AS BUSINESSES GEAR UP FOR GRADUAL REOPENINGS, COUNTY PROVIDES BEST-PRACTICE GUIDANCE
WELD COUNTY, CO — In preparation for the gradual reopening of businesses across the state, the Weld County Board of Commissioners and the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCDPHE) have published a set of Safer-At-Work Best Practices for employers and businesses.
“We understand the need to start to reopen our businesses and get our economy healthy again,” said Commissioner Chair Mike Freeman. “We wanted to provide some guidance and best practices that will help employers and business owners do that in a gradual and responsible way.”
Western Growers Supports Call to Eliminate CFAP Payment Limits
IRVINE, Calif., (April 23, 2020) — In response to a bi-partisan congressional call to eliminate payment limits for specialty crop, livestock and dairy producers before the final Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) details are announced, Western Growers President & CEO Dave Puglia issued the following statement:
“We appreciate the efforts of our congressional champions, including Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Jimmy Panetta, to seek remedy for our concerns with the payment limitations outlined in USDA’s direct payment plan. Simply put, $125,000 per commodity or $250,000 per farm is wholly inadequate to mitigate the massive economic damage that has been incurred by countless producers of fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, a total that is estimated at $5 billion and counting.
“Farmers in the fresh produce industry make major up-front investments in their crops. With the virtual collapse of the food service sector, many fresh produce farmers have been forced to abandon their fields to cut their losses, which has tallied into the millions even for smaller and medium-sized farming operations. While farmers have redirected a significant portion of their excess supply to food banks, the volume of production has outstripped the capacity of these non-profit organizations to handle the products. Furthermore, the added costs of harvesting and transporting the food makes additional donations economically unfeasible.
“We stand with our House and Senate champions in calling on the Administration to eliminate payment limits in their aid packages.”Continue reading →
Interested in applying for a USDA Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grant in AZ, CO, and NM?
Sign up for our webinar on May 7th!
USDA Rural Development State Directors Jack Smith (AZ), Sallie Clark (CO), Eric Vigil (NM) and Telecommunications General Field Representative Brian Smith will host a webinar focused on the second application window of FY2020 for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program.
Rural Development is making $71.7 million in grants available under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program. This program helps rural communities use telecommunications-based audio and video equipment to connect teachers, students, medical providers and rural residents with each other and the world. Applicants who provide educational or health care services to rural communities through telecommunications facilities are eligible to apply. Applications will be scored, reviewed and selected on a competitive basis.
This webinar will inform participants about the changes in the program from the first window, review major eligibility and regulatory requirements of the program, and provide guidance on how to submit a successful grant application. There will also be time for participants to ask specific questions about the program or the application process. Continue reading →
U.S. Senator Bennet, Colleagues Call on Administration to Fully UtilizeDefense Production Act, Protect Veterans from COVID-19
Senators: “This Administration must prioritize VA’s sacred mission to care for our nation’s veterans who are especially vulnerable during this pandemic”
Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined 15 of his colleagues in calling on the Trump Administrationand its Coronavirus Task Force to make full use of theDefense Production Act (DPA) to betterprotect veterans,health care professionals, and all Americansduring the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The depletion of medical supplies nationally and a broken federal procurement and distribution process has left the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — the nation’s largest health care system —scrambling to secure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), test kits, ventilators, and supplies necessary to combat the ongoing public health crisis. In aletter to Vice President Mike Pence, Bennet and the senators imploredthe administrationto fully invoke theDPAto address the nation’s staggering shortage of supplies, VA’s broken supply chain, and support the Department in its critical mission to protect veterans, health care workers, and communities from the virus.
“With the fate of VA’s ability to procure supplies now in the Supply Chain Task Force’s hands, the Administration must act quickly to fix this problem,”wrote Bennet and his colleagues.“During this time of crisis, it is unconscionable that VA is having to compete for supplies to protect its health care providers and veterans. This Administration must prioritize VA’s sacred mission to care for our nation’s veterans who are especially vulnerable during this pandemic. Working in a more coordinated manner would result in a better outcome for veterans and all Americans.” Continue reading →
U.S. Senator Bennet Announces $3.2 Million in COVID-19 Funding for Colorado Rural Hospitals
Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program has awarded $3.2 million for Colorado’s rural hospitals to combat the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The funds, which were included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will be awarded to the Colorado Rural Health Center, which provides resources and support to rural health care facilities and organizations across Colorado.
“This funding will provide much-needed relief to our rural hospitals across the state who have been working around the clock to support their communities during this crisis on shrinking budgets,” said Bennet. “While I’m glad to see these dollars on their way to Colorado, for the many rural providers who were already in debt prior to the coronavirus outbreak, this is only a fraction of the support they need. We’ll keep working to sustain these providers for the long haul so that they can continue to serve their communities through and beyond this pandemic.” Continue reading →
US Sen Gardner Contact: Annalyse Keller, 202-224-0355
US Sen Bennet Contact: Courtney Gidner, 202-224-5852
US Rep Tipton Contact: Matt Atwood, 202-590-0190
U.S. Senators Gardner, Bennet, and U.S. Representative Tipton Request Quick Approval of Disaster Declaration for Western Slope Farmers
“During an already disruptive time in our economy, additional stresses and disruptions in the food supply cannot be taken lightly.”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO) are urging U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to quickly approve the request by Colorado Governor Jared Polis for a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Colorado’s Western Slope counties impacted by the major freeze event on April 13.
“At the end of March, Colorado had reports that peach growers on the Western Slope were expecting an all-time bumper crop. Until now, fruit crops in Colorado had not experienced any damaging hail, winds, or freezes. Farmers in Colorado were excited about the prospects of a great crop year, perhaps the best in several decades. Instead, farmers are now reeling from this devastating freeze, and relief is needed,” wrote Gardner, Bennet, and Tipton.
“During an already disruptive time in our economy, additional stresses and disruptions in the food supply cannot be taken lightly. While Colorado farmers work to assess the true impact and damage from the freeze, initial reports show that at least half of the produce crop on the Western Slope of Colorado has been lost at the best, and total crop loss is a distinct possibility. We ask for your support of Colorado farmers as they work through the fallout of this weather event, and respectfully urge you to grant the request of Governor Polis to issue a Secretarial Disaster Declaration.”
US Sen Gardner Contact: Annalyse Keller, 202-224-0355
US Sen Bennet Contact: Courtney Gidner, 202-224-5852
US Rep Neguse Contact: Sally Tucker, 202-981-3766
US Rep Tipton Contact: Matt Atwood, 202-590-0190
US Rep Buck Contact: Lindsey Curnutte, 202-225-4676
US Rep Lamborn Contact: Cassandra Sebastian, 719-520-0055
Colorado Delegation Members Renew Push for Assistance for Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics
Demand answers and action from the SBA to ensure Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics are eligible for assistance under the CARES Act
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Ken Buck (R-CO), and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) are renewing their call for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide regulatory certainty and ensure that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) are eligible for certain Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act assistance, particularly through the Paycheck Protection Program.
Congress approved an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Colorado delegation members are demanding answers as to why no action has been taken to ensure CAHs and RHCs are eligible for this relief.
“We are writing to ask for a response and immediate attention to our April 2, 2020 letter to request that the Small Business Administration ensure that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) who have facilities owned or operated by counties or districts are eligible for the SBA loan assistance programs provided by H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It is unacceptable that it has been over 20 days since we sent that letter and there has been no response or regulatory relief for these critical health care providers,” wrote the members of the Colorado congressional delegation. “In light of Congress’ bipartisan work to resupply the Paycheck Protection Program with $310 billion and provide additional opportunities for small businesses to support the employees and communities they serve, we request immediate attention to our request that regulatory action ensure CAHs and RHCs are eligible for the relevant CARES Act loan programs.”
CO Governor Polis Takes Action in Response to COVID-19
DENVER – Gov. Polis today extended two Executive Orders as part of Colorado’s response to COVID-19.
The Governor extended an Executive Order authorizing certain State agencies to promulgate and issue emergency rules extending the expiration date for certain licenses and other documents to limit in-person renewals and enable state agencies to better respond to COVID-19. This includes state park passes and licenses for health care facilities, Medicaid and CHIP providers, commercial drivers, and more. Read the full Executive Order here.
In addition, the Governor amended and extended an Executive Order that suspends certain statutes concerning criminal justice to provide the Colorado Department of Corrections with discretion to combat the spread of COVID-19 in State prisons. Read the full Executive Order here. Continue reading →
Farm Credit Council Statement on Latest COVID-19 Funding
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose made the following statement after Congress passed the latest funding to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Farm Credit applauds the quick action by Congress and President Trump in approving this latest assistance package. We will do everything in our power to get farmers and ranchers access to funding through the Paycheck Protection Program. With the unprecedented disruption in our nation’s food supply chain, ag producers face low prices at the farm gate while consumers pay higher prices in the grocery store. Farmers will need even more assistance in the weeks ahead to secure our food supply and continue their role as the first step in the food supply chain.”
U.S. Senator Bennet Applauds House Passage of Latest Bipartisan Coronavirus Relief Package
Package Will Now Head to President’s Desk to be Signed into Law
Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the statement below following House passage of the latest Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) relief package, a nearly $500 billion plan to provide additional support for small businesses, hospitals, and testing as Americans continue to weather the economic fallout of the virus.The legislation will now head to the president’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law.
“Colorado and our country are facing a once-in-a-century public health crisis that has brought the economy to a screeching halt and turned our lives upside down. This bipartisan agreement will provide much-needed additional support to small businesses, hospitals, and efforts to ramp up testing and contact tracing. We fought hard to secure funding in this package for unbanked and underserved small businesses and nonprofits, dedicated support for rural health clinics, and resources to help ramp up testing and contact tracing.
“While this is certainly a step in the right direction, I’m disappointed that the agreement doesn’t include specific funding to help struggling rural hospitals or funding for state, tribal, and local governments, which face revenue shortfalls that could jeopardize essential programs for public health and safety. There is bipartisan support for both of these efforts, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be included in a future relief package.
“I will continue to work closely with Governor Polis, our mayors, county commissioners, public health agencies, and Colorado’s Congressional Delegation to ensure communities across the state have the support they need during this crisis.”
U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn Supports Passage of Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
Colorado Springs, CO – Today, after nearly two weeks of delays from Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer, the United States House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, providing nearly $500 billion for small businesses, health care providers and hospitals, and expanded testing.
Congressman Lamborn issued the following statement after voting for the bill:
“I am pleased to return to Washington and vote for the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. I am glad that Senator McConnell prevented Speaker Pelosi from inserting her radical wish list. I only wish Speaker Pelosi would have allowed this bill to come to a vote sooner. Continue reading →
Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force – April 23, 2020
Opening 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
During a global pandemic that changes daily, rapid-response scientific research isn’t just about finding vaccines or antiviral treatments.
The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a ripple effect of economic devastation, much of it tied to how Americans access their food. With restaurants and schools shuttered, large markets for farm produce have dramatically shifted. Supply chains are disrupted. Unemployment claims are at 22 million and counting. Continue reading →
Gardner Welcomes $4.5 Million for Healthcare Services in Colorado
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) welcomed the announcement that Colorado will receive a total of $4,585,708 for healthcare services from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which was provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act.
“We must do everything we can to ensure our courageous doctors, nurses, and other frontline healthcare professionals have the resources they need while they work to keep us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Gardner. “I’m pleased to see this funding delivered to our communities in need and I will continue working with leaders at the state, local, and federal levels to fight for additional support.”
BREAKING AG NEWS: JBS USA in Greeley to Reopen on April 24th
JBS USA and the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCDPHE), in consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), have put in place criteria for reopening the Greeley beef production facility on April 24, 2020, which allows for ongoing disease mitigation and containment measures including:
Sharing key messages with JBS employees.
Requiring employees to wear face masks throughout their shift. Masks will be provided by JBS.
Placing hand sanitizer throughout the production facility.
Implementing physical distancing interventions for all workers.
Increasing signage and communications in appropriate languages by JBS.
Additionally, JBS has worked with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to fully disinfect the production facility.
Weld County and JBS have also designed a testing and containment strategy whereby employees who show symptoms during a daily entry screening process will get tested onsite. For the first five days of operations (Friday, April 24 through Tuesday, April 28) Weld County Health Department will staff a testing station onsite for two hours at the beginning of each shift (4:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.).
United States Senator Michael Bennet’s Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall Audio Available Inside The BARN…
April 23, 2020 – Denver, CO – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet held a telephone town hall today, Thursday, April 23 at 1 PM MT and provided an update on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) federal response and answered Coloradans’ questions.
Senator Bennet discussed the federal COVID-19 response, and the experts will provide information about COVID-19 and resources available to Coloradans.
The telephone Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall featured:
United States Senator Michael Bennet
Dr. Mark Learned, Vice President of Primary Care and Urgent Care at Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Greg Stasinos, Response and Operations Section Chief, Colorado Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response
Mark Crisman, Contact Center Supervisor, COHELP
LISTEN TO THE TOWN HALL AUDIO, courtesy of The BARN
EPA Awards $310,000 to clean up school buses in Region 8 states
Diesel emissions reductions to protect children’s health, improve air quality
DENVER (April 23, 2020) — Today, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $310,000 to replace 16 older diesel school buses in the EPA Region 8 states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. These funds are among $11.5 million EPA is awarding nationally to replace 580 older diesel school buses. Recipients include 157 school bus fleets in 43 states and Puerto Rico, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding.
EPA Region 8 school bus fleets receiving funds include:
US Senator Bennet, CollinsCall on Congressional Leaders to Make CARES ActElection Assistance GrantsMore Accessible for States
In Bipartisan Letter, SenatorsUrge Fixto Modify Requirement that States Provide a 20% Match for $400M of Election Grants in the CARES Act
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-M.E.) today wrote to Congressional leaders urging them to allow the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to waive a requirement that states provide a 20 percent match for the $400 million in election assistance grants included in theCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Actif circumstances related to the pandemic prevent them from providing this match.
“State and local election officials nationwide are working heroically to prepare for the 2020 elections amidst an unprecedented public health crisis,”wroteBennet and Collinsin the lettertoSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).“Given the unprecedented strain the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on state budgets, the match requirement could mean that several states are unable to take advantage of new election funding at the very moment it is most needed. In this national crisis, we should not ask states to choose between providing critical services and safeguarding our democracy.”
In a matter of days, the American lamb industry went from preparing for the most important time of year for consumption – Easter and Passover – to facing a potentially devastating crisis. On March 9, 2020, the American Lamb Board (ALB) hosted a workshop in New York City with food editors and test kitchen staff of Bon Appetit Magazine and on March 10, 2020, participated at a national conference for caterers. Continue reading →
On the fiftieth Earth Day celebration, National Farmers Union (NFU) released a new Climate Change Resource Center. The center compiles resources to help family farmers and ranchers both implement practices that mitigate and build resilience to climate change as well as advocate policy that supports those practices.
“It is clear that the United States must take economy-wide action to curb our contribution to and mitigate the effects of climate change. And farmers and ranchers are positioned to be a key part of the solution,” said NFU President Rob Larew in a blog post. “NFU’s Climate Change Resource Center will be a key tool in moving this vital conversation between lawmakers and farmers and ranchers.”
Read the full blog post here, and visit the Climate Change Resource Center here.