07-30-20 NFU: Agricultural Innovation Agenda Must Reflect Environmental and Economic Challenges Facing Farmers

NFU: Agricultural Innovation Agenda Must Reflect Environmental and Economic Challenges Facing Farmers 

WASHINGTON – As family farmers and ranchers cope with significant economic and environmental uncertainty, innovation will play a critical role in helping them continue to safely, sustainably, and reliably grow our food, fuel, and fiber for generations to come. In comments submitted today, National Farmers Union (NFU) Rob Larew recommended improvements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Innovation Agenda so that they better reflect the needs of the agricultural community.

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07-31-20 RMFU Supports RESILIENT Act…

RMFU Supports RESILIENT Act…

On July 28, 2020, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet introduced new legislation to dramatically improve how rural communities can secure federal support to develop new projects and invest in their infrastructure. The Reforming, Expanding, and Simplifying Investment for Local Infrastructure to Enhance our Neighborhoods and Towns (RESILIENT) Act empowers rural communities to upgrade their infrastructure by expanding technical assistance, strengthening local capacity, and improving access to federal funding. Check out what Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Dr Dale McCall said in support of the RESILIENT Act…

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RELATED PRESS RELEASE

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is a progressive, grassroots organization founded in 1907. RMFU represents family farmers and ranchers in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. RMFU is dedicated to sustaining our rural communities, to wise stewardship and use of natural resources, and to the protection of our safe, secure food supply. RMFU supports its goals through education and legislation, as well as by encouraging the cooperative model for mutual economic benefit. Learn more and become an RMFU member online at https://www.rmfu.org/ 

 

07-31-20 Khosla named head of K-State’s Department of Agronomy

Raj Khosla, Professor of Soil and Crop Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University, April 29, 2015

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Raj Khosla has been selected to lead Kansas State University’s department of agronomy beginning in January 2021.

For the past 21 years, Khosla has been on the faculty in the Department of Soil & Crop Sciences at Colorado State University, where he leads a thriving, globally recognized research, teaching and extension program in precision agriculture.

He has co-authored more than 100 refereed journal articles, book chapters, extension publications, proceedings and other publications.

“Dr. Raj Khosla comes to us with a tremendous reputation as a research scientist, accomplished teacher and rising administrative leader,” said Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. “Raj is an excellent choice as the next administrative leader for the Department of Agronomy and an ideal fit to inspire and focus the department toward strategic areas of unique global impact.”  

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07-31-20 ATTN: Colorado Conservation Districts: Colorado Monitoring Framework and the Ag Task Force Needs YOUR Input ASAP!

Attention: Colorado Conservation Districts…

Over the past few years, on behalf of the Colorado Monitoring Framework and the Ag Task Force, I have had the opportunity to speak with many of you on the issues surrounding the nutrient regulations adopted by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission and the potential impacts these regulations may have on agriculture. I appreciate many of you inviting me out to speak during your membership meetings and have enjoyed being able to bring information to you about the nutrient regulations and to learn about what sort of best management practices for nutrients are being implemented as well as some of the challenges associated with nutrient management. I wanted to take this opportunity to update everyone on the upcoming Water Quality Control Commission review of the nutrient regulations and to ask you for your help.

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07-31-20 CSU Ext: “Unsolicited Seed” by Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Agent

“Unsolicited Seed”

By CSU Horticulture Program Associate, Linda Langelo

If you have received unsolicited seed in the mail in a package, please do not plant them and do not throw them away.  Please see the links below, especially the link from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. We ask that any individuals receiving such seeds should follow the steps outlined by CDA: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/agmain/news/ag-department-asking-reports-unsolicited-seeds-received-mail-0

For additional information, here is information from the USDA-APHIS: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/sa_by_date/sa-2020/sa-07/seeds-china?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term

The United States Department of Agriculture does the following: Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 31st

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 31st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

NASDA: Senate Coronavirus Aid Falls Short for Agriculture

Negotiations to finalize the next coronavirus relief package in Congress are far from the finish line, and so is aid for agriculture, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. The Senate Republican proposal includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus payments for individuals, extends additional unemployment payments by $200 a week through September, and includes substantial funding for schools and COVID-19 testing, and $20 billion for agriculture. The discretionary funding would support agricultural producers, growers and processors. Not included in the Republican plan is additional funding for food and nutrition programs or dedicated funding for state departments of agriculture to respond to COVID-19 impacts. NASDA CEO Barb Glenn says, “This relief package falls short of meeting the needs of the food and agriculture community.” Further, Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, says, “Struggling Americans deserve better.” Stabenow says the Republican plan is “a non-starter” without nutrition assistance included.

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Lawsuit Challenges NEPA Rewrite

A coalition of environmental groups is challenging the Trump administration rewrite of the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. The Environmental Defense Fund, along with other organizations, call the rewrite an “attack” on Americans. Leading the legal challenge, an attorney at the environmental group Earth Justice, says, “They want to make it easier to silence people’s voices and give polluters a free pass to bulldoze through our neighborhoods. That’s why we’re taking them to court.” NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions before making decisions. The Public Lands Council says, however, the changes make the process more efficient. The updates establish presumptive time limits of two years for environmental impact statements and one year for environmental assessments. Ranchers who hold federal grazing permits are subject to NEPA reviews for many reasons, including renewal of a term grazing permit, construction of range improvements, or to become eligible for participation in Department of Agriculture conservation programs.

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Senator Booker: Current Food System Fundamentally Broke

A former 2020 presidential candidate says the nation’s food system is “fundamentally broken.” Addressing the National Food Policy Conference this week, Senator Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, says, “After this crisis, we simply cannot go back to business as usual.” Booker claims the food system is broken for supply chain workers, farmers, rural communities and from a public health perspective. Booker places blame on multinational corporations and industry consolidation. The lawmaker cited numerous bills he supports to reform the beef supply chain, including the Farm System Reform Act that would allow more bargaining power for ranchers. Booker also cited the Agribusiness Merger Moratorium act that would halt consolidation within the food system, along with the Climate Stewardship Act and the Local FARM Act. Booker, a self-described vegan, says, “We must create a better future where we phase out big factory farms and instead put our faith and support behind independent family farmers and robust local food systems.”

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House Ag Welcomes Two New Committee Members

The House Agriculture Committee Wednesday announced two new members, Chris Jacobs, a New York Republican, and Troy Balderson, an Ohio Republican. Jacobs won a special election in June and will serve the remainder of the term left by retired Congressman Chris Collins. Collins, a Republican, pled guilty to wire fraud and securities fraud last year, and resigned from his position. Jacobs previously served as a state Senator in New York and a county clerk. Balderson of Ohio was elected to the U.S. House in 2018, and takes the place James Comer, who will depart the Agriculture Committee. Balderson also serves on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and the Small Business Committee. In welcoming the pair to the committee, Texas Republican Representative and Ranking Member Mike Conaway stated, “Both understand the importance of supporting our farm families, and I look forward to working alongside Chris and Troy on behalf of rural America.”

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Dicamba-Resistant Palmer Amaranth Discovered in Tennessee

Researchers from the University of Tennessee report finding dicamba-resistant Palmer amaranth in the state. Results from greenhouse trials and in-field assessment report the level of dicamba resistance is relatively low, about 2.5 times. The level of infestation in any given field ranges from a small pocket where a mother plant went to seed in 2019 to an area covering several acres in a field. This would be comparable to the first documented glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth found in Tennessee back in 2006, where most were still getting relatively good Palmer amaranth control with glyphosate, while others were noticing escapes in their fields. Researchers say it’s not time to panic, however, say “it is time to reassess weed management.” Looking forward to 2021, the university says a pre-applied residual that is effective on Palmer amaranth is now a necessity.  Moreover, timely applications of Liberty must be used shortly after a dicamba application to remove escapes from coverage.

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American Lamb Board Partners with H-E-B

The American Lamb Board has partnered with the nation’s top consumer ranked grocery store, H-E-B, to promote the benefits of American Lamb through the H-E-B Health and Wellness program. The effort provides important visibility for American Lamb in Texas and sets the stage for potential future retail collaborations. With more than 350 locations throughout Texas, H-E-B is a major player in the grocery industry. The first step of the partnership was engaging and educating more than 70 H-E-B registered dietitians about the benefits of American Lamb to support their nutrition education efforts. In June, more than 1,000 H-E-B customers received an American Lamb recipe book sent directly to their homes.  Then, in July, H-E-B stores began an in-store promotion of American Lamb! H-E-B dietitians are including American Lamb on their “Pick Lists,” which feature selected products and a coupon offering $2 off assorted American Lamb cuts. This generated more than 7,600 coupon redemptions in just the first seven days of July. As of July 29, more than 14,300 coupons have been redeemed.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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07-30-20 Tri-State files exceptions to Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s Recommended Decision

Tri-State files exceptions to Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s Recommended Decision

  • Tri-State cites significant procedural, legal and policy flaws in Recommended Decision on complaints filed by two cooperative members over contract termination costs.
  • CPUC ALJ’s Recommended Decision fails to address jurisdictional issues, excludes affected parties and key testimony, and ignores due process requirements under Colorado law.
  • Tri-State asks CPUC to reject Recommended Decision and dismiss the complaints – or take steps necessary to conduct a new proceeding consistent with applicable law.

(July 30, 2020 – Westminster, Colo.) – – Citing a process and ruling plagued by numerous procedural, legal, and policy flaws, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association today filed exceptions to a July 10 Recommended Decision issued by a Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) administrative law judge (ALJ) on complaints filed by United Power and La Plata Electric Association.

In its filing of exceptions, Tri-State asked the CPUC to dismiss the complaint and reject the Recommended Decision, citing the decision’s failure to: address the key question of jurisdictional authority; develop a complete record as a result of excluding affected parties and key testimony from the proceedings; and recognize due process requirements, including the unfairness created by the CPUC being a litigant on the same issues at the federal level.

“The CPUC should dismiss the complaints because its jurisdiction to enter an order that directly affects Tri-State’s wholesale rate is preempted by the Federal Power Act,” said Tri-State Chief Executive Officer Duane Highley.

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07-30-20 CDA Activates Colorado Reporting Hotline for Unsolicited Seed Mailings

CDA Activates Colorado Reporting Hotline for Unsolicited Seed Mailings

BROOMFIELD, CO – July 30, 2020 – In response to numerous reports from across the state of people receiving unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail, the Colorado Department of Agriculture has activated a dedicated reporting hotline number. Those who have received unsolicited seeds in the mail are asked to call 303-869-9081 to report them. Reports of mailings may also be submitted via email at cda_nursery@state.co.us.

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USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for July 30th

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

Weekly Export Sales for July 30th

07-30-20 NFU: Renewable Energy an Opportunity for Family Farmers

NFU: Renewable Energy an Opportunity for Family Farmers

On-farm renewable energy and biofuels production can help farmers and ranchers establish economic and environmental sustainability and combat climate change, as Minnesota Farmers Union member and fourth-generation farmer Jim Falk told the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit  during a hearing held last week.

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07-30-20 National Farmers Union to Continue Work on Food Safety

National Farmers Union to Continue Work on Food Safety

As more consumers turn to local farmers and food businesses, National Farmers Union (NFU) is redoubling its efforts to give farmers the tools and information they need to protect consumers from food-borne illnesses and comply with food safety regulations.

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07-30-20 NFU: Senate GOP Introduces Pandemic Relief Bill

NFU: Senate GOP Introduces Pandemic Relief Bill

On Monday, more than two months after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its pandemic relief bill, Senate Republicans introduced their own version, the Heath, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act. The last major stimulus bill was passed in late March; some of its most significant provisions have already expired, will expire within days, or have run out of funding.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 30th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 30th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 50 Million Boxes Delivered

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Wednesday the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed over 50 million food boxes. The Department of Agriculture program supports American farmers and families affected the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering food boxes to needy families. Perdue says the milestone is a “testament to everyone’s hard work” on the program. The program supplies food boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat products and a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. Distributors package the products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need. The first round of purchases totaled $1.2 billion. The second round and current round aims to purchase up to $1.47 billion through August 31. The recently announced third round will use the remaining funds available to the program, up to $3 billion, and purchases will begin by September 1 and conclude at the end of October.

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Biden Releases Rural America Plan

Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign released Biden’s plan for Rural America Wednesday. The plan says Biden will pursue a rural economic development strategy that “partners with rural communities to invest in their unique assets.” The plan’s goal is to give young people more options to “live, work, and raise the next generation in rural America.” The plan seeks to pursue a trade policy “that works for American farmers.” That includes standing up to China to “negotiate the strongest possible position.” Biden also plans to support beginning farmers by expanding the Obama Administration’s microloan program for new and beginning farmers. Biden also wants to partner with farmers to make American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, giving farmers new sources of income in the process. Biden’s plan also calls for promoting ethanol, including investing $400 billion in clean energy research. The plan also says Biden will “use every tool at his disposal,” including the federal fleet and the federal government’s purchasing power, to promote and advance renewable energy, ethanol, and other biofuels.

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Purdue: Unsolicited Seeds Could Wreak Havoc on Agriculture

Growing concerns around unsolicited seeds prompt at least 28 states to issue warnings not to plant the seeds. Indiana joined the list of states this week, warning of the potential damage to agriculture. Don Robison, seed administrator for the Office of Indiana State Chemist, says, “The last thing we want is to spread a weed, invasive species or disease, and that’s a real risk if people plant these or throw them in the garbage.” Robison says there is potential for serious harm to everything from backyard gardens to commodity and specialty crops. Utah officials confirmed at least one noxious weed in seeds sent to a resident in the state. Weed seeds, invasive species and disease pathogens can spread rapidly, costing millions of dollars annually for just a single plant or disease, and cause billions of dollars of impact overall each year. The seeds may be part of a “brushing” campaign in which online retailers send out unsolicited packages and use the fake sales to improve the seller’s ratings in the marketplace.

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Beef Board Issues New Long-Range Plan

The Beef Industry Long Range Plan task force officially introduced its new five-year plan for 2021-2025 this week at the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting in Denver. Updated every five years, the Beef Industry Long Range Plan is designed to help the beef industry establish a common set of objectives and priorities. It communicates the industry’s strategic direction and provides insight on how the industry can serve its stakeholders by growing beef demand. Task Force leader Kim Brackett says, “We feel we’ve established some important priorities and strategies, as well as benchmarks for success that will help keep our industry on track through 2025 and beyond.” The plan seeks to grow global beef demand by promoting the benefits of beef, improve industry-wide profitability through expanding processing capacity, and increase research efforts on sustainability. The plan also seeks to make traceability a reality in the U.S. beef industry. The task force convened several times over the past year and considered all aspects of the industry when formulating the plan.

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Ernst to EPA: Make E15 Available at Every Pump

Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to make E15 available at every U.S. gas pump. Specifically, Ernst calls on EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to certify biofuel infrastructure for E15 and remove unnecessary labeling which will increase consumer access to E15. In a letter to Wheeler, Ernst writes, “You must act now to initiate a rulemaking process and follow through on this agreement to provide certainty to farmers,” citing COVID-19 pandemic losses. In May, Ernst led a bipartisan effort urging the Trump Administration to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard and reject requests for the RFS to be waived. Ernst is currently pressing the White House to support the biofuels industry through coronavirus relief. The oil industry, expectedly, disagrees. The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers claim EPA could mandate a full 15 billion gallons with zero small refinery exemptions, and the fuel supply would still only be able to accommodate about 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol.

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Legislation Would Incentivize Public Schools to Work With Farmers

The Small Farm to School Act seeks to create a pilot program to incentivize public schools to work closely with local farmers. The bill was introduced this week by Representatives Antonio Delgado, a New York Democrat, and Jim Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican. The legislation would create an eight-state pilot program where local public schools would be reimbursed at a higher rate for sourcing school lunches from small farmers under the National School Lunch Program. Specifically, the bill would provide a five cent-per-lunch subsidy when a component of the meal is sourced from a small, local farm. The cost of the subsidy would be split evenly between the federal government and the participating state. The Small Farm to School Act authorizes $20 million annually for the pilot in eight states. Delgado, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, says the legislation “will help form new partnerships that both assist our small farmers and the health of our young people.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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07-29-20 USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 50 Million Boxes Delivered

USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 50 Million Boxes Delivered

(Washington, D.C., July 29, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed over 50 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The delivery of 50 Million food boxes has helped an incredible number of Americans in need,” said Secretary Perdue. “I couldn’t be prouder of the great job done by the food box program staff and the many farmers, distributors and non-profits that helped to get this program off the ground for the American people. The Farmers to Families Food Box Program got off to a strong start, delivering over 35.5 million boxes in the first 45 days, and has now reached over 50 million boxes delivered – a testament to everyone’s hard work. I have been meeting with food banks and recipients across the country and it’s been heartening to hear all the positive feedback on how the program has saved businesses and fed Americans in need. We are well into the second round of deliveries and we’re working harder than ever to continue to build on the success of the program.”

“50 million Farmers to Families Food Boxes have brought fresh and nutritious food grown by great American farmers to those most in need during this pandemic. I am proud of the profound impact this program has had on strengthening our workforce and nourishing hungry families. We will continue to prioritize our Nation’s farmers, ranchers, workers and families through this robust new Farmers to Families Food Box Program,” said Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump.

You may view the Farmers Feeding Families Food Box Program video or on the image below to watch a highlight video of USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program in action across the United States:

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Continue reading

07-29-20 U.S. Senator Gardner Calls on USTR to Initiate Bilateral Trade Agreement Negotiations with Taiwan

U.S. Senator Gardner Calls on USTR to Initiate Bilateral Trade Agreement Negotiations with Taiwan

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, called on U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to immediately initiate meaningful negotiations between the United States and Taiwan on a comprehensive Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA).

“The United States bilateral economic relationship with Taiwan continues to grow and enjoys strong bipartisan support in Congress,” wrote Senator Gardner. “On October 29, 2019, the United States Senate unanimously passed S.1678, the Taipei International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, which calls on the Administration to ‘engage in bilateral trade negotiations with Taiwan, with the goal of entering into a free trade agreement that is of mutual economic benefit and that protects United States workers and benefits United States exporters.’”

Gardner continued, “Unfortunately, despite the most favorable environment for U.S.-Taiwan bilateral ties in recent memory, there has been no substantive progress on bilateral trade negotiations. I look forward to your reply and to working with you to make the U.S.-Taiwan BTA a reality in the 116th Congress.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below: Continue reading

07-29-20 CAWA Presents…Colorado Water Law – Part 1: The Prior Appropriation System

CAWA Presents…Colorado Water Law – Part 1: The Prior Appropriation System

This summer the Colorado Ag Water Alliance is putting together a series of interviews on water issues of interest to the agricultural community. These interviews are with water experts around the state and discuss everything from water law, water quality, and water use in agriculture. They will be playing on air and you can find them on their website in the resources section at coagwater.org

The first in the series features Aaron Clay, Attorney at Law and retired 26-year Water Referee for the Colorado Water Court, Division 4…

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The Colorado Ag Water Alliance (CAWA) is comprised of agricultural leaders from across Colorado committed to the preservation of agriculture through the wise use of Colorado’s water resources.  Members represent major facets of production agriculture, as well as partner organizations such as the Colorado Water Institute, Colorado State University, Colorado Department of Agriculture, and the Colorado Water Conservation Board.  Learn more online @ https://www.coagwater.org/

07-29-20 Dairy MAX and Trucking Companies Partner to Deliver More Than 200,000 Gallons of Milk to Local Food Banks Since May 2020

Dairy MAX and Trucking Companies Partner to Deliver More Than
200,000 Gallons of Milk to Local Food Banks Since May 2020

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – July 29, 2020 – Nonprofit regional dairy council Dairy MAX today announced that more than 200,000 gallons of milk have been distributed to regional food banks in an multi-state area since May 2020 as part of dairy farmer’s collective COVID-19 relief efforts.Dairy MAX represents more than 900 dairy farm families across eight states.
The organization made the decision to quickly assist with milk distribution at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, mobilizing to assist regionally. Specifically, dairy farmers hoped to help feed Americans in need, providing nutrition, fighting hunger and caring for neighbors. More than 37 million Americans are fed through the Feeding America network of food banks and pantries each year. However, due to COVID-19, 17 million more Americans are relying on this same network. (Source: Feeding America)

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07-29-20 CWCB Board Appropriates Himes Creek Water Right to Protect Rediscovered Cutthroat Trout Population

Colorado Water Conservation Board Appropriates Himes Creek Water Right to Protect Rediscovered Cutthroat Trout Population

July 29, 2020 (Denver, CO) – Earlier this week, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) received a water court decree for an instream flow water right on Himes Creek, located in San Juan National Forest, to protect a rare population of Colorado River cutthroat trout. This lineage of trout is native to the San Juan River Basin and was previously thought to be extinct.

“This instream flow water right on Himes Creek is one of the most significant that the Colorado Water Conservation Board has appropriated in the program’s history,” said CWCB Stream and Lake Protection Section Chief Linda Bassi. “CWCB staff, along with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service, consulted with leading researchers and scientists for the past two years to develop a strategy to best protect this extremely rare and at-risk species.”

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