that makes CARES Act assistance as broadly applicable as possible. I am concerned that the SBA guidance and implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program does not meet the objectives Congress had in designing the emergency relief package. The Small Business Administration’s guidance must make it easier to help more workers and small businesses.”

Senator Gardner is calling on the SBA and Treasury Department to immediately issue updated guidance that, at a minimum: Continue reading

04-03-20 USDA-RMA Adds Additional 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 Authorizes Self-Certification Replant Inspections and Waives Witness Signatures

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2020 –- USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is authorizing self-certification on replant inspections and waiving witness signatures in certain situations as part of a broader suite of flexibilities to support producers during the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) may allow the use of self-certification replant inspections for certain crops with 100 gross acres (before considering share) per unit in lieu of 50 acres, and they may waive the witness signature requirement for approval of Assignment of Indemnity through July 15, 2020, for applicable crop years.

“RMA recognizes the challenges the crop insurance industry and America’s farmers and ranchers face,” RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said. “We will continue to provide flexibility that supports the health and safety of all parties while also ensuring the Federal crop insurance program continues to serve as a vital risk management tool.”

Continue reading

04-03-20 Colorado State health department distributes third allotment from Strategic National Stockpile

Colorado State health department distributes third allotment from Strategic National Stockpile

DENVER, April 3, 2020: The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) are distributing critical resources to help communities respond to COVID-19. This week, Colorado received a third allotment from the Strategic National Stockpile, which is being distributed across the state.

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 third allotment, which included: Continue reading

04-03-20 USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for April 2020

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for April 2020

04-03-20 USDA Rural Development Announces Second Application Window for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program Funding

USDA Rural Development Announces Second Application Window for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program Funding

$72 Million Available to Help Rural Residents Gain Access to Health Care and Educational Opportunities

(Washington, D.C., April 3, 2020) – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand today announced that USDA is opening a second application window for funding under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program.

“Due to the COVID-19 National Emergency, USDA is providing an additional window for those who cannot complete applications prior to the first application deadline,” Brand said. “This action will provide more time for applicants to complete their funding requests. Access to distance learning and telemedicine makes it easier for thousands of rural residents to take advantage of health care and educational opportunities without having to travel long distances or be among large groups of people.”

Electronic applications for window two may be submitted through grants.gov beginning April 14, 2020, and are due no later than July 13, 2020. Paper applications will not be accepted under the second window. Additional information on how to apply will be available on grants.gov on April 14.
USDA opened the period for the first application window on February 10. That application deadline is April 10.
These comments from Colorado State Director USDA Rural Development…

04-03-20 NACD: 2020 NCF-ENVIROTHON COMPETITION CANCELED

NACD: 2020 NCF-ENVIROTHON COMPETITION CANCELED

WASHINGTON – Today, the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) and the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) announced the cancellation of the 2020 NCF-Envirothon to protect the health and safety of the general public and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The annual event was slated for July 26-Aug. 1, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“This was not an easy decision, but our primary concern is the health and safety of the students, as well as the general public, and we feel it’s in the best interest to cancel the 2020 NCF-Envirothon Nebraska event at this time,” NCF Chairman Steve Robinson said. “We know that many students look forward to this competition and are truly sorry for this turn of events; however, we hope students stay engaged in the Envirothon mission, and we encourage them to look ahead to preparations for next year.”

Continue reading

04-03-20 CO Governor Polis Provides Guidance to Municipalities on Local Elections

CO Governor Polis Provides Guidance to Municipalities on Local Elections

DENVER – Gov. Polis issued guidance to municipalities across Colorado who are preparing for upcoming elections.

“We want to ensure that Coloradans across our state are able to participate in their local elections and that this pandemic does not impact our democratic process,” said Governor Jared Polis. “It’s critical that Coloradans stay home during this time to the extent they can, but it’s also critical that they exercise their right to vote in all elections whether it’s for your fire district, electric coop, or town. Clerks have been working hard preparing for these elections, and we want to support them and hold them accountable for making sure Coloradans can safely exercise  our right to vote.”

More than 100 municipal elections are being held on April 7 across Colorado. In an effort to preserve the right to vote in free and fair elections, and building on the work of the Colorado Municipal League (CML) and local elections administrators, Gov. Polis is issuing guidance to local municipalities to ensure that all Coloradans can vote safely. This includes: Continue reading

04-03-20 EPA Administrator Wheeler Talks with Retailers and Third-Party Marketplace Platforms to Discuss Steps to Protect American Consumers from Fraudulent Coronavirus Disinfectant Claims

EPA Administrator Wheeler Talks with Retailers and Third-Party Marketplace Platforms to Discuss Steps to Protect American Consumers from Fraudulent Coronavirus Disinfectant Claims

LENEXA, KS (April 3, 2020) — This morning, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler hosted an interactive telephone call with U.S. retailers and third-party marketplace platforms to discuss imposter disinfectant products and those that falsely claim to be effective against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. Through tips, complaints, and research, the agency is learning of the availability of such products marketed with unsubstantiated and potentially dangerous claims of protection against the coronavirus and has enlisted the help of the retail community to prevent these products from coming to market. Continue reading

04-03-20 EPA Continues to Add New Surface Disinfectant Products to List N in Effort to Combat COVID-19

EPA Continues to Add New Surface Disinfectant Products to List N in Effort to Combat COVID-19

LENEXA, KS (April 3, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuing its commitment to increasing the availability of surface disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. List N: Disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 (List N) now contains over 360 products and has enhanced functionality to allow users to sort these products by surface type and use site. EPA is also continuing to expedite the review process for new disinfectants.

Previously, all products on List N had to have either an EPA emerging viral pathogen claim or have demonstrated efficacy against another human coronavirus. Now, List N also includes products on EPA’s List G: Products effective against norovirus and List L: Products effecting against the Ebola virus as these products also meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 . Continue reading

04-03-20 Inside The BARN with CSU Student and BARN Ag Reporter Samuel Baylie…

Inside The BARN with CSU Student and BARN Ag Reporter Samuel Baylie…

The BARN – Briggsdale, CO – April 3, 2020 – Joining the Colorado Ag News Network & FarmCast Radio is CSU Student and BARN Ag Reporter Samuel Baylie discusssing several topics including:

  • His Background & CO FFA Connection
  • COVID-19 Situation from his family’s perspective
  • Attending CSU during the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order
  • Thoughts about working for The BARN
  • His future Plans and Goals
  • & More

Watch the video interview

OR listen to the audio by clicking on the link below

040320_SamuelBaylie_14m45s

You can listen to Samuel Baylie’s Opening Ag Market Commentary inside the BARN each weekday, just CLICK HERE

 

04-03-20 ITLA News: Webinar on Judging Texas Longhorn Cattle

ITLA News: Webinar on Judging Texas Longhorn Cattle

Glenrose, TX — The International Texas Longhorn Association (ITLA) will produce their 36th Judges Clinic for the training of professional show judges on May 12 and 19. The detailed training webinar will be available for those desiring the curriculum. It can be viewed on line, world wide with high speed internet in two segments of 3 hours each.

Livestock producers world wide are invited to participate in the ITLA Judges Training Webinar May 12 and 19. Texas Longhorn shows are becoming increasingly popular with some major shows recording the largest entries of any breed.

This will be hosted live by on-line moderator/ presenter Darol Dickinson, Judge John Oliver and Dr. June Cohron. It will include over 300 power point graphics, charts with question and answers, and illustrations from a team of current approved training judges.

Continue reading

04-03-20 American Lamb Board Supports Restaurant Workers

American Lamb Board Supports Restaurant Workers

Taking care of ourselves and others is part of the new normal as we all navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. “Adjust and adapt” is the ongoing mantra for the sheep industry, as American Lamb producers continue to tend their flocks with what they have available, and direct marketers and processors shift resources necessary to persevere during these unprecedented times.

Most of the lamb industry’s foodservice partners are closed or providing limited take-out service, putting restaurant workers in urgent need. In an effort to support this situation, the American Lamb Board (ALB) is partnering with The Lee Initiative (https://leeinitiative.org) in its new program to provide to-go meals and essential supplies for hospitality members in need. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, April 3rd

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, April 2nd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Dairy Groups Ask USDA for Food Purchases, Dairy Farmer Relief

A group of dairy organizations wrote a letter this week to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and asked the USDA to help the struggling dairy industry. They want the agency to use its extensive purchasing power given to it by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Security Act, to alleviate at least some of the stress on the U.S. dairy industry. Approximately 80 percent of Americans are under orders to shelter in their homes. That means hundreds of thousands of restaurants, schools, and other foodservice outlets have either significantly reduced their offerings or shut down. That means cheese and butter manufacturers have lost their largest market segments. While retail sales have increased during recent weeks, those sales are now leveling off and orders are slowing down. Overseas markets have been decimated. The letter to Secretary Perdue asks USDA to focus on purchases of nonfat dry milk, as well as cheese, including cheddar, mozzarella, and other Italian-style cheese. They’re also asking USDA to look at different ways they have available to make farmers whole for the milk they’ve produced, but had to dispose of, or received drastically reduced payments. Some of the groups signing onto the letter include the Wisconsin Cheese Makers, Dairy Business Association, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, and the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

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NCGA Wants Farmers to Prioritize Health Amid COVID-19 and Spring Planting

The National Corn Growers Association is encouraging farmers to make a plan to stay healthy amid the COVID-19 outbreak and their upcoming spring planting. According to a recent farmer survey, 70 percent of them have no formal back-up plan if a key member of their family farming operation becomes ill with COVID-19. NCGA says even though most corn farms continue to be family-run operations with few employees or seasonal help, it’s still a good idea to get a basic plan in place. Some of their suggestions include scheduling a brainstorming meeting with all family and employees to discuss possible scenarios and solutions. Another key step is to minimize exposure to outsiders. Use the telephone, email, and text messages for communications with employees or contractors who don’t reside on the farm. Observe social distancing if someone has to come to the farm. Consider cross-training family members and employees on key farm functions and equipment operation. They also encourage farmers to increase sanitizing workspaces and make it a part of the daily routine on the farm. One of the most important things people can do is stay in the house if they get sick. If employees are sick, make sure to tell them to stay home. If a family member falls ill, they should isolate themselves as much as possible and not visit work areas.

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Grassley Asking for Investigation in Meatpackers

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is calling on the U.S. Departments of Justice and Agriculture to investigate potential market manipulation and other illegal activity by meatpackers in the cattle industry. Grassley, a longtime advocate for agriculture in the Senate, says, “With the shelf prices of meat at record highs and the high rate of concentration in the meatpacking industry, there are concerns that the difference in these margins is the result of illegal practices.” Grassley sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. In the letter, he cites repeated and numerous concerns raised by farmers and ranchers about possible illegal practices due to consolidation in the meatpacking industry. The senator is asking for both departments to investigate the serious allegations. “I request that you examine the current structure of the beef meatpacking industry and investigate potential market and price manipulation, collusion, and restrictions on competition, as well as any other potential unfair and deceptive practices under U.S. antitrust laws and the Packers and Stockyards Act,” he says in the letter.

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Farmer Share of Food Dollar Rises Slightly

For each dollar spent on domestically-produced food, U.S. farmers received 14.6 cents for farm commodity sales during 2018. The USDA’s Economic Research Service says while it’s a small increase, the number did rise from 14.4 cents in 2017. It’s also the first measurable rise in the farmer share of the food dollar since 2011. The slight increase comes after the average prices U.S. farmers received in 2017 and 2018 were flat. A preliminary estimate in the farmer share of the food dollar also came out at 14.6 cents last year, but that number has been revised downward to 14.4 cents. The Economic Research Service uses input-output analysis to calculate the farm and marketing shares from a typical food dollar spent by U.S. consumers. That includes both foods bought at grocery stores as well as at dining-out establishments. The marketing share of the food dollar covers the cost of getting the food from farm to point of purchase. It includes the cost related to packaging, transporting, processing, and selling to consumers at grocery stores and dining-out businesses. Farmers receive a smaller share of the eating-out dollars because it costs more to prepare and serve meals, so more consumers eating out also drives the farm share of the food dollar lower.

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USDA Raises Import Limits on Sugar

The USDA is about to publish a notice in the Federal Register raising the fiscal 2020 tariff-rate quota for raw cane sugar to 1.43 million metric tons. The agency will also just about double the low-duty quota for refined sugar to more than 373,000 metric tons. Ted McKinney, USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Ag, says the actions come after the “determination that additional supplies of raw cane and refined sugar are required in the U.S. market.” McKinney tells Politico that further adjustments for fiscal 2020 are still possible. Poor weather dragged down sugar production in Louisiana, one of the country’s key sugar cane-growing states. It also led to one of the worst sugar beet harvests in decades in states like Minnesota and North Dakota. In the meantime, Mexico, one of the top U.S. suppliers of sugar, has faced production problems of its own. USDA lowered its sugar production forecast in March to just over eight million short tons this year. That’s a decrease of 127,000 from the February forecast, and just about one million tons less than last year’s crop.

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China Wants More Hog Production, Still Seeing New ASF Cases

The Chinese government is looking closely at African Swine Fever prevention measures, even as it pushes farmers to restore hog production to achieve its intended targets. Reuters reports that despite improvement in China’s containment of ASF, it still will take some time to restore pork output from hog stocks. The agriculture ministry told local governments in a video conference that frequent transportation of piglets and breeding sows has raised the risk of more disease outbreaks. Because of that risk, the ministry asked local governments to conduct strict investigations into the transportation of animals and crack down on irregularities, which includes the sale of pigs that have died from ASF. China has reported several new cases of swine fever this month, mostly as a result of transporting animals across various provinces. The ag ministry has launched a 60-day investigation into illegal transporting of hogs. In the meantime, the ministry says, “Each region should speed up their under-construction projects and replenish stocks in their small-to-medium-sized farms.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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