04-13-20 CCA/CBC/CLA: Colorado Beef Industry Responds to Greeley, Colorado’s JBS Beef Packing Plant Temporary Closure Due to COVID-19

CCA/CBC/CLA: Colorado Beef Industry Responds to Greeley, Colorado’s JBS Beef Packing Plant Temporary Closure Due to COVID-19

Englewood, CO (April 13, 2020) – Today, JBS USA announced the temporary closure of the Greeley beef production facility until April 24, 2020, in response to Coronavirus 2019 ( COVID-19). JBS took this step in close coordination with the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“While beef producers are committed to providing safe and abundant beef for families throughout Colorado, the nation, and the world, our first concern is ensuring the health and safety of Coloradans in stopping the spread of COVID-19. We were saddened to hear of the passing of two workers from the plant and our thoughts are with their families,” stated Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) President Steve Wooten of Kim, Colorado.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have repeatedly stated that food products are safe.

Colorado Beef Council Chair Sallie Miller of Briggsdale, Colorado emphasizes, “The entire beef industry continues to provide consumers with a diversity of products they expect and is dedicated to working together to ensure food safety remains its top priority.”

Consumers can be confident that adequate supplies of beef are available in their grocery store of choice.

“While consumers have recently experienced some products being sold out in stores, this was a result of a peak in consumer demand and supply chain disruptions,” said Mike Veeman, Colorado Livestock Association (CLA) President.

Our organizations are concerned about the business environment surrounding COVID-19, especially that of all beef production sectors from the cow/calf producer to the processing plant. However, we remain resolute in our commitment to do our part to end this pandemic, while providing a safe and nutritious beef eating experience.

SOURCE: Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Beef Council & Colorado Livestock Association

04-13-20 Colorado State Forest Service: Assess Trees in Spring to Prepare for Emerald Ash Borer – CDA Repeals EAB Quarantine

Colorado State Forest Service: Assess Trees in Spring to Prepare for Emerald Ash Borer – CDA Repeals EAB Quarantine

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – April 13, 2020 – With a new spring season, trees are emerging from their winter dormancy period across Colorado to bring life, color and vibrancy to our urban forests.

With Colorado Arbor Day taking place this Friday, April 17, and National Arbor Day celebrated April 24, partners with the Colorado Emerald Ash Borer Response Team are encouraging residents to do a spring checkup on their trees. Vince Urbina, urban and community forestry manager for the Colorado State Forest Service, recommends residents thoroughly water their trees, remove weeds and/or grass growing close to the trunk and refresh the mulch to a depth of 4 inches.

“These are all tree-centered activities you can do while staying home and practicing social distancing,” Urbina said. “What better way to celebrate Arbor Day than appreciating and caring for the trees we already have working for us. Keeping our community forest healthy helps create resiliency against tree-killing insects.”

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Today, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) sent a letter to Congress requesting additional funding and legislative support for the nation’s nearly 3,000 conservation districts in the next stimulus bills.

“Conservation districts are the backbone of delivering conservation in America,” NACD President Tim Palmer said. “Unfortunately, as with many small businesses, many conservation districts are currently struggling to continue supporting their communities given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.”

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04-13-20 Weld County Public Health / JBS

Weld County Public Health / JBS

Weld County – Good afternoon. Please see the following statement and attached documents regarding the JBS facility in Greeley. Additional questions should be sent to pio@weldgov.com, and that team will continue to compile and answer questions as quickly as they can.

Dr. Mark E. Wallace, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCCDPHE) and JBS USA have had numerous discussions regarding COVID-19 and Greeley facility. Both documents are attached below. Continue reading

04-13-20 Colorado Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on State Response to COVID-19

Colorado Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on State Response to COVID-19 for April 13th

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


*UPDATED* April 13, 2020 –  DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis today provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19.

“Colorado’s beef industry is a critical part of our state’s economy, which is why we continue working closely with the Weld County public health department to ensure the safety of the JBS workers and get the plant open as soon as is safe in order to protect the food supply,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We should all be doing our part and staying home as much as possible, but when we leave the house for essential activities it’s critical that we wear a face mask to protect those around us. Coloradans are known for their creative and entrepreneurial spirits, and are always ready to rise to the challenge. The Colorado Face Mask Challenge is just one way for Coloradans to add their personal touch and I can’t wait to see the designs they submit.”

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04-13-20 Livestock Marketing Association Encourages Investigation of Beef Packers

Livestock Marketing Association Encourages Investigation of Beef Packers
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (April 13, 2020) – The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) is encouraged to see Secretary Sonny Perdue’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be extending its oversight to determine the causes of divergence between boxed and live beef prices, beginning with the Holcomb, Kansas beef processing plant fire and now incorporating the COVID-19 pandemic.
LMA calls for the investigation of beef packers to be comprehensive and expeditious. It should consider all potential anticompetitive and oligopolistic issues. This investigation should also include Department of Justice (DOJ) participation. Continue reading

04-13-20 CSU Extension: Stretch Your Food Dollar: Strategies to Shop Smart and Fill Your Cart


CSU Extension: Stretch Your Food Dollar: Strategies to Shop Smart and Fill Your Cart

Written by: Jessica Clifford, MS, RDN, Extension Specialist – Nutrition . Colorado State University

With rapid changes and uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, people are making changes about the way they spend their money. Whether this is a forced change due to a loss of a job, a decision made because of fear about over-spending during uncertain times, or simply just a decision to save money, thoughtful consideration about spending is important. Spending money on food is no exception. Food is essential, and understanding how to make the most of your food dollar can help fill your cart while not overspending. Purchasing foods that are not only affordable, but also healthy, is important during a pandemic when immunity is key.

With a little planning and strategy, shoppers can stretch their food dollar and get the most bang for their buck. Shoppers can consider the following steps to get started.

Budget: Continue reading

04-13-20 USDA Unveils Tool to Help Rural Communities Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

USDA Unveils Tool to Help Rural Communities Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

USDA’s COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide Lists Federal Programs That Can Help Rural Communities, Organizations and Residents Impacted by COVID-19

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide (PDF, 349 KB) is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.
“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities preparing for and impacted by COVID-19,” Perdue said. “This resource guide will help our rural leaders, whether they are in agriculture, education, health care or any other leadership capacity, understand what federal assistance is available for their communities during this unprecedented time.”
USDA has taken many immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on these actions, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 13th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 13th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Cattle Market Investigation will now Expand

Cattle groups and senators have been putting pressure on Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, who responded to the pressure via Twitter. His tweet says the USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division would expand its investigation into the cattle markets. The Hagstrom Report says the inquiry will now cover the cattle market conditions stretching from a summertime fire in Kansas last year up to the market conditions following the emergence of COVID-19. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association had called for an investigation last Wednesday, with Perdue responding on the same day. NCBA President Marty Smith says, “I would like to thank President Trump and Secretary Perdue for their quick response to NCBA’s request to expand the agency’s investigation into the cattle markets.” He says they believe the investigation will restore cattle producers’ confidence in the market. They’re also looking forward to the agency’s recommendations on how to improve things in the industry. Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota pointed out that live cattle futures’ prices declined in March while prices for boxed beef sold to grocery stores rose. “The obvious price disparity is harmful not only to the consumer but also for our hardworking, honest cattlemen who just want a fair market,” Cramer says.


Ethanol Production Numbers Highlight Steep Drop in Fuel Demand

The U.S. ethanol industry is hurting due to the COVID-19 outbreak keeping most drivers off the road. Reuters says the industry has cut production more than it has in recent memory as fuel demand continues to plummet. The output of the corn-based biofuel fell off a cliff, dropping a record 20 percent to an average daily rate of 672,000 barrels. That’s the lowest production rate since the Energy Information Administration began publishing the weekly data in mid-2010. As expected, stockpiles jumped to a record 27 million barrels, underscoring the struggling demand. Federal regulations mandate that nearly every gallon of gas sold in the U.S. has about 10 percent ethanol. However, the worldwide virus outbreak drove oil prices lower amid a dispute between Russia and Saudi Arabia regarding production levels. Those factors have combined to make it impossible for ethanol makers to profitably produce their fuel. Dozens of plants have idled production or slowed way down, including POET, one of the industry’s top producers. Last week, POET said it idled production at three facilities in Iowa and South Dakota.


USDA Releases April WASDE Report

The April World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates from USDA show both corn and soybeans with higher ending stocks. The 2019-2020 corn outlook calls for reduced imports, greater feed and residual use, lower food, seed, and industrial use, as well as larger ending stocks. Ending stocks were raised 200 million bushels to 2.092 billion. The season-average price for corn dropped 20 cents to $3.60 a bushel. U.S. soybean numbers show lower exports, seed use, residual use, higher crush, and higher ending stocks. Higher crush will only partly offset the other lower numbers, bringing projected ending stocks to 480 million bushels, 55 million bushels higher than last month. The season-average soybean price is forecast to drop five cents to $8.65 a bushel. The wheat outlook expects lower exports, reduced domestic use, and increased ending stocks. The forecast now expects ending stocks of 970 million bushels, up 55 million from the previous month. The season-average farm price for wheat is up by five cents a bushel to $4.60.


Meatpackers Close a Few Plants due to Coronavirus

Fears of meatpacker employees contracting coronavirus due to the close conditions they work in have led to several facilities idling production in recent weeks. For example, Tyson Foods has temporarily ceased operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, after two dozen employees were found positive with the coronavirus. Politico says at least three people who work in Tyson plants, as well as JBS USA, have died from the virus. However, there aren’t a large number of operations that have temporarily shuttered production or even scaled back. The CEO of JBS says he’s “100 percent confident” that his employees are safe at a beef plant in Greely (GREE-lee), Colorado. However, a longtime employee died after being hospitalized with the virus. The major meatpacking companies all say they’ve taken appropriate steps to abide by CDC recommended guidelines. The food industry has been deemed “essential” and continues to function amid the pandemic. “As employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the industry has been working with local health authorities and the Food Safety and Inspection Service to take immediate steps to quarantine, sanitize facilities, and prioritize the health and safety employees,” says Sarah Little, VP of Communications for the North American Meat Institute.


Wisconsin Senator wants Farmers Eligible for SBA Grants, Forgivable Loans

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin is calling on the administrator of the Small Business Administration to clarify that farms are eligible for both grants and loans. She wants to make sure farmers are eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, as well as guarantee they can get sufficient loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created by the CARES Act. “The collapse in demand from the coronavirus pandemic has caught our farmers at a particularly challenging time because many have suffered for years from depressed prices and the uncertainty brought on by trade wars,” she says in the letter SBA Administrator Jovita (Joe-VEE-tah) Carranza. “The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and the $10,000 advances from the expanded Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program could provide much-needed relief for farmers, provided that the programs are implemented with the unique needs of agricultural businesses in mind.” The letter comes after the SBA issued guidance saying that farms could apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, regardless of income levels. Baldwin wants the SBA to go further and clarify that farmers are both eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and have the option to use alternative calculations other than revenue, such as net earnings, that might provide greater loan values for farmers who need the help.


Lots of Chicken Wings Available Thanks to Coronavirus

The poultry market missed a big sales opportunity when the NCAA basketball tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus. The Washington Post says March Madness is the second of the two biggest annual events for wing sales, with the other being the Super Bowl. As the U.S. is asking citizens to stay at home to prevent further spread of the outbreak, the canceled basketball tournament means there is a whole bunch of chicken wings out there on the market. “That is a fact,” says Will Sawyer, lead animal protein economist at CoBank. “That’s real.” Wings are normally the most expensive part of the bird but haven’t been this cheap since September of 2011. They sold for close to two dollars a pound during this year’s Super Bowl. They’re now selling for half that amount. Poultry producers sold 1.24 million pounds of wings during the week the tournament was supposed to be held. Last week, they sold 433,000 pounds.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service