04-06-20 Colorado Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on State Response to COVID-19: Extends Stay-At-Home Order Thru April 26th

Colorado Governor Polis Takes Further Action To Address COVID-19

DENVER – Gov. Polis signed Executive Orders today taking further action to address COVID-19 in Colorado.

Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order amending and extending D 2020 017 to extend the state-wide stay at home order until April 26, 2020. View here. The Governor also rescinded Executive Order D 2020 013 requiring all Colorado employers to reduce their in-person workforce by 50%. This is being rescinded because it is superseded by the stay at home Executive Order. Read the Executive Order here.

The Governor also signed an Executive Order extending D 2020 012, which limits evictions, foreclosures, and public utility disconnections, as well as expedites unemployment insurance claims processing. Read the Executive Order here.

Gov. Polis is taking steps to help families and businesses by extending additional tax filing and payment deadlines. Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order issuing a one-month extension for filing and remitting state and state-administered local sales tax. Read the Executive Order here.

In addition, the Governor extended Executive Orders on the temporary suspension of elective and non-essential surgeries and procedures, the closure of ski areas, the suspension of in-person requirements for notarizations, and the issuance of marriage licenses when county clerk and recorder offices are closed, as well as the suspension of other regulatory requirements, including clarifications to alcohol delivery and takeout, requirements related to taxicab carriers, in-person processes for background checks, and driver’s license and identification card renewal, due to the presence of COVID-19. Continue reading

04-06-20 State of Colorado Releases New Modeling Findings 

State of Colorado Releases New Modeling Findings

DENVER (April 6, 2020): The state health department received additional modeling results from an expert group of public health scientists today. The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) assembled the expert group, which relies on expertise from modeling scientists at ColoradoSPH and the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, as well as experts from the University of Colorado Boulder and University of Colorado Denver. The models produced by the expert group are local, meaning models are based on Colorado data and assumptions apply specifically to Colorado, not national assumptions.

Several key staff from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spoke about the model’s results earlier today in a press conference that was broadcast for the public. The findings demonstrate the effectiveness of physical distancing in phase 1 — cancelling mass gatherings, and the closing of bars and schools — and the data provide projections for effectiveness of phase 2 physical distancing, including the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order through April 26. Continue reading

04-06-20 Colorado Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on State Response to COVID-19: Extends Stay-At-Home Order Thru April 26th

04-06-20 Colorado Governor Polis Provides Update on State Response to COVID-19

Governor Jared Polis addressed the state of Colorado regarding the COVID-19 pandemic from the Governor’s residence in Denver. The address was broadcasted statewide through television, radio, and digital platforms.

“I’m more and more hopeful that Colorado’s stay-at-home can finally end on April 26, 2020, several days before the national goal of April 30th. It is important that you stay home whenever possible to stop the spread and wear a mask when you do go out. #COVID19Colorado

AUDIO WITH COURTESY & PERMISSION FROM THE COLORADO BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION

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Gov. Polis Addresses Coloradans, Extends Stay-at-Home Order

DENVER — This evening Governor Jared Polis addressed Coloradans directly and announced an extension to the stay-at-home Executive Order. The Executive Order will now remain in effect until April 26. Continue reading

04-06-20 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Regulations Governing Red Meat Exports to Canada Simplified

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Regulations Governing Red Meat Exports to Canada Simplified

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

DENVER, CO – April 6, 2020 – U.S. companies exporting pork, beef and lamb to Canada now face simpler and clearer requirements, thanks to a joint initiative undertaken by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and its counterpart, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Cheyenne McEndaffer, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) director of export services, explains that the revised regulations will benefit both U.S. exporters and their customers north of the border. She notes that FSIS gathered input from USMEF and other industry associations during its review of the export requirements, which allowed problematic issues to be identified and addressed.

Red meat exports to Canada are off to a fast start in 2020. Through February, pork exports were 18% ahead of last year’s pace at 37,364 metric tons, valued at $128.8 million (up 14%). Beef exports totaled 18,603 metric tons valued at $112.9 million – up 17% and 15%, respectively, from a year ago.

McEndaffer Canada Improvements 4-6-20

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04-06-20 Colorado Delegation Members Push for Assistance for Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics

Colorado Delegation Members Push for Assistance for Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics

Urge SBA to ensure Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics are eligible for assistance under the CARES Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Ken Buck (R-CO), and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) are calling on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to interpret the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to ensure that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) are eligible for certain assistance, particularly the Paycheck Protection Program.

“The CARES Act, which was signed into law with our support on March 27, 2020, included essential lifelines for struggling businesses, and it is critical SBA ensure that those programs can be used to support our rural hospitals and clinics,” wrote Senator Gardner and his colleagues. “We urge SBA to take immediate steps to ensure that CAHs and RHCs are eligible for the relevant CARES Act loan programs and continue their work on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and look forward to serving as collaborative partners in both SBA and other agencies’ work to support rural health care providers.”

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

04-06-20 Cornell University: Paycheck Protection Program available

Cornell University: Paycheck Protection Program available

The recent CARES Act provided additional emergency funding through Small Business Administration (SBA) for businesses who are facing losses due to CORVID-19. If you are a farm business, the most important program to be aware of right now is the Paycheck Protection Loan Program, which was authorized in the CARES Act. Farms that meet SBA small business thresholds are eligible to apply for this low interest, forgivable loan program. The other important feature of the PPP is that the loans are first come first served, until funding is expended. If this program seems like it would be of assistance to you, do not delay but contact your bank as soon as possible to see if they are participating in this program. If they are not, Farm Credit is participating. Also, note that SBA’s definition of a small business and USDA’s definition of a small farm are NOT the same and you are held to the much more generous SBA standard (generally fewer than 500 employees) for this program.

Details on the Paycheck_Protection_Program

SOURCE

04-06-20 CDPHE: COVID-19 Media Briefing Audio for April 6th

CDPHE: COVID-19 Media Briefing Audio for April 6th

APRIL 6, 2020 –Representatives from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will provide a brief update on COVID-19 and will take questions from the media.

  • Jill Hunsaker Ryan, Executive Director, CDPHE
  • Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist, CDPHE
  • Dr. Eric France, Chief Medical Officer, CDPHE
  • Scott Bookman, Incident Commander for state COVID-19 response, will also be available for Q and A

AUDIO OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE, courtesy of The BARN

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Continue to stay up to date by visiting colorado.gov/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus.

04-06-20 CSU – Golden Plains Extension: Staying healthy during Cold, Flu, and Pneumonia season

CSU – Golden Plains Extension: Staying healthy during Cold, Flu, and Pneumonia season

HOLYOKE, CO – APRIL 6, 2020 – With the recent outbreaks in different respiratory diseases, it is good to know the differences between a cold, flu, and pneumonia and when to stay home or seek medical care.  The common cold and flu are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.  Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs’ air sacs (alveoli) which causes inflammation and may cause the sacs to fill will fluid or pus. Continue reading

04-06-20 Inside the CDA’s Colorado Proud Program w/Wendy White: How Can You Buy “Local” during the COVID-19 Situation?

Inside the CDA’s Colorado Proud Program w/Wendy White…

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

The BARN – Briggsdale, CO – April 6, 2020 – During the current Coronavirus pandemic, around the state…Colorado farmers and retailers continue to feed consumers’ “appetite” for locally-sourced foods and products, while helping localize our food system — and boost our economy.  And that’s GREAT news for everyone!

Joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio to discuss the importance of locally-sourced food and products and how the Colorado Program is assisting in that tireless effort is Wendy White, Marketing Specialist at the Colorado Department of Agriculture in the Markets Division.

AUDIO FILE

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Continue reading

04-06-20 US Senators Gardner and Bennet Request Relief for Farmers During COVID-19

US Senators Gardner and Bennet Request Relief for Farmers During COVID-19

“Americans always depend on our nation’s farmers to grow the food, fuel, and fiber that we all need, but that reliance becomes much more pronounced in times of crisis.”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are requesting the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take additional steps to provide relief for farmers to ensure the continuity of food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As you know, farmers across the country have faced many challenges in the past several years. The coronavirus pandemic is now causing additional disruptions, driving further declines in market conditions, prices, and export demand, and some experts believe that the consequences of the pandemic could hit rural communities particularly hard,” wrote the senators. “To provide additional support for those whose operations are being affected by the coronavirus, we urge you to consider making emergency measures such as deadline extensions, loan payment deferrals, payment forbearance, and a full suspension of all current and pending foreclosure actions effective for the duration of the pandemic and subsequent economic recovery.”

Their letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue calls on the Administration to make temporary flexibilities for Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans permanent for the duration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and provide equitable access to credit during the period of market uncertainty.

In addition to Senators Gardner and Bennet, the letter was signed by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Thune (R-SD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Steve Daines (R-MT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Barrasso (R-WY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Mike Enzi (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Angus King (I-ME), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

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

04-06-20 State of Colorado provides COVID-19 modeling data

State of Colorado provides COVID-19 modeling data 

DENVER (April 5, 2020): The state today released additional COVID-19 modeling data to the public. Governor Jared Polis first provided an in-depth analysis of the data during a press conference on March 27. The state will continue to review data as it evolves to inform future policy decisions.

The modeling data was produced by an expert team that the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) assembled to assist the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in understanding the potential course of the pandemic in Colorado. Continue reading

04-06-20 U.S. Education Secretary DeVos Authorizes New Funding Flexibilities to Support Continued Learning During COVID-19 National Emergency

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Authorizes New Funding Flexibilities to Support Continued Learning During COVID-19 National Emergency

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today a new streamlined process for providing states funding flexibilities to best meet the needs of students and educators during the COVID-19 national emergency. The new flexibilities, authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, allow schools to repurpose existing K-12 education funds for technology infrastructure and teacher training on distance learning, among other flexibilities to move resources to areas of highest need during the national emergency.

“Across the country, students, teachers and families are proving that learning can and does happen anywhere,” said Secretary DeVos. “By extending additional funding flexibility to schools, we are helping to ensure student learning continues and supporting teachers as they transition to virtual classrooms. Local leaders have asked for the ability to steer more resources to local needs, and these new tools will help them do just that.”    

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27, now allows states and school districts to devote more of their federal resources to technology infrastructure to support distance learning for students and for professional development for teachers who are teaching remotely, many for the first time. By providing a streamlined process to obtain funding flexibilities, states will be able to quickly make decisions to meet the needs of their students.

Any state may complete a brief form available at oese.ed.gov, and it will receive an initial determination within one business day. Using the form, states can receive flexibility in the use of funds and other requirements covered under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), including the Title I, Parts A-D, Title II, Title III, Part A, Title IV, Parts A-B, and Title V programs. Specifically, states may request a waiver of: Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 6th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

CoBank Issues Report on COVID-19 Impact on Ag, Economy

CoBank says the COVID-19 outbreak has brought the U.S. economy to a “screeching halt.” A quarterly report from the CoBank Knowledge Division has underscored the critically important nature of agriculture, as well as other industries essential to rural America. The U.S grains sector is still stuck in a rut, with pressure on commodity prices, weakening basis for both corn and soybeans in some markets, and export volatility likely for the next few months. While crop farming fundamentals remain challenging, ag retailers enter this year’s growing season on a relatively stable footing. Retailers say they’re optimistic about a full agronomy season, given the pent-up demand for fertilizer and crop protection products, especially after a wet and complicated fall application period last year. The U.S. chicken industry was optimistic heading into 2020 thanks to expected renewed exports to China. However, the shift to at-home eating because of COVID-19 has boosted chicken demand domestically. U.S. cattle has seen a swift and sharp decline in the last month. Chinese demand for U.S. hogs has set records, but it hasn’t led to strong prices or profit margins. Milk prices have fallen off due to COVID-19. Cotton prices have sunk to new lows despite strong exports due to fears of slower economic growth. Specialty crop growers face an even tighter labor situation this spring.

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Demand for U.S. Beef and Pork Strong in Overseas Markets

Despite various travel bans and other restrictions, foreign markets still have a large number of consumers who want American pork and beef. Clay Eastwood is Director of International Marketing for the National Pork Board. She says the most recent export numbers for American pork include almost record-setting amounts. “January was the second-highest export month in history as we exported 515 million pounds of pork,” Eastwood says. “Of that number, 150 million pounds of pork went to China.” The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says those numbers were posted ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit China and other Asian countries before spreading to the rest of the globe. Eastwood says pork production was five percent higher in 2019, with early data showing that number may climb higher this year. Pork is continuing to find solid overseas demand in traditional trading partners like Mexico and Japan. Other nations like Australia and New Zealand are buying more pork than in recent years. Demand for U.S. pork is also higher in both Central and South America. As COVID-19 cases continue to drop in China, Eastwood expects that market to get even stronger through 2020.

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Coronavirus Disrupting Global Food Chain

Reuters says the coronavirus outbreak is disrupting the global food supply chain and causing labor shortages in agriculture around the world. Panic buying by shoppers cleared supermarket shelves, creating a perception of food shortages. However, retailers and authorities say there are no underlying shortages and supplies of most products will be replenished. The logistics for getting food from the field to the plate are feeling the effects of COVID-19. In the short term, the lack of air freight and trucker shortages are slowing down fresh food deliveries. In the longer term, Reuters says a lack of available labor will affect planting and harvesting. If it goes on long enough, it could cause some shortages and rising prices for staple crops. As spring starts in Europe, farmers are trying to find enough workers to pick strawberries and asparagus, after border closures shut down the usual flow for migrant labor. Wide-scale crop losses are likely in India as a lockdown has sent large numbers of workers home, leaving farms and markets short as staple crops like wheat are almost ready for harvest. Food firms typically buy supplies in advance. However, long-term rising commodity prices will eventually be passed on to consumers.

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COVID-19 Shows Farm Labor System is Broken

The coronavirus outbreak has exposed major flaws in the American farm labor system. Politico says that’s upping the pressure on the federal government to make migrant labor much more accessible to farmers. It also highlights a lack of health and safety protections for these “essential” workers. Farmworkers who are still planting and harvesting crops have a higher than normal risk of being infected because they typically live, work, and travel in crowded conditions. Most don’t have any form of healthcare. Meanwhile, farmers are worried that the closure of U.S. embassies, especially in Mexico, will slow the flow of migrant labor into the U.S. That will make an already chronic labor shortage on produce, livestock, and nursery operations across the country that much worse. Farm labor lobbyists see an opportunity to slide labor provisions into an expected fourth stimulus bill that would provide some relief. Also, because food production has been declared a critical industry under federal guidelines, agriculture employers are giving undocumented farmworkers letters stating that they’re “essential.”

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FDA Reassures Consumers That Food is Safe

The Food and Drug Administration wants to once again reassure American consumers that food is available and safe to eat during the coronavirus outbreak. The FDA released a 30-second PSA last week designed to cut through confusion and misinformation about the food supply during the pandemic. It reiterates the message the FDA and the fresh produce industry has put out since the virus began to spread through the U.S.; there is no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging that’s transmitted the coronavirus. The Packer Dot Com says Frank Yiannas (YAH-nihs), Deputy FDA Commissioner, says the agency is working to ensure that the food supply chain is not disrupted. The agency is not anticipating there will be a need for food products to be recalled or withdrawn should someone who works in a store or processor test positive for COVID-19. The FDA has posted guidance on its website for consumers and food industry members. The agency is also talking with food industry leaders about any concerns they may have. Yiannas says the issues with keeping grocery shelves stocked are due to unprecedented demand, not a lack of capacity to produce, process, and deliver food.

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Beef Checkoff Offers Kid-Friendly Meals for Parents at Home

As Americans are spending more time at home, parents may need some meal inspiration to keep the whole family happy. The Beef Checkoff is offering some help with recipes that everyone in the family can enjoy and even make together. Some of the family favorites the Beef Checkoff recommends include Personal Beef Pizzas. They only need four base ingredients and can be customized by each family member based on what’s on hand. Other recipes include a Chuckwagon Beef and Pasta Skillet, Cheeseburger Mac, as well as Peanut Butter, Chocolate-Hazelnut, and Chocolate Chip Beef Jerky Cookies. “BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com is a great resource for kid-friendly options that can be made with kitchen staples many families may already have on hand,” says Alisa Harrison, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Research at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “These family favorites can help simplify dinner, lunch, or even snack time with easy prep and flavors that satisfy the whole family.” The website also has recipes that call for five ingredients or less and affordable meals under $15, as well as a full collection of cooking lessons. It even offers virtual farm and ranch tours to help educate kids when they’re being homeschooled.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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