04-22-20 Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force

Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force – April 22, 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

 

04-22-20 CFTC: Agricultural Advisory Committee Meets via Teleconference – AUDIO AVAILABLE NOW

CFTC: Agricultural Advisory Committee Meets via Teleconference – AUDIO AVAILABLE NOW

Washington, D.C. — The Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) held a public meeting on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, at 3 pm EDT/ 1pm MDT via teleconference.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue addressed the meeting, and focused primarily on the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and its impact on agricultural commodity markets. CFTC Chairman Heath P. Tarbert is the sponsor of the AAC.

“Agriculture, like so many sectors of the U.S. economy, is facing an unprecedented challenge at the hand of the coronavirus,” said Chairman Tarbert. “This challenge has been exacerbated by the difficult farm economy over the past several years, which is why it’s of the utmost importance we gather leading industry voices to gain further insight into COVID-19’s impact on the markets we regulate. The CFTC’s Livestock Market Task Force is monitoring activity around major, market-moving events, and will continue engaging experts, regulators, and market participants. Ensuring our markets are working for American agriculture is critical to fulfilling the CFTC’s mission during these challenging times.”

The CFTC is committed to continuing to perform the public’s business in a transparent manner while prioritizing the health and safety of agency personnel and the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

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04-22-20 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 22nd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

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


Gov. Polis Provides Update to Coloradans on State Response to COVID-19

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on how the state is responding to COVID-19 and provided further clarification on what the Safer-at-Home phase of the pandemic will look like for Coloradans.

“I want to reiterate, the Safer-at-Home phase is not going back to life as normal. It’s not a major adjustment from where we have been,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Safer-at-Home means most Coloradans should continue to limit social interactions to the greatest extent possible to just individuals in your household and wear facial masks when you are out. I’m proud of how Colorado has come together during this difficult period to stay home as much as possible, protecting ourselves and our neighbors. But we still have work to do – we are not through the woods yet.”

The goal of the Safer-at-Home phase is to maintain 60-65% physical distancing. This means: Continue reading

04-22-20 Cornell University: COVID-19 Models so far have overestimated deaths, except NY

Cornell University: COVID-19 Models so far have overestimated deaths, except NY

Analysis of the IHME COVID 19 Forecasting
Model – April 21st
Update

ALLEN M. FEATHERSTONE, JULIA MADDOCK, AND JONATHAN FEATHERSTONE
KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

The address below takes you to a presentation developed at Kansas State on projected vs actual deaths due to COVID-19. It presents data from several states as well as the US. As expected NY has been affected the most, but nationally it appears that projections to date are higher than actual reported.

Go to KSU slide set and video.

SOURCE

04-22-20 Pork Board Develops Content To Help Parents Now Filling the Role of Teacher

Pork Board Develops Content To Help Parents Now Filling the Role of Teacher

Engaging Educational Materials Help K-12 Students Develop FCS and environmental science skills 

DES MOINES, IOWA – APRIL 22, 2020 – Parents nationwide now have access to new ways to keep children learning and engaged during the coronavirus crisis, thanks to free materials developed in conjunction with the Pork Checkoff. With hundreds of thousands of adults and young people working and learning from home during the global pandemic, parents are looking for ways to keep their students occupied and informed.

“The coronavirus pandemic has presented significant challenges for many families,” said Angie Krieger, vice president of domestic marketing for the Pork Checkoff. “Parents are not only working from home, but they’re also being asked to fill the role of teacher. It can be hard for parents to fill this additional role, but America’s pig farmers are ready to help. We have a wealth of fun and educational resources parents can use to teach their children about food, nutrition, farming and the environment.” 

Working with the award-winning curriculum specialists at Young Minds Inspired (YMI), the Pork Checkoff  created a series of fun, educational activities that: Continue reading

04-22-20 USDA Increases Monthly SNAP Benefits by 40%

USDA Increases Monthly SNAP Benefits by 40%

Emergency Benefits Prompted by COVID-19

(Washington, D.C., April 22, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced emergency benefit increases have reached $2.0 billion per month for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households across all 50 states and 3 territories to increase food security during the coronavirus national emergency. These emergency benefits represent a 40% increase in overall monthly SNAP benefits, significantly increasing food purchasing power for American families.

“These are unprecedented times for American families who are facing joblessness and hunger. USDA is providing a 40% increase in SNAP benefits to ensure that low-income individuals have enough food to feed themselves and their families during this national emergency,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump is taking care of America’s working-class families who have been hit hard with economic distress due to the coronavirus. Ensuring all households receive the maximum allowable SNAP benefit is an important part of President Trump’s whole of America response to the coronavirus.”

Background: Continue reading

04-22-20 CDA: Colorado Farmers’ Markets Are Ready to Serve

CDA: Colorado Farmers’ Markets Are Ready to Serve

Broomfield, Colo. – Along with greening grass and warming temperatures, spring also signals the start of farmers’ markets across Colorado. Farmers’ markets are considered essential businesses by the state and will open to serve Coloradans looking to purchase food and agricultural products.

“Farmers markets are a fundamental part of Colorado’s food supply chain, which becomes more apparent in a year like this,” said Kate Greenberg, Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “Markets offer a great option for consumers to purchase the food they need for their families while supporting Colorado farmers and ranchers.” 

There are more than 100 farmers’ markets across Colorado, with many opening in May and most operational by June. A list of markets across the state, along with a map of locations is available at coloradoproud.org.

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04-22-20 Inside The BARN with Premier Farm Credit CEO Mike Grauberger…

Inside The BARN with Premier Farm Credit CEO Mike Grauberger…

The BARN – Briggsdale, CO – April 22, 2020 – Joining the Colorado Ag News Network & FarmCast Radio to discuss the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on agriculture and the ag lending industry from Premier Farm Credit’s perspective is the organization’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Grauberger…

  • His background
  • Premier Farm Credit’s History, Mission & Vision
  • What was the situation in agriculture PRIOR to the Coronavirus Pandemic?
  • How has the COVID-19 Pandemic effected hid family & community?
  • How has the COVID-19 situation affected ag producers and your customers?
  • How about at Premier Farm Credit…what changes have been made specifically to facilitate your customers?
  • The latest on the Paycheck Protection Program, through the Small Business Administration, with $310 billion in funds.
  • Is Premier Farm Credit taking part in this program…if so, is that something that you are recommending ag producers apply for?
  • With the interest rates at historic lows…has Premier Farm Credit seen an uptick in re-financing or even new business loans?
  • Is there anything on the state level that ag producers should be made aware of, as far as financial aid or tax deferrals (ie. Income tax & property tax deferrals, etc)
  • What else is Premier Farm Credit doing to help its customer base during these unprecedented times?
  • What’s the outlook for the agriculture industry and in Colorado looking forward?
  • What  ag producers can do right now to protect their operations and their families
  • Farm Credit Council ‘s recent webinar titled, “Fulfilling Our Mission in Unprecedented Times” & dealing with Mental Health Issues during the current situation
  • & More

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04-22-20 CCA: Collins Ranch Receives Colorado Leopold Conservation Award

CCA: Collins Ranch Receives Colorado Leopold Conservation Award

DENVER, Colo. – The Collins Ranch of Kit Carson has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award®.

The Collins Ranch is owned and operated by the Toby and Amy Johnson family of Cheyenne County. The conservation practices that the Johnsons have implemented on their cattle ranch have improved the wildlife habitat, water quality and grass and soil health.

The award, given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes ranchers, farmers, and foresters who inspire others with their conservation efforts on private, working lands.

The Johnsons will be presented with the $10,000 award on Thursday, July 30 at the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association’s 2020 Annual Convention held at the Colorado Springs Marriott in Colorado Springs.

In Colorado the award is presented annually by Sand County FoundationColorado Cattlemen’s AssociationColorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land TrustTri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“The 2020 Leopold Conservation Award nominees and applicants showcase the diversity of agriculture in Colorado and the dedication farming and ranching families have to the lands they steward, their communities, and their families,” said Erik Glenn, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust Executive Director. “These applicants featured an impressive array of families and operations from around the state. CCALT is proud of this year’s recipient the Collins Ranch and the entire Johnson family.”

“Agriculture producers positively benefit the environment, our communities, and our economy while feeding a growing society through sustainable production practices that produce more by using less. This approach is the very backbone of stewardship that the Leopold Conservation Award honors,” said Steve Wooten, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association President. “CCA warmly extends its congratulations to the Collins Ranch and the Johnson family on their well-deserved recognition, and for being leaders in Colorado’s conservation and ranching industry.”

“The Collins Ranch demonstrates what’s possible through sound conservation efforts like rotational grazing and improved water distribution systems,” said Clint Evans, NRCS State Conservationist in Colorado. “The NRCS appreciates the Johnson family for their dedication to conservation and their accomplishments as land stewards.”

“Recipients of this award are real life examples of conservation-minded agriculture,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer. “These hard-working families are essential to our environment, food system and rural economy.”

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04-22-20 Animal Agriculture Alliance releases updated Sustainability Impact Report for Earth Day

Animal Agriculture Alliance releases updated Sustainability Impact Report for Earth Day

Report highlights animal agriculture’s commitment to continuous improvement

April 22, 2020 – Today, the Animal Agriculture Alliance released its updated “Sustainability Impact Report” in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The report highlights how the animal agriculture industry shares the same values as today’s consumer with its never-ending commitment to environmental stewardship, animal care, responsible antibiotic use, food safety and nutrition. To access the report, go to https://animalagalliance.org/issues/sustainability.

The 33-page report covers nine sectors of animal agriculture: dairy, beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey, egg, sheep and aquaculture. “As the world celebrates Earth Day, we want to shine a light on the farmers and ranchers who treat every day like Earth Day,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “The animal agriculture community is constantly evolving and looking for innovative ways to improve the environmental sustainably of farming and ranching.”

The report contains valuable insights into animal agriculture’s dedication to continuous improvement, including the following environmental stewardship highlights: Continue reading

04-22-20 RFA: Trenton Agri Products Will Become First Demonstration Site for Ethanol Industry Project to Expand Pollinator Habitat

RFA: Trenton Agri Products Will Become First Demonstration Site for Ethanol Industry Project to Expand Pollinator Habitat

In celebration of Earth Day, the Renewable Fuels Association and Renewable Fuels Nebraska today announced that Trenton Agri Products (TAP) in Trenton, Nebraska will become the first demonstration site for a new ethanol industry initiative to expand pollinator habitat in key production regions. TAP will establish a 5-acre pollinator plot this spring near the entrance to their facility to increase awareness and encourage local farmers to expand pollinator habitat on private lands. The plot will remain in place for at least three years.
“We are excited to be part of the ethanol industry’s efforts to promote the expansion of critical pollinator habitat,” said Charlie Wilson, President and CEO of Trenton Agri Products. “TAP has long been committed to environmental stewardship and strong community partnerships. As a producer of a clean, green renewable fuel, we are pleased to dedicate land at our facility to establish a pollinator demonstration plot and serve as an educational opportunity for the surrounding community.”  

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04-22-20 USDA Extends Deadline to Submit Project Proposals for On-Farm Demonstrations and Alternative Funding Arrangements

USDA Extends Deadline to Submit Project Proposals for On-Farm Demonstrations and Alternative Funding Arrangements

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2020 – Producers signed a record 1.77 million contracts for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2019 crop year, which is more than 107 percent of the total contracts signed compared with a 5-year average. USDA also reminds producers that June 30 is the deadline to enroll in ARC and PLC for the 2020 crop year.

“Producers for several years have experienced low commodity prices, a volatile trade environment and catastrophic natural disasters,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Farmers looking to mitigate these risks recognize that ARC and PLC provide the financial protections they need to weather substantial drops in crop prices or revenues.”

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 22nd

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 22nd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Agreement Reached on Expanding Coronavirus Aid, Ag Eligibility in EIDL

Lawmakers reached an agreement Tuesday to allow agriculture to participate in the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The agreement is part of a larger deal, a $484 billion coronavirus package to extend the Paycheck Protection Program. The agreement also includes funds for small lenders and community banks, funds for national coronavirus testing and funding for hospitals. The bill includes an additional $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Senator John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota, told the Hagstrom Report, “farmers and ranchers are working hard to continue providing our nation with food, fuel and fiber, and this is one way we can help support them during this pandemic.” The provision means ag businesses can now apply for low-interest loans through the program and may also qualify for the $10,000 emergency grants. To be eligible, ag businesses will have to show that they have been hurt by the economic downturn caused by coronavirus.

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Farm Groups Defend Glyphosate Reregistration

A coalition of commodity groups seeks to block a challenge that would toss out the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to reregister glyphosate. The group filed a joint motion to intervene on April 20 in the case to support EPA’s decision. The Natural Resources Defense Council is challenging the reregistration approval. Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides worldwide. Growers and others depend on it for effective weed control and to minimize tillage farming practices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and preserve more land for native habitats. EPA on January 22, published its interim decision for the 15-year registration review of glyphosate, as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. It included a variety of determinations about glyphosate, including revision of requirements for drift management, off-target effects, herbicide resistance management practices, and a human health risk assessment in which EPA found glyphosate posed no significant cancer or non-cancer human health risks. The coalition of farm groups includes the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, and eight others.

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Farmer Co-ops Urge Attention to Farmer Mental Health Issues

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives urges the Department of Agriculture to focus on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on farmers’ mental health. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week, the organization says, “for some, mental health may become as or more important than financial health.” Farmers have reached the point of decisions to destroy or abandon their produce, dump their milk, and even destroy livestock. The letter states, “The frustration of seeing the value of your hard work going for naught can compound feelings of depression.” The letter notes that USDA, together with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, has been active for several years to help producers struggling with farm stress. The organization says USDA could leverage this experience at this time to provide a lifeline to farmers and ranchers struggling with the impacts of this crisis. The letter suggests that USDA convey to producers that they are not alone, this is not their fault, and they will get through this pandemic and its impact on agriculture.

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Senate Democrats Seek Production for Food Supply Chain Workers

A group of 36 Democratic Senators led by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan urges the Trump administration to protect essential workers in the food supply chain. There have been numerous reports of essential workers in meatpacking plants, processing facilities, farms, grocery stores, and markets falling ill from COVID-19. Some workers have reportedly felt pressured to go to work even when feeling sick. There are also serious concerns about the health of farmworkers who often work, live, and travel in close proximity, making social distancing very difficult. A letter to the Trump administration from the Senators states, “It is vital that we do everything we can to protect food supply workers.” The Senators say breakdowns in the food supply chain could have significant economic impacts for both consumers and agricultural producers. The Senators urged the White House and federal agencies to coordinate with state and local governments and the private sector to take aggressive action to protect essential workers and the food supply from further damage.

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USDA to Host Virtual Career Fair in Kansas City

The Department of Agriculture will hold a virtual job fair for positions at the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Kansas City, Missouri. USDA is partnering with the University of Missouri to host a joint Virtual Career Expo on April 28, 2020, building on an event last year that attracted more than 400 attendees. Both agencies relocated most of their operations to the Kansas City region last fall and are continuing to grow their workforces. Deputy Under Secretary Scott Hutchins says, “This is a unique time for our nation and USDA continues to build the ERS and NIFA workforce using innovative techniques.” The COVID-19 pandemic forced many event cancellations, or a pivot to virtual events, such as the virtual job fair. Representatives from ERS, NIFA, and the Office of Personnel and Management will conduct information sessions during the Virtual Expo about the agencies and available positions, how to apply for federal jobs and benefits of working for the federal government.

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Lawmakers Seek Support for Local Media

More than 200 lawmakers seek federal assistance for local news and media outlets suffering from the lack of advertising funds during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawmakers say that in times of emergency and disaster, the public turns to their local media, and advertising plays an incredible role in funding those outlets. A letter to the Trump administration says the importance of advertising to the “sustainability of local broadcast stations and newspapers cannot be overstated.” National Association of Farm Broadcasting President Rita Frazer says, “When local businesses hurt, local radio stations hurt,” adding, “our members are feeling the pain, with local advertising dollars shifting and declining.” The lawmakers urge the administration to review any resources provided by the CARES Act and other recent bills intended for advertising campaigns, and expedite those activities with local media outlets. The lawmakers also seek federal outreach through advertising of new programs, and incentives for recovering businesses to advertise with local media.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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