04-17-20 USDA Secretary Perdue’s hosts Press Conference Call on COVID Relief Plan for Agriculture…

USDA Secretary Perdue’s hosts Press Conference Call on COVID Relief Plan for Agriculture

(Washington, D.C., April 17, 2020) U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue held an on-the-record, off-camera media briefing at 7pm MT this evening regarding the announcement of the USDA’s COVID Relief Plan for Agriculture…

Listen to all of the audio, courtesy of The BARN…

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RELATED STORY – USDA Announces Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

04-17-20 Statement by Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft on USDA’s Plan to Aid Agriculture Industry

Statement by Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft on USDA’s Plan to Aid Agriculture Industry

CENTENNIAL, CO – April 17, 2020  USDA announced this evening that it will provide $19 billion in funding to aid the agriculture industry, hit hard by COVID-19.  The funds will come from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act as well as supplementary USDA funds to support commodity prices and provide direct support to producers.

The following statement is attributed to Don Shawcroft, president of the Colorado Farm Bureau:

“We are happy that USDA worked quickly to provide the bulk of support directly to farmers and ranchers who are hurting terribly. USDA’s swift action to allocate CARES Act funding provides a rainbow of hope in uncertain times. This aid will help our critical industry weather the COVID-19 storm as together we get America back up and running again.”

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04-17-20 USDA Announces Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO PRESIDENT TRUMP & USDA SECRETARY SONNY PERDUE

USDA Announces Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

(Washington, D.C., April 17, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. President Trump directed USDA to craft this $19 billion immediate relief program to provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need.
“During this time of national crisis, President Trump and USDA are standing with our farmers, ranchers, and all citizens to make sure they are taken care of,” Secretary Perdue said. “The American food supply chain had to adapt, and it remains safe, secure, and strong, and we all know that starts with America’s farmers and ranchers. This program will not only provide immediate relief for our farmers and ranchers, but it will also allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance to help our fellow Americans in need.”
CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities. The program includes two major elements to achieve these goals.
LISTEN TO USDA AG SECRETARY SONNY PERDUE WHILE AT THE PODIUM TODAY WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP, courtesy of The BARN

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04-17-20 National Potato Council Recognizes $19B in COVID-19 Ag Relief as Down Payment With More Needed for Potato Industry’s Recovery

National Potato Council Recognizes $19B in COVID-19 Ag Relief as Down Payment With More Needed for Potato Industry’s Recovery

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Potato Council issued the following statement welcoming U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s announcement of the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP):

“The U.S. potato industry is $4 billion annually with 60 percent of that total involving food service. Potato growers appreciate Secretary Perdue’s rapid action intended to stabilize family farms whose survival is threatened due to the mandated food service shutdown. Today’s announcement is a down payment on those efforts that will require additional resources and flexibility to deliver the necessary relief for our great potato industry,” said Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council. Continue reading

04-17-20 Farm Bureau Applauds $19 Billion in Coronavirus Aid for Farmers

Farm Bureau Applauds $19 Billion in Coronavirus Aid for Farmers

The American Farm Bureau applauds the $19 billion economic aid package for America’s farmers and ranchers announced by Secretary Perdue this evening. We understand the package includes $16 billion in much-needed direct payments to producers with another $3 billion to purchase meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables.

The following statement may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:

“We’re grateful to President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for working together to come to the aid of America’s farmers and ranchers. The coronavirus pandemic forced the closing of restaurants, schools and college cafeterias, causing commodity prices to fall off a cliff and serious disruptions to food supply chains. This $16 billion in aid will help keep food on Americans’ tables by providing a lifeline to farm families that were already hit by trade wars and severe weather.

“The plan to purchase $3 billion in meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables will help to stabilize markets and keep farms afloat so they can go about the business of feeding America. Farmers and ranchers proudly accept the responsibility of feeding this nation and it’s heartbreaking to be forced to dispose of milk and plow under crops of fresh food at a time when others are going hungry. We also appreciate the additional funding from other sources to help deliver food from farms to food banks.

“We look forward to additional details about how the aid will be distributed.” Continue reading

04-17-20 NPPC Statement on USDA COVID-19 Relief Package


NPPC Statement on USDA COVID-19 Relief Package

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a COVID-19 relief package that includes $3 billion in planned agricultural product purchases and $1.6 billion in direct payments to hog farmers, including payment limitations of $125,000 per commodity and $250,000 per individual. Industry economists conservatively estimate that hog farmers will lose $37 per hog marketed, or $5 billion collectively, for the remainder of the year. The following statement may be attributed to Howard “A.V.” Roth, president of the National Pork Producers Council and a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin:

“We fear the lifeline so desperately needed will fall short of what is truly needed. While the direct payments to hog farmers will offset some losses for some farmers, they are not sufficient to sustain the varied market participants, including those who own hogs as well as thousands of contract growers who care for pigs. All of these participants have made sizable investments in a U.S. pork production system that is the envy of the world. Many generational family farms will go bankrupt without immediate financial aid. Continue reading

04-17-20 NFU: USDA Releases Details for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

NFU: USDA Releases Details for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

NFU Urges Fair Distribution of Aid, Long-Term Solutions for Market Challenges

WASHINGTON – As the food and agriculture industries experience significant disruptions due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today released initial details for a $19 billion emergency aid package to support farmers and ranchers and bolster food security. Continue reading

04-17-20 U.S Senator Gardner Commends New Assistance for Agriculture Producers

U.S Senator Gardner Commends New Assistance for Agriculture Producers

USDA announces first wave of agriculture aid that Gardner helped secure in the CARES Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the following statement in support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) creating the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), a relief program to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for this $19 billion program was made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

“Times like these remind us how blessed we are to have farmers and ranchers in Colorado and across the nation working day and night to provide food for the American people,” said Senator Gardner. “I’ve called on the USDA to provide as much relief and support as possible for agriculture producers in Colorado who are facing new disruptions because of COVID-19, and I’m encouraged by the creation of this new program. We must do everything possible to support farmers and ranchers through this pandemic to keep our domestic and global food supply secure.”

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

04-17-20 Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force

Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force – April 17, 2020

Opening Up America Again LogoOpening Up America Again

President Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

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04-17-20 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 17th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, April 17, 2020

Shelby Wieman | shelby.wieman@state.co.us | 303-957-6011


Colorado Governor Polis Updates Coloradans on State Response to COVID-19

DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis today provided an update to Coloradans on the state’s response to COVID-19 and discussed more stringent guidance for long-term care facilities to protect some of Colorado’s most vulnerable.

“With so many vulnerable individuals and frontline health care staff in close contact, we want to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our state’s most vulnerable Coloradans and stop the spread of the virus within long-term care facilities,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We can’t thank Coloradans enough for their efforts to stay home and protect themselves and their neighbors, but we have to keep it up. I know how difficult this is for many people and I assure Coloradans that we’ll get through this together.”

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04-13-20 Tri-State, DMEA enter into membership withdrawal agreement

Tri-State, DMEA enter into membership withdrawal agreement

BARN Reporter Samantha Munson

Listen to the report that Samantha Munson put together…

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  • DMEA to pay Tri-State $88.5 million, including $26 million for purchase of facilities, and forfeit $48 million in patronage capital.
  • Subject to certain approvals, including by the FERC, withdrawal date set for June 30, 2020.

(April 13, 2020 – Westminster, Colo.) – The Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) will terminate its membership in Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association on June 30, 2020, subject to certain conditions and approvals, including approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The parties have entered into a membership withdrawal agreement in accordance with a July 2019 settlement agreement. As part of the membership withdrawal agreement, DMEA or a third-party will pay $88.5 million to Tri-State, and in addition, forfeit $48 million in patronage capital. The agreement was the product of a negotiated settlement and is unique to DMEA.

“The withdrawal agreement aligns with our settlement and is a negotiated agreement unique to DMEA,” said Duane Highley, chief executive officer of Tri-State. Continue reading

04-17-20 USCA Releases Estimate on Economic Impact of COVID-19 to U.S. Cattle Industry

USCA Releases Estimate on Economic Impact of COVID-19 to U.S. Cattle Industry

(WASHINGTON) April 17, 2020 – On Friday, the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) released its full economic impact report of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. cattle industry, compiled by Brett Crosby of Custom Ag Solutions and BeefBasis.com.

Using existing market data and futures market data, the total actual and future impact is forecast to exceed $14.6 billion. The analysis focuses on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to three primary sectors of the cattle production chain: feedlot, backgrounding, and cow/calf.

USCA President Brooke Miller issued the following statement: Continue reading

04-17-20 U.S. Senator Bennet Announces Over $2.3 Million in Federal Funding for Two Colorado Conservation Projects

U.S. Senator Bennet Announces Over $2.3 Million in Federal Funding for Two Colorado Conservation Projects

Denver  – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) selected two projects in Colorado to receive over $2.3 million through the agency’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Colorado Open Lands in San Luis Valley and Montezuma County are leading the projects that will focus on improving water, land, and wildlife conservation.

“From my position on the Senate Agriculture Committee, I worked to reauthorize and increase funding for RCPP in the last Farm Bill to support important, locally driven conservation projects in Colorado,” Bennet said. “I admire the innovative work being done by Colorado Open Lands and its partners to provide irrigators the tools they need to modernize water infrastructure in the San Luis Valley. I also appreciate Montezuma County’s efforts to decrease the number of invasive species and preserve our incredibly valuable rivers and water supplies. This funding will go a long way to help preserve and protect our state’s natural resources for future generations of Coloradans.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, April 17th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, April 17th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Coronavirus Impact will likely Limit China’s Phase One purchases

Two experts on the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and China say the impact of the coronavirus on the Chinese economy doesn’t bode well for the Phase One Trade Deal. They tell the South China Morning Post that COVID-19 has likely rendered the pact between the world’s two largest economies “stillborn.” The economic impact will only add to pressure on Beijing to reform its domestic economy. The Post says China had high levels of debt before the virus outbreak, plus, the private sector struggles to regain momentum will likely put a damper on consumption. Rhodium (ROW-dee-uhm) Group founder Daniel Rosen and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd both say consumption will be limited to the point that it will be almost impossible for Beijing to fulfill its buying commitments. “The extraordinary stimulus that got China out of the financial crisis in 2008-2009, which they were applauded for, is simply not an option today,” Rosen says. “The easy credit given to support the country’s state-owned enterprises in recent years is too high.” Rudd says the Chinese government won’t do another stimulus strategy like the last one, even though the need is much greater.” The negative assessment runs counter to the expectations of President Trump, who says he’s confident China will follow through on its obligations.  

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Refiners in Five States Ask EPA for RFS Waiver

The governors of five oil-patch states are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to waive obligations under the Renewable Fuels Standard for refiners due to COVID-19. Governors from Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Louisiana sent a letter to the EPA earlier this week. They claim refiners in their states face financial hardship because of the oil-market disruptions caused by economic shutdowns around the world. They also point out that prices for Renewable Identification Numbers have tripled, further compounding a tough situation. However, Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, calls this an offensive attempt by refiners to steal markets from struggling biofuel producers and farmers. “Any move to unravel the RFS now would dim any hopes of economic recovery in rural America, where so many in the U.S. biofuel industry have been impacted by furloughs and plant closures, all while millions of farmers struggle to stay afloat,” she says. “We’ve seen the courts reject his kind of abuse before.” She also points out that even the oil companies themselves admit that biofuel credits don’t impose a real cost on refiners. “We see this as a non-starter,” Skor adds.

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DHS, USDA Take Action on Farm Labor Supply

The Department of Homeland Security, with support from USDA, announced a temporary final rule that would make changes to some H-2A Program requirements. A USDA release says the changes are designed to help U.S. agricultural employers find and maintain a steady supply of labor, protect the nation’s food supply chain, and lower the impact of COVID-19. At the same time, USDA says the temporary changes won’t weaken or eliminate protections for U.S. workers. Under the temporary rule, an H-2A petitioner with a valid temporary certification, who is concerned that workers won’t be able to enter the country due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, can start employing certain foreign workers who are currently in H-2A status in the U.S. immediately, as soon as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services receives the H-2A petition. To take advantage of the limited-time change in requirements, the worker seeking to change employers must already be in the U.S. and in valid H-2A status. Also, valid H-2A workers are being allowed to stay beyond the three-year maximum allowable period in the U.S. Employers who are worried about finding an adequate supply of legal labor who were previously authorized to work for the employer as H-2A workers, should take advantage of the limited opportunity. The Citizenship and Immigration Service also says it’s never okay to hire illegal aliens to work on your farm or in your ag-related businesses.

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Farmers, Ag Industry Groups Scrambling for Aid

The Small Business Administration has been slow to approve many agricultural banks under the new Paycheck Protection Program. Politico says that the program has been overwhelmed with applications and is expected to run out of its initial $350 billion as soon as this week. “There’s a lot of farmers out there trying to line up for the funding,” says Todd Van Hoose, President of the Farm Credit Council. “By the time they get there, the money will likely be gone.” The Paycheck Protection loans weren’t originally designed for agriculture, but they could be valuable for the hard-hit segments that have larger workforces, such as dairy farmers and specialty crop growers. Van Hoose says farm creditors are in for a “heck of a task” because they have virtually no experience working with the Small Business Administration. While many businesses are focused on getting direct payments or loans, another avenue of aid will likely be commodity purchases.  Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue did confirm on Wednesday that USDA will buy commodities like dairy and meat to help combat food waste and stock the nation’s food banks. “We want to purchase as much of this milk, hams and pork products, as well as other proteins, and then move them into our nation’s food banks, as well as even into international humanitarian aid,” Perdue says.

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Farm Income Drop Could Top $20 Billion

A new economic analysis says crop and livestock farmers are in for much lower incomes in 2020. A DTN report says crop farmers are projected to see an $11.85 billion in revenue during 2020, while livestock farmers are projected to drop a combined $20.24 billion in receipts this year. Early analysis from the University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute is showing crop and livestock farmers combined income dropping by $32.09 billion. That means farm income for 2020 will drop by $20 billion once lower input costs and higher government payments are included in the analysis.  Looking ahead to 2020-2021 crops, the institute is projecting a five-to-ten-percent drop in grain and oilseed prices. FAPRI also sees a 20 percent drop in livestock prices during 2020. Around the nation, FAPRI says the key unknown is whether the coronavirus creates a “V-Shaped” recession that creates a quick recovery, or an economic disruption that lasts into next year. “The speed and duration of the recovery are also a great source of uncertainty,” FAPRI says in its analysis. “The GDP levels for 2021 and possibly later could continue to be below the levels forecast before the emergence of COVID-19.” The institute also says it could take consumers much longer to recover, which would affect energy, manufacturing, and agriculture.

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Farm Lending Activity Slows in the First Quarter

Growth in farm lending continued to show signs of slowing, even prior to the emergence of COVID-19 and the resulting economic conditions the outbreak caused. A report from the Federal Reserve in Kansas City says the volume of operating loans in the first quarter actually increased from 2019. However, the overall demand for non-real estate loans declined. Despite a decline in most types of lending, loans for operating expenses increased by nearly 10 percent from the previous year. The overall decline was driven by a drop of about 30 percent in both livestock loans and miscellaneous loans. At the end of 2019, delinquency rates on farm loans continued to increase slightly, but agricultural credit conditions and farmland values were holding steady. Capital cushions at agricultural banks, which increased steadily in recent years, remained at historically high levels through last year. As the effects of the current economic disruption continue to materialize in the months ahead, the current stability of farm real estate values and financial soundness of farm banks could be key sources of support for the entire agricultural sector.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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