READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, April 20th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, April 20th

Conaway Hopeful House Will Consider Farm Bill in May

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway is hopeful the U.S. House will consider the 2018 farm bill next month. Conaway told reporters he wants to bring the bill to the full U.S. House in May, but says the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act will be taking up time on the floor in coming weeks, according to Politico. The bill faces a partisan divide as no Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee voted in favor of the legislation earlier this week. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the bill does not include enough support for agricultural producers, and that the nutrition title proposals would waste tax payer money and increase hunger and poverty. In the Senate, Ranking Agriculture Committee Democrat Debbie Stabenow says the House version of the bill is “impossible to pass.” She alleges that House Agriculture Committee leadership has “abandoned” the broad, partisan coalition that passed the 2014 Farm Bill. Stabenow says she “remains committed” to working Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts to “write a bipartisan bill” that focuses on “farmers, families, and rural communities.”

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Trump: Not Interested in Rejoining TPP

President Donald Trump says “I don’t want to go back into” the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (sheen-zoh ah-bay) , Trump told reporters “the media has not covered the TPP correctly.” President Trump however did say that “if they offered us a deal that I can’t refuse, on behalf of the United States, I would do it,” according to the Hagstrom Report. The comments follow a previous statement by the President on Twitter that he would be interested in rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and comments made during a White House meeting last week, where farm-state senators say Trump told them his administration would explore rejoining the trade agreement. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who attended the meeting and confirmed the comments, added that rejoining TPP is the “best thing” the U.S. can do to “push back” against China. As for trade with Japan, Trump said he would prefer “a bilateral deal, a deal directly with Japan.”

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Japan-EU Trade Agreement Threatens U.S. Pork Exports to Japan

The Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service says a Japan-EU trade agreement threatens U.S. pork exports to Japan. Japan and the EU announced finalization of negotiations on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement in December of last year. For 2017, Japan imported $1.68 billion of pork from the U.S. and $1.69 billion from the European Union. Japan ranked as the world’s largest importer of pork and pork products in 2017, growing imports from $4.9 billion in 2016 to $5.2 billion in 2017. USDA says the trade agreement between Japan and the EU, similar to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, marks a change in trade with Japan eliminating tariffs on more than 60 percent of its pork and pork product tariff lines within 12 years. Additionally, the agreement has established a volume-based safeguard for EU pork imports that will be phased out over 11 years. USDA says larger exports of European processed pork products can be expected under the agreement, and USDA says agricultural exporters from the United States will face challenges as the EU gains preferential tariffs under the agreement.

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Northern Storms Easing Drought, Dryness Worsening in the Southwest

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows late-season winter storms are shrinking dry conditions in the northern Midwest and Plains states, but the southwest remains critically dry. Parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and further westward, are in prolonged extreme or exceptional drought, according to the latest report. As of April 17th, the two largest wildfires in Oklahoma had charred more than 300,000 acres of grass and brush and had destroyed more than 100 structures. Meanwhile, the report notes that Kansas wheat was recently rated 46 percent as poor to very poor. In Oklahoma and Texas, nearly two-thirds of winter wheat is rated poor to very poor. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service outlook for next week calls for the likelihood of near to below-normal temperatures across most of the eastern half of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will cover the West. Near to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in a few areas, including the Atlantic Coast States and central and southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains, according to the report.

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Baldwin, Ernst, Introduce Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network Bill

Senators Tammy Baldwin and Joni Ernst Thursday introduced legislation to fund the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. The two say the legislation will provide farmers with critical support and resources to respond to the difficult economic times. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found agricultural workers have a higher suicide rate than any other occupation. The Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental health and Encouraging Rural Solutions for Immediate Response to Stressful Times, named the FARMERS FIRST Act, will establish helplines, provide suicide prevention training for farm advocates, create support groups and reestablish the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. Senator Baldwin of Wisconsin says the legislation “will provide funding for local resources and expand access to stress reduction strategies and suicide prevention programs.” Ersnt of Iowa says “we must do more” to ensure farmers and ranchers “have access to the mental health resources and supports they need.”

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USDA Announces Senior Level Leadership

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Thursday announced the selection of senior leaders in several U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies. Perdue appointed Ken Isley as Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator, Joel Baxley as Rural Housing Service Administrator, and Martin Barbre as Risk Management Agency Administrator. In addition, Perdue announced the appointment of Tommie Williams as Minister-Counselor for Agriculture at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. Ken Isley most recently served as a Special Adviser for Corteva Agriscience. Joel Baxley comes to USDA with 23 years of real estate finance experience. Martin Barbre is an Iowa farmer and past president of the National Corn Growers Association and a member of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. Tommie Williams of Georgia started his career as a farmer and later founded several successful businesses. Secretary Sonny Perdue says the new appointees “will be key” in helping USDA advance towards President Trump’s goal of increasing prosperity in rural America.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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04-19-18 NFU Lauds Congressional Support for Long-term Farm Safety Net Solution to Potential Trade Damages

NFU Lauds Congressional Support for Long-term Farm Safety Net Solution to Potential Trade Damages

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent to President Donald Trump yesterday, twenty members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee urged the administration to support long-term solutions in the Farm Bill that would ensure an adequate farm safety net for family farmers and ranchers who are enduring a depressed farm economy and threats of retaliatory tariffs on farm products.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson lauded the letter, noting it mirrors Farmers Union’s call for the administration to work with Congress to develop a Farm Bill that protects family farmers from harm as a result of retaliatory tariffs. Johnson issued the following statement in support of the letter:

041918 House Farm Bill Tariff Letter Continue reading

The Denver Cash Grain Bids…

Grain Elevator

GL_GR110
Greeley, CO Thu Apr 19, 2018 USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News
 
Daily Grain Bids for Denver and Surrounding Areas
 
Spot bids to producers for grain delivered to terminal and country
Elevators. Bids dollar/bu. except for Barley which is dollar/cwt.
Bids are as of 3:00 PM MST.
 
Bids Change (cents)
US 1 Hard Red Winter Wheat 4.10-4.35 6 higher
Up to 12 percent protein
 
US 2 Yellow Corn 3.72 1 lower
 
US 2 Barley – – not available
 
Source: USDA-CO Dept of Ag Market News Service, Greeley, CO
Tammy Judson, Market Reporting Assistant (970)353-9750
24 Hour Market Report (970)353-8031
 
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04-19-18 An In Depth Look at the Colorado Crisis Services Program and how they can help YOU…

An In Depth Look at the Colorado Crisis Services Program and how they can help YOU…

An EXCLUSIVE interview with RMFU Fellow Catherine Russell about Colorado Crisis Services..help is just a call or TEXT away…

(The BARN / FarmCast Radio – Briggsdale, CO) April 19, 2018 – The agriculture economy at this time is facing some tough trials and many in the ag industry may feel that there is no one that they can talk to about their particular situation. That’s here the Colorado Crisis Services comes in. And joining the Colorado Ag News Network and FarmCast Radio to discuss that organization in more detail is Catherine Russell, RMFU Fellow…

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If you don’t know where to begin getting mental health, substance use or emotional help for yourself or someone you know—start here. Colorado Crisis Services provides confidential and immediate support, 24/7/365. If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call this toll-free number 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak to a trained professional.

04-19-18 Colorado Weekly Hay Report…

04-19-18 NASDA: State Ag Leaders Praise Introduction of FARMERS FIRST Act

NASDA: State Ag Leaders Praise Introduction of FARMERS FIRST Act

04/19/2018 – Following today’s introduction of the Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental Health and Encouraging Rural Solutions For Immediate Response to Stressful Times (FARMERS FIRST) Act by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) with Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) as original co-sponsors, NASDA CEO Dr. Barbara P. Glenn issued the following statement:

“NASDA applauds the bipartisan introduction of this bill to help individuals deal with the extreme stresses facing agriculture. This bill will enable farmers and ranchers to connect with real people who can help them through their uniquely stressful situations. The outreach services and trainings highlighted in this bill can reach producers regardless of where they are located and what they’re facing,” said Glenn. “State departments of agriculture are on the front lines with producers helping tackle these issues and the FARMERS FIRST Act will create needed coordination of these efforts.”   Continue reading

04-19-18 NFU Applauds Introduction of FARMERS FIRST Bill in Senate

NFU Applauds Introduction of FARMERS FIRST Bill in Senate

Legislation Would Reauthorize and Strengthen Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of Senators today introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to provide mental health resources in rural America to address the alarmingly high rate of suicide amongst farmers and ranchers.

The bill, Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental Health and Encouraging Rural Solutions for Immediate Response to Stressful Times (FARMERS FIRST), would reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) and authorize $50 million for the program, which has yet to be funded since being first authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. FRSAN provides grants to extension services and nonprofit organizations that offer stress assistance programs to individuals engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations. FARMERS FIRST is sponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and cosponsored by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

National Farmers Union (NFU) president Roger Johnson applauded the Senators on the introduction of the bill:

041918 Senate FRSAN Intro

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04-19-18 US Representatives Conaway and Thompson hosted Agriculture Audio News Conference Following Markup of 2018 Farm Bill

US Representatives Conaway and Thompson hosted Agriculture Audio News Conference Following Markup of 2018 Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. – Washington, D.C. – House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) and Vice Chairman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5) hosted an agriculture telephone news conference on Thursday, April 19th. Conaway and Thompson shared opening remarks regarding the committee markup of the 2018 Farm Bill and then took questions from reporters…

041918_USHouseAgCommitteeChairMikeConaway_FarmBillPresser Continue reading

04-19-18 NFU: E15 Waiver is Good News for Family Farmers

NFU: E15 Waiver is Good News for Family Farmers

 

After months of deliberations around and attacks on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), there is optimism in recent ethanol news; President Trump announced his support for the year-round sale of E15, or gasoline blends comprised of 15 percent ethanol, which had previously been barred from being sold in the summer. NFU applauded the decision, as it will cut into the corn supply and expand markets for American farmers. However, the organization also urged the administration to cut down other barriers that limit the use of high blends of ethanol and pushed for greater promotion of E30, which offers better economic, fuel economy and air quality benefits than do lower blends of ethanol.

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04-19-18 NFU: Current House Farm Bill Fails to Meet Needs of Family Farmers

Current House Farm Bill Fails to Meet Needs of Family Farmers — NFU Opposes Current Version, Suggests Significant Improvements

NFU President Roger Johnson

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Agriculture Committee today marked up the 2018 Farm Bill, H.R. 2, sending the bill to the full U.S. House of Representatives for its consideration.

National Farmers Union (NFU), the nation’s second largest general farm organization, opposes the legislation as it is currently written, as it fails to provide an adequate safety net to family farmers and consumers, fails to support the long-term sustainability of family farms and ranches, and fails to ensure fair and diverse markets for farmers and ranchers. In a series of recommendations released today, NFU urged House members to make significant improvements on the floor prior to passing the bill.

041818 House Farm Bill Markup

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04-19-18 Secretary Perdue Announces New Senior Leaders at USDA

Secretary Perdue Announces New Senior Leaders at USDA

(Washington, D.C., April 19, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the selection of senior leaders in several U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies. Perdue appointed Ken Isley as Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator, Joel Baxley as Rural Housing Service (RHS) Administrator, and Martin Barbre as Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator. In addition, Perdue announced the appointment of Tommie Williams as Minister-Counselor for Agriculture at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome.

“President Trump has made increasing prosperity in rural America a priority for his administration, and our new USDA team members will be key in advancing us toward that goal,” Secretary Perdue said.  “Improving economic conditions in rural America involves providing services to farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers, and it also means helping people who live in those communities.  In addition, we must continually try to find new markets for the agricultural bounty they produce.  Our new leaders in FAS, RHS, and RMA will help us carry out our mission.” Continue reading

USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for April 19th

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

Weekly Export Sales for April 19th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, April 19th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, April 19th

House Ag Committee Debates Farm Bill Draft

The House Agriculture Committee Wednesday approved the draft farm bill, with 26 in favor, and 20 voting against the bill. Democrats and Republicans squared off on the nutrition title, which Republicans are seeking to reform to include work requirements. However, Democrats argue the program changes may be too costly, and that the reforms are “not the right way” to help people get work. Georgia Democrat David Scott went as far to call the draft the “most terrible farm bill we’ve ever had.” In opening remarks, Ranking Democrat of the Committee, Collin Peterson, claimed the “flawed bill” is the result of a “bad and nontransparent process.” Chairman Mike Conaway argues that Democrats on the committee, who announced “unanimous opposition” to “partisan policies” regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, “had no interest in negotiating on the SNAP title.”  In his opening statement Conaway focused on the need for a new farm bill stemming from the current agriculture economy, and the lack of will by Democrats to negotiate SNAP.

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RFA: Early Evidence of Ethanol Demand Destruction

The Renewable Fuels Association says its found evidence that RIN waivers are destroying ethanol demand. The Environmental Protection Agency has been handing out hardship waivers “like candy,” according to refining executives. The waivers grant refiners a pass on RINs, the mechanism by which Renewable Fuel Standard compliance is tracked. Renewable Fuels Association executive vice president Geoff Cooper says the credits also provide a strong economic incentive for the expansion of ethanol blending beyond E10. Thus, when RIN prices collapse, “the incentive to expand ethanol blending is also weakened.” Cooper says the waivers and other actions by the EPA are rapidly destroying demand for ethanol and corn. A settlement with a bankrupt refiner, the waiver exemption, and failure to enforce 2016 statutory requirements, Cooper says, “effectively reduced the 2016 and 2017 RFS volumes each by one billion gallons or more.”

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Perdue Comments on China Sorghum Tariff

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Wednesday called the China announcement regarding U.S. sorghum this week “ludicrous.” China’s anti-dumping investigation has resulted in a 179 percent tariff on U.S. sorghum imports. Perdue says the move by China is “clearly a political decision,” add that the U.S. “rejects their premise.” Perdue goes on to say that U.S. sorghum producers are “the most competitive in the world,” saying the industry does not believe there is any basis in fact for China’s actions. National Sorghum Producers previously said the organization is “evaluating all legal options moving forward.” China is the largest buyer of U.S. sorghum products, purchasing more than $900 million worth last year. China launched the anti-dumping investigation in February. The move is seen as part of an ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

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Senators Call for National Security Review of Brazilian Acquisition of U.S. Beef Company 

A group of U.S. Senators are calling for a national security review of the Brazilian acquisition of a U.S. beef company. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, along with Ranking Senate Agriculture Committee Member Debbie Stabenow, and others, are urging the Committee on Foreign Investment to review the proposed purchase of National Beef Packing Company by Brazil’s Marfrig Global Foods. The Senators point out that the proposed acquisition follows a 2017 corruption scandal in Brazil’s food safety system that revealed unacceptable safety and quality issues with Brazilian beef intended for the American market, which included Marfrig Global. Citing the Smithfield acquisition by a Chinese company, and the ChemChina-Syngenta merger, the senators say “it has become increasingly clear that growing foreign investment in U.S. agriculture requires a thorough review process to safeguard the American food system.” The senators also asked the Treasury Department to include both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration in the reviews of foreign acquisitions of major U.S. agriculture assets.

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Coalition Works to Expand Rural Broadband 

A coalition of rural and farm groups are seeking to improve rural connectivity to broadband. The first in a series of workshops was held Wednesday at the Department of Agriculture. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai (Ah-jiht’ Pie) joined executives from the five partner organizations for the discussion. The coalition includes the Farm Foundation, The Rural Broadband Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, CoBank, and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation. Farm Foundation President and CEO Constance Cullman says: “Actions needed to improve e-connectivity vary widely by community and region,” adding that the listening sessions will “highlight common issues,” and challenges. The stakeholders emphasized the need for collaborative efforts to enhance broadband services in rural America. The next listening session will be in June 2018 in Minnesota, with additional sessions to be completed over the next six months.

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Universities Create FedbyScience Initiative

A total of 16 public and private universities have joined together to create FedByScience, an effort to boost federal investment in agricultural research. The initiative, timed with the release of the 2018 House farm bill, focuses on demonstrating the ways that U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded universities and researchers are creating a safer, healthier and more productive food system. FedByScience launched April 18th with briefings for Senate and House staffers. The effort tells stories in which scientific discoveries and innovations have improved the way food is produced and distributed. FedByScience co-chair Ronnie Green, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says the universities are joining together to ensure “our stories about the value of food and ag research are heard.” Other participating universities include Colorado State, Cornell, Iowa State, Kansas State, Michigan State, New Mexico State, North Carolina State, Purdue, Texas A&M, the University of California-Davis, the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Washington University in St. Louis.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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04-18-18 Brad Wind named Northern Water general manager

Brad Wind named Northern Water general manager

BERTHOUD – Colorado native Brad Wind has been chosen to lead Northern Water as the organization’s sixth general manager in its 81 year history.

Wind, who most recently had served as the assistant general manager, Administration Division, was formally named to the position April 6 by the Northern Water Board of Directors.

Wind joined Northern Water in 1994 as an engineer and previously served as the organization’s assistant general
manager, Operations Division. Wind holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from University of California at Davis and bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering
and agricultural engineering from Colorado State University.
Wind grew up in Northeastern Colorado, the area served by Northern Water. He was raised on a farm in Washington County and graduated from Brush High School. Continue reading

04-18-18 OP-ED: Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, Don Brown “Access to International Trade Critical for Colorado Ranchers and Farmers”

OP-ED: Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, Don Brown “Access to International Trade Critical for Colorado Ranchers and Farmers”

April 17, 2018 – If you live in Colorado, or if your business is touched in any way by any aspect of the agricultural industry, the ongoing national discussion about trade agreements and import tariffs should mean a lot to you. Colorado farmers and ranchers understand that there are a lot of things like weather and market price fluctuations that we can’t control. But we can make every effort to create new market opportunities and expand the global partnerships we have worked so hard to develop for our products.

We all need to work together to protect our state’s position in international markets. The Colorado farm community can’t afford to wait quietly for Washington to put forth a comprehensive trade strategy.  While we wait, our global competitors are moving aggressively to formalize trade pacts to put them at a competitive advantage to the U.S. It’s not right to force our hard-working farmers and ranchers to stand idle while this political drama plays out. Continue reading

04-18-18 CDA: State Veterinarian’s Office Investigates Colorado Equine Herpesvirus Case

CDA: State Veterinarian’s Office Investigates Colorado Equine Herpesvirus Case

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – On April 18, 2018, the State Veterinarian’s Office was notified that a Weld County horse tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1).  This time of year typically kicks off horseback riding, jackpots, horse shows, and a number of other horse events and the Colorado Department of Agriculture reminds horse owners that there are a number of steps to protect their horses this season.
Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1)
CDA is investigating the positive case and has placed the stabled area of the facility where the horse is housed under quarantine. The horse is undergoing treatment and others it may have come into contact with are being monitored but are not showing clinical signs of the disease at this point. At this time, the affected horse that showed clinical signs of disease is recovering.
“The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact but it can also spread through the air, contaminated equipment, clothing and hands; this certainly highlights the importance of practicing basic biosecurity practices,” said State Veterinarian,  Dr. Keith Roehr. “Equine event organizers should continue to practice routine biosecurity practices that are effective in the prevention of EHV and other horse diseases as well.”

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04-18-18 Inside the BARN and FarmCast Radio with CSU’s Mark Enns: 50th BIF Annual Meeting and Research Symposium & More…

Inside the BARN and FarmCast Radio with CSU’s Mark Enns: 50th BIF Annual Meeting and Research Symposium & More…

R Mark Enns, Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University

Pre-Register for the event by May 31st and Save $80

Hotel Reservations due by May 20th

April 18, 2018BRIGGSDALE, CO – For 50 years the Beef Improvement Federation has hosted their annual research symposium and convention, which serves to facilitate discussion and provide education on current issues facing the beef industry. The event will be held, June 20-23 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center Hotel in Loveland, Colorado. Joining FarmCast Radio & the Colorado Ag News Network to discuss the event in more detail is Colorado State University Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences Mark Enns

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50th Beef Improvement Federation’s Research and Improvement Symposium June 20-23 @ the Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO, for complete details, including registration and hotel information, please visit https://beefimprovement.org/library/general-information

To learn more about the National Beef Quality Assurance please visit https://www.bqa.org/

And to learn about Colorado Beef Quality Assurance please visit http://www.cobqa.org/

Lastly, to learn more about Colorado State University’s Animal Sciences Department please visit http://ansci.agsci.colostate.edu/

CLICK HERE to learn more and to get registered…

ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 18th

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY's BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer...

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 4th

Farmers Have Other Concerns Than Farm Bill

Farmers are more concerned with trade and being burdened with overregulation, rather than the farm bill, according to one U.S. Senator. Republican Roy Blunt of Missouri said during a Senate hearing last week that “the farm bill never came up” during a recent listening session with farmers in his state, as pointed out by the Food and Environment Reporting Network. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Congress that low commodity prices, slumping farm income, attacks on the ethanol industry and a possible trade war are all causing anxiety in farm country. Perdue says those issues “have overshadowed” farm bill discussions, even as the House Agriculture Committee released its draft of the farm bill last week with markup of the bill this week. Meanwhile, House Agriculture Ranking Democrat Collin Peterson described the farm bill to reporters last week as the fifth item farmers bring up right now. Peterson says “some groups never bring up the farm bill,” and instead focus on the other issues impacting agriculture.

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Ending Payment Limits Could Cause Farm Consolidation

The farm bill draft released by the House Agriculture committee includes provisions that “would reverse decades of precedent,” and usher in an era of “unlimited farm subsidies for the nations largest mega-farms,” according to the National Sustainable Ag Coalition. The coalition calls the farm bill a “brazen attempt to undo years of statute for the benefit of the nation’s largest farm operations.” The bill, according to the coalition, would exempt most corporate farms from being limited to a single payment, and make it easier for large farms to reorganize as family farms. The coalition also says the draft would remove payment limitations from marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments, and exempt partnerships, joint ventures, LLCs and Subchapter S corporations from the adjusted gross income means-testing provision. The coalition alleges that current rules already “allow for rampant abuse of subsidy payments,” making the reforms in the farm bill draft “unconscionable.” The coalition is urging the House Committee to reject in its entirety the proposed changes to payment limitation and AGI provisions in the draft.

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Thune Seeks Livestock Indemnity Program Changes

South Dakota Senator John Thune has asked the Department of Agriculture to make urgent changes to the Livestock Indemnity Program to assist farmers and ranchers. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Thune says a series of winter storms across the upper Midwest in March and April, the peak lambing and calving months for many livestock producers, has taken their toll on young livestock in several states. Thune alleges that some producers have been denied assistance through the program, as USDA says the producers lacked proper management protocols and failed to properly care for livestock before, during or after the weather events. Thune is asking that USDA allows a statement or certification from a licensed veterinarian that an applicant’s livestock died due to a weather-related cause. Thune also asked USDA to allow state Farm Service Agency committees to approve applications in the program, with state committee’s having the final approval. Thune says local veterinarians and committee’s “are considerably more familiar with the management practices of applicants” to the program, and are better able to make accurate determinations.

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Ethanol Organizations Applaud Japan Policy Shift To Allow Use Of U.S. Ethanol

Ethanol and trade groups are applauding the news that Japan will allow imports of a gasoline additive made from U.S. corn-based ethanol. The change comes as part of  Japan’s update of its existing sustainability policy, approved in 2010, in which only sugarcane-based ethanol was eligible for import and which only allowed sugarcane-based ethanol for the production of ETBE, an oxygenate for gasoline. U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight says the decision shows “continued improvements in carbon intensity reductions are critical to gain and maintain market access for U.S. ethanol.” The new policy calls for an increase in the carbon intensity reduction requirements of ethanol used as a feedstock to make ETBE meet a 55 percent reduction, up from 50 percent, and recognizes corn-based, U.S.-produced ethanol’s ability to meet that goal, even with the higher greenhouse gas reduction standard. Japan will now allow U.S. ethanol to meet up to 44 percent of a total estimated demand of 217 million gallons of ethanol used to make ETBE, or potentially 95.5 million gallons of U.S.-produced ethanol annually

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National Sorghum Producers Disappointed in China Antidumping Determination

National Sorghum Producers expressed the organization is “deeply disappointed” in the preliminary antidumping determination issued by China’s Ministry of Commerce. China slapped a 179 percent tariff on U.S. sorghum imports. China is the largest buyer of U.S. sorghum products, purchasing more than $900 million worth last year. National Sorghum Producers released a statement Tuesday, saying U.S. sorghum producers and exporters have not caused any injury to China’s sorghum industry. NSP says it has submitted “several thousand pages of data demonstrating conclusively that U.S. sorghum is neither dumped nor causing any injury to China.” The organization says the decision in China reflects a broader trade fight in which U.S. sorghum farmers are the victim, not the cause. Further, NSP says the organization is “evaluating all legal options moving forward.”

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Farm Groups Show Unity in Addressing Opioids

The presidents of the nation’s two largest general farm organizations Tuesday visited the “Prescribed to Death” opioid memorial in Washington, D.C., in a show of unity to address the national opioid epidemic that is disproportionately affecting farming communities. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson joined Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The three toured the exhibit, which memorializes the 22,000 people who died from a prescription opioid overdose in 2015. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says of the opioid epidemic, “we all need to talk about this problem to get help for those we care about.” NFU President Roger Johnson stated farming communities can overcome the epidemic if “local communities and local governments make it a priority. ”A survey by the two organizations in late 2017 found that just under half of rural Americans say they have been directly impacted by opioid abuse, while 74 percent of farmers and farmworkers say they have.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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04-17-18 NFU: Farm Leaders Visit Opioid Memorial in Show of Unity

(L-R) AFBF President Zippy Duvall, USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Ann Hazlett and NFU President Roger Johnson at the “Prescribed to Death” Opioid Memorial

NFU: Farm Leaders Visit Opioid Memorial in Show of Unity

WASHINGTON – The presidents of the nation’s two largest general farm organizations today visited the “Prescribed to Death” opioid memorial in Washington, D.C., in a show of unity to address the national opioid epidemic that is disproportionately affecting farming communities.

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall and National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson joined Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The three toured the exhibit, which memorializes the 22,000 people who died from a prescription opioid overdose in 2015. Continue reading

04-17-18 Ethanol Market Development Organizations Applaud Japan Policy Shift To Allow Use Of U.S. Ethanol

Ethanol Market Development Organizations Applaud Japan Policy Shift To Allow Use Of U.S. Ethanol 

Houston, Texas – The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Growth Energy and their member organizations welcome the news Tuesday that the Japanese government’s new biofuel policy will allow imports of ETBE made from U.S. corn-based ethanol. Continue reading