04-14-20 Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Colorado Farm Bureau’s Telephone Town Hall with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet – AUDIO AVAILABLE NOW!

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Colorado Farm Bureau’s Telephone Town Hall with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet – AUDIO AVAILABLE NOW!

The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Colorado Farm Bureau hosted a telephone town hall with United States Senator Michael Bennet, member of the Senate Ag Committee, and Colorado Ag Producers on Tuesday, April 14, from 4:00 – 5:00pm MT

Senator Bennet provided an update on assistance for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in the latest coronavirus legislation, and took questions and comments from you about relief and resources for the agriculture industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LISTEN TO ALL OF THE AUDIO, courtesy of The BARN

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04-14-20 CO Governor Polis Takes Additional Action to Limit Spread of the Coronavirus

CO Governor Polis Takes Additional Action to Limit Spread of the Coronavirus

DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis today signed two Executive Orders to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Governor signed Executive Order D 2020 035, amending Orders D 2020 007 and D 2020 021, which supports emergency child care for essential workers and temporarily suspends certain statutes, enabling schools and school districts to focus on delivering instruction and student services. Read the Executive Order here.

The Governor also signed D 2020 036 extending Executive Order D 2020 005, as amended by Executive Order D 2020 008, which limits in-person contact for the 2020 elections and the secretary of state’s operations. The Executive Order is extended by an additional 30 days. Read the Executive Order here. Continue reading

04-14-20 U.S Senator Gardner Calls for Assistance for Dairy Farmers During COVID-19

U.S Senator Gardner Calls for Assistance for Dairy Farmers During COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) sent a letter with 14 of his Senate colleagues to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue calling on the department to extend assistance to the dairy industry, which has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As large swaths of the U.S. economy have shuttered in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, so too have long-existing markets for U.S. dairy producers. This standstill has left dairy farmers with excess product that was originally intended for the food service industry and no channel to get their milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt into the hands of consumers.

The senators wrote to Secretary Perdue to request he use the agriculture assistance provisions in the CARES Act to provide stability for the dairy industry and prevent a collapse in farm milk prices.

“In this case assistance for the dairy industry adds up to both help for farmers and nutritious food for the entire country,” wrote the senators. “Support for Americans suddenly in need of food assistance is a national priority at this time of need. Economic stability for the dairy industry will help ensure that a stable and abundant food supply is available to the public at reasonable prices now and long into the future.”

Additional signers of the letter include Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Todd Young (R-IN), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Cornyn (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Thune (R-ND), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Steve Daines (R-MT).

The full text of the letter can be found here and below: Continue reading

04-14-20 Hog Farmers Face COVID-19 Financial Crisis

Hog Farmers Face COVID-19 Financial Crisis

PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO, courtesy of The BARN *INCOMPLETE*

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 14, 2020 – The impact of COVID-19 has caused hog values to plummet, creating a financial disaster for pork producers nationwide who face a collective $5 billion loss for the remainder of the year. At a press briefing today, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) outlined the crisis as described by producers and the immediate relief they are requesting from the administration and Congress.

“We remain committed to supplying Americans with high-quality U.S. pork, but face a dire situation that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of farm families,” said NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “We are taking on water fast. Immediate action is imperative, or a lot of hog farms will go under.”

Continue reading

04-14-20 CDPHE: COVID-19 Media Briefing Audio for April 14th

CDPHE: COVID-19 Media Briefing Audio for April 14th

APRIL 14, 2020 – To comply with social distancing guidance, support transparency,  and keep the media informed, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) held a remote press conference for inquiries regarding the state response to COVID-19, featured:

  • Scott Bookman, Incident Commander for state COVID-19 response

  • Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist, CDPHE

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

04-14-20 Inside The BARN with CCA Executive Vice President Terry Fankhauser: COVID-19, JBS Closure, Convention & More

Inside The BARN with CCA Executive Vice President Terry Fankhauser: COVID-19, JBS Closure, Convention & More

The BARN, Briggsdale, CO – April 14, 2020 – Joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio to discuss the beef industry here in Colorado and concerns/challenges as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic that Colorado, the United States and the world finds itself in right now it Terry Fankhauser, Executive Vice-President of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.

Topics include:

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LEARN MORE ABOUT TERRY FANKHAUSER – CLICK HERE

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04-14-20 NCBA Responds to News of Beef Packing Plant Closure Due to COVID-19

NCBA Responds to News of Beef Packing Plant Closure Due to COVID-19

DENVER, CO (April 13, 2020) – NCBA CEO Colin Woodall released the following statement regarding today’s announcement that JBS will shutter its Greeley, Colo., beef processing plant in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“NCBA is concerned about the closure of the JBS-owned beef packing plant in Greeley, Colo. The company reports the plant is closing for a two-week period after several employees fell ill. Beef producers mourn the loss of the two employees who died as a result of the virus and we empathize with plant workers who are being affected by the outbreak. We also support President Trump’s ongoing effort to keep America’s food supply chain operational.

“The closure of packing plants during this crisis will have an impact on cattle and beef prices. Plant closures or slow-downs have significant regional and national implications that will ripple through the marketplace at a time when cattle producers are already suffering from market uncertainty and economic hardship. Every member of the beef supply chain relies on processing plants operating daily to keep product moving. America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen are hopeful that any beef processing plants which have been slowed or closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak return to full operation as quickly as possible.

“Currently, there is no shortage of beef and consumers can continue to be confident about the safety and wholesomeness of the products they are purchasing during this crisis. There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods.” Continue reading

04-14-20 ASI: NEW ANALYSIS SHOWS U.S. AGRICULTURE REDUCING PER-UNIT GHG EMISSIONS

ASI: NEW ANALYSIS SHOWS U.S. AGRICULTURE REDUCING PER-UNIT GHG EMISSIONS

WASHINGTON – APRIL 14, 2020 – New analysis of updated data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, combined with U.S. Department of Agriculture data, shows U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to reduce per-unit greenhouse gas emissions. All told, the U.S. agricultural sector accounts for less than 10% of total U.S. emissions. That’s less than the emissions from the transportation, electricity generation and industrial sectors. Globally, agriculture accounts for about 24% of GHG emissions. Continue reading

04-14-20 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: U.S. Beef Livers Promoted as Great Source of Iron in Peru

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: U.S. Beef Livers Promoted as Great Source of Iron in Peru

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

DENVER, CO – April 14, 2020 – Finding more international destinations for beef livers is a high priority for the U.S. beef industry. With support from the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is extolling the nutritional benefits of U.S. beef liver in Peru, which has a high rate of childhood anemia.

Working with the Peruvian Health Ministry, USMEF developed an educational campaign designed to show consumers that U.S. beef liver is a great source of iron. USMEF South America representative Jessica Julca (pronounced HUL-CUH) explains that developing recipes for liver meatballs, sandwiches and other entrée options helped show consumers that U.S. beef liver is not only nutritious, but is also a very enjoyable and affordable protein choice. Consumer outreach took place at supermarkets, wet markets and butcher shops that feature U.S. beef liver.

U.S. beef liver exports to Peru totaled 4,113 metric tons (mt) in 2019, a 3% increase from 2018. Globally, U.S. beef liver exports in 2019 were 86,572 mt, the highest in five years, with Egypt as the largest destination. Export value for U.S. beef livers made impressive gains in 2019, climbing 13% year-over-year to just under $91 million.

Jessica Julca liver promotions in Peru 4-13-20

Continue reading

04-14-20 US Senators Bennet, Gardner Press USDA to Include Colorado Farmers and Ranchers in COVID-19 Disaster Relief

US Senators Bennet, Gardner Press USDA to Include Colorado Farmers and Ranchers in COVID-19 Disaster Relief

Washington, D.C. – On April 13th, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the needs of Colorado’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities are met as the agency allocates disaster relief funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act provides $9.5 billion in assistance to agricultural producers affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As USDA determines how to allocate the CARES Act funding, the senators called on Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to consider the unique challenges that Colorado’s livestock producers, small and medium sized producers, dairy farmers, and specialty crop producers face, while prioritizing easy access to relief funds and outreach to producers of all sizes, particularly those at high risk of severe financial hardship.

“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided billions of dollars to assist producers who are now navigating shifting supply chains and volatile market conditions,” wrote Bennet and Gardner. “As the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) begins to implement the CARES Act, we urge you to fully consider the challenges facing Colorado’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.”

Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 14th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 14th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Meatpacker Closings Hard on Food Supply Chain

Smithfield Foods will close its pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, until further notice because of employees who tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s just one of several major agricultural facilities temporarily closing operations due to the pandemic. Virginia-based Smithfield Foods says the closures are a trend that may eventually put a dent in the U.S. meat supply. “The closure of this facility, combined with the growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” says Smithfield CEO Kenneth Sullivan. “It’s impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants aren’t up and running.” In addition to a negative impact on consumers, Sullivan also warns of “either severe or possibly disastrous repercussions” across the entire supply chain, including on livestock producers. The company says their Sioux Falls site employs about 3,700 people, processes roughly 130 million food servings a week, and it buys from 550 independent producers. “These farmers won’t have anywhere to send their animals,” Sullivan adds. Almost 300 employees at Smithfield in South Dakota tested positive for the coronavirus, accounting for 40 percent of all the cases in the state.

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USDA Addresses Milk Dumping

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency is ensuring that milk producers are not inappropriately penalized if their milk must be dumped because of recent market disruptions caused by COVID-19. The RMA is also extending inspection deadlines, waiving inspection requirements, and authorizing more crop insurance transactions over the phone and electronically to help producers during the current crisis. Many state and local governments have issued “stay-at-home” orders and shut down non-essential businesses in response to COVID-19. It’s resulted in market disruptions and prevented in-person crop insurance transactions. RMA says it will allow dumped milk to be counted as milk marketings for the Dairy Revenue Protection or actual marketings for the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy programs. The agency will also allow phone and electronic transactions for 2021 crop year sales and reporting dates, including options and endorsements. The deadline for some perennial crop Pre-Acceptance Inspection Reports has been extended. “Dairy Revenue Protection is a vital risk-management tool for our dairy farmers, especially during times like these, and USDA wants to ensure producers continue to get the coverage they purchased,” says RMA Administrator Martin Barbre.

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Farmers and Ranchers Ready to Help Food Banks

Food banks across the nation are having a hard time keeping up with increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Farm Bureau Federation, as well as the group Feeding America, says farmers and ranchers are ready and willing to work with USDA to help bridge the supply gap and get farm products to those in need. The organizations praised USDA leadership through the crisis and offered recommendations for additional steps to ensure food banks across America are well stocked, which would allow farmers and ranchers to expand on existing partnerships with food banks and respond to shifting demands and pressing needs. While demand has increased across the supply chain as store shelves have emptied due to panic buying, food banks are seeing as much as a 100 percent increase in demand. AFBF and Feeding America both say this demand can be met by redirecting supply from farmers and ranchers who’ve lost other markets like restaurants and tourism businesses due to closures and stay-at-home orders, by implementing a USDA-run voucher system. This would allow farmers and ranchers to work directly with food banks to get farm-fresh products quickly to families in need, while also preventing food waste and helping farmers recoup some of their production costs at a time when they’re fighting to hold on.

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Restaurants Turning to Grocery Sales to Stay Afloat

A very important link in the American food-supply chain is restaurants, which are looking at new temporary ways of doing business to stay afloat. As traditional grocers struggle to keep up with increased demand brought on by COVID-19, restaurants are turning to grocery sales to make ends meet. ABC News says it’s a trend that’s catching on across the country as large chains and mom-and-pop establishments look for new income. Panera launched Panera Grocery, which not only sells traditional Panera restaurant items, but items like milk, eggs, and fresh produce that its 2,100 stores normally use to make meals. Sara Burnett, Vice President of Wellness and Food Policy at Panera, says the decision to sell groceries is a reaction to the “unprecedented crisis our country is going through right now.” Subway is selling groceries at 250 of its stores in five states, including California, Connecticut, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington. The National Restaurant Association says the industry has lost three million jobs and $25 billion in sales since March 1. A spokeswoman says three percent of restaurants have permanently closed and another 11 percent will do so by the end of this month.

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Ag Retailers on Solid Ground During Pandemic

A recent CoBank report says agricultural retailers look to be in good shape as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The report says ag retailers are on “relatively firm footing” as they prepare for spring after last year’s complicated agronomy season. CoBank’s proprietary borrower database says farmer prepayments, accounts receivables, and delinquency trends reported by CoBank farm supply cooperative customers remain in line with 2018, which could indicate a stable-to-improved outlook for agronomy sales and services. Ag retailers’ inventories of seeds, agrochemicals, and fertilizer should meet customer needs during the 2020 planting season, which is expected to see an increase in the number of planted acres for both corn and soybeans. Adverse weather, and more specifically flooding, remain elevated risk factors this season, with forecasts for above-average precipitation this spring over areas that contain already saturated soils. Agronomy sales and service could take a hit if the weather once again leads to high levels of prevented planting. The coronavirus spread may impact supply chains and the availability of certain imported crop inputs that retailers rely on in the short term.

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NASS Preparing for 2022 Census of Agriculture

The National Agricultural Statistics Service recently mailed out the National Agricultural Classification Survey to 350,000 potential farmers and ranchers. The NACS will help identify all those engaged in agricultural activity in the country to ensure that they are included in the 2022 Census of Agriculture. NASS requests that each person who receives the survey respond by May 4. “NACS plays an integral role in getting a complete count in the Census of Agriculture,” says NASS Census and Survey Director Barbara Rater. “By participating in the census, producers show the breadth and value of agriculture, and inform decisions that can impact their operations and industry.” She says it’s for those reasons that they need everyone who receives a classification survey to respond. Even if the form doesn’t apply to them, Rater says they need those folks to respond online to at least the first four questions. To protect the health and safety of the public and its employees, NASS has suspended in-person data collection and limited other in-person mail processing. Completed forms may also be mailed back in the prepaid envelope they provide.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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