04-24-20 NRCS Colorado: USDA Partners to Conserve Vital, Native Grasslands Near Agate, Colorado

NRCS Colorado Press Release

USDA Partners to Conserve Vital, Native Grasslands Near Agate, Colorado

RCPP ACEP-ALE Application Packages Accepted until Tuesday, May 26, 2020

DENVER, CO, April 24, 2020 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Colorado partnered with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) to provide funding to conserve vital, native, prairie, grasslands threatened by urban development. The CCALT was recently awarded funding through USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to purchase conservation easements in and around Agate, Colorado. Landowners interested in building watershed resiliency within the project area through an easement should contact the CCALT by Tuesday, May 26, 2020. You can reach CCALT at 303.225.8677 or info@ccalt.org. Continue reading

04-24-20 Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force

Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force – April 24, 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


04-24-20 U.S. Senator Bennet Announces $13.4 Million in CARES Act Funding for Older Coloradans, People with Disabilities

U.S. Senator Bennet Announces $13.4 Million in CARES Act Funding for Older Coloradans, People with Disabilities

Denver Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded Colorado $13.4 million from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to support older adults and people with disabilities during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis. This funding, which was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will be distributed to Colorado organizations including Centers for Independent Living, senior centers, Home and Community Based Services providers and non-profits that support older Americans and people with disabilities. The new funding will also help sustain essential programs such as at-home meal delivery, in-home care, and support for caregivers.

“This grant is welcome news for Colorado to help us keep seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers safe during this pandemic,” said Bennet. “Older Coloradans and those with underlying or preexisting conditions are especially vulnerable to COVID-19and I will continue pushing for more support to ensure that our most vulnerable communities have everything they need to stay healthy during this difficult time.”

The $13.4 million grant will supplement services outlined in the Older Americans Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act such as home-delivered meals, in-home care services, respite care and other support for families and caregivers, information and referrals to other support, and more state and local programs. More information on the funding awards from HHS and the ACL is available HERE. A breakdown of the funding awarded to the states is available HERE.


04-24-20 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 24th


Friday, April 24, 2020

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

Gov. Polis Provides Update on Colorado Response to COVID-19

DENVER – Gov. Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19.

“The Safer-at-Home phase is not a return to normal,” said Governor Jared Polis. “This is merely transitioning to a more sustainable level of social distancing that we are going to have to maintain for the long haul — likely months. We need to wear facial masks when in public and observe the safety guidelines at local businesses. This is difficult for everyone but we are in this together and we will get through it together. The next few weeks are even more important than the last few.”

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04-24-20 Gardner, Bennet, Neguse, Tipton, Buck, Lamborn Secure COVID-19 Support for Rural Hospitals

For Immediate Release – Friday, April 24, 2020

Gardner, Bennet, Neguse, Tipton, Buck, Lamborn Secure COVID-19 Support for Rural Hospitals

Delegation members have repeatedly urged that the Paycheck Protection Program apply to Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics

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), and Ken Buck (R-CO) released the following statements regarding the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) clarification today that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Health Clinics (CHCs) will be eligible for relief provided by the Paycheck Protection Program. Congress approved an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Colorado delegation members demanded answers yesterday as to why no action had been taken yet to ensure CAHs and RHCs are eligible for this relief. Continue reading

04-24-20 CO Governor Polis and CDA Commissioner Greenberg Request USDA Disaster Declaration

CO Governor Polis and CDA Commissioner Greenberg Request USDA Disaster Declaration

Broomfield, Colo. – Gov. Jared Polis and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg today requested a USDA Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Colorado’s Western Slope counties impacted by a late-season hard freeze event that occurred on April 13, 2020. Temperatures on Colorado’s western slope hit a low of 19 degrees, potentially decimating 95 percent of this year’s peach crop.

“Colorado’s iconic and delicious Palisade peaches could be devastated by this early freeze and fruit producers on the Western Slope need support. Coloradans always look forward to getting Palisade peaches that help support our economy, growers and small businesses,” said Governor Polis. “We urge the federal government to assist Colorado’s agriculture community during this challenging time.” 

The declaration is necessary for Colorado producers to access critical programs and assistance in the face of significant fruit crop losses and reduction in harvest this season.

“Colorado’s fruit growers have been dealt a double blow — their current economic and labor challenges have now been compounded by an early-season freeze event,” said Commissioner Greenberg. “We are committed to garnering as much support as possible at the state and federal levels to help our farmers make it through this season and keep getting the food we love on the table well into the future.” 

Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner together with Congressman Scott Tipton issued a collective letter of support for the declaration request, writing “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.”

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04-24-20 CLA Sends Letter To Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue Urging Against CFAP Payment Limitations On Beef Producers

Environmental Stewardship Award Program 2018

CLA Sends Letter To Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue Urging Against CFAP Payment Limitations On Beef Producers

April 24, 2020 – Today, the Colorado Livestock Association, along with state affiliates across the country, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging against payment limitations for livestock producers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The cattle industry has and will suffer significant losses due to COVID-19, and CFAP has the potential to be a critical lifeline for America’s cattle producers whose family businesses have been upended by the ongoing pandemic. Continue reading

04-24-20 U.S. Senator Gardner Applauds More Than $10 Million for COVID-19 Testing in Colorado

U.S. Senator Gardner Applauds More Than $10 Million for COVID-19 Testing in Colorado

Funds provided by the CARES Act will be used to test, trace, and contain COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) applauded the announcement that Colorado with receive $10,368,137 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand the state’s capacity to test, trace, and contain COVID-19. This funding is provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

“I’m pleased to see this important funding from the CDC delivered to Colorado to help contain and combat this virus,” said Senator Gardner. “Widespread testing for COVID-19 is critical to beating this pandemic.”

According to the CDC, this funding may be used to: Continue reading

04-24-20 NPPC Urges SBA to Remove Restriction on Lending Program

NPPC Urges SBA to Remove Restriction on Lending Program

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2020 – U.S. pork producers, in dire straits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing a collective $5 billion loss for the remainder of the year, are now being denied access the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Payroll Protection Program (PPP) due to restrictive language preventing many pork producers from being eligible.

Specifically, PPP eligibility is determined by a positive farm profit in the calendar year 2019, or last 12 months. For many U.S. pork producers, 2019 was not profitable as they bore the brunt of trade retaliation in China and Mexico, among two of our largest export markets. Using SBA’s restrictive language, an estimated one-quarter of the U.S. hog industry is automatically disqualified from applying to the program.

“Our hog farmers are underwater through no fault of their own,” said National Pork Producers Council President Howard “A.V” Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “Hog farmers were at the tip of the trade retaliation spear in 2018 and 2019, losing $20 off the price of every hog. In 2020, they were forecast to make a $10 profit on every hog, until the COVID-19 crisis hit. The virus has decimated our industry and for SBA to unfairly punish pork producers and deny them access to this program is adding insult to injury.”

“We urge SBA to expeditiously remove this arbitrary restriction and allow our hog farmers, deemed essential throughout this pandemic, to access this vital program,” Roth added.

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Cornell University: Livestock Market Update for April 24, 2020

Cornell University: Livestock Market Update for April 24, 2020

Cargill, Wyalusing no change as of this writing. Other than to say that they are not at full capacity and probably won’t because of the extra time required to screen employees several times per day.

JBS, Souderton. They started slaughtering finished cattle that were contracted. Most likely they will not be buying until these contract obligations are completed.

More information and graph of cull cow prices.

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04-24-20 Colorado Delegation Members Urge Congressional Leadership to Support Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Businesses, Reinvest in Public Lands in Upcoming Legislation

Colorado Delegation Members Urge Congressional Leadership to Support Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Businesses, Reinvest in Public Lands in Upcoming Legislation

Lawmakers Urge Support for Public Lands-Based Businesses and Local Governments Facing Lost Revenues

DENVER, CO. – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) and Colorado U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D), Ed Perlmutter (D), Joe Neguse (D), and Jason Crow (D) called on Senate and House Leadership to support the nation’s outdoor economy in future economic relief legislation. In a letter to Senate 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.), the lawmakers wrote that the outdoor economy – which supports 5.2 million jobs nationwide and was seeing strong growth prior to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic – faces daunting challenges as it looks to reopen.

“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, local governments, land management agencies, and outdoor businesses are facing difficult decisions. Many businesses operating on public lands, such as ski areas, outfitter and guide operations, and concessionaires, have already closed, limited visitors, and lost revenue. At the same time, counties and local governments are required to limit tourists and redirect local resources to fighting COVID-19,” the members wrote.

To mitigate the damage to the outdoor economy and to enable a quick recovery, Bennet and his colleagues requested the congressional leaders consider fee waivers and additional flexibility for businesses operating on public lands. They also requested supplemental funding for roads, trails, and other recreation infrastructure needs to ensure fee waivers or lost revenues do not undercut local government or agency budgets. Bennet and his colleagues also pushed to include the Great American Outdoors Act to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund in upcoming legislation. Finally, they pressed Congressional leadership for additional resources to mitigate future disasters, including to respond to and recover from wildfires during the ongoing pandemic.

“With COVID-19 stressing local and county budgets even more than normal, local governments would benefit from a federal funding infusion for our public lands. We urge you to reinvest in our recreation infrastructure, including roads, trails and other facilities, to support Colorado communities and sustain the national outdoor economy for years to come,” continued the members.

The text of the letter is available HERE and below. Continue reading

04-24-20 Gardner, Bennet and 26 Senators Urge President Trump to Address Payment Limits for Farmers and Ranchers

Gardner, Bennet and 26 Senators Urge President Trump to Address Payment Limits for Farmers and Ranchers

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) sent a letter with 26 bipartisan U.S. Senators to President Trump urging him to eliminate payment limits for livestock, dairy and specialty crop producers in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

The COVID-19 crisis has caused significant damage to agriculture operations across the country. The CARES Act provided $23.5 billion to support farmers and ranchers, including $9.5 billion for livestock, dairy and specialty crop producers, as well as farmers supplying local food systems. This assistance provided through the CFAP will help provide farmers and ranchers with critical relief. However, the payment limits included in the CFAP will significantly reduce the program’s effectiveness for many family-owned farms and ranches facing unprecedented losses due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis has caused unprecedented damage to the livestock, dairy and specialty crop industries,” the senators wrote. “Agricultural economists have estimated over $13 billion in harm to the cattle industry and $5 billion to the pork industry due to the pandemic, with many billions more in injury to dairies, fruit, nut, and vegetable producers, and the horticulture and floriculture industry. As is true for many other small businesses across the country, this financial harm comes through no fault of these farmers and ranchers, nor is it the result of typical market forces. As such, these relief payments should aim to indemnify as much loss as possible without restrictive payment limitations.” Continue reading

04-24-20 Cargill’s North America Protein business partners with nonprofits to ensure rural America’s resilience amidst COVID-19

Cargill’s North America Protein business partners with nonprofits to ensure rural America’s resilience amidst COVID-19

Cargill focuses on support for agriculture communities, farmers and ranchers

MINNEAPOLIS (April 23, 2020)— Cargill is working with our nonprofit and NGO partners around the globe to help address food security, health and safety needs and agriculture and industry challenges due to the spread of COVID-19. The company has committed $35 million to date for COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts through partnerships, aid funds, product donations and employee giving. In addition to monetary contributions, Cargill has donated nearly 3 million pounds of food to food shelves and hunger relief efforts. Our response is guided by our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.

“We are working with farmers and ranchers to keep the agriculture economy moving and to support our agriculture communities,” said Jon Nash, president of Cargill Protein North America. “We want to thank our employees as well as our farmer and rancher partners. I am humbled to work alongside the people whose tireless efforts every day keep food on tables in local communities.”

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, April 24th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, April 24th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

China Expected to Rebuild Commodity Reserves with U.S. Buys

Three sources have told Reuters that China is looking to purchase up to 30 million tons of crops from the U.S. to help rebuild state stockpiles. The Asian nation is looking to protect itself from further supply chain disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. It would also help China make good on its Phase One Trade Agreement promises to buy more U.S. crops. China is planning to buy approximately 10 million tons of soybeans, 20 million tons of corn, and one million tons of cotton and add them to its state reserves. Reuters says those numbers come from two of the sources who were briefed on the government’s plan. The bulk of the crops are expected to come from the United States. “The main message from Beijing is to help secure people’s livelihoods,” one of the sources tells Reuters. “It’s a good time to build up reserves, especially when the prices of the goods are at quite low levels.” Beijing is also planning to buy one million tons of sugar and two million tons of soybean oil to add to its reserves. The sources aren’t clear on where those supplies would be coming from.  


Another Meatpacking Plant Suspends Operations

Tyson Foods announced it will be indefinitely suspending operations at its plant in Waterloo, Iowa, which is its largest U.S. pork plant. That plant shutting down operations means approximately 15 percent of pork processing capacity across the country has gone offline. More than 150 of the country’s largest meat plants are in counties where the rate of COVID-19 infections is already relatively high. That’s according to a new investigation by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. The investigation found a rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the nation that’s far more extensive than first thought. An extensive review of the cases shows that it could get worse. The rate of infection around those 150 plants is higher than the rates of infection in 75 percent of the other counties across the country. Experts say the industry has maintained a sufficient level of production despite infections in more than 2,200 workers at 48 plants. Gary Anthone, the chief medical officer in Nebraska, says long-term care facilities were among the biggest initial concerns. “If there’s one thing that’s keeping me up nights right now, it’s the meat processing and manufacturing plants,” he says.  


Major WTO Countries Pledge to Keep Food Exports Flowing

Major countries involved in the World Trade Organization, including China and the U.S., pledged to keep from imposing restrictions on the free flow of food. Although a few countries have imposed such export restrictions, trade experts fear more food export bans could be on the horizon, which also happened during a global spike in the price of food in 2007. David Beasley is head of the World Food Program at the United Nations. He says famines of “biblical proportions” could take place because of the coronavirus pandemic if urgent steps aren’t taken. In a possible worst-case scenario, Beasley says famines could take hold in about “three dozen countries.” Ten of those countries already have more than one million people on the edge of starvation. A CNN report says Beasley appealed to UN member states to act now. “There are no famines yet,” he says. “But I must warn you, if we don’t act now to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls, and avoid disruptions to trade, we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within only a few months.”


Groups Ask Treasury Secretary to Guard Against Further Ag Consolidation

A coalition consisting of 68 farmer, environmental, and antitrust groups across the country sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Muh-NOO-chin) on consolidation. They’re asking him to ensure that pandemic relief funds do not lead to the further consolidation of the food and agriculture industry. The letter asks Mnuchin to invest the stimulus funds in farming systems that lift farmers and rural communities while providing opportunities for diverse, sustainable agriculture systems to thrive. The letter says the current food system that’s under the control of a few major corporate players isn’t sustainable, a reality brought forth by the COVID-19 outbreak. The letter says “While farmers and advocates of rural communities are closely watching how USDA will distribute the $9.5 billion allocated through the CARES Act, little discussion or oversight is being given to this other, much-larger pot of money with few strings attached.” The groups want Mnuchin to make sure that money doesn’t go straight from the Treasury Department into the pockets of larger corporations. “During this crisis, relief must be prioritized for the frontline workers and farmers who are the backbone of America’s food supply,” the letter adds. “Consolidation in food and agriculture has already taken a toll on the security of our food system.”


ASF Could Cost the U.S. Up To $50 billion

Iowa State University economists put together a study on the economic impact an outbreak of African Swine Fever would have on U.S. hog herds. The researchers calculated the grim figure by determining that 140,000 jobs would be lost as a result of a downsized domestic pork industry devastated by uncontrolled ASF. The lead study author, Dermot Hayes, professor of economics and finance, says researchers looked at two scenarios. One assumes the disease spreads to feral swine and that the U.S. is unable to eliminate the disease over the 10-year projection period, called the all-years scenario. The second assumes that the U.S. gets the disease under control and reenters the export markets within two years. The immediate impact of both scenarios is a 40-to-50 percent reduction in domestic live hog prices, which would be needed to clear the market of surplus pork that would otherwise be exported. The pork industry would lose a total of $15 billion in the two-year scenario and just over $50 billion in the all-years scenario. “This study underscores the need for ASF preparedness by everyone in the U.S. pork industry,” says David Newman, National Pork Board President. “It’s why we continue to encourage producers to participate in the voluntary Secure Pork Supply Plan.”


A decision on Holding the World Dairy Expo Coming on July 1

Staff at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, are still in the process of planning for the event this year. However, a final decision hasn’t been made yet on whether it will take place. The staff members are keeping an eye on conditions surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the show. While they are still moving forward with planning the event, future health declarations, and the well-being and safety of Expo exhibitors, attendees, and volunteers are of the utmost importance and will guide their future decision-making. Out of respect to the heightened economic hardships the industry faces, a final decision to hold or cancel the 2020 edition of the World Dairy Expo will be made by the executive committee on July 1. Whether they cancel the event or hold it as scheduled, the decision will be communicated extensively. World Dairy Expo says it’s proud to be the gathering place of a resilient, united, global dairy community, and looks forward to continuing this tradition in Madison, Wisconsin, for the 54th year, scheduled for September 29 – October 3 of this year.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service