06-03-20 In Case You Missed the CDA and Colorado Proud’s How Agriculture Can Succeed in Tough Times Virtual Webinar – Here’s the Audio…

In Case You Missed the CDA and Colorado Proud’s How Agriculture Can Succeed in Tough Times Virtual Webinar – Here’s the Audio…

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06-03-20 NFU: Price-Fixing Indictment Highlights Need for Stronger Antitrust Enforcement, Protections for Farmers

NFU: Price-Fixing Indictment Highlights Need for Stronger Antitrust Enforcement, Protections for Farmers

WASHINGTON – Four current and former executives at Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and Claxton Poultry Farms, both of which produce chicken, were indicted today for colluding to inflate the prices of birds sold to grocery stores and restaurants.

The latest of several price-fixing allegations against meat processors, the case highlights the need for greater antitrust enforcement and farmer protections, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew said in a statement:

“Price fixing in the agricultural industry is extremely harmful to everyone besides the companies who engage in this unethical practice. Ultimately, it means those companies pay farmers even less for their hard work while charging restaurants, grocery stores, and American consumers more for food.

“But price fixing is only a symptom of the much bigger problem of corporate consolidation. Companies are only able to employ anticompetitive business practices when they’ve amassed control over their respective industries; in this instance, just five companies control 60 percent of the chicken market in the United States. This level of market power unfortunately isn’t unique to poultry; in fact, many other sectors, including beef and pork, are even more concentrated. Unsurprisingly, there have been allegations of price fixing against corporations in those industries as well.  

“While NFU wholeheartedly supports legal challenges to corrupt and unfair actions, there’s a way to avoid this kind of behavior altogether: enforce antitrust policy; restore competition in the agricultural marketplace; reinstate the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration; and develop strong protections for farmers.” 

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06-03-20 USDA Rural Development Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19

USDA Rural Development Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19

(Washington, D.C., June 3, 2020) – USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.

06-03-20 U.S. Dept of Justice: Senior Executives at Major Chicken Producers Indicted on Antitrust Charges

U.S. Dept of Justice: Senior Executives at Major Chicken Producers Indicted on Antitrust Charges

First Charges Filed in Ongoing Investigation into Fixing Prices of Broiler Chickens

A federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado, returned an indictment against four executives for their role in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens, the Department of Justice announced.

“Particularly in times of global crisis, the division remains committed to prosecuting crimes intended to raise the prices Americans pay for food,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “Executives who cheat American consumers, restauranteurs, and grocers, and compromise the integrity of our food supply, will be held responsible for their actions.”

The one-count indictment charges four current and former senior executives from two major broiler chicken producers with conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens.  Broiler chickens are chickens raised for human consumption and sold to grocers and restaurants.

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06-03-20 RMFU hosting “Reducing Emissions Building Soil, and Managing the Bottom Line with Climate Smart Programs” Zoom Webinar on June 11th – Don’t Miss it!

RMFU hosting “Reducing Emissions Building Soil, and Managing the Bottom Line with Climate Smart Programs” Zoom Webinar on June 11th – Don’t Miss it!

RMFU is bringing together experts in climate research and available incentive programs for an hour long virtual “lunch n learn” workshop next Thursday, June 11th @ NOON MT.

Panelists include:

  • Allison Costa from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation will share information about the 2020 edition of EPA’s comprehensive annual report on nationwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Since 2005, national greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 10% while power sector emissions have fallen by 27% – even as the U.S. economy grew by 25%. She will expand on research currently being done on GHG emissions from agricultural activities.
  • Cindy Lair of the Colorado Department of Agriculture will cover the new Soil Health Program Launch set for June 23. Even when state budget troubles are interfering with most new initiatives, the Soil Health Program Initiative is on track. After a year of stakeholder engagement through the Colorado Collaborative for Healthy Soils, the Department has a plan to phase in a fully functional program over the coming year. Listen in and ask questions to learn more about producer opportunities to get involved.
  • Dallas May, a rancher from Limon, Colorado, has been a part of programs that provide carbon offset payments for more than three years. He’ll share his perspective on available payment models as well as his philosophy and production practices.

This workshop will be hosted as a zoom meeting instead of a webinar to encourage collaborative dialogue.

Please reach out to harrison.topp@rmfu.org for log-in information.

06-03-20 USDA-RMA Administrator’s Message: Relief for Dairy Farmers with Revenue Protection

USDA-RMA Administrator’s Message: Relief for Dairy Farmers with Revenue Protection

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2020 – We recently held our quarterly Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) Board of Directors meeting.  In my last blog, I talked about the goals of these meetings, one of which is modifying existing insurance policies to meet customer needs, particularly with the present challenges we face.Click to edit this placeholder text.

As a result of the meeting, we are taking several actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week we authorized Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) to extend the correction time period for acreage reports or other forms, extend the deadlines for payment of premiums and administrative fees, and defer the resulting accrual of interest. This week I’m proud to announce a change to Dairy Revenue Protection, or DRP, policies in response to the volatility of milk prices severely affecting the industry. Continue reading

05-28-20 Inside the CDA’s Colorado Proud Program w/Wendy White: Upcoming Virtual Webinar, 2020 Farm Fresh Directory & More…

Inside the CDA’s Colorado Proud Program w/Wendy White…

Upcoming Virtual Webinar, 2020 Farm Fresh Directory & More…

The BARN – Briggsdale, CO – May 28, 2020 – Colorado Proud, a division within the Colorado Department of Agriculture is hosting a virtual webinar on June 3rd at 4pm titled,” Adaptability: How Agriculture Can Succeed in Tough Times”. It will be an opportunity to Hear from a mix of Colorado-based agriculture and food panelists about new ways to think, operate and adapt during the COVID-19 situation including my guest Wendy White, Marketing Specialist at the Colorado Department of Agriculture in the Markets Division…

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CLICK HERE TO RSVP

CLICK HERE to view the 2020 Colorado Farm Fresh Directory

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06-01-20 RSVP to Colorado Water Plan Listening Session Webinars Held in June

RSVP to Colorado Water Plan Listening Session Webinars Held in June

Colorado Water Conservation Board to host four webinars on Water Plan updates

May 28, 2020 (Denver, CO) – The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) is beginning the process of updating the Colorado Water Plan, which was published in 2015. The update includes new cutting edge tools and data taken from the 2019 Analysis and Technical Update to the Colorado Water Plan and will incorporate information from the eight Basin Implementation Plans from each region of the state.

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06-03-20 Animal Agriculture Alliance: Undergraduates, graduate students and collegiate clubs invited to sign up for College Aggies Online scholarship competition

Undergraduates, graduate students and collegiate clubs invited to sign up for College Aggies Online scholarship competition

Annual scholarship competition kicks off September 14th

June 3, 2020 – The Animal Agriculture Alliance announced today that its annual College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship program will return this fall, kicking off September 14. The nine-week program brings together college students from across the country to develop life-long advocates for agriculture. Undergraduates, graduate students and collegiate clubs are invited to sign up.

Students will have the opportunity to network with social media-savvy farmers and industry leaders while enhancing their communication skills. Each week participants receive training from these communications experts about current and emerging issues in agriculture. Students earn points by completing weekly challenges, including writing blog posts, designing infographics, creating social media content and submitting letters to the editor.

Collegiate clubs usually host events on their campus to engage with peers about agriculture, but to ensure students are able to adhere to social distancing guidelines to protect their health and the health of others, the Alliance is updating the club division to include virtual engagement opportunities and events suited for small groups. Events include hosting a campus event, food drive, guest speaker, farm tour and more.

“The College Aggies Online program is cultivating the next generation of leaders in agriculture who are skilled at engaging consumers and influencers,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “We’re impressed and inspired by the passion, creativity, and dedication each year’s crop of students presents in bridging the communication gap between farm and fork, and we’re honored to provide the tools and resources to do just that.” Continue reading

06-03-20 Colorado Farm Bureau: Commit to Vote No and Rethink Wolves

Colorado Farm Bureau: Commit to Vote No and Rethink Wolves

Forced wolf introduction in Colorado will be on the statewide ballot this November. This reckless measure:

  • disregards science and the expertise of Colorado Parks and Wildlife,
  • is unnecessary because wolves already live in Colorado,
  • would introduce a nonnative species of wolf which will bring unknown consequences, and not achieve the intended result of restoring ecological balance while wasting millions of taxpayer dollars in the process.

CFB and our partners need your help. Join the CFB and commit to VOTE NO this November. Click on the link above or past this URL into your web browser: https://p2a.co/gLyUELQ to add your name to the list of Coloradans opposing this measure. Please also share with your friends, family and broader network.

Learn more about the campaign against forced wolf introduction in Colorado by visiting www.RethinkWolves.com or liking our page on Facebook.

06-03-20 RAAA NEWS: Scholarships Pave Way for Red Angus Juniors’ Success

RAAA NEWS: Scholarships Pave Way for Red Angus Juniors’ Success

To advance its mission of equipping and preparing its young members to be leaders, innovators, stewards and advocates of the Red Angus breed and the beef business, the RAAA Junior Activities committee annually awards scholarships to young men and women involved in agriculture. These scholarships are awarded to JRA members that are active in the association, as well as in their communities and the beef industry, and are planning to attend either two-year colleges or four-year universities in the coming year. Recipients completed an extensive application and interview process, and have proven their communications skills, professionalism and potential for leadership.

The RAAA Junior Activities Committee is pleased to name each of the following five JRA members as a recipient of the $1,000 college scholarship: Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 3rd

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 3rd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ag Economy Barometer Shows Slight Improvement in May

After a sharp drop in March and April, farmer sentiment in May improved slightly. The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose to 103, seven points higher than April. However, the index remained almost 40 points below its all-time high of 168 that was set in February of this year. The people behind this month’s barometer say the survey was conducted the same week that USDA announced the details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, so the program details could be one of the key reasons for this month’s improvement in the barometer. The Index of Current Conditions climbed 11 points higher from April to May, coming in at 83. The Index of Future Expectations rose four points to a reading of 112. Farmers seem to be thinking of making investments in their operations, with the Farm Capital Investment Index rising to 50 in May, 12 points higher than in April. More than 70 percent of respondents said they were “very worried” (34 percent) or “fairly worried” (37 percent) about the impact of coronavirus on their farm’s profitability. There’s even more evidence that farmers are concerned about finances as two-thirds of the respondents indicated they think it will be necessary for Congress to pass another bill to provide more economic assistance to U.S. farmers.

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Brazil Meatpackers Now Struggling with Coronavirus

Brazil, the world’s biggest beef and chicken exporter and the fourth-largest pork exporter, is now struggling with coronavirus in its meatpacking industry. Over 25 percent of the confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil’s state of Rio Grande (GRAHN-day) do Sul are among workers in meat plants. Meatpackers in the state employ 50,000 people. A statement from Brazil’s labor prosecutor says an estimated 2,399 employees from 24 slaughterhouses in 18 municipalities of the state are now confirmed. That’s a total of 25.7 percent of the 9,332 cases of confirmed coronavirus. Reuters says the findings corroborate the evidence that meatpackers have become hotspots in Brazil for the coronavirus. Brazil has more than half-a-million cases and nearly 30,000 deaths. Two of Brazil’s largest meatpackers own plants in Rio Grande do Sul and both of them had to temporarily close their units due to outbreaks of coronavirus. Around Brazil, the average number of workers per plant is approximately 2,000. Brazil’s agriculture ministry says the country has 446 meat plants, including 194 beef, 148 poultry, 90 pork plants, and 14 that process other types of meats.

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China Companies Buying Ag Products Despite Government Order to Desist

Tensions are rising once again between the U.S. and Hong Kong, which in turn led the Chinese government to order state-run agricultural firms to temporarily stop buying U.S. commodities, including corn, soybeans, and cotton. Several buyers specifically canceled pork orders. Despite the government mandate, state-owned companies still purchased 180,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans on Monday, with shipments due in the fall. Politico says U.S. traders note that Chinese importers still haven’t covered a large share of their October and November soybean needs. China was supposed to buy at least $36.5 billion in U.S. ag products this year under the phase one trade agreement. “Phase One always was on weak legs and now we’re seeing that,” says Scott Kennedy, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “If President Trump walks away from the deal, that will make it harder for American farmers and others in the Midwest to count on exports to fuel their recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.” Kennedy also says the apparent ag import freeze could be linked to Trump’s threats to remove Hong Kong’s privileged trade status.

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Rebound Year Ahead for U.S. Sugarbeets

Sugarbeet growers and U.S. cooperatives are expected to have a stronger financial year ahead, thanks to improved production and higher crop prices predicted for 2020-2021. A CoBank report says that should help usher in a potential recovery from a stressful growing season last year. The report from CoBank’s Knowledge and Exchange Division details the market forces and production dynamics that suggest the sugar industry is in for a rebound as consumer demand for sugar remains high. “Assuming we return to reasonably normal harvest weather this fall, expectations are for a much bigger crop to be harvested for the 2020-2021 season,” says Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange. “With processors contracting refined sugar at much-higher prices, fortunes are expected to turn favorable for growers and processors in the marketing year ahead.” Last fall, the U.S. sugarbeet harvest marked the fifth-biggest year-over-year decline on record, dropping 14 percent to 28.6 million short tons. Production in three of the biggest sugar-producing states of Minnesota, North Dakota, and Nebraska, fell by more than 20 percent in 2019. Abandonment rates were the highest in the U.S. since the Great Depression as 13.5 percent of planted acres weren’t harvested because of wet weather issues.

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Retail Dairy Sales Higher During COVID-19 Pandemic

Monday was celebrated as National Milk day, with the National Milk Producers Federation sharing some good news with the beleaguered U.S. dairy industry. “From March 8 to March 22, as stay-at-home orders and business closures proliferated around the country, dairy products flew off store shelves,” the group said in an announcement. “Milk sales were 43 percent higher than during the same period a year ago, while yogurt rose 31 percent, ice cream sales gained 40 percent, and cheese sales also climbed 76 percent.” The NMPF says butter sales more than doubled during the same period. However, the federation also points out that, “Pre-coronavirus, about half of all dairy sales came from outside the home. Even as retail consumers increased dairy buying, sales to restaurants, schools, and cafeterias dropped sharply. That price turbulence led to sharp declines in the USDA’s milk price forecast for 2020.” The organization says that’s a big reason why federal assistance for dairy farms has been so important.

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NBB Letter Asks EPA for Transparency on “Gap” SRE Petitions

The National Biodiesel Board delivered a letter to Andrew Wheeler, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, asking for transparency on small refinery exemption petitions the agency received before 2019. “The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry values and relies on your commitment to transparency regarding small refinery exemptions,” says the NBB in the letter, referring to Wheeler creating the EPA Small Refinery Exemption Dashboard. However, both Wheeler and an Undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Energy responded to questions about “gap” petitions during Senate committee testimony. The NBB says, “it’s concerning that no record of any of these petitions exists on the Agency’s dashboard. Gap filings would render the program entirely unpredictable for renewable fuel producers.” Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, says, “EPA’s small refinery exemption sprees over the past three years undermined the RFS and destroyed demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel. We’re asking Administrator Wheeler to restore confidence in the RFS.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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