05-01-20 CLA Thanks US Senators for Effort to Provide Flexibility to Livestock Haulers

CLA Thanks US Senators for Effort to Provide Flexibility to Livestock Haulers

May 1, 2020 – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Executive Director, Government Affairs, Allison Rivera, released the following statement in response to a bipartisan letter from 24 U.S. Senators to U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

“Now more than ever, we can see how vitally important it is for haulers to have the flexibility they need to get live and perishable goods to market as quickly and as safely as possible. Hauling livestock is inherently different than hauling typical consumer goods, and we continue to look for flexibilities within Hours of Service to safely haul livestock around this country. As we look toward an infrastructure package we are grateful for the continued support on Hours of Service flexibilities.”

Colorado Livestock Association sincerely appreciates the support from Senator Cory Gardner and Senator Michael Bennet on this important issue.

Click here to read the full letter.

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05-01-20 CDA virtual town hall on agriculture and COVID-19 with Colorado House & Senate Agriculture Committee leaders

CDA virtual town hall on agriculture and COVID-19 with Colorado House & Senate Agriculture Committee leaders

May 1, 2020 – A bipartisan virtual town hall on agriculture and COVID-19 was conducted on Friday, May 1st with Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg and Colorado House & Senate Agriculture Committee leaders which included: Rep. Dylan Roberts (D), Rep. Marc Catlin (R), Sen. Kerry Donovan (D) and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R)…

Listen to all of the audio from the CDA & Senate Ag Committee Leaders, courtesy of The BARN…

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05-01-20 U.S. Senator Gardner Secures Increased Reimbursements for Audio-only Telehealth

U.S. Senator Gardner Secures Increased Reimbursements for Audio-only Telehealth

After a bipartisan call from Gardner and his colleagues, CMS increases reimbursements for audio-only telehealth

Washington, D.C. – Following a bipartisan call to action from U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and 36 Senators, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would increase reimbursements for certain telephone-based, or audio-only, telehealth to equal other audio-visual telehealth and in-person visitation reimbursements.

“Telehealth is critical to helping Americans access medical care while preventing unnecessary trips out of the home during this pandemic,” said Senator Gardner. “It is important that Medicare beneficiaries without the reliable broadband necessary to video conference are able to access telehealth services, and I applaud CMS for making the change we requested to better serve Coloradans in every part of our state.”

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05-01-20 U.S. Senator Gardner Welcomes $2.7 Million in FAA Grants for Colorado Airports

U.S. Senator Gardner Welcomes $2.7 Million in FAA Grants for Colorado Airports

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, applauded the announcement that four Colorado airports will receive a combined total of $2,720,285 in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for maintenance and improvements. A portion of these grants was permitted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

“Colorado’s local airports are critical to our smaller communities and rural areas,” said Senator Gardner. “I’m pleased to see this important funding will be delivered to four airports, which will go toward infrastructure and planning projects that will enable the airports to make improvements and ultimately lead to better service for Coloradans.”

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

The airport grants include awards of: Continue reading

05-01-20 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 May 1st

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Governor Polis Provides Update on Colorado Response to COVID-19

DENVER, CO – MAY 1, 2020 – Gov. Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19.

“Safer at Home is not a return to normalcy, which means that Coloradans should continue to be responsible, stay at home when possible and wear masks when in public. This virus is having an impact on every part of our lives. We talk a lot about how this is affecting public health and our economy, but it’s equally important to recognize the impact this is having on Coloradans’ mental and behavioral health,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We want to ensure everyone has the resources they need during this difficult time, whether it’s related to your finances or mental health. We are all in this together and we’re going to get through this together.”

Many Coloradans have experienced substantial loss of income as a result of business closures and layoffs, hindering their ability to keep up with their rent or mortgage payments and threatening their housing security. On March 20, Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order addressing this issue and is now extending and strengthening that order. Executive Order D 2020 051 includes: Continue reading

05-01-20 USDA – FSA Reminds Producers of Ongoing Disaster Assistance Program Signup

USDA – FSA Reminds Producers of Ongoing Disaster Assistance Program Signup

Payments Have Started for Producers Impacted by Drought, Excess Moisture

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has started making payments through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program – Plus (WHIP+) to agricultural producers who suffered eligible losses because of drought or excess moisture in 2018 and 2019. Signup for these causes of loss opened March 23, and producers who suffered losses from drought (in counties designated D3 or above), excess moisture, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms or wildfires can still apply for assistance through WHIP+.

“To date, FSA has received more than 33,000 WHIP+ applications,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “We want to remind producers that we are still accepting applications for WHIP+, and we encourage producers to call our offices for next steps on how to apply.”

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05-01-20 Share Your Thoughts with CDA on COVID-19 Recovery

Share Your Thoughts with CDA on COVID-19 Recovery

Dear Supporters and Stakeholders,

We want your ideas on how the Colorado Department of Agriculture can further support the short and long-term recovery of agricultural producers and workers, food systems, and our non-producer stakeholders.

Are there federal policies we should be advocating for? Are there state legislative changes that would be helpful? Are there rules and regulations getting in the way of recovery? Is there a need to support new market opportunities? Please complete this form by May 15, 2020.

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05-01-20 Opinion: “Livestock Marketing Association to Focus on Pricing Investigations” by Larry Schnell for Livestock Marketing Association

Opinion: “Livestock Marketing Association to Focus on Pricing Investigations” by Larry Schnell for Livestock Marketing Association

LARRY SCHNELL, VICE PRESIDENT
STOCKMEN’S LIVESTOCK EXCHANGE, DICKINSON, N.D.

Overland Park, Kan. (May 1, 2020) – To say times are tough in cattle country would be an understatement. Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) member livestock auction owners and their producer customers are speaking up with significant concerns about volatility, the futures market, and especially, livestock producers not getting their fair share of the beef dollar. While COVID-19 and the Holcomb, Kan. packing plant fire last August are bringing these issues further to the forefront, they are illustrations of long-standing concerns regarding pricing and competition.

Livestock auction markets are an integral part of the process of price discovery, but our value is totally dependent on the success and profitability of the cow-calf producer, and the cattle feeder. Continue reading

05-01-20 Colorado Simmental updates youth opportunities

Colorado Simmental updates youth opportunities

SUGAR CITY – Colorado Simmental Association has expanded its scholarship opportunities to youth.

“CSA is dedicated and committed to the next generation of young cattlemen,” said President Jay Hill of Sterling. “We now have two grants available to help the next generation.”  

They are: Continue reading

05-01-20 CSFS: Coloradans Urged to Reduce Wildfire Risk While Staying at Home

Spring Creek Fire – Photo courtesy of Derek Sokoloski, CSFS

CSFS: Coloradans Urged to Reduce Wildfire Risk While Staying at Home

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – May 1, 2020 – With fire seasons becoming longer, more intense and more damaging over the last few decades in Colorado, state and federal agencies that manage wildfires and forests are urging residents to join in efforts to reduce wildfire risk, while following stay-at-home and safer-at-home directives.

Today, Governor Jared Polis signed a proclamation declaring May as Wildfire Awareness Month, an annual observance to encourage all citizens to better prepare their homes and communities for wildfires. With about half of all Coloradans – about 3 million people – living in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), it’s important for people to take action to reduce the risk wildfire poses to their homes and create more fire-adapted communities.

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control anticipates an average wildfire potential into mid-summer, but that does not mean Coloradans should be lax in preparing for fires. During an average year, Colorado will see about 4,500 wildfires that burn around 168,000 acres, including several large fires. With the coronavirus creating challenges for firefighters this year, including less flexibility and fewer resources, residents should do what they can now to ease the burden on first responders if a wildfire poses a threat to their community.

Wildfire knows no boundaries; it does not recognize jurisdictional responsibilities. A single wildfire often crosses private, county, state, tribal and federal lands and threatens communities across all landscapes.

“The number of people at risk of wildfires in Colorado continues to increase,” said DFPC Director Mike Morgan. “Approximately 3 million people live in Colorado’s wildland-urban interface – compared to 2 million people just five years ago. We encourage landowners and communities to become aware of their level of risk and be a part of the solution.”

Practical Steps While Staying at Home Continue reading

05-01-20 USDA-RMA Announces Changes to Forage Seeding and Forage Production Crop Insurance Provisions for the 2021 Crop Year

USDA-RMA Announces Changes to Forage Seeding and Forage Production Crop Insurance Provisions for the 2021 Crop Year

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2020 – USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced changes to the Forage Seeding and Forage Production crop insurance programs starting with the 2021 crop year. Changes include expanding coverage to new regions and counties, expanding coverage to fall-planted forage and changing the method for loss adjustment.

Martin Barbre, RMA Administrator

“These changes will expand coverage to new places, better reflect current agricultural practices and better protect forage producers from losses,” RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said. “This will also enable forage producers to better secure loans and provide continuity to their forage production operations.”

Specifically, the changes: Continue reading

05-01-20 RFA: Coalition Opposes API Petition on 2020 RFS Obligations

RFA: Coalition Opposes API Petition on 2020 RFS Obligations

A coalition of ethanol and farm groups today sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency opposing the American Petroleum Institute’s recent petition requesting reconsideration of the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) final rule.
API claims reconsideration of the 2020 RFS rule is necessary in light of the coalition’s recent Tenth Circuit court victory that overturned small refinery exemptions illegally granted by EPA. The successful Tenth Circuit court challenge was brought against EPA by the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and American Coalition for Ethanol. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 1st

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 1st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Peterson Will Draft Emergency Plan for Agriculture

The Minnesota Democrat who chairs the House Ag Committee says he will “personally see to it” that the ag industry doesn’t suffer from a national emergency like COVID-19 again. “I can tell you as chairman of the ag committee that this is not going to happen again on my watch,” Peterson said during a press conference in Worthington, Minnesota. The press conference dealt with how pork producers are being hurt by the pandemic. Peterson has formed a local task force to help pork producers deal with a massive backup of hogs caused by recent closures of meat processing plants. Before President Trump issued an executive order to keep the plants open, Peterson had struck a deal with a shuttered JBS plant in Minnesota to have its workers ease the burden by euthanizing up to 13,000 hogs daily. With fewer places to send animals ready for slaughter, farmers are having to euthanize the animals themselves, which Peterson says is a nearly impossible task. Peterson also said Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue floated the idea of having the federal government cover the costs of depopulating hogs if the backlog remains a problem.

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MN Dairy Group: Farmers Need Cash, Not Government-Inflated Prices

The Minnesota Milk Producers Association introduced its Dairy CORE Program, which stands for Coronavirus Recovery. They say the program will get right to the heart of the industry’s biggest challenge, which is dairy farmers need cash to continue their operations. Some members of the dairy industry recently proposed to temporarily alter the Federal Milk Marketing Order System. The Minnesota farmers point out that everyone in the industry wants higher milk prices, but arbitrarily bumping prices to a made-up number could cause more harm than good. The people who buy milk at the processing plant, as well as at the store, may decide they no longer need to buy it. They also point out that while raising the Class 1 milk price would benefit dairies with Class 1 milk, the farms without milk in the Class 1 category would get left behind. Important parts of their CORE Program include distributing Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments as quickly as possible. They want the Federal Milk Marketing Orders to stay where they are. They’re also calling for raising or eliminating the cap on direct payments. They say the current payment caps are out of touch with the risk undertaken by even the smallest of dairy operations.

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USDA Pilot Program Offers Longer-Term Conservation Benefits

The USDA will soon open signup for a new conservation program called CLEAR30. It’s a new pilot program that will allow farmers and landowners an opportunity to enroll in a 30-year Conservation Reserve Program contract. Signup will begin this summer, with farmers in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay regions eligible to participate. “This pilot will allow us to work with farmers and landowners to maintain conservation practices for 30 years, which will only underscore farmers’ commitments to sound long-term conservation stewardship on their agricultural land,” says Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Through CLEAR30, we can decrease erosion, improve water quality, and increase wildlife habitat on a much longer-term basis.” The program will be available in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Traditional CRP contracts run from 10 to 15 years. The longer contracts will ensure that practices remain in place for 30 years, which will help reduce sediment and nutrient runoff, as well as help to prevent algae blooms. The official signup period begins on July 6 and runs through August 21.

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ASA, USB Offering #SoyHelp to Overcome Farm Stress

The American Soybean Association’s COVID-19 Task Force conducted a survey to find out the effects of COVID-19 on soy growers, their operations, employees, and families. It’s probably no surprise that stress in soy-producing states is high. ASA, their state soybean affiliates, and the United Soybean Board want to help. This May is Mental Health Month and ASA is launching a proactive communications campaign to combat #FarmStress and offer #SoyHelp. They say help comes in many forms and from many sources. ASA has researched a range of options that will be shared both nationally and by state soybean affiliates. “Stress levels have crept up out there in farm communities for some time now,” says Kevin Scott, a South Dakota farmer and chair of the task force. “Knowing how to talk about the issues and work to reduce stress are two different things.” The #SoyHelp campaign will include different levels of outreach. Producers will see #SoyHelp posts throughout May on Facebook and Twitter. They’ll offer a social media toolkit for each soybean state and USB to participate and share resources. The organization will have related stories in national and state newsletters, as well as editorials from soy growers on #FarmStress. They’ll also share expert advice on the subject of farm stress and ways to seek out emotional support.  

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Minnesota Farmers Helping Others During COVID-19

Corn farmers around the country are doing what they can to help their local communities during COVID-19. Corn farmers in Minnesota are a good example. Chippewa (CHIP-eh-wah) County Corn and Soybean Growers donated pallets of bottled water to its local hospital and its workers who serve many of their county residents on the frontlines. Freeborn County Corn and Soybean Growers made a $3,000 donation to three of their area Food Shelves. The producers recognized the financial hardship that many families are under and wanted to help out their local Food Shelves, which are experiencing a much higher demand for their services. Murray County Corn and Soybean Growers worked with their local restaurants to organize a free lunch for essential workers, as well as people who support the county growers. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association also got involved by sponsoring an hour of a radio telethon in the Twin Cities to raise funds for Second Harvest Heartland, matching the amount of money raised through the hour, up to a predetermined amount.

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House Ag Committee Celebrates 200 Years

It’s been 200 years since the House Agriculture Committee was established. Back on April 29, 1820, Congressman Lewis Williams of North Carolina introduced a House resolution to create a committee to oversee the agricultural sector of the economy. The full House approved the resolution to formally establish the Committee on May 3, 1820. Committee Chair Collin Peterson and Ranking Member Michael Conaway issued statements this week celebrating the anniversary. “For 200 years, the House Ag Committee has brought the issues facing farmers and ranchers and the rural communities they call home together with the needs of consumers in the city, to make sure Americans have the food, fuel, and fiber they need,” Peterson says. “We’ve never shied away from tough tasks before us, and we won’t start now.” He adds that Americans need a sound policy that makes sure food is available for everyone. “American agriculture has kept this nation fed and clothed through many difficult times in our history,” Conaway says. “Now more than ever, we are reminded of the important role the hardworking individuals in agriculture play in our daily lives, and it’s our duty to stand with them as members of the House Agriculture Committee.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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