05-08-20 National Red Angus Convention Canceled

National Red Angus Convention Canceled


DENVER – The Red Angus Association of America board of directors has voted to cancel the upcoming National Red Angus Convention, which was scheduled for Sept. 23-25 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The difficult decision was made after RAAA leadership discussed the many risks associated with holding the convention as planned.

Among the risk factors were the demographics of attendees, the high incidence of COVID-19 in the northeastern U.S., off-site events being cancelled due to social distancing or stay-at-home measures and the high risk associated with air travel to Pennsylvania.

“Canceling the 2020 National Red Angus Convention was a difficult decision for all of our board members and staff. The unfortunate and widespread nature of COVID-19 has impacted our industry more than anyone could have predicted,” said Johnny Rogers, RAAA president. “In spite of the cancelation, we will continue moving forward with the business of the Red Angus breed and are working to support our members and bull customers with their questions and challenges.”

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05-08-20 CO Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on COVID-19 Response



Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on COVID-19 Response

DENVER, CO – Friday, May 8, 2020 – Gov. Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19, reminded Coloradans about the importance of wearing masks during Safer at Home, and how we all play a critical role in protecting others.

“All Coloradans should be wearing masks in public, it’s the smart thing to do and Coloradans are very smart,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Not only are masks critical for protecting ourselves and those around us, they are a key to safely opening up more and more of our economy and society. We are going to be in this for the long haul, and wearing masks is an easy step for all of us to take.”

Being successful during Safer-at-Home phase has four main components: Continue reading

05-08-20 CO Governor Polis Extends Disaster Emergency Declaration for COVID-19

CO Governor Polis Extends Disaster Emergency Declaration for COVID-19

DENVER – Gov. Polis today signed Executive Order D 2020 058 extending the Disaster Emergency Declaration for COVID-19.

This Executive Order extends the state of disaster emergency and provides additional funds for response activities due to the presence of COVID-19 in Colorado.  This Executive Order also extends the employment of the Colorado National Guard to support and provide planning resources to State and local authorities as they respond to the presence of COVID-19 in the State.  Continue reading

05-08-20 USDA: America’s Meatpacking Facilities Practicing Safe Reopening to Ensure a Stable Food Supply

USDA: America’s Meatpacking Facilities Practicing Safe Reopening to Ensure a Stable Food Supply

Washington, D.C., May 8, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the safe reopening of critical infrastructure meatpacking facilities across the United States. These meatpacking facilities have resumed or plan to resume operations this week following President Trump’s Executive Order directing the facilities to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines specifically created for the meat and poultry sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in conjunction with the CDC and state and local health officials have been working around the clock to ensure a safe and stable supply of protein is available for American consumers all while keeping employees safe.

“President Trump took decisive action last week to ensure America’s meatpacking facilities reopen in a safe way to ensure America’s producers and ranchers will be able to bring their product to market,” said Secretary Perdue. “I want to thank the patriotic and heroic meatpacking facility workers who are returning to work this week so the millions of Americans who depend on them for food security can continue to do so.”
The following major meatpacking facilities are resuming operations across the United States this week: Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 8th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 8th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Pork Exports Hit All-Time High in March

Spurred on by record production, U.S. pork exports completed a tremendous first quarter with new March records for both volume and value. Data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation says beef exports also trended higher year-over-year in March, establishing a record first-quarter pace. “March export results were very solid, especially given the COVID-19 related challenges facing customers in many international markets right now,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Stay-at-home orders created enormous challenges for many countries’ foodservice sectors, several of the world’s key currencies slumped against the dollar, and logistical obstacles surfaced in some key markets. However, demand for U.S. red meat proved very resilient.” Recent events like temporary plant closures aren’t reflected in the first-quarter export data. Pork exports, driven by strong demand from China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Japan, and Canada, totaled well over 291,000 metric tons, a 38 percent increase from last year. The export value was up to more than $764 million. March beef exports were over 115,300 metric tons, seven percent more than last year, while the value was more than $702 million, four percent higher than 2019.


Path Cleared for U.S. Sorghum Exports to Vietnam

The door is open for U.S. sorghum exports to flow into Vietnam for high-value uses like pet food and liquor, as well as feed for the aquaculture, poultry, and swine industries. A new pest risk assessment has been approved by both the USDA and Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture. The opening is a result of almost five years of work by the U.S. Grains Council, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, and the National Sorghum Producers, as well as the USDA’s Foreign Ag Service and APHIS. “We are excited to see our hard work and collaboration pay off in Vietnam,” says USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “It’s been a long time coming but it is a model of how by working together with industry and government, good things can happen for U.S. commodities.” The pest risk assessment outlines how U.S. sorghum must be handled to meet regulations in Vietnam. The assessment became even more critical after a shipment of sorghum destined for China in 2018 was diverted to Vietnam but couldn’t be delivered because there was no pest risk assessment protocol in place.


Trump: Will Know Next Week if China Making Progress on Phase One Deal

Top negotiators from China and the U.S. will talk next week about the progress on the Phase One Trade Deal between the two countries. Bloomberg says the move comes after President Donald Trump threatened to terminate the agreement if Beijing doesn’t meet its obligations. The planned phone call will be the first time the Chinese Vice Premier and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will talk about the agreement since it was signed in January. That was just before COVID-19 hit the world’s two largest economies and turned the world’s global supply chains upside down. Trade numbers this week showed a sharp drop in U.S. exports to China when compared to the 2017 benchmark levels, which in turn caused doubt that Beijing would meet its obligation to buy at least $262 billion in U.S. agriculture, manufacturing, and energy goods. Beijing hasn’t yet removed many of its dumping duties on U.S. imports. Trump recently told reporters that he’d be able to tell them within the next two weeks if he’s happy with how the trade deal is progressing. Relations have been strained since the coronavirus outbreak. Trump says China misled the world about the scope and risk of the disease. China says U.S. officials are trying to “shift their responsibility for the poor handling of the disease.”


Farm Credit Council Supporting Rebuild Rural Letter to Congress

Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose says his organization supports the Rebuild Rural Coalition’s letter they sent to Congress. “Parents working and students studying from home has brought the urban/rural divide on broadband to the fore in a way we can no longer afford to ignore,” Van Hoose says. “That same broadband would help rural residents avoid medical appointments through tele-health initiatives, thereby decreasing their exposure to others at the hospitals and clinics.” The coalition is also concerned about several other aspects of rural infrastructure, noting that we’ve already seen the problems with our food supply chain. “Once these processing plants return to normal operations, they will rely on roads, bridges, locks, and dams, many of which are all crumbling, to transport protein to consumers,” Van Hoose adds. “As Congress considers future COVID-19 relief packages, they need to prioritize rural America’s infrastructure.” The Rebuild Rural coalition is made up of more than 250 local, state, and national organizations from across the country that collectively represent U.S. agricultural producers, cooperatives, rural businesses, as well as rural communities and the families that live in them.  


Duties to Stay on Biodiesel from Argentina

The National Biodiesel Board is pleased that the Department of Commerce will keep countervailing duty orders on imports of Argentinian biodiesel. The Commerce Department made the determination after its “changed circumstances review” of the anti-dumping duty. The department determined that there are no “changed circumstances” that would warrant any changes in U.S. duty rates. That means the rates on imported biodiesel from Argentina will stay at their current levels. Kurt Kovarik is the NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, who says the NBB’s Fair Trade Commission fought hard for this outcome. “We certainly appreciate Secretary Wilbur Ross and the administration for supporting U.S. biodiesel producers at a critical moment. We are also grateful that they took the time to listen to U.S. biodiesel producers.” The NBB says the Department of Commerce took the time necessary to fully evaluate the status of Argentina’s export tax regime and made the right decision. “Also critical to the outcome is the support and leadership of Senators Chuck Grassley and Maria Cantwell, along with Representative Darren LaHood,” Kovarik adds. “The U.S. biodiesel industry appreciates their help in amplifying the industry’s push for fair trade conditions.”


Specialty Crop Industry Protocols Keep Workers Safe During COVID-19

A national coalition of 64 organizations representing specialty crop producers sent a letter to Congressional leadership this week on safety protocols within the industry during COVID-19. They want Congress to know the steps agricultural employers are taking to protect their workers. “Farmers and ranchers across the country moved quickly to implement new employee safety protocols early in the crisis,” says National Council of Agricultural Employers President Michael Marsh. “While America was being placed on lockdown, agricultural employers were already at work trying to figure out how to best protect their employees and the public.” The letter details the collaboration between the agriculture industry, public health experts, and regulatory officials to develop the best safety practices in the field and packing. As future rounds of COVID-19 pandemic legislation is debated, the coalition is asking congressional leaders to acknowledge the widespread employee protection protocols that are already in place, as well as provide additional support to help agricultural employers continue to meet the needs of their employees. The Western Growers Association, a member of the coalition, is asking Congress to “extend current relief efforts for agriculture, and to include additional funding for personal protective equipment and other measures to offset the costs of maintaining an essential workforce during COVID-19.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service