06-05-20 Zero tuition increase at Colorado State University as on-campus classes return for 2020-21

Zero tuition increase at Colorado State University as on-campus classes return for 2020-21

Deep job and unit cuts averted: Board taps CARES and reserve funds, to protect CSU’s strength

Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell today announced that, with the approval of the university’s budget for next year, students at Colorado State University will pay the same tuition as last year, and CSU will avoid the deep reductions, pay cuts, and job losses seen at other universities across the country.

The Board of Governors of the CSU System voted June 5 to approve proposed budgets for all CSU campuses, pending completion of the Long Budget Bill by the Colorado General Assembly. The budget package deploys federal stimulus funds, Board reserves, and proceeds from Board-initiated debt refinancing to preserve jobs, hold tuition steady, and avoid salary cuts for employees. More information can be found here.

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06-05-20 Animal Agriculture Alliance: 65+ organizations and individuals endorse open letter on the importance of animal agriculture in the time of COVID-19 and beyond

65+ organizations and individuals endorse open letter on the importance of animal agriculture in the time of COVID-19 and beyond

June 5, 2020 – Leading academics across four continents have joined U.S., Canadian and international organizations representing millions of farmers, producers and veterinarians to sign an open letter pushing back against misinformation around animal agriculture during the pandemic.

Signatories — including the Animal Agriculture Alliance, World Veterinary Association, and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) — clarified that domestic livestock production is safe and has not played a role in the spread of COVID-19, despite recent unfounded claims.

The letter calls for governments and authorities to reassure consumers around the safety of meat, milk, eggs and fish while also working with farmers and veterinarians to share lessons and expertise around animal health.

This has been signed by more than 65 farmer groups, producer associations, veterinarians and researchers, including: Continue reading

06-05-20 U.S. Department of Interior: Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tim Petty Named Co-Chair of National Drought Resilience Partnership

U.S. Department of Interior: Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tim Petty Named Co-Chair of National Drought Resilience Partnership

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of the Interior announced that Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Timothy Petty, Ph.D., is the new co-chair of the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP), an inter agency task force that enhances Federal drought resilience coordination. In line with the two-year rotational co-chair schedule of the NDRP, Dr. Petty succeeds Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross as the second co-chair, and will serve alongside U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey, who serves as the permanent first co-chair of the NDRP.

“This inter agency task force has an incredible opportunity to coordinate Federal drought resilience policies, programs, research, forecasting, data, and technology to enhance community drought preparedness and response,” said Assistant Secretary Petty. “The NDRP members represent the full spectrum of science, water management, and disaster response. Collectively we work with states, local communities, tribes, even on the farm and in the home, to secure reliable water supplies when times are good and maximize water supplies when times are tough for millions of farms and families across the country. As Federal agencies, we have a responsibility to ensure our state, federal and tribal partners have the resources necessary to prepare, survive, and recover from a natural disaster like drought.”

Assistant Secretary Petty oversees the US Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation, and has been integral in coordinating the fulfillment of the priorities outlined in the Presidential Memorandum Promoting Reliable Supply Delivery of Water in the West. Continue reading



WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2020 –  Today, President Trump signed into law legislation which would provide businesses with greater flexibility in how they use Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and still have their loans forgiven. H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act of 2020, passed the Senate Wednesday evening and overwhelmingly passed the House last week. Specifically, the legislation would: expand the amount of time businesses have to spend the money from eight to 24 weeks; reduce the minimum that businesses need to spend from 75 percent to 60 percent if they want the full loan amount to be forgiven; extend the time period to rehire employees from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020 and eliminate rehiring requirements; and clarify that employers in the PPP program can also benefit from the CARES Act payroll tax delay.

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06-05-20 Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Announces Wellbore Integrity Rulemaking Hearing, June 10-11

Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Announces Wellbore Integrity Rulemaking Hearing, June 10-11

SB 19-181 Wellbore Integrity Rulemaking protects groundwater over the lifecycle of the well  

DENVER — The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) invites the public and stakeholders to attend the Commission’s June Wellbore Integrity Rulemaking Commission Hearing, June 10-11. The Wellbore Integrity rulemaking, required by SB 19-181, proposes to improve oversight through the entire lifecycle of the oil and gas well, ensuring protection of groundwater resources.

“From permitting to construction, to production, and until a well is plugged, the COGCC has oversight and responsibility to protect groundwater resources that Colorado needs for residential, commercial, agricultural and recreational needs,” said COGCC Director Jeff Robbins. “The COGCC Staff worked with a diverse group of stakeholders and the Water Quality Control Division to deliver these proposed rules to cover the life of the well and improve protections for the environment and our groundwater. The draft rules reflect broad consensus across multiple stakeholder perspectives on almost all issues, which shows how COGCC Staff, sister state agencies and our stakeholders can work together to find solutions to complex issues.”

June COGCC Hearing Information: Continue reading

06-05-20 CSU System Board of Governors approves FY2021 budget

CSU System Board of Governors approves FY2021 budget

Denver, Colorado – Even as it faces massive revenue shortfalls at its universities in Pueblo and Fort Collins, the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System today mapped out a budget plan for next year that holds tuition steady and avoids deep job and pay cuts across the CSU campuses.

The Board approved the proposed budgets for all CSU campuses, pending completion of the State’s budget through the Colorado General Assembly’s Long Bill. Continue reading

06-05-20 USMEF News: April Red Meat Exports Weather Production Challenges, Economic Headwinds

USMEF News: April Red Meat Exports Weather Production Challenges, Economic Headwinds

DENVER, CO – April proved to be a solid month for U.S. beef and pork exports despite COVID-19 related interruptions in production and declining purchasing power of some key trading partners, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were below last April’s large totals but still topped $600 million in value. Pork exports remained well above year-ago levels but slowed from the record pace established in the first quarter.

“Considering all the challenges the U.S. red meat industry faced in April, export results were encouraging,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Exporters lost several days of slaughter and processing due to COVID-19, and shipments to Mexico and some other Latin American markets declined due to slumping currencies and the imposition of stay-at-home orders. But despite these significant headwinds, global demand for U.S. beef and pork remained strong.”

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 5th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, June 5th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Dicamba Makers Assessing Next Steps Following Court Ruling

Makers of dicamba herbicides are assessing what’s next following a court ruling vacating registration of the products. A U.S. appeals court ruling this week vacates current U.S. registrations of certain low volatility dicamba products, including Bayer’s XtendiMax Herbicide. The ruling comes after a group of environmental organizations filed a petition challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 registration decision. In a statement, Bayer says, “We strongly disagree with the ruling and are assessing our options.” This week, the court stated, “the absence of substantial evidence to support the EPA’s decision compels us to vacate the registrations.” The ruling pertains specifically to the EPA’s 2018 registration decision, which expires in December 2020. CropLife America President and CEO Chris Novak expressed disappointment with the ruling, stating, “We continue to support the science-based decisions made by career scientists at the EPA,” adding “We hope that EPA’s next steps will reflect the needs of American farmers for regulatory certainty and science-based decision-making.” The ruling also includes dicamba herbicides from BASF and Corteva. It does not include a dicamba product from Syngenta.

Audio story available here and here.

USDA Issues First Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments

The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced the approval of more than $545 million in payments to farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, known as CFAP. The Farm Service Agency began taking applications on May 26, and the agency has received more than 86,000 applications. FSA has already made payments to more than 35,000 producers. Out of the gate, the top five states for CFAP payments are Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska and South Dakota. FSA will accept applications through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion in financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19, and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says FSA has the resources to “complete applications as smoothly and efficiently as possible.” Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from farmers.gov.

Senators Announce Growing Climate Solutions Act

New legislation would create an environmental credit marketplace for farmers. The Growing Climate Solutions Act, led by Michigan Democrat, Senator Debbie Stabenow, creates a certification program at the Department of Agriculture to help solve technical entry barriers that prevent farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets. Issues, including access to reliable information about markets and access to qualified technical assistance providers and credit protocol verifiers, have limited both landowner participation and the adoption of practices that help reduce the costs of developing carbon credits. The bill is backed by top farm and environmental groups, as well as Fortune 500 companies. The bill establishes a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program. Through those programs, USDA will “provide transparency, legitimacy, and informal endorsement” of third-party verifiers and technical service providers. Those providers would help private landowners generate carbon credits through a variety of agriculture and forestry-related practices.

Audio story available here.

Sugar Association Wants Greater Sweetener Labeling Transparency

A petition by the Sugar Association asks the Food and Drug Administration to “require complete and accurate labeling” of low- and no-calorie sweeteners on food packages. The association says the move would extend labeling transparency, end misleading practices and help consumers make more informed decisions. The petition asks the FDA to require the term “Sweetener” in parentheses after the name of all non-nutritive sweeteners in the ingredient list. For children’s food and beverages, they ask the FDA to require indication of the type and quantity of non-nutritive sweeteners, in milligrams per serving, on the front of food packages. Research by the association found that, given a list of food additives, consumers correctly identified sweetening ingredients only 37 percent of the time. And, 66 percent of consumers say it’s important for sugar substitutes to be clearly identified as sweeteners on food labels. Sugar Association President and CEO Courtney Gaine says, “These changes are necessary to close a gap in food labeling,” adding they are also necessary to “provide consumers with complete transparency and accurate information.”

NFU Comments on Price Fixing Indictments

Price fixing indictments in the chicken processing sector highlights the need for greater oversight, according to the National Farmers Union. Four current and former executives at Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and Claxton Poultry Farms, both of which produce chicken, were indicted this week for colluding to inflate the prices of birds sold to grocery stores and restaurants. NFU says the indictments show there is a need for greater antitrust enforcement and farmer protections. NFU President Rob Larew says price fixing is “extremely harmful” to agriculture and consumers. However, he says price fixing is only a symptom of the much bigger problem of corporate consolidation, and companies are only able to employ anticompetitive business practices when they’ve gathered control over their respective industries. Larew says price fixing can be avoided by enforcement of antitrust policy, restoring competition in the agricultural marketplace reinstatement of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration and developing strong protections for farmers.

Warmer, Drier Summer Makes for Average Missouri River Forecast

An expected warm and dry summer has the Missouri River forecast on an average path for 2020. Water releases from Gavins Point Dam will remain at 33,000 cubic feet per second in June, which is about average, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. May runoff in the upper basin was about 130 percent of average. However, the summer climate outlook indicates a return to warmer and drier conditions in the upper basin. Still, the 2020 calendar year upper basin runoff forecast is 32.3 million acre feet, 125 percent of average. The June 1 forecast is in the top 25 percent of the 122 years of runoff record. Soils are drying out in the upper Missouri River Basin, following much wetter-than-normal conditions in 2018 and 2019. The potential for flooding remains in the Missouri River Basin, particularly in the lower river, due to the potential for locally heavy rain and runoff. Further, levee repairs continue from flooding last spring, kicked off by the March 2019 bomb-cyclone weather event.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service