READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, April 27th

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 Thursday, April 27th

White House Readies Order on NAFTA Withdrawal

Two White House sources told Politico that the Trump Administration is considering an executive order withdrawing the country from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Officials say the draft order has been submitted for the final stages of review and could be unveiled soon. Politico says the order could change in the coming days but seems to indicate an intent to withdraw from the sweeping deal by triggering the timeline set forth in the agreement. On the campaign trail, the President pledged to renegotiate the deal signed in 1994 by Bill Clinton. In recent weeks, Trump has increased his rhetoric by vowing to terminate the deal altogether. Pete Navarro, the head of the National Trade Council, drafted the executive order in cooperation with White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. The draft order could be a negotiating tactic but should Trump set the process in motion, the prospect of pulling the U.S. out of the world’s largest trade deal could become very real. Trump said he would renegotiate multilateral trade deals like NAFTA, which he called a “job-killer” and “the single worst trade deal ever.”


Iowa Ag Secretary on White House Ag Round Table

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey expressed his appreciation that President Trump would host the Agriculture round tablediscussion this week, especially because it’s still early in his administration. Northey says he was very encouraged by the discussion that took place. “The president clearly understands the importance of a strong agriculture sector in our nation. It’s great news that Secretary Perdue is in place at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will be a strong supporter of the effort to aid farmers, ranchers, and rural communities,” he says. Northey says the conversation was especially positive regarding items like reducing the regulatory burden on farmers, infrastructure updates, trade, and immigration. Northey, who was at the roundtable, said it’s clear to him that the president understands the need for a reliable workforce for agriculture and is committed to establishing a workable immigration system to fill that need. “My takeaway on trade is the president understands the importance of trade to agriculture and won’t risk undermining the advancements we’ve made in ag trade as they work with our trading partners to address other concerns,” Northey says.  


Possible Changes in Cotton/Dairy Policies Ahead

House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson tells Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report that he’s optimistic that the fiscal 2017 government spending package will include changes to the cotton and dairy policies in the new Farm Bill. He says those potential changes would provide more financial assistance to farmers. The Minnesota Democrat says he and other committee members have been talking with congressional appropriators for some time. Adjustments to the programs in the 2014 farm bill through the appropriations process now mean a Congressional Budget Office score of the 10-year price tag of the law will increase. That means lawmakers will have more funds to work with while they put together the 2018 farm bill. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition believes there’s another good reason for the deal to get done. Republicans that represent cotton states like Mississippi and Texas likely will find willing partners in Democrats that represent the biggest dairy states, including California, Wisconsin, and Vermont. Those willing partners likely include Senate Appropriations Chair Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican, and Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, the panel’s vice chairman.


Bill Introduced to Reform Biodiesel Tax Credit

Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, along with a bipartisan group of 14 other senators, introduced a bill that would be designed to reform the biodiesel tax credit and extend the new policy for three years. Grassley and Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell are the chief authors of the American Renewable Fuel and Job Creation Act of 2017. The act would extend the biodiesel tax credit for the next three years and reforms the incentive by transferring the credit from the blenders to the producers of biofuels. The switch would ensure that the tax credit would incentivize domestic production and taxpayers wouldn’t be subsidizing imported fuel. Biofuel imports have increased from 510 million gallons in 2014 to approximately one billion gallons in 2016. Foreign biodiesel can benefit from the existing tax credit as well as foreign subsidies, making it much harder for homegrown biodiesel to compete. Grassley says, “U.S. tax policy should support U.S. products and jobs.” Ernst added, “I’m proud to support his legislation with Senator Grassley, which will ensure that we’re not inadvertently supporting foreign-produced biodiesel.”


Red Meat Demand Remaining Strong

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent Cold Storage Report showed record reductions of beef and pork, which means demand for the products remains high. At the other end of the spectrum, chicken stocks remain historically high. A Meating Place Dot Com article says total beef in cold storage dropped 38 million pounds in March, the biggest drop in March since back in the 1970’s. The 40-million pound drop in boneless frozen beef also set a record for March. Pork also made some historic drops too. Bone-in ham stocks dropped by 21 million pounds, the biggest drop in those supplies in 20 years. Overall, frozen pork supplies were down 10 percent compared to March of 2016. Pork Belly stocks were actually up 27 percent from last month but still 68 percent lower than last year. Chicken stocks technically decreased three percent from last year, but Daily Livestock Report analyst Len Steiner says, “Those stocks are still high relative to historical norms, which will be a factor limiting industry production and expansion.” Turkey supplies were up 16 percent from March of last year, with the overall number of total frozen poultry supplies two percent higher than a year ago.


Farmers’ Share of the Food Dollar is Still Low

A Farm Journal report says some consumers may still look at grocery store prices and think farmers are making a lot of money off the commodities they produce. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report says for every dollar that consumers spend on food, farmers and ranchers get approximately 17.4 cents. The remaining 82.6 cents of every dollar goes to things like marketing, processing, wholesaling, transportation, and retailing. For example, for every pound of bacon purchased, the consumer spends $5.63 while the farmer earns 75 cents. Consumers will spend $3.99 for a pound of tomatoes and the farmer earns 29 cents. For every pound of lettuce consumers buy, they’ll spend $2.79 while the farmer earns a nickel. Lastly, an 18-ounce box of cereal will cost consumers $4.79 but the farmer will only earn a nickel. Compared to the retail price of most products, farmers will often only make pennies on the dollar. The food dollar series for the USDA’s Economic Research Service measures annual spending by consumers on domestically produced food.  


USDA Removes Database on Animal Mistreatment

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shut down a database that includes information about mistreated, injured, or killed farm animals. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service cited privacy concerns in taking down the website information. A CNN Dot Com article quotes an animal activist group saying the agency bowed to pressure from groups that don’t want the information so accessible. The USDA’s website had posted information that included official warnings, pre-trial settlements, administrative complaints, and inspection reports. An announcement from APHIS says the agency made the move to take out certain personal information from website documents involving the Horse Protection Act and the Animal Welfare Act. Michael Budkie (Bud-key), Executive Director of Stop Animal Abuse NOW!, says the information that was taken down already had redacted sections. “The documents they removed contain virtually no personal information,” Budkie says, “this is not about privacy.” He says the move was made due to pushback from industries that he says “exploit animals.” Documents that had been part of the website information must now be requested under the Freedom of Information Act, a process that can take months.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


04-26-17 ASA Applauds Introduction of Biodiesel Tax Credit Reform, Extension Act

ASA Applauds Introduction of Biodiesel Tax Credit Reform, Extension Act

WASHINGTON, DC (April 26, 2016)– The American Soybean Association (ASA) supports the work of Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Cantwell (D-Wash.) and the other 14 senators who today introduced bipartisan legislation to reform the biodiesel tax credit to a domestic production credit and extend the new policy for three years.

“This bill allows producers the security they need to grow their operations and will help to continue biodiesel’s success in diversifying the fuel market,” said ASA president and Illinois soybean farmer Ron Moore. “This tax credit and extension is vital to the industry’s continued growth, and will maximize the added value of domestic production of biofuels.” Continue reading

04-26-17 NCGA Urges White House: Don’t Withdraw from NAFTA

NCGA News Release logo

NCGA Urges White House: Don’t Withdraw from NAFTA

WASHINGTON (April 26, 2017) — The National Corn Growers Association today denounced reports that the White House has drafted plans to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The following is a statement from NCGA President Wesley Spurlock.

“Mr. President, America’s corn farmers helped elect you. We are strong supporters of your administration and continue to stand ready to work with you to build a better farm economy. That begins with strong trade policy. Continue reading

04-27-17 Statement of NPPC President Ken Maschhoff On NAFTA


Statement of NPPC President Ken Maschhoff On NAFTA

“The North American Free Trade Agreement has been a tremendous success for the U.S. pork industry, which has seen an explosion in exports to Canada and Mexico since the deal was implemented in 1994.

“In fact, Mexico and Canada are now our No. 2 and No. 4 markets, so we absolutely must not have any disruptions to U.S. pork exports there. Even a short-term interruption in our exports would have a significant negative economic impact on U.S. pork producers. Continue reading

04-26-17 Wheat Grower Organizations Alarmed About Possible NAFTA Withdrawal

Wheat Grower Organizations Alarmed About Possible NAFTA Withdrawal

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are alarmed over media reports today that the Trump Administration is considering a withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexico is our largest U.S. wheat buyer, importing more than 10 percent of all U.S. wheat exports this year. NAFTA truly opened the door to the strong and growing market opportunity in Mexico. Closing that door would be a terrible blow to the U.S. wheat industry and its Mexican customers.

USW and NAWG understand that there are several elements of the trade agreement that could be re-examined and modernized. However, we believe withdrawing from NAFTA would be a serious mistake. It could lead to new tariffs on U.S. wheat and threaten to undermine the long-standing, loyal relationship U.S. wheat farmers have built with Mexico’s wheat buyers and food industry. That would be devastating to U.S. wheat farmers already facing unprofitable prices and increasingly aggressive wheat exporting competitors. Continue reading

04-26-17 Soybean Growers Strongly Discourage NAFTA Withdrawal Order

Soybean Growers Strongly Discourage NAFTA Withdrawal Order

WASHINGTON (April 26, 2017) – Following reports Wednesday that an executive order is being prepared that would withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), American Soybean Association (ASA) President Ron Moore, a soybean farmer from Roseville, Ill., warned in a statement that such a move could have disastrous consequences for the nation’s leading agricultural export in light of the still-struggling U.S. agricultural economy.

“Without mincing words, initiating a process to withdraw from NAFTA is a terrible idea, and it will only mean a longer and more difficult struggle for farmers to recover in this economy. With surplus production and domestic prices lagging, we need more opportunities and easier avenues to sell our products abroad, and signaling the U.S. intent to withdraw from NAFTA runs absolutely counter to that goal. Soybean farmers sent more than $2.5 billion in soybeans, meal and oil to Mexico last year, making it our number two market overall and the leading purchaser of U.S. meal and oil. Canada is number three in meal sales and number 10 in oil. Add to that the sales of the meat, dairy and eggs that require soy meal as animal feed, our North American partners are unquestionably among the most vital and vibrant markets for American soybeans. Continue reading

04-26-17 USGC Statement On Potential NAFTA Withdrawal

 U.S. Grains Council Statement On Potential NAFTA Withdrawal 

Washington, D.C. – A statement from U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight:

“We are shocked and distressed to see news reports that the Trump Administration is considering an executive order to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“Mexico and Canada are among our largest and most loyal grain export markets, and our organization has worked closely with partners in both countries for more than 30 years. Continue reading

The Denver Cash Grain Bids…

Grain Elevator

Continue reading

04-26-17 DoI News: Secretary Zinke Announces Boost to Wetland, Waterfowl Conservation, Access to Public Lands Through Conservation Grants, Federal Duck Stamp Funds

Secretary Zinke Announces Boost to Wetland, Waterfowl Conservation, Access to Public Lands Through Conservation Grants, Federal Duck Stamp Funds

$38.8 million approved for wetland conservation projects; $7.8 million to conserve 2,629 acres on national wildlife refuges and open thousands of additional acres to public hunting

WASHINGTON — The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, chaired by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, today approved $17.8 million in grants for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve or restore more than 108,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds in 14 states throughout the United States. Representing Secretary Zinke at the meeting was Acting Deputy Secretary of the Interior James Cason.

The grants, made through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), will be matched by nearly $40 million in partner funds. NAWCA grants ensure waterfowl and other birds are protected throughout their lifecycles.

“Hunting and fishing are the cornerstones of Americans’ sportsmen heritage, and today, sportsmen and women are leading efforts in wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke. “The projects approved today by the commission will benefit hundreds of wetland and coastal bird species, other wildlife and their habitats, ensuring we have the ability to pass our shared heritage down to our kids and grandkids.”

Wetlands provide many ecological, economic and social benefits such as habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants. NAWCA grants conserve bird populations and wetland habitat, while supporting local economies and American traditions such as hunting, fishing, birdwatching, family farming, and cattle ranching. This year’s projects include: Continue reading

04-26-17 DoI News: “Finally, rural America has a voice again”

“Finally, rural America has a voice again”

Secretary Zinke Weighs In on President Trump’s Executive Order Directing Interior to Review of 20 Years of Monuments

WASHINGTON – Today, at the Department of the Interior headquarters in Washington, D.C., President Donald J. Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, signed the Antiquities Act Executive Order. The order directs Zinke to consult local governments and tribes in order to review national monuments created by the Antiquities Act since January 1, 1996, that are greater than 100,000 acres in footprint and report back to the President on suggested legislative or executive action, if applicable, within 120 days.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to declare federal lands of historic or scientific value to be national monuments by designating the “smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” Continue reading

04-26-17 Colorado Sorghum Producer Invited to the White House

Colorado Sorghum Producer Invited to the White House

Terry Swanson, Owner, Swanson Farms LLLP in Colorado

WASHINGTON, D.C. — National Sorghum Producers released the following statement in regard to a roundtable meeting held today with 14 farmers from across the nation, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and newly confirmed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

“We are proud of a former sorghum leader, Terry Swanson, who was given a seat at the table as a Colorado cattle rancher with the leaders of our country and the newly confirmed leader of USDA Sonny Perdue. Terry is a truly diversified producer, and he is an outstanding representative of U.S. farmers and ranchers during this historic time in Washington, D.C. This representation of a body of agriculture producers in the White House has not been seen since the 1980s, and the fact these producers received quality time with the President of our country is a positive step forward for agriculture.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 26th

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 26th

Perdue Off to Work as USDA Secretary

Newly minted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue ditched his coat and tie, and rolled up his sleeves Tuesday morning, getting to work at the Department of Agriculture during an address to USDA employees. Following Senate confirmation Monday, the former Georgia Governor was sworn in Tuesday morning by Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, also from Georgia. Perdue preached transparency, ethics and customer service, before heading to the White House to take part in a farmer roundtable and the signing of an executive order related to agriculture. Perdue will now head to the USDA Service Center in Kansas City, Missouri this week, and take part in a town hall Friday at the American Royal Complex hosted by the Agribusiness Council of Kansas City. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin has also asked the Secretary to visit Wisconsin, where dairy farmers are dealing with what they have called “unfair practices” by Canada.


Executive Order Creates New Agriculture Panel

An executive order by President Donald Trump creates a panel to look at agricultural issues. Ray Starling, a special assistant to the president on agriculture, says the executive order will sunset the White House Rural Council started under President Barack Obama in 2011. Trump’s White House will then restart a similar inter-agency rural task force to look at legislative, regulatory, or policy issues that hinder economic growth in agriculture, according to DTN-Progressive Farmer. The executive order, signed during a roundtable discussion with farmers and ranchers Tuesday, comes on the same day Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was sworn in. Starling says the new task force will work to promote agriculture, economic development, job growth, infrastructure improvements, technological innovation, energy security, and quality of life in rural America. The task force will be expected to produce a report within 180 days.


Trump Administration Imposing Tariff on Canada Lumber Products

The Donald Trump administration intensified a decades-old trade dispute with Canada this week, announcing tariffs up to 24 percent on imported softwood lumber. Bloomberg News reports the step escalates an economic battle among neighboring countries that normally have one of the friendliest international relationships in the world. It follows a fight over a new Canadian milk policy that U.S. producers say violates the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump said last week “we can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage” of the nation’s dairy farmers, while also mentioning lumber, timber and energy. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the tariffs came after the Commerce Department “determined a need” because of the “unfair Canadian subsidies” to the lumber industry. Canada fired back, saying the tariff is an “unfair and punitive duty” imposed on “baseless and unfounded” allegations. The U.S. and Canada have argued since the early 1980s over how much softwood lumber the country’s suppliers can sell in the U.S. and at what price. Canada has vowed to sue the U.S. over the tariffs, if needed.


Progress on Canada Dairy Issue

The Associated Press reports more farmers impacted by what they call unfair trade practices by Canada have found a buyer for their milk. A Wisconsin state officials told the Associated Press Tuesday that around 15 more farms have found buyers or have promising leads. If those deals go through, that means 20 to 25 of the 58 farms dropped by Grassland Dairy will still need to find other buyers by Monday. President Donald Trump Tuesday in referring to the trade dispute wrote on Twitter that: “We will not stand for this.” His comments were praised by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who said he spoke with Trump about the Wisconsin farmers seeking help after being dropped following a change in Canada’s pricing policy for domestic milk that evaporated the demand for U.S. milk. Trump’s tariff announcement on lumber products from Canada was seen as a response to the dairy issue. Walker said in a separate news release Tuesday that the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority is offering dairy farmers and processors better terms on loan guarantees from now until August, which could encourage processors to make investments to accommodate more milk.


Rural Economy Index Lower Again

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index remained weak with a reading below growth neutral for the 20th straight month, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and energy. Released last week, the index which ranges between 0 and 100, slipped to 44.6 from 45.3 in March. The last time the overall index was at or above growth neutral was August 2015. The farmland and ranchland-price index for April slumped to a frail 30.7 from March’s 33.0. This is the 41st straight month the index has languished below growth neutral. Meanwhile, the April farm equipment-sales index sank to a very weak 21.5 from 22.0 in February, the 44th consecutive month the reading has fallen below growth neutral. Borrowing by farmers soared for April as the loan-volume index advanced to a record 81.6 from last month’s 58.4. And, the confidence index, which reflects expectations for the economy six months out, slipped to 45.6 from 47.5 in March indicating a continued pessimistic outlook among bankers.


USDA to Study Antibiotics Use in Pork operations

The Department of Agriculture will begin a four-month study in May on how antimicrobials are used in U.S. swine operations. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the agency’s National Animal Health Monitoring System, along with the National Agricultural Statistics Service, is conducting a new data collection and reporting effort that will focus on antimicrobial use and stewardship practices on swine nursery and grower-finisher facilities with a capacity of at least 1,000 head. The study is part of USDA’s Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan released in 2015. The study will gather information on antimicrobial-use practices in 2016 before FDA’s implementation of policies that eliminated the use of medically important antimicrobials for growth promotion purposes in food-producing animals and required veterinary oversight of such antimicrobials in animal feed or water.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


04-25-17 RMFU: Farmers are Losing Ground, is the State Land Board Listening?

RMFU: Farmers are Losing Ground, is the State Land Board Listening?

The decision by the Colorado State Land Board and Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board to allow a gravel mining operation is “deeply disappointing” according to Dr. Dale McCall, president of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. The proposed gravel mining operation would be located east of Pueblo in the Arkansas River Valley and adjacent to the 1874 Bessemer Ditch.

“Farmers from the area showed up and spoke out about their concerns, yet they were effectively ignored by two state boards that could, and should have, given this more thought,” said McCall. “Farmers from this area have battled this before. It seems the priority is to put future development in front of farm families who have been working hard to make a living from the land for generations.” Continue reading

04-25-17 USDA Secretary Perdue Joins White House “Farmers Roundtable” as President Trump Issues Executive Order on Agriculture

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue joined President Trump for a Farmers Roundtable at the White House to discuss improving American agriculture.

USDA Secretary Perdue Joins White House “Farmers Roundtable” as President Trump Issues Executive Order on Agriculture

(Washington, D.C., April 25, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today joined President Trump for a “Farmers Roundtable” at the White House to address issues facing the American agriculture community, as the president signed an Executive Order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.  The roundtable discussion allowed representatives from all corners of American agriculture to raise concerns and share ideas, just as the task force begins its mission “to promote economic development and revitalization, job growth, infrastructure, innovation, and quality of life issues for rural America,” according to the president’s order.  The session capped a busy first day in office for Perdue, who was sworn in by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture before greeting employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and travelling to the White House for the roundtable.

“The people who are on the front lines of American agriculture don’t have the luxury of waiting to tend to their crops and livestock, so there was no better time to convene this meeting of the minds than on my first day,” Perdue said.  “President Trump has made it clear that addressing the needs of rural America will be a top priority, and the message that we want to send to the agriculture community is that we are here, we are working hard, and we are on their side.”

Farmers Roundtable Continue reading

04-25-17 Livestock Producers Gather for Colorado Livestock Association Annual Meeting

Nolan Stone, CLA President, addresses the membership at the Colorado’s Finest Celebration, an annual event held in honor of Colorado’s livestock producers and their commitment to providing safe, affordable and wholesome food for the consumer.

Livestock Producers Gather for Colorado Livestock Association Annual Meeting

Greeley, CO – Over 250 producers, industry partners, students, government and agency representatives met at the Colorado Livestock Association (CLA) Annual Meeting & Colorado’s Finest Celebration on April 5-6, 2017 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland. CLA’s Annual Meeting is one of the largest gatherings of livestock producers and trade show vendors in Colorado.

CLA Species Councils met to conduct business and discuss issues specific to their industries on Wednesday afternoon. In the evening, members mingled at the Welcome Reception and dined on exceptional cuts of beef, lamb and pork at the Colorado’s Finest Celebration, an annual event held in honor of Colorado’s livestock producers sponsored by Pinnacol Assurance. Continue reading

04-25-17 Food and Conservation Groups Invest in Soil to Sustain Food Production

Food and Conservation Groups Invest in Soil to Sustain Food Production

A national effort to enhance farm sustainability through soil health has additional backing from a major consumer foods manufacturer. Leaders from General Mills, The Nature Conservancy, the Soil Health Institute and the Soil Health Partnership announce a collaborative effort to advance soil health on America’s farms and ranches, paving the way for measurable economic and environmental gains for farmers, businesses and communities for generations to come.

Global populations are expected to grow to more than 9 billion by 2050, doubling the demand for food, fuel and fiber production and placing unprecedented stress on the health and viability of soils. To help ensure soil health, General Mills has made a three-year, $2 million commitment to The Nature Conservancy, Soil Health Institute and Soil Health Partnership to support the development of tools and resources for farmers, landowners, and supply chain leaders to achieve widespread adoption of soil health practices.

“Soil health is critical for everyone including farmers, farm communities, consumers, and companies,” said Jerry Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer at General Mills. “We are grateful to partner with farmers in our supply chain in their ongoing work to build healthy soils, and welcome further collaboration with all interested parties in the value chain.”

Collaborating across business, science and policy sectors will help achieve meaningful soil health outcomes more quickly and at an unprecedented scale. Specifically, these organizations will partner to: Continue reading

04-25-17 US Senator Bennet Statement Ahead of Antiquities Act Executive Order

US Senator Bennet Statement Ahead of Antiquities Act Executive Order

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today released the following statement ahead of President Trump’s anticipated Executive Order affecting the Antiquities Act:

“I will oppose any effort to dismantle the Antiquities Act,” Bennet said. “This is yet another example of Washington thinking it knows what’s best for Western communities. In Colorado, we made the case for national monument designations with thorough consultation and strong, bipartisan local support. Coloradans treasure public lands, which help drive our state’s thriving outdoor economy. Protecting these lands is a critical part of the legacy we pass onto future generations.”

04-25-17 Colorado Lt Governor Donna Lynne completes 64 County Tour…

Colorado Lt Governor Donna Lynne completes 64 County Tour…

(The BARN – Briggsdale, CO) — Tuesday, April 25, 2017 — Colorado Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne recently completed  her statewide 64 county tour this week. The tour focused on the “customer experience,” and how residents engage with government across many different services and locations in the state.

Topics included within the interview:

  • 64 County Tour & Lt Gov’s 4 favorite stops
  • Colorado Blueprint 2.0 Initiatives Update 
  • AmeriCorps Update 
  • 2017 FFA Convention : June 13-15 in Pueblo @ CSU
  • 2017 Pedal the Plains – Sep 15-17 thru  Kersey, Keenesburg, and Brush
  • And more…


To learn more about Colorado Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne – CLICK HERE


04-25-17 Sonny Perdue Sworn in as 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Sonny Perdue, with his wife Mary, takes the oath of office administered by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas in the U.S. Supreme Court Building, becoming the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Sonny Perdue Sworn in as 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

(Washington, D.C., April 25, 2017) – Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony today at the Supreme Court building.  The U.S. Senate confirmed Secretary Perdue by a vote of 87-to-11 on Monday evening.  After Secretary Perdue took the oath of office, he addressed employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) before getting to work on his first day.  Also this morning, USDA launched his official Twitter handle: @SecretarySonny.

“The only legacy that I seek is the only one that any grandparent or parent seeks – to be good stewards, and to hand off our nation, our home, our fields, our forests, and our farms to the next generation in better shape than we found it,” Perdue said.  “Making sure that Americans who make their livelihoods in the agriculture industry have the ability to thrive will be one of my top priorities. I am committed to serving the customers of USDA, and I will be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 25th

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 Tuesday, April 25th

Senate Confirms Perdue as USDA Secretary

The U.S. Senate Monday evening voted to confirm Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary, just shy of 100 days after his nomination announcement by then President-elect Donald Trump. The Senate voted 87 – 11 to confirm Perdue. The White House said over the weekend Perdue would be sworn in Tuesday and immediately begin work at the Department of Agriculture. Perdue and his family were in the Senate gallery during the vote. The confirmation is a long-awaited win for agriculture and farm groups who are dealing with trade issues with Canada over dairy, disaster relief efforts from plains wildfires, and beginning farm bill talks. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson told the Capital Press the former Georgia Governor will “have some catching up to do.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, also from Georgia, said in a recent editorial that the vote to confirm Perdue was “overdue,” adding “there’s important work ahead for the agriculture secretary.”


Trump Promises Ag Executive Order Tuesday

The White House over the weekend promised an executive order for agriculture. In a memo to reporters, the White House press office said President Donald Trump would hold a roundtable discussion with farmers on Tuesday, and sign an executive order to protect and provide relief for rural America. Details on the executive order are similar to the Rural Council established by an executive order by President Barack Obama in June 2011, according to DTN-Progressive Farmer. The expected Agriculture and Rural Task Force Executive Order would create an interagency task force to examine the concerns of rural America and suggest legislative and regulatory changes to address those concerns. Even before the Senate confirmation vote, the White House also said Sonny Perdue would be sworn in as Agriculture Secretary Tuesday.


AFBF Labor Expert Taking USDA Post

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s immigration and labor expert is heading to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. AFBF’s director of congressional relations for labor and immigration, Kristi Boswell, will serve as a senior adviser to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Boswell starts next month at USDA and Politico reports she will be working on labor and immigration issues. Boswell is a registered lobbyist and under Trump administration rules, may require a waiver to work on any issues that she previously lobbied on. Boswell grew up on a farm in southeastern Nebraska where her family raised corn and soybeans, according to AFBF.  Before joining USDA and AFBF, Boswell practiced corporate defense litigation in Nebraska and worked as a political aide for a Nebraska state senator.


U.S., EU, Opening Door to TTIP Talks

The European Union and the United States could soon be reviving negotiations of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over the weekend told the Financial Times reducing the trans-Atlantic trade deficit in goods is a top priority. The $146 billion trans-Atlantic trade deficit is only second to China’s $347 billion deficit. Ross was hosting the European Union’s trade commissioner Monday to discuss how to proceed with TTIP talks that were launched under the Obama administration. Politics, negotiations and the United Kingdom vote to leave the EU stalled the talks. But the talks will likely remain stalled as Germany has an upcoming election in September, and Ross said the first priority of the U.S. regarding trade is renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Ross expects a NAFTA agreement will be reached by mid-2018.


Syngenta Corn Lawsuits Underway

The first of several lawsuits filed against Syngenta is underway. Syngenta is facing dozens of lawsuits that claim a move by the company depressed corn prices in 2013. The farmers involved claim Syngenta’s selling of a corn trait that was not approved to export to China, and found in shipments of U.S. corn to China, depressed U.S. corn prices and cost farmers millions of dollars in lost sales, according to Bloomberg News. Syngenta denies that China’s rejection of its GMO seeds harmed farmers in any way, saying it was the huge corn crop in 2013 that pushed prices lower. In June, Syngenta faces trial in a class-action lawsuit brought by Kansas farmers seeking $200 million, plus punitive damages. Another trial involving Minnesota farmers claiming $600 million in damages is set for August. Winning the lawsuit may be a tough sell, according to an ag-policy expert, who said the company had a green light from U.S. regulators to sell the GMO corn and there was no requirement to wait for Chinese officials’ approval to market the trait to U.S. farmers. A lawyer for Syngenta called the claims “speculative, at best.”


NFU President Attends March for Science in D.C.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson spoke to thousands attending the Washington, D.C. March for Science over the weekend that also included former Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. Johnson spoke at the flagship march held in Washington, D.C., saying: “Farmers Union members are acutely aware of the important roles that science and science-based policies play in the success of American family farm operations.” Johnson says that by joining the March for Science movement, he hoped to “to highlight the need for life sciences research, science-informed policy, and effective communication of the latest advancements in science and technology.” Johnson called on the federal government to base policy on sound science and facts, noting that family farm operations are heavily impacted by federal policy. Johnson also said there should be more publicly funded, independent and peer-reviewed agricultural research to inform both farmers and policymakers. More than 70 percent of U.S. agricultural research is financed through private dollars. In a news release, Johnson noted that other Farmers Union leaders participated in marches in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service