05-27-20 Colorado Senate Approves Rule Change to Allow for Remote Voting

Colorado Senate Approves Rule Change to Allow for Remote Voting

SR 20-005 promotes protections and fair representation for legislators & constituents

Denver, CO – Today the Senate approved a rule change to allow for remote participation for members that are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are in high-risk categories.

“This is a historic moment for Colorado. For the first time, not only have we had the necessity, but also the means to allow remote participation in Government,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, (D-Pueblo). “Many people of Colorado are experiencing extreme hardship due to this public health crisis and need their legislative leaders to return to lawmaking and pass protections for them and their families. At the same time, there still exists a clear and present danger from COVID-19–– making it critical that we adopt flexible, adaptive policies that allow institutions to continue essential business while protecting vulnerable participants.” 

The resolution passed specifies that the President may permit a Senator to participate remotely during a declared public health disaster emergency if any of the following conditions are met by the requesting Senator: The Senator is in an increased risk group for COVID-19, which may include individuals who have preexisting health conditions of who are 65 years of age or older Continue reading

05-27-20 Watch NASA and SpaceX Launch Astronauts to Space – SCRUBBED DUE TO WEATHER

Watch history unfold as NASA and SpaceX launch astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the ISS on Wednesday, May 27. This mission marks the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 that humans will fly to the space station from U.S. soil.

https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public

https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

05-27-20 Potatoes USA: Nominations Open for 2021 Potatoes USA Board Members

Potatoes USA: Nominations Open for 2021 Potatoes USA Board Members

DENVER (May 26, 2020) —Potatoes USA announces nominations are now open for new Board Members for the 2021-2024 term. The board is seeking nominees to fill a total of 60 open seats for producers from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Importers. Continue reading

05-27-20 USDA Rural Development Invests $2.4 Million in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in Pitkin County, CO

USDA Rural Development Invests $2.4 Million in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in Pitkin County, CO

(Washington, D.C., May 27, 2020) – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand today announced that the department is investing $281 million in 106 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities in 36 states and Puerto Rico. USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.

“These investments will bring modern, reliable water and wastewater infrastructure to rural communities. They will replace deteriorating, leaking water pipes with new ones and upgrade water handling systems that are decades old. These investments create jobs and improve public health and safety for our rural neighbors,” Brand said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.

Lazy Glen Homeowners’ Association, Inc. in Snowmass, CO has been awarded a $1,702,000 and a $761,000 grant to build a new wastewater treatment facility to serve the entirety of Lazy Glen, without utilizing discharges into the lagoon. “While Lazy Glen is located within the Basalt Sanitation District, a separate system serving Lazy Glen is a much more cost-effective option,” said USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Sallie Clark.  The connection to the Basalt Sanitation District System would require a lift station (to cross the Roaring Fork River), among other modifications, and be approximately $3 million more expensive than a Lazy Glen specific facility. The selection of the mechanical sewer system to serve the homes of Lazy Glen is the most cost efficient and environmentally friendly option.

Lazy Glen WW RDCO 5-27-20

“Providing funding for safe drinking water and sanitary waste disposal systems is essential for not only public health, but also for economic prosperity in Colorado’s rural communities,” said Clark.

Eligible applicants for the Water and Waste Disposal Program include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits.  Funding is currently available.  For application or eligibility information, view the interactive RD Apply tool or contact your local USDA Rural Development office in Colorado.

Continue reading

05-27-20 USDA Invests $281M in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in 36 States, including CO, WY and Puerto Rico

USDA Invests $281M in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in 36 States, including CO, WY and Puerto Rico

USDA Invests $281M in Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in 36 States, including Colorado and Puerto Rico

  • COLORADO: The Lazy Glen Homeowners’Association, Inc. will receive a $761,000 Loan and a $1,702,000 Grant
  • WYOMING: Big Horn Regional Joint Powers Board will receive a $552,000 Loan and a $1,592,000 Grant; Northern Arapahoe Tribe will receive a $46,000 loan and a $4,450,000 grant; Town of Mills will receive a $4,765,600 loan
WASHINGTON, May 27, 2020 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand today announced that the department is investing $281 million in 106 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure (PDF, 252 KB) in rural communities in 36 states and Puerto Rico. USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.
“These investments will bring modern, reliable water and wastewater infrastructure to rural communities. They will replace deteriorating, leaking water pipes with new ones and upgrade water handling systems that are decades old. These investments create jobs and improve public health and safety for our rural neighbors,” Brand said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is funding projects in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Eligible applicants include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits.
Below are examples of water and wastewater projects in rural communities that will receive funding:

Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, May 27th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, May 27th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Online Grocery Shopping a New Reality

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways shoppers fill their grocery needs. Throughout the pandemic, the Food Marketing Institute has been tracking consumer trends and charting how shopping behaviors are changing. While it’s uncertain how the trends will continue, the pandemic will permanently change consumer habits. Pre-coronavirus, FMI projected that online food and beverage sales would equate to $143 billion by 2025, representing about 18 percent of an expected overall $800 billion in combined online and in-store spending for food and beverages at home. However, since the pandemic, about 21 percent of Americans have tried online shopping for the first time, eight percent have returned, and 19 percent are continuing to online shop. FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin says, “Online grocery shopping is a new reality for our retail and wholesale members.” Research by FMI suggests that not everyone will continue ordering online at the levels they were during the height of the pandemic, but they are likely to continue using it more.

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House Lawmakers Press USDA Over Food Box Contracts

House Agriculture Committee members want questions answered regarding the Department of Agriculture’s Families Food Box Program. Led by Democrat Marcia Fudge of Ohio, the group sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. They say the letter comes amid reports of contracts under the program awarded to companies with little to no experience in agriculture and food distribution, and may have little or no capacity to meet the obligations set by USDA. The lawmakers are seeking information on what criteria were used to determine which applicants would be awarded contracts. They also want to know how USDA considered applicants’ financial standings, along with consideration of minority-owned businesses, and how USDA will ensure the contracts are fulfilled. How USDA evaluated applicants, and food safety concerns are also on the list. Representative Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Representative Jim Costa of California joined Fudge in the letter. The three lawmakers chair separate House Agriculture subcommittees.

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Farmland Prices Continue Decline, Farm Borrowing Increasing

The latest Rural Mainstreet Index from Creighton University shows farmland prices are declining while farmer borrowing is growing. Released last week, the overall index for May increased to 12.5 from April’s record low 12.1, but down significantly from March’s weak 35.5. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. Farmland prices continue to slide as May’s reading fell to 39.7 from April’s 40.9. This is the 77th time in the past 78 months the index has been below growth neutral. The May farm equipment-sales index increased slightly to 21.9 from 20.0 in April. This marks the 80th straight month that the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0. Borrowing by farmers expanded for May, but at a slower pace than in April. The borrowing index slipped to 72.2 from April’s 75.8. The checking-deposit index soared to 86.1 from April’s 65.6, while the index for certificates of deposit and other savings instruments increased to 48.6 from 48.4 in April.

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AEM Developing Health and Safety Guidelines for Events

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers will craft guidelines for industry exhibitions and events. The association recently formed a Health and Safety Task Force to guide its efforts in ensuring the well-being of exhibitors, attendees, industry peers, and AEM members and staff at association-run events. The task force will create a universal set of health and safety guidelines. The team will consider all touch points of every visitor group’s experience, vendor roles, implication to contracts, communication of practices to stakeholders, cost and revenue impact, as well as execution. The initial set of guidelines created by the Health and Safety Task Force will focus on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and minimizing the potential risk of infection for AEM staff and visitors. However, once the pandemic passes, the team will craft a revised set of guidelines for implementation at the appropriate time. The initial set of guidelines will be in place prior to AEM’s Product Safety & Compliance Seminar and Liability Seminar, scheduled this August in Illinois.

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Deere Earnings Beat Expectations

John Deere’s quarterly sales and profit estimates beat expectations. Net income fell 41 percent to $665.8 million, or $2.11 per share in the quarter, but beat analysts’ average estimate of $1.62 per share, according to Reuters. Equipment sales declined 20 percent to $8.22 billion, topping expectation of $7.69 billion. Agriculture and turf sales decreased for the quarter due to lower shipment volumes and the unfavorable effects of currency translation. The new forecast from the company expects farm and turf equipment sales to fall between 10 percent and 15 percent this year. Net income attributable to Deere and Company is forecast to be in a range of $1.6 billion to $2 billion for the full year. However, many uncertainties remain regarding the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic that could negatively affect the company’s results and financial position in the future. A news release states, “Uncertainties related to the magnitude and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic may significantly adversely affect the company’s business and outlook.”

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Gas, Diesel Prices Continue Rising

For the fourth consecutive week, the national average price of gasoline increased, up 5.5 cents to $1.96 per gallon. The average price of diesel rose 0.2 cents to $2.41 per gallon. Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy says as long as COVID-19 cases continue to drop over time and states reopen, average prices could hit the $2 per gallon mark as early as this week. Crude oil prices continued to rally over the last week, though the increase was smaller than previous weeks. The rally in crude oil comes as production continues to drop to meet reduced global demand, and while demand has begun to recover, pushing the needle of prices higher. Last week’s data from the Energy Information Administration pointed to yet another drop in crude oil inventories, which fell five million barrels, but remain a healthy ten percent above year-ago levels. Gasoline inventories saw a rebound of 2.8 million barrels, while distillate inventories perked up 3.8 million barrels.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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