04-07-20 ICYMI: Op-Ed from CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg “The Supreme Court Missed This One”

ICYMI: Op-Ed from CO Senator Jerry Sonnenberg “The Supreme Court Missed This One”

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STERLING, CO – April 7, 2020 – The Colorado Supreme Court has decided with a 4-to-3 vote that when the Governor declares an emergency, Colorados Constitution can be ignored.

The Majority found that the amendment to the Constitution detailing legislative session length is ambiguous, and that the legislative rule applied when the Governor declared a health emergency could be followed instead of the Constitution.  That’s right: a joint rule of the General Assembly has been found to be superior, legally, to the Constitution.

Here’s what the Constitution says: regular sessions of the general assembly shall not exceed one hundred and twenty calendar days.

Seems fairly clear to this country boy. Continue reading

04-07-20 U.S Senator Gardner Applauds Nearly $17 Million in FEMA Grants for Colorado

U.S Senator Gardner Applauds Nearly $17 Million in FEMA Grants for Colorado

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) applauded the announcement that the state of Colorado will receive a total of $16,688,096.55 in expedited federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for eligible emergency protective measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is authorized under the Robert T. Stafford Act and comes as a result of the President approving the state of Colorado’s Disaster Declaration, which Gardner and members of the Colorado delegation urged.

“Communities all across Colorado are hurting right now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Gardner. “I’m pleased that FEMA is awarding this much needed grant to Colorado so that we have the resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’ll continue to work with public health officials and leaders at every level to ensure our state can get through this crisis together.”

According to FEMA, examples of eligible emergency protective measures include the activation of State Emergency Operations Centers, National Guard costs, law enforcement, and other measures necessary to protect public health and safety.

You can read more about Senator Gardner’s actions to protect Coloradans from COVID-19 here. Continue reading

04-07-20 US Senators Gardner and Bennet Urge HHS and CMS to Protect Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Pandemic

US Senators Gardner and Bennet Urge HHS and CMS to Protect Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) joined Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter to Secretary Alex M. Azar II and Administrator Seema Verma encouraging both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop ways to ensure beneficiaries are able to access necessary medications at home without risking exposure to COVID-19 or overburdening our healthcare workers as we continue to battle this pandemic.

“As we seek additional options for protecting the lives of those most negatively affected by the pandemic, we are writing to encourage you to continue engaging with our offices and relevant stakeholders to build upon these productive steps through effective implementation, along with additional policy levers, as needed, in order to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can access physician-administered Part B-covered infused and injectable medicines in the home setting during the COVID-19 public health emergency,” the senators wrote.

They continued, “We ask that, as you engage with patient advocates, providers, and other stakeholders, you seek out opportunities to further close remaining gaps and, as much as possible, pursue solutions that provide for continuity and consistency in care. These solutions must ensure beneficiary access to Part B drugs, provide appropriate payment for these drugs, and sufficiently reimburse for administration services rendered when provided in the home setting.”

Continue reading

04-07-20 Dairy MAX, Denver Broncos Provide $50K COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund in Response to Pandemic

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Dairy MAX, Denver Broncos Provide $50K COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund in Response to Pandemic

In response to the current coronavirus pandemic, Dairy MAX and the Denver Broncos—in partnership with the Denver Broncos and Fuel up to Play 60—will contribute $50,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund to support local schools with the purchase of resources needed to provide continued school meal programs. Each school can receive up to $3,000 in grant funds, and the application can be accessed at https://covid-19.genyouthnow.org/.

School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic are taking a serious toll on more than 55 million students nationwide, especially the almost 1 million local students who depend on school meals for their daily nutrition. While 124,000 public and private schools are closed nationwide, school districts recognize the importance of maintaining continuity of school meal programs and are providing meals through grab and go, drive through pick up, bus stop delivery and summer meal sites. The COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund has been put in place to help schools purchase the necessary resources for food storage, single-serve packaging, distribution, delivery and sanitation/safety protective gear as they adapt to new means of delivering healthy meals to our nation’s children. Check your local school websites for a current list of schools serving meals.

“Our Nutrition Services Department consistently serves nourishment and fuel to our students daily. Our community has voiced the immediate need by their participation in our new platform. In just nine days, we have distributed more than 70,000 meals to our community. It is critical that we continue to do our part to ensure our “new normal” stays consistent to our mission and purpose! We are blessed and thankful to participate with ALL the Nutrition Services Superheroes across this great country in feeding the nation’s future,” says Shannon Solomon, Director of Nutrition Services for Aurora Public Schools.

Local dairy farmers—in partnership with the Denver Broncos—have been supporting childhood nutrition initiatives for years.

“Local dairy farmers have a longstanding commitment to making sure kids have access to nutritious food, and it’s more important now than ever before,” said Rick Podtburg, dairy farmer and Dairy MAX board chairman.

Continue reading

04-07-20 Cornell University: Webinar on Online Meat Sales

Cornell University: Webinar on Online Meat Sales

From Dr. Tatiana Stanton

The Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN) has a new webinar recording on online meat sales from farm to freezer if any of you are interested in looking at it.

*Be advised that it does not start until about 1 minute 20 seconds into it.*

Their website at https://www.nichemeatprocessing.org/  also has lots of resources, Tatiana

SOURCE

04-07-20 NFU: USDA Must Swiftly and Fairly Distribute Assistance to Farmers and Rural Communities, According to NFU

NFU: USDA Must Swiftly and Fairly Distribute Assistance to Farmers and Rural Communities, According to NFU

WASHINGTON – Following the recent passage of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, National Farmers Union (NFU) is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to “swiftly and efficiently implement assistance and distribute resources” to family farmers and ranchers and rural communities.

NFU President Rob Larew

In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, NFU President Rob Larew emphasized that the capacity of the rural health care system and the success of family farm agriculture depends on immediate and prudent action. “Perhaps there has never been a time when the Secretary of Agriculture was burdened with as much responsibility for the health and economic well-being of rural America as you carry today,” Larew wrote. “The actions of your department in the coming days, weeks, and months will be extremely important in securing the future of rural communities, the health of their residents, and the strength of their economies.”

Continue reading

04-07-20 CME Group: Farmer sentiment plummets as coronavirus concerns rise

Photo Caption: Farmer sentiment plummets as coronavirus concerns rise. (Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer/James Mintert)

CME Group: Farmer sentiment plummets as coronavirus concerns rise

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. and CHICAGO, April 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer recorded its largest one-month drop in sentiment during March. The barometer dipped 47 points to a reading of 121, as concerns over the impact of the global pandemic on the agricultural economy weighed heavily on farmers’ minds. The Ag Economy Barometer is based on a mid-month survey of 400 U.S. agricultural producers and was conducted from March 16-20, 2020 as the coronavirus crisis escalated in the U.S. and around the world. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 7th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 7th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Senators Seek Flexibility in FSA Loans

Lawmakers are urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make temporary flexibilities on Farm Service Agency loans permanent for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a bipartisan letter signed by farm-state Senators, they urge Perdue to “take action to ensure the continuity of our country’s food supply and support rural areas during the coronavirus.” The senators seek “needed relief” to farmers by the Agriculture Department, ensuring that the temporary flexibilities on farm loans recently announced by the FSA are made permanent for the duration of the pandemic and subsequent economic recovery, and also by ensuring adequate and equitable access to credit. The Senators also urge USDA 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. In all, 43 Senators signed the letter, led by Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota.

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Roberts, Stabenow Urge SBA to Provide Coronavirus Relief to Farmers and Ranchers

Leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee urges the Small Business Administration to ensure farmers and ranchers can access new loan programs created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act. Chairman Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, and the Committee’s ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan penned a letter to the SBA, stating, “We must take quick action to aid farmers at a time when we need a stable and reliable food supply.”  The CARES Act created new and expanded eligibility for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to help small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. The Senators asked the Small Business Administration to immediately clarify and allow agricultural businesses and farms to apply for loans under this program. The CARES Act also created the Paycheck Protection Program to help businesses keep their workforce employed. An interpretation by the American Farm Bureau Federation suggests farmers are currently only eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.

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Pandemic Pushing Commodity Prices Lower

From dairy farmers with nowhere to send their milk and cattle ranchers reeling from plummeting beef prices, the impact of the coronavirus is rippling through farm country. The American Farm Bureau Federation says corn, cotton and soybean futures have tumbled, ethanol plants have been idled, and some fruit and vegetable farmers are finding their best option is leaving produce in the field. In an economic analysis, AFBF says price forecasts for most agricultural products are bleak. In the past month, dairy prices have dropped 26-36 percent, corn futures have dropped by 14 percent, soybean futures are down eight percent and cotton futures have plummeted 31 percent. Meanwhile, Hog futures are down by 31 percent. A surge in demand for beef emptied grocery store meat aisles, but there is no lack of supply. Despite a rise in retail prices in some areas, the prices paid to cattle ranchers have fallen 25 percent. AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “After years of a down farm economy and damaging severe weather, the COVID-19 ripple effects are forcing farmers and ranchers to face heartbreaking financial realities.”

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FDA Issues Temporary Policy Relaxing Egg Labelling Requirements

The Food and Drug Administration is relaxing egg labeling and packaging requirements to meet consumer demands. Generally, egg cartons must include a statement of identity, the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor, nutrition labeling, the net quality of contents and safe handling instructions. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer demand for shell eggs has increased. Additional eggs for consumers are available, but appropriately labeled retail packaging is not available for all such eggs. To meet the increased demand for shell eggs in light of the limited availability of retail packaging, the FDA is providing temporary flexibility regarding certain packaging and labeling requirements so the industry can meet the increased consumer demand. FDA will allow egg sales without labels, but rather a sign or tag affixed to the product containing certain label requirements. The policy is intended to remain in effect only for the duration of the public health emergency related to COVID-19 declared by the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Wisconsin Asking USDA to Take Action for Dairy

Wisconsin lawmakers are seeking help for dairy from the Department of Agriculture. Last week, a coalition of Wisconsin lawmakers, led by Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin, wrote Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, seeking immediate action for Wisconsin dairy farmers and dairy processing businesses. Wisconsin dairy farmers have been forced to dispose of thousands of gallons of fresh milk a day as the demand for dairy products used in foodservice has rapidly switched to almost entirely at-home consumption. Specifically, the lawmakers ask Secretary Perdue to move cheese and dairy products from Wisconsin plants to consumers using several tools that Congress has provided USDA to help respond to times of crisis. Additionally, they seek funding for states to help them resolve supply chain disruptions and keep agricultural products and food moving to reach consumers when and where they need it. A third measure requested, the Wisconsin lawmakers are asking Secretary Perdue to Reopen enrollment for the Dairy Margin Coverage program and make payments retroactive to the beginning of the year.

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Syngenta Accepting Entries for Seventh Annual #RootedinAg Contest

Applications for the seventh annual Thrive #RootedinAg Contest are now open online. The #RootedinAg Contest gives people in the agriculture industry the opportunity to tell their story, according to Syngenta. The company will award three contest finalists with mini touch-screen tablets and one grand prizewinner with a $500 gift card, plus the opportunity to tell his or her story in Thrive magazine, complete with a professional photo shoot with the winner’s ag mentor. In addition, the company will make a $1,000 donation to the winner’s favorite local charity or civic organization. To enter this year’s contest, interested candidates can visit the contest website and fill out the brief online entry form, which asks them to describe their ag mentor in one of two ways. Contestants can write a couple paragraphs and submit a photograph to support their entry or create a short video. The deadline to enter is June 30, 2020. To apply, learn more or see previous contest winners, go to www.SyngentaThrive.com.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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