04-27-20 USDA Provides Additional Details on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program

USDA Provides Additional Details on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program

(Washington, D.C., April 27, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), in conjunction with the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), published Frequently Asked Questions for nonprofit organizations seeking to receive food through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Read more about the Farmers to Families Food Box Program FAQs at the AMS website. Continue reading

04-27-20 CDPHE News: State health department releases Safer-At-Home public health order

State health department releases Safer-At-Home public health order

Launches Safer-At-Home website landing page

DENVER, April 27, 2020: In accordance with Governor Jared Polis’ executive order, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) enacted a public health order, implementing Safer-at-Home. Per the order, some businesses can open with abundant precautions; people 65 and older and those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 must continue to stay home; and the general public is strongly advised to stay at home and only leave for specific tasks. The order is intended to better support the state’s social, mental, and economic health while responding to this pandemic.

For extensive information on Safer-at-Home, including sector specific guidance, please visit covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home. Continue reading

04-27-20 Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force

Press Briefing with United States Coronavirus Task Force – April 27, 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


04-27-20 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 27th

Gov. Polis Provides Update on Transition to Safer at Home

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s transition to Safer at Home and discussed how this will impact Coloradans. The Governor also discussed the Executive Order and Public Health Order from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that outlines Safer at Home requirements.

“The Stay-at-Home order has done just what we wanted it to – slowed the spread of the virus and bought us time to expand the capacity of our health care system. We are in this for the long haul, and Coloradans need to be prepared to follow social distancing requirements in the weeks and months ahead,” said Governor Jared Polis. “If Coloradans let up over the next few weeks, if we fail to take this new phase seriously — we might have to face staying at home again and all of our gains will be lost. I cannot stress this enough – we must continue to stay home as much as possible, wear facial masks  when out, and be cautious and careful. We are nowhere near being back to normaL, but we will get through this together.” Continue reading

04-27-20 U.S. Senator Gardner Applauds $9.1 Million From DOJ to Help Colorado First Responders with COVID-19

U.S. Senator Gardner Applauds $9.1 Million From DOJ to Help Colorado First Responders with COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) applauded the announcement that the Colorado Department of Public Safety will receive a total of $9,184,619 in Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) grants from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the DOJ, allowable projects and purchases include, but are not limited to, overtime, equipment (including law enforcement and medical personal protective equipment), hiring, supplies (such as gloves, masks, sanitizer), training, travel expenses, and addressing the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails, and detention centers.

“I’m pleased to see this important funding from the Department of Justice awarded to Colorado to help our dedicated professionals on the front lines of COVID-19,” said Senator Gardner. “We must keep fighting to ensure our healthcare providers and first responders have the resources they need to respond to this pandemic.”

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04-27-20 A truly Colorado celebration: The 70 Ranch Reservoir is full

A truly Colorado celebration: The 70 Ranch Reservoir is full

KERSEY, Colo. — It took less than a year for what looked like an enormous large black hole to be filled with blue sparkling water.

Here’s to the 70 Ranch Reservoir, which as of this week now holds close to 5,550 acre-feet of water.

The reservoir is the brainchild of Bob Lembke, president of the Weld Adams Water Development Authority, or WAWDA.

I’ve always said that we don’t have a water shortage problem in Colorado, we have a water storage problem,” Lembke said. “With this reservoir, we can store water for those times and seasons when we need to sustain agriculture and our communities.”

The gauge at the 70 Ranch Reservoir shows it is full.

The gauge at the 70 Ranch Reservoir, which holds around 5,500 acre feet of water, was full this month, ahead of schedule. Continue reading

04-27-20 Colorado & Nevada Join California, Oregon & Washington in Western States Pact

Colorado & Nevada Join California, Oregon & Washington in Western States Pact

Western States Governors: Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide decisions to modify stay at home orders

DENVER, CO – April 27, 2020 – Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak today announced their respective states are joining California, Oregon and Washington in the Western States Pact — a working group of Western state governors with a shared vision for modifying stay at home and fighting COVID-19.

“Coloradans are working together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and have important information to share with and to gain from other states.  I’m thrilled Colorado is joining the Western States Pact,” said Governor Polis. “There’s no silver bullet that will solve this pandemic until there is a cure so we must have a multifaceted and bold approach in order to slow the spread of the virus, to keep our people safe and help our economy rebound.”

“I’m honored to have the State of Nevada join the Western States Pact and believe the sharing of critical information and best practices on how to mitigate the spread, protect the health and safety of our residents, and reopen responsibly will be invaluable as we chart our paths forward,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak. “Millions of visitors from our fellow Western states travel to Nevada every year as a premier tourism destination, and this partnership will be vital to our immediate recovery and long-term economic comeback.”  

California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently announced they would be working together under a shared vision for gradually modifying their state’s stay at home orders and fighting COVID-19. They listed three shared principles as foundational to the agreement: Continue reading

04-27-20 James Pritchett named Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences

James Pritchett, Executive Associate Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences, November 15, 2018

James Pritchett named Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences

James Pritchett has been named dean of the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station following a national search. Provost Rick Miranda announced the appointment on April 22.

“I’m delighted to be able to appoint James, who has shown remarkable leadership already in his recent roles as executive associate dean and interim dean of the college,” Miranda said. “I have every confidence that he will be an outstanding college and University leader in the coming years, and will in fact have state and national impact in this role.”

CSU President Joyce McConnell agreed.

“The College of Agricultural Sciences has a pivotal role in the education of our students and for Colorado’s economy, and we are fortunate to have James’ experience and leadership to guide the college,” she said. “James’ background in agricultural economics coupled with his passion and commitment to teaching will help CSU best serve our students and the citizens of Colorado.”

Pritchett had been serving as interim dean since October, when Ajay Menon became president and CEO of the CSU Research Foundation.

“Agriculture’s essential nature is at the forefront of today’s world,” Pritchett said. “In its many forms, the industry is nurturing the world’s population with courage, innovation, thoughtful stewardship and a commitment to a sustainable future. It’s a compelling time to work with producers, consumers, students and industry in meeting the needs of this and future generations.”

Significant investments Continue reading

04-27-20 U.S. Senator Gardner Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral Call for Establishing 9-8-8 Suicide Hotline in Next COVID-19 Relief Package

Gardner Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral Call for Establishing 9-8-8 Suicide Hotline in Next COVID-19 Relief Package

“The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act is not just smart policy that will save lives, but it is also a statement that our government recognizes our country’s mental health crisis and is working across party lines to address it.”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) is leading a bipartisan, bicameral push in Congress with 22 U.S. Senators and 17 U.S. Representatives to include S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, in the next COVID-19 relief package. Gardner’s bipartisan legislation would designate 9-8-8 as the three-digit number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. Gardner introduced this bipartisan legislation with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jack Reed (D-RI).

“We write to request the inclusion of S. 2661/ H.R. 4194, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, in the next COVID-19 relief package. The creation of this three-digit dialing code is essential in order to address the growing suicide crisis across the United States,”wrote Senator Gardner and his colleagues. “As our country is facing an unprecedented challenge in responding to COVID-19, this three-digit hotline would play a critical role in saving the lives of many vulnerable Americans who are facing mental health emergencies during this period of isolation and uncertainty. Suicide does not discriminate between rural and urban areas or by income, and it causes heartbreak and loss in communities in every single one of our states. We must ensure that we are doing everything we can to prevent these devastating outcomes from occurring, especially in these trying times as grief and uncertainty encompass our nation.”

Continue reading

04-27-20 Colorado Corn: Payment Protection Program Fund Replenished – Get your applications in ASAP!

Colorado Corn: Payment Protection Program Fund Replenished – Get your applications in ASAP!

Greeley, CO — April 27, 2020 – President Trump on Friday signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266) into law, providing additional funding for small business loans, health care providers and COVID-19 testing. The House and Senate approved the legislation earlier this week.

The $484 billion measure will provides more money to Small Business programs including a $321 billion replenishment of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and $60 billion more for Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

The legislation makes farms eligible for SBA’s EIDL Program, clarifying that agricultural businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible and more information on that program can be found here. State Corn Grower’s Associations, including Colorado, urged Congressional Leaders to include agricultural businesses in this program.

Senate Small Business Committee Chair, Marco Rubio (R-FL), has indicated the Paycheck Protection Program should resume accepting applications on Monday.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:

Continue reading

04-27-20 ASI, NLFA Ask USDA to Reconsider Payment Limits

ASI, NLFA Ask USDA to Reconsider Payment Limits

The American Sheep Industry Association, its state affiliates and the National Lamb Feeders Association wrote Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture reconsider payment limits through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already led to an estimated $353 million in losses for the American sheep industry, and USDA is working to establish the parameters surrounding direct assistance to agriculture – including America’s lamb, wool and sheepskin producers. ASI is working with USDA to establish such a program as it applies to the American sheep industry.

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04-27-20 STAKEHOLDER ANNOUNCEMENT: USDA Leadership from Farm Production And Conservation and Rural Development Update Stakeholders On Accessing SBA Relief Programs

STAKEHOLDER ANNOUNCEMENT: USDA Leadership from Farm Production And Conservation and Rural Development Update Stakeholders On Accessing SBA Relief Programs

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2020 – USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey and Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand today held a joint announcement to provide guidance from the respective agencies on the resources provided in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (HR.266) recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump.

The Act provides the following additional resources to the U.S. Small Business Administration for both the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan (EIDL).

  • $310 Billion is included to replenish the PPP, with $60 Billion of that amount set aside for lending institutions that have less than $50 Billion in assets
  • $60 Billion has been added to the EIDL, with $50 Billion in loan authority and $10 Billion for grants.
  • Businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue can get a grant for $10,000 and borrow up to $2 Million under the EIDL program.
  • For the first time, agricultural enterprises are now eligible for the disaster assistance from EIDL

Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 27th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 27th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Senators Want Farm Payment Caps Removed

A bipartisan group of senators wants the Trump Administration to remove the caps on the amount of direct coronavirus relief farmers can get under USDA’s new aid package. Politico says the $19 billion plan for relief, put together by President Trump and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, includes $16 billion in direct payments, which are capped at $125,000 per commodity and $250,000 per person. That’s in line with payment limits from the 2018 Farm Bill. In a letter to the president, 28 senators pointed out that the limits could disproportionately hurt some of the hardest-hit corners of agriculture. Perdue is hoping to launch the aid program in May, and the senators want the payment limits scrapped before USDA puts the finishing touches on the aid program. For example, fresh produce growers have higher production costs than other farmers. Strawberry growers can spend up to $30,000 an acre. The senators say that means the current payment limitations will be “too restrictive to meaningfully address the losses” they’re facing. Purdue has already said there won’t be enough money to help all sectors of agriculture, adding that getting rid of payment limitations will likely mean running out of money that much quicker.

The letter was also signed by 28 U.S. Senators:

  1. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO)
  2. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
  3. Jerry Moran (R-KS),
  4. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),
  5. Pat Roberts (R-KS),
  6. Ron Wyden (D-OR),
  7. James Risch (R-ID),
  8. Doug Jones (D-AL),
  9. Mike Crapo (R-ID),
  10. Bob Menendez (D-NJ),
  11. Thom Tillis (R-NC),
  12. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ),
  13. John Barrasso (R-WY),
  14. Jeff Merkley (D-OR),
  15. Tom Udall (D-NM),
  16. Kevin Cramer (R-ND),
  17. David Perdue (R-GA),
  18. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL),
  19. Joni Ernst (R-IA),
  20. Patty Murray (D-WA),
  21. Martha McSally (R-AZ),
  22. Martin Heinrich (D-NM),
  23. Deb Fischer (R-NE),
  24. John Cornyn (R-TX),
  25. Roy Blunt (R-MO),
  26. Todd Young (R-IN),
  27. Richard Burr (R-NC),
  28. and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA).


China Studying How to Expedite U.S. Purchases Despite Opposition

Bloomberg says China is looking at possible ways to speed up its purchases of American farm goods to meet its Phase One Trade Agreement commitments. However, it appears not everyone is happy with the idea. The government is looking at speeding up the process because the coronavirus delayed some imports. Proposals include potentially buying 10 million tons of U.S. soybeans for Chinese state reserves if demand from private buyers isn’t enough. China could also fulfill its annual import quota of corn, which is currently at 7.2 million tons, with grain from America. The Asian nation could also consider buying more than its quota, potentially reaching as high as 20 million tons of U.S. corn imports. China is also looking at buying one million tons of U.S. cotton for government reserves. However, Bloomberg points out that there is some opposition to the planned buys. Some officials are questioning whether the government should be trying to expedite U.S. purchases given the downturn in the Chinese economy after the coronavirus outbreak. The current round of discussions on the purchases is reported to be at the lower levels of the Chinese government, with no final decision made yet.


PPP Relief Act Passed by Congress Expected to Help Agriculture

Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act and President Trump signed in on Friday. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane says his organization is pleased with congress passing more money for PPP. “America’s cattle producers are working hard every day to keep feeding America, even as they face more than $13 billion in financial losses while also tending to the health of their families during the pandemic,” Lane says. “We hope the swift passage of the PPP Act means more aid will be available to cattle producers.” Lane added that the NCBA is also grateful that Congress explicitly authorized producer eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and emergency grants administered by the Small Business Administration. Todd Van Hoose, President and CEO of the Farm Credit Council, says, “We will do everything in our power to get farmers and ranchers access to funding through the Paycheck Protection Program.” Public Lands Council President Bob Skinner says, “Federal lands ranchers play a major role in American agriculture, raising 60 percent of our nation’s sheep herd and 40 percent of the nation’s cattle herd. The expanded relief will help to make sure that the cattle and sheep industries can keep producing food and fiber.”


Growth Energy Calls for Relief for U.S. Ethanol

Two more of the country’s ethanol plants are going offline amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says that underscores the industry’s need for help. “We just went through the third week in a row that ethanol production hit a record-breaking low, even as stockpiles hit a new record-breaking high,” Skor says. “The evaporation of fuel demand due to COVID-19 has been a knock-out blow to biofuel plants across the heartland, who were already fighting an uphill battle against trade barriers, regulatory threats, and a flood of foreign oil.” She says while half the industry is already offline, two more ADM plants, one in Iowa and the other in Nebraska, have been added to the growing list of plants impacted. “Ethanol producers represent the heart of the rural economy, and when they’re forced offline, the ripple effect can be felt across the agricultural supply chain, including farmers who are without a market for their crops, as well as meatpackers and ranchers who rely on local ethanol plants for animal feed and carbon dioxide,” she adds. “With plans to support the oil and gas industries already in place, it’s vital that policymakers give the same consideration to biofuel workers and farmers equally impacted by the disruptions to the motor fuel market.”


Senate Democrats Release COVID-19 Impact Report

Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan led a group of fellow Democrats in releasing a report on the impact of COVID-19 in rural America. The report was put together by the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which Stabenow chairs. The Hagstrom Report says senators from Minnesota, West Virginia, and Montana joined Stabenow on a conference call, and they pointed out that the coronavirus is later in coming to rural America but is now spreading rapidly. The senators repeatedly brought up the issue of broadband internet access during the conference call. “Tele-health is a wonderful thing if you have internet service,” says Joe Manchin of West Virginia, “but worthless for those people who don’t have access to the internet.” Some of the highlights from the Democratic plan for responding to COVID-19 include widespread, rapid testing to save lives, contain the spread, and reopen the economy. It also includes immediate high-speed internet funding to close the digital divide and deploy high-speed internet across the country. They also want protections for the food supply and food industry workers, as well as expedited support for farmers, ranchers, and small businesses to help them weather the crisis.


Farmer Pessimism Hits Historic Level

With everything going on right now, it’s probably not surprising that farmers aren’t optimistic. DTN found that farmer attitudes have hit historic lows because of poor commodity prices and falling economic conditions due to COVID-19. The DTN Agriculture Confidence Index dropped a staggering 97 points from December 2019, with the index currently at 67. It’s a 43-point drop from the spring of 2019. The previous record-low index level was 71.9 in August of 2016, as falling crop prices hit during a divisive presidential election. In the latest survey, record or near-record pessimism was found across the entire agricultural spectrum, and it didn’t matter what crops farmers were growing, what they’re income level was, or where they were located. Numbers above 100 indicate optimism, while numbers below 100 show pessimism. The current survey produced a current expectation score of 55, with a future expectation index at a still-pessimistic 73. DTN says it is significant that the record lows come during a spring survey as optimism tends to be at its highest as farmers get ready to plant. Midwest farmers showed the most pessimism for current conditions, yet they also showed the most optimism for the future.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service