06-22-20 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Bolivia Now Open to U.S. Red Meat

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Bolivia Now Open to U.S. Red Meat

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

DENVER, CO – June 22, 2020 – Bolivia is the latest nation to open to U.S. red meat. Cheyenne McEndaffer, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) director of export services, explains that this is part of a longstanding effort by U.S. trade and agricultural officials to improve access for U.S. meat products throughout South America.

While the region is now mostly open to U.S. pork and beef, McEndaffer notes that Bolivia, like several other South American countries, has plant and product registration requirements that must still be finalized before U.S. exporters can begin shipping to the market. While Bolivia is not a high-volume destination for imported meat, McEndaffer says there are already some inquiries from interested buyers. Bolivia’s import duties are relatively low (10% for most muscle cuts and variety meat, 10% to 20% for processed products), which should help U.S. products gain traction in the market.

Last year Bolivia reported beef imports of 1,831 metric tons, mainly from Brazil along with small volumes from Argentina. Imports were valued at $2.6 million. Pork imports, which were almost entirely from Brazil, totaled 443 metric tons valued at about $1 million.

McEndaffer on Bolivia Opening 6-22-20

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06-22-20 Colorado Governor Polis Announces COGCC Appointments

Colorado Governor Polis Announces COGCC Appointments

DENVER – Gov. Polis today announced new appointments to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Last year, the Governor signed the landmark SB19-181, which transitions the commission from 9 appointees to a professional 5-member commission.

“This landmark law protects health and safety and our environment while ensuring local governments and Coloradans have a voice when it comes to oil and gas development in their communities. These new appointees will build upon the progress the volunteer commission has made thus far, and the professionalization of these roles is an important step for streamlining the process and increasing regulatory efficiency in Colorado,” said Governor Jared Polis. 

effective July 8, 2020 for a term expiring July 1, 2022: Continue reading

06-22-20 Colorado Governor Polis Signs Long Bill, Legislation Supporting Relief for Coloradans During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Colorado Governor Polis Signs Long Bill, Legislation Supporting Relief for Coloradans During the COVID-19 Pandemic

DENVER – Gov. Polis today signed legislation that will provide relief and support to Coloradans during the COVID-19 pandemic and the FY20-21 Long Bill. Continue reading

06-22-20 U.S. Senator Gardner Hosts USDA Secretary Perdue in Colorado

U.S. Senator Gardner Hosts USDA Secretary Perdue in Colorado

Applauds approval of disaster declaration for Western Slope farmers

Yuma, CO – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) hosted U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue and Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Jim Hubbard in Colorado. Gardner and Perdue visited the Mizpah Campground to discuss the Great American Outdoors Act, held a fire outlook and recreation panel in Broomfield with Hubbard, hosted a Farm Bureau stakeholder roundtable in Keenesburg with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), and visited the Food Bank of the Rockies in Denver, which has benefited from USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Gardner also applauded the USDA’s decision to approve the request by Colorado Governor Jared Polis for a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Colorado’s Western Slope counties impacted by the major freeze event on April 13. Gardner and Bennet, along with Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO), wrote a letter to Secretary Perdue urging approval of this disaster declaration. Continue reading

06-22-20 NBA News: New Data Shows Significant COVID-19 Impact on Bison Marketplace

National Bison Association News Header

NBA News: New Data Shows Significant COVID-19 Impact on Bison Marketplace

Comments Filed with USDA Show Losses Ample to Qualify for CFAP Relief
WESTMINSTER, CO (June 22, 2020) — The economic disruption impacting nearly all sectors of the U.S. bison business far exceeds the threshold required to qualify bison producers for assistance being offered to agriculture through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), according to formal comments that the National Bison Association filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today. Continue reading

06-22-20 Association of Equipment Manufacturers Announces New “Equipped to Vote” Campaign

Association of Equipment Manufacturers Announces New “Equipped to Vote” Campaign

Nationwide Digital Campaign Will Educate, Engage, and Mobilize Manufacturing Voters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) announced the launch of “Equipped to Vote,” a full-fledged digital campaign designed to engage, educate, and mobilize the 2.8 million men and women of the equipment manufacturing industry leading up to the general election this fall. The goal of the campaign is to educate supporters on the policies that matter to the industry, encourage greater civic engagement, and help elect pro-manufacturing candidates.

Earlier this year, AEM unveiled the “2020 Manufacturing Express,” a cross-country, campaign-style bus tour to discuss the issues critical to the continued growth and success of equipment manufacturers in America. AEM has been closely monitoring the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the health and safety of the industry top of mind, AEM has postponed the initiative until 2021. A new launch date will be announced later in the year. The “Equipped to Vote” campaign, designed to give a voice to the 2.8 million men and women of the association during the election, will be the central focus for the association until the “Manufacturing Express” hits the road.

“The equipment manufacturing industry is the backbone of our economy and is essential to America’s post-pandemic economic comeback. During these unprecedented and challenging times, it is more important than ever that our industry comes together in support of pro-manufacturing policies and candidates,” said Kip Eideberg, AEM senior vice president of government and industry relations. “In keeping with the spirit of innovation that is at the core of America’s equipment manufacturers, AEM will leverage the latest digital tools and tactics to creatively connect with supporters in the safest and most effective way possible. This effort is vital not just to this election—but to the future of our industry and our country.”

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06-22-20 Pollinator Partnership Prepares for an Action-Packed (and Physically Distant) Pollinator Week


Pollinator Partnership Prepares for an Action-Packed (and Physically Distant) Pollinator Week

Pollinator Week 2020 (June 22-28) is the thirteenth consecutive year of bringing greater awareness to the critically important issue of pollinator conservation since Pollinator Partnership (P2) founded the initiative in 2007. While this year might not be a typical Pollinator Week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the planet have pledged to continue promoting pollinator health and well-being through socially distant and responsible events.

Through the numerous virtual gatherings, webinars, responsible planting sessions, socially distant garden and farm walks, and monument lightings, Pollinator Week 2020 is geared to be the busiest and best one yet! Over 30 state governors and many mayors of cities and townships across the US and Canada have signed proclamations supporting the observance of Pollinator Week. In addition, for the first time in any administration, the EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, has signed an agency wide proclamation for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, joining Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt“Pollinators are vital to both our agricultural food supply and a healthy environment,” said EPA Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “Protecting pollinators requires the work of dedicated people across the nation, and we are proud to partner with Pollinator Partnership to achieve our shared goals.” Laurie Davies Adams, President and CEO of Pollinator Partnership, noted that “P2 anticipates great things this week for pollinator health and discussions about how to support them. Our approach of inclusiveness and collaboration is helping promote dialogue across all sectors of land management in North America.”

The continent will be buzzing with events that will be happening throughout the week: Continue reading

06-22-20 USDA-Rural Development: Trump Administration Invests $1.6 Billion in Rural Electric Infrastructure in 21 States, including Colorado

USDA-Rural Development: Trump Administration Invests $1.6 Billion in Rural Electric Infrastructure in 21 States, including Colorado

Funding Includes Nearly $386 Million for Smart Grid Improvements

Washington, D.C., June 22, 2020 – The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.6 billion to build or improve rural electric infrastructure in 21 states (PDF, 165 KB).
“Reliable and modern 21st century infrastructure, including electric infrastructure and smart grid technologies, is a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” Secretary Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures.”

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06-22-20 Farmers Challenged to Take Action Against Yield-Robbing Pests and Resistance

Farmers Challenged to Take Action Against Yield-Robbing Pests and Resistance

ST. LOUIS (June 22, 2020) — Farmers often face detrimental losses when it comes to yield-robbing pests, but the soy checkoff and its partners in the Take Action program released free tools to use this week to mitigate crop damage and stave off resistance. From June 22 through June 26, university experts, weed scientists and advocates will come together for PEST Week (Pest Elimination Strategies and Tactics) to break down the pesticide-resistance challenge into manageable and realistic steps for farmers.

“PEST Week is really a reminder to invest in best management practices now to protect our yields, so we don’t pay for it later at the elevator,” said Tom Oswald, a United Soybean Board (USB) farmer-leader from Cleghorn, Iowa. “The resources that the Take Action program provides are unbiased and backed by the experts across the country and give us, as farmers, the information we need to manage our pests and defend against increasing resistance. After a tough spring, it’s more important than ever to take this seriously.”

Take Action is an industrywide pesticide-resistance management initiative funded in part by the soy checkoff and other endorsing partners including commodity groups, academic institutions and the leading trait and agrochemical companies.

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06-22-20 Colorado Corn: Amicus Brief Filed Opposing Executive Order

Colorado Corn: Amicus Brief Filed Opposing Executive Order

In response to Gov. Polis signing an executive order to allow the gathering of signatures for ballot initiatives by mail and email, CCGA has joined a broad coalition to oppose this measure in court. This executive order put rural Colorado at a disadvantage to our urban neighbors, creates practical problems with fraud and access for Coloradans who lack internet access, and violates the Colorado Constitution.

CCGA has joined with 50 organizations in an Amicus Brief, filed on June 19, to the suit against the governor’s executive order as the proposed process excludes many Coloradans from participating either because they don’t have access or cannot afford internet service or technology, such as computers, printers, and smart phones. This gives a smaller group of Coloradan with access to these resources an unfair advantage to put their issues on the ballot, while leaving other populations, like our state’s rural and elderly populations, out of the election process. Continue reading

06-22-20 NCGA celebrates 3RD ANNUAL PEST WEEK: You Can Turn Your Pest Practices into Best Practices

NCGA celebrates 3RD ANNUAL PEST WEEK: You Can Turn Your Pest Practices into Best Practices

June 22 launches the third annual Pest (Pest Elimination Strategies and Tactics) week, and NCGA urges you to turn your pest practices into best practices by downloading the ultimate mobile tool at www.iwilltakeaction.com/app or @TakeActionWeeds in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Continue reading

06-22-20 Farm Groups Announce Free, Public Online Stress Management Course on June 23rd – REGISTER ASAP!


Farm Groups Announce Free, Public Online Stress Management Course on June 23rd – REGISTER ASAP!

WASHINGTON – Following the December 2019 announcement of a new farm stress management online training course for employees and members of Farm Credit, Farm Bureau and Farmers Union, these organizations have launched a free online training course available to the general public.

Developed by Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) and University of Illinois Extension (Illinois UIExtension), the course provides participants with skills to understand the sources of stress, manage their own stress, learn the warning signs of stress and suicide, identify effective communication strategies, reduce stigma related to mental health concerns and connect farmers and ranchers with appropriate mental health and other resources.

Join Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, Michigan State University Extension and University of Illinois Extension for a virtual press announcement about a free, online course to help individuals identify signs of chronic stress and offer effective communication skills.

Online – Register Here

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
9:00 a.m. EDT

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 22nd

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 22nd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farmers Still Battling Hog Backlogs

The backlog of hogs in states hit hardest by the meatpacking industry crisis is just now easing up somewhat. Hundreds of thousands of hogs were killed by producers who had nowhere to send the animals for processing. While that number is short of the initial slaughter estimates of millions of hogs, the pork industry still needs financial assistance to cover the cost of euthanizing animals as well as for the price losses from COVID-19. They’re also asking for help getting mental health resources for farmers who were understandably disturbed by having to kill their animals for disposal. “The drain on equity and the financial and emotional crisis that farmers are facing is not resolved,” says Dave Preisler (PRICE-lehr), CEO of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association. Producers have gone to great lengths to reduce the backlog and avoid on-farm slaughter. Some have been shipping hogs to processors out of state or selling directly to individuals looking to stockpile meat. Others have started contracting with smaller processors, who’ve seen an unprecedented rise in their business. Still, Politico says those measures haven’t fully solved the large pileup of excess hogs.


EPA: 52 “Gap Year” SRE Petitions Filed

The Environmental Protection Agency released an updated list of small refinery exemptions that shows smaller refiners have filed 52 “gap year” SRE petitions. Those petitions cover Renewable Fuels Standard Compliance from 2011 through 2018. Biomass Magazine says the filing is to circumvent a recent ruling from the Tenth Circuit Court that struck down three SREs approved by the EPA. The ruling also determined that the agency cannot extend exemptions to any small refinery whose earlier temporary exemptions had lapsed. A challenge to the court’s decision was rejected in early April. If the ruling is eventually applied nationally, it will limit eligibility for future SRE petitions to a handful of the nation’s small refiners. However, reports recently began to surface that several small refiners were filing “gap-year” SRE petitions to maintain eligibility for future SREs. The gap-year petitions are designed to provide impacted refineries with a continuous chain of SRE approvals, allowing the affected refineries to continue to be eligible for SREs in the future. Several biofuel groups have strongly condemned the gap-year filings as an effort to get around the Tenth Circuit Court ruling.


Renewable Fuel Groups React to 52 “Gap-Year” SRE Petitions

Two of the nation’s key renewable fuel groups reacted to the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement that 52 new small refinery exemption petitions have been filed. The National Biodiesel Board is asking EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to immediately reject the petitions that cover compliance years from 2011-2018. Kurt Kovarik is the NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs. He says, “EPA’s consideration of small refinery exemption petitions going back to 2011 flies in the face of the recent 10th Circuit Court decision. By rolling the clock back, there appears to be no length the EPA won’t go to help refiners undermine the Renewable Fuels Standard.” Kovarik says the handouts would come at the expense of ethanol and biodiesel. Growth Energy says the “gap filings” are designed to reconstitute a continuous string of exemptions to circumvent court limits on new oil industry handouts. “This absurd maneuver is a blatant attempt to dodge the law at the expense of rural communities,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “EPA’s dashboard confirms that the refiners hope to rewrite years of history just to bypass the 10th Circuit Court and push more biofuels out of the marketplace.”


CoBank: Ethanol Industry Needs to Transform Itself

A new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange says the ethanol industry may have to diversify itself in the future. The report says excess production capacity and reduced demand will force the U.S. ethanol industry to “transform its business model to create more value and improve its operational efficiency.” CoBank predicts that consolidation within the industry will lead to larger and more financially stable companies with diversified ethanol co-product offerings by 2025. “While ethanol remains an attractive business with long-term potential, the industry will need to evolve and diversify beyond fuel ethanol,” says Kenneth Zuckerberg, CoBank lead grain and farm supply economist. “That diversity will need to include higher-margin co-products like high protein distillers’ grains for animal feed, liquid carbon dioxide for refrigeration, beverage grade alcohol, and other industrial products. COVID-19 led to businesses shutting down and people staying at home, causing significant ethanol demand destruction. The industry had one billion gallons of excess capacity at the start of 2020, with that number projected to rise to 3.9 billion at the end of this year before it settles to 2.4 billion at the end of 2021. Strong export growth would help reduce the excess, but current projections don’t support such an outcome.


Dairy Safety Net Signup Begins October 12 for 2021 Coverage

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency says safety-net signup for 2021 Dairy Margin Coverage begins on October 12th and runs through December 11th of this year. DMC has already triggered payments for two months for those producers who signed up for 2020 coverage. “If we’ve learned anything in the past six months, it’s to expect the unexpected,” says FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Nobody would have imagined the significant impact that current, unforeseen circumstances have had on an already fragile dairy market.” Fordyce says it’s during unprecedented times like these that the importance of offering agricultural producers support through the delivery of farm bill safety-net programs like DMC becomes readily apparent. As of June 15th, FSA has issued more than $100 million in much-needed program benefits to dairy producers who purchased DMC coverage for 2020. The DMC offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. More than 13,000 operations enrolled in the program for the 2020 calendar year.


Americans Support COVID-19 Aid for Farmers

Trust in America’s farmers and ranchers remains high amid the devastating blow delivered this year by COVID-19. A new poll conducted by the American Farm Bureau shows that 84 percent of Americans trust the nation’s farmers. That same number also supports financial assistance from the government for farmers struggling to keep from going under because of the pandemic. “The results of the survey indicate a growing understanding of how important a stable food supply is to the health and well-being of our nation,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. “Shortages at grocery stores and other food supply chain shockwaves caused by the pandemic gave many people a new understanding of the crucial role America’s farmers and ranchers play in their survival through COVID-19.” Duvall says it’s “heartening” to know that through it all, the American people’s trust in farmers is unwavering. Even more broadly, 59 percent of Americans also think that the federal government should classify U.S. agriculture as a matter of national security to ensure a stable food supply. USDA estimates suggest the decline in commodity value alone for 2019, 2020, and 2021 production totals almost $50 billion.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service