05-15-20 Conaway: Agriculture Short Changed in $3 Trillion Left Wing Joy Ride

Conaway: Agriculture Short Changed in $3 Trillion Left Wing Joy Ride

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) released the following statement after voting against H.R. 6800, Speaker Pelosi’s $3 trillion partisan wish list:

“In the midst of this global pandemic, the Trump Administration asked Congress for $50 billion to provide critical economic relief to farmers, ranchers, and rural America. Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House would provide $68 billion in funding to give USDA the tools it needs to ensure our food supply remains safe, abundant, and affordable. Out of a $3 trillion monstrosity that provides funding for every last idea on their socialist wish list, House Democrats could not find the money to meet either request for agriculture.

“While I like some of the policy proposals contained in the agricultural relief provisions, many others need work. A bipartisan process would have allowed for a collaborative discussion, but unfortunately there was no process at all. The President and the Senate have both rightly said the House bill is dead on arrival. The House Democrat’s proposal on agriculture is just too little and threatens to become too late unless Democrats start seeking bipartisan, common sense solutions to address the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“Additionally, House Democrats forced through unprecedented rule changes tonight that will allow Members of Congress to cast votes for other Members who choose not to show up for work, and effectively authorizes a ‘virtual House of Representatives’ that jeopardizes the rights of the minority and poses grave security risks. Taken together, the $3 trillion bill and the rule changes illustrate the Democrats’ attitude towards COVID-19: ‘never let a crisis go to waste’. I shudder to think how Democrats would behave if they controlled all levers of government.” Continue reading

05-15-20 U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn Opposes Largest Spending Bill in History

U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn Opposes Largest Spending Bill in History

Colorado Springs, CO – Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the partisan HEROES Act, a deceptively named $3 trillion-dollar bill that seeks to fulfill the Democrat’s radical socialist agenda and further adds to our out of control national debt. Instead of addressing the needs of the American people, Speaker Pelosi crafted this 1,800+ page bill behind closed doors and without input from Republicans. President Trump has stated that he will veto this bill.

Congressman Lamborn opposed the bill and issued the following statement:

“During these unprecedented times, we should be coming together as Americans to fight an unseen enemy. However, after weeks of refusing to call the House back into session, Nancy Pelosi brought Members of Congress back to vote on a bill that has zero chance of becoming law and only achieves the wishes of her socialist base. I cannot support a nearly $3 trillion-dollar bill loaded with liberal proposals and unrelated pork. The so-called “HEROES” Act funds the National Endowment for the Arts, awards federal dollars to illegal sanctuary cities, and subsidizes the abortion industry. Furthermore, this legislation bails out mismanaged states like New York and Illinois, at the expense of taxpayers in Colorado. I will continue working with President Trump and my Republican colleagues to eradicate the coronavirus and help hard working Americans safely return to their jobs.”

The HEROES Act allows for:

More Wasteful Spending Continue reading

05-15-20 National Farmers Union Welcomes Additional Assistance for Farmers, Stronger Protections for Workers

National Farmers Union Welcomes Additional Assistance for Farmers, Stronger Protections for Workers

Amid the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed a $3 trillion relief and stimulus bill, known as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The legislation would provide funding for health services, state and local governments, housing assistance, infrastructure, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), stimulus checks for taxpayers, nutrition assistance, and agricultural economic disaster relief.

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05-15-20 U.S. Senator Bennet, Gardner Welcome New Treasury Guidance Clarifying Eligibility of Rural Electric Cooperatives for Paycheck Protection Program

Bennet, Gardner Welcome New Treasury Guidance Clarifying Eligibility of Rural Electric Cooperatives for Paycheck Protection Program

Guidance Comes After Bennet, Gardner, Colleagues Urged Administration to Provide PPP Support for Rural Electric Cooperatives

Denver – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner welcomed new guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury clarifying that rural electric cooperatives with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Earlier this month, Bennet and Gardner joined a bipartisan group of senators in urging the Treasury and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support rural electric cooperatives and ensure their access to the PPP, which was established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support small businesses, help them maintain payroll, and cover expenses during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I’m encouraged by the U.S. Treasury Department’s decision to make clear that rural electric cooperatives can access the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Bennet. “Electric cooperatives provide essential services to communities across Colorado and the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’ve consistently called for them to qualify for federal small business relief. I’m glad the Treasury listened to our calls and issued this guidance so that Colorado’s rural electric cooperatives can apply for the financial support they need to weather this crisis.”

“Rural electric cooperatives provide invaluable services across Colorado and they have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Gardner. “I applaud this much-needed clarity that we requested from the Treasury Department to ensure rural electric cooperatives are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program to keep workers on payroll and continue vital operations. The PPP has proven itself to be essential to keeping workers on payroll, and I’ll continue to work to improve it to ensure it is providing relief to those in need in Colorado.”

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05-15-20 Colorado: State explains COVID-19 death data reporting Additional death data to be presented in dashboard

Colorado: State explains COVID-19 death data reporting Additional death data to be presented in dashboard

(Denver, Colo., May 15, 2020) The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) today explained the way it has been counting deaths among people with COVID-19 and announced an addition to data reporting going forward.

CDPHE explained that to date, its data dashboard included deaths among all people who had COVID-19 at the time of death. This included deaths caused by COVID-19 and deaths among people who had COVID-19 at the time of death, but the cause or causes may not have been attributed to COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is the standard way states report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Going forward, the state will present both numbers: Deaths among COVID-19 cases and deaths due to COVID-19. Data is available on the dashboard available at covid19.colorado.gov/data/case-data. As of May 15, the state reported 1,150 deaths among people who have COVID-19. The number of deaths confirmed to have been caused by COVID-19 is 878 as of May 9, as reported by the CDC. It is important to note that the data reported on the dashboard up to this point, and to CDC, is shared for disease surveillance and tracking purposes. It is separate from the state official death records, which are maintained through death certificates. Continue reading

05-15-20 U.S. Senator Bennet, Colleagues Urge Action to Ensure Worker Safety As the Trump Administration Pressures Meat Processing Plants to Open

Bennet, Colleagues Urge Action to Ensure Worker Safety As the Trump Administration Pressures Meat Processing Plants to Open

In Letter, 29 Senators Make Recommendations to Protect Food Supply Workers

Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and 28 Democratic senators raised new concerns about the Trump Administration’s Executive Order that has pressured meat processing plants to open without verifying the necessary safety measures to protect workers and the food supply. In a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, Bennet and the senators outlined recommendations for ways the administration should improve worker safety during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“While we recognize the importance of keeping these plants running, it is wrong and shortsighted to use the Defense Production Act to mandate plants to stay open without effectively addressing worker safety issues,” wrote Bennet and the senators. “Prematurely reopening or pressuring unsafe plants to stay open could expose employees to COVID-19. This could then sicken more workers and their families, spread the virus in their communities, and cause further damage to our food supply chain, farmers and ranchers, and rural economies.” Continue reading

05-15-20 NPPC: DOJ Provides Guidance for U.S. Pork Industry Response to COVID Crisis

NPPC: DOJ Provides Guidance for U.S. Pork Industry Response to COVID Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division today provided guidance for collaboration among U.S. hog farmers to effectively address unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The favorable decision is in response to a “business review” letter submitted to the DOJ by the National Pork Producers Council seeking permission to allow hog farmers greater flexibility in working to maximize the number of hogs entering the food supply, minimize the tragic need to euthanize hogs, and, facilitate the safe and orderly euthanization of those hogs which are not able to enter the food supply. Continue reading

05-15-20 CO Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on COVID-19 Response

CO Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on COVID-19 Response for May 15, 2020

Governor Polis Provides Update on Colorado’s Response to COVID-19 

Gov. Discusses Colorado Communities Coming Together in Day of Remembrance for Coloradans Lost to COVID-19

 DENVER – Gov. Polis today updated Coloradans on the state’s response to the coronavirus and discussed how Colorado communities are coming together in a day of remembrance for the Coloradans lost to COVID-19.

“It is important to remember that those we have lost are more than just numbers on a bulletin, or a statistic, or an obituary in the local newspaper. Every person we have lost to this horrible pandemic has a story and a community of loved ones in mourning. It’s on all of us to come together to support each other during these times of such agonizing grief,” said Governor Jared Polis. “It remains critical that we all do our part: wear a mask when leaving the house, wash our hands frequently, and continue staying home as much as possible. If we all do our part, we can help protect ourselves, our neighbors, those who are vulnerable and the front lines workers who are trying to keep us safe.”

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05-15-20 Eight Senators Urge USDA Assistance for Bison Ranchers

National Bison Association News Header

Eight Senators Urge USDA Assistance for Bison Ranchers

WESTMINSTER, CO (May 15, 2020) – A bipartisan group of eight U.S. Senators, led by U.S. Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), yesterday urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue to assure that bison producers will be included in the agricultural assistance package that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is developing under the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Bison producers across the country have felt the economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic,” the Senators wrote in a letter sent to USDA Thursday. “As you consider how to assign specific payment amounts to livestock producers, we urge you to assist our nation’s bison producers in a fair and reasonable manner as their traditional markets continue to close.”

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05-15-20 NAFB Series “Focus on Mental Health” #5 of 5: A Farmers Perspective, Managing Farm Stress

Pork Checkoff Series “Focus on Mental Health” #4 of 5: A Farmers Perspective, Managing Farm Stress

The BARN – Thayer, MO / Briggsdale, CO – May 15, 2020 – When we have a cold, we go see a doctor. When the cattle are sick, you call a veterinarian. But, when it comes to emotional well-being, we tend to keep those issues close to our chest. Today, farmers are facing enormous amounts of stress, from trade issues, low prices, and now, the impacts from COVID-19, including lost demand, negative cash flows, and for some, depopulation of animals.

The BARN’s Samantha Munson has this Pork Checkoff special report featuring Minnesota farmer Bob Worth who is eager to talk about that topic, because he’s been there. Taking over the family farm in the early 1980’s, he soon found himself navigating a stressful time in agriculture…


Audio provided as a service to farm broadcasters by the NAFB in association with the National Pork Board. This is the first of five stories in a series developed by the NAFB News Service on farmer stress and mental health. A new story will be posted each day this week as they become available…

05-15-20 Pork Checkoff: USDA Direct Assistance for Producers

USDA Direct Assistance for Producers

USDA announced the requirements and process for producers interested in applying for direct support through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Details, including a recorded webinar, are available at farmers.gov/cfap.

COVID-19 News and Resources

Understanding Muzzle Energy for Humane Euthanasia
Captive Bolt Considerations for Humanely Euthanizing Pigs
Trucking Size & Weight Waivers by State
Swine Depopulation and Disposal Records

Additional resources for pork producers are available at pork.org/covid19.

05-15-20 Pork Checkoff: All Packing Plants Open, Capacities Vary

All Packing Plants Open, Capacities Vary

From Steve Meyer, economist with Kerns & Associates:

  • All packing plants are now operating, 25 are running at less than 100%
  • It could be fall, or later, before packing plants are back to full capacity

For more insights, view this webinar. The National Pork Board has created an interactive map to illustrate the operation of pork packing plants, which is updated daily at 4 p.m. CT.

COVID-19 News and Resources

Understanding Muzzle Energy for Humane Euthanasia
Captive Bolt Considerations for Humanely Euthanizing Pigs
Trucking Size & Weight Waivers by State
Swine Depopulation and Disposal Records

Additional resources for pork producers are available at pork.org/covid19.

05-15-20 Pork Checkoff: Curing the Blurs with Bacon and Cowboy Troy

Curing the Blurs with Bacon and Cowboy Troy

The National Pork Board is curing blursdays with bacon. A TikTok dance challenge with Cowboy Troy and surprise deliveries are encouraging consumers to embrace their love of bacon. Campaign messages have been viewed over 3.2 million times in the first week.

Sales of the one-of-a-kind #BaconforBlursday t-shirt benefit the National Restaurant Association’s Employee Relief Fund.

COVID-19 News and Resources

Understanding Muzzle Energy for Humane Euthanasia
Captive Bolt Considerations for Humanely Euthanizing Pigs
Trucking Size & Weight Waivers by State
Swine Depopulation and Disposal Records

Additional resources for pork producers are available at pork.org/covid19.

05-15-20 USDA Begins Accepting Applications for Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program Grants Today

USDA Begins Accepting Applications for Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program Grants Today

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2020 – U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched an online portal to begin accepting applications for Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) grants. USDA plans to make available up to $100 million in competitive grants for activities designed to expand the sale and availability of ethanol and biodiesel fuels.
“As the coronavirus response continues, America’s energy independence has proven critical to our economic security now more than ever,” Deputy Secretary Censky said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, we know the positive impacts that affordable, abundant and clean-burning fuel provide to our country’s farmers and consumers. The Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program will help rural communities build stronger economies and will give consumers more choices when they fill up at the pump.”

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05-15-20 USDA Extends Flexibilities, Paves the Way for Meals for Kids to Continue through Summer

USDA Extends Flexibilities, Paves the Way for Meals for Kids to Continue through Summer

(Washington, D.C., May 15, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the extension of three nationwide waivers, giving child nutrition program operators the flexibility they need to continue to feed children while promoting social distancing and keeping families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“USDA has been extremely aggressive in expanding flexibilities to ensure Americans who have been impacted by the coronavirus continue to receive the food they need for themselves and their families,” said Secretary Perdue. “As our nation reopens and people return to work, we want to continue to be flexible since there is not a one size fits all approach to feeding kids. Extending these waivers throughout the summer ensures local operators can make plans that best suit their communities and keep children fed.” 

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 15th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 15th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Kansas City Fed says Ag Income Drops, Credit Conditions Deteriorate

Agricultural credit conditions in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s Tenth District deteriorated at a slightly faster pace as the COVID-19 outbreak ramped up in the first quarter of this year. The Fed’s survey of ag lenders during the first quarter of 2020 showed a larger decline in farm income and loan repayment rates than in recent quarters. Looking to the future, bankers say they are more pessimistic in terms of expectations. Further disruptions at meatpacking and food processing facilities, as well as a substantial slowdown in ethanol production, put heavy downward pressure on cattle and corn prices. As of early May, cash prices for both commodities had declined more than 20 percent since January. That’s done nothing but add pressure to already stressed farm finances in seven states of the Kansas City Fed’s district. While farm income in the district weakened alongside a steep drop in agricultural commodity prices, spending by farm borrowers also weakened slightly, but less abruptly than farm income. After showing some signs of stabilizing in previous surveys, credit conditions deteriorated quicker in the first quarter of this year. Similar to farm income, farm loan repayment rates also declined at a faster rate than in recent quarters. Almost 40 percent of banks in the district reported a decline in repayment rates compared to previous surveys.


Transportation Department Published Final Hours of Service Rule

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published its final rule updating the “Hours of Service” rules designed to increase safety on America’s roads. The department updated multiple existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers. “America’s truckers are doing a heroic job of keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time,” says Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (Chow). “These rules will help give them greater flexibility to keep America moving.” The FMCSA says the changes were made based on thousands of comments they received from Americans across the country. There are four key changes to the existing hours of service rules, all of which do not increase driving time and will continue to prevent operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute break. The agency says the trucking industry is a “key component” of the national economy, employing more than seven million people and moving 70 percent of the nation’s domestic freight. The new hours of service rule will be implemented 120 days after publication in the federal register.


NCBA Opposed Livestock Marketing Bill

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association came out in opposition to a bill that would require a minimum of 50 percent of a meat packer’s beef volume for slaughter be bought on the cash market. The Hagstrom Report says the bill was introduced in the Senate by Iowa’s Chuck Grassley and Jon Tester of Montana. NCBA’s Policy Division Chair Todd Wilkinson says, “Currently, cattle producers use a multitude of methods to market their livestock, including the cash market. Increased price discovery will benefit all segments of the cattle industry, which is why NCBA has been working closely with key stakeholders, industry experts, and other partners to develop measurable means to meet that end.” He says any solution shouldn’t restrict an individual producer’s freedom to pursue marketing avenues that they determine will best meet their operation’s unique needs. “The bill being proposed by Senator Grassley would arbitrarily force many cattle producers to change the way they do business,” Wilkinson adds. “We’ll be working toward a more equitable solution.” While NCBA is opposed to the bill, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and R-CALF USA have endorsed the legislation.  


Ethanol Production Shows Slight Rebound, Tighter Stocks

The Renewable Fuels Association took a look at numbers from the Energy Information Administration and found ethanol production rose during the week ending May 8. Production grew 3.2 percent, or about 19,000 barrels per day, to 25.91 million gallons daily. That’s the highest production level the industry has reached in the last five weeks. Still, production does remain well below normal, down just over 41 percent from the same week last year. Ethanol stocks tightened by 5.6 percent to 24.2 million barrels, While the inventory level is high, that’s the lowest level of ethanol stocks since March 20. Every major ethanol-producing region saw its ethanol inventories decrease, except for the Rocky Mountains, where stocks went slightly higher. However, the number of total reserves is up just over eight percent higher than the same time in 2019. The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market is an implied measure of ethanol demand, jumping 11 percent higher to just under 7.4 million gallons. While that is positive news, the demand number is still 19 percent lower than last year. Refiner/blender net inputs were up 11 percent higher, but still 30 percent below last year’s levels.


Sorghum Producers Back USDA Interim Rule on Biotechnology

The USDA announced its final rule on plant biotechnology regulations, which will revise decades-old regulations surrounding the development of certain genetically engineered organisms. National Sorghum Producers CEO Tim Lust says they’re pleased USDA has “moved forward” with the rulemaking process and is following earlier guidelines to include new plant breeding technologies like gene editing and technologies like CRISPR (Crisper). “Plant breeding innovations are vital to sorghum producers and will play a fundamental role in our ability to produce more with fewer inputs and to compete in the global marketplace,” says Lust. “By utilizing new techniques, products can be developed more efficiently, saving valuable time and resources.” He says USDA’s approach is commensurate with the broadly-acknowledged low-risk and substantial benefits associated with these breeding innovations. The organization is hopeful that the Environmental Protection Agency will follow the lead of USDA so the improvements in pest and disease resistance can also be achieved through these techniques without any expansion of unnecessary regulatory burdens.”


Trump Acknowledges Challenges with China Trade Deal

U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to admit there were likely challenges ahead for his trade deal with China. He says the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic will far outweigh any positive effect the agreement may provide to the U.S. Politico says many analysts don’t expect China to meet the purchase target of $77 billion more in U.S. goods and services this year, compared to the 2017 baseline levels. “As I’ve said for a long time, dealing with China is a very expensive thing to do,” the president wrote on Twitter. “We had just made a great trade deal, the ink was barely dry, and the world was hit by a plague from China. 100 trade deals wouldn’t make up the difference – and all those innocent lives lost.” Still, there’s no early indicator that the president intends to pull out of the U.S.-China deal that was signed on January 15 or punish the Asian nation for falling short on implementation, such as imposing more tariffs on Chinese imports into the U.S.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service