READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, March 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 Monday, March 27th

Ag Groups Divided on Healthcare Reform

Two of the bigger Agriculture groups are divided on the Republican plan (American Health Care Act) to replace the Affordable Care Act. Politico’s Morning Agriculture report says American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall sent a letter to Congress asking House members to pass H.R. 1628. Duvall said Farm Bureau believes the primary responsibility for health care lies with individuals. “We support repeal of mandates that require individuals to purchase insurance and employers to cover their employees,” Duvall said. “Instead, we support a system that incentivizes people to plan for their health care needs and provides for those who are unable to pay for health care themselves.” National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson also sent a letter to House members this week, asking them to not pass the bill. Johnson doesn’t agree with the new plan’s proposal to base subsidies on age instead of income. “In 2012, 75 percent of farms sold less than $50,000 in agricultural products and 57 percent had sales less than $10,000,” Johnson noted. “Young farm families that don’t receive additional income or health benefits from off-farm jobs would find it extremely difficult to purchase health insurance.” Additionally, he says the proposed legislation would also hurt older farmers, saying, “The easing of restrictions on what insurance companies can charge older customers will offset the larger subsidies offered to older farmers.”

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National Chicken Council Wants GIPSA Rules Withdrawn

The National Chicken Council filed comments with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration that explained why the interim and final rules proposed are bad for their industry. The NCC calls the rules “ill-advised,” saying they would cost American agriculture billions of dollars in economic damage, exceed GIPSA’s authority, and represent an arbitrary abuse of federal authority. NCC President Mike Brown says in the comments that GIPSA failed to provide any justification for the sweeping rule changes forced upon the poultry industry. “GIPSA doesn’t explain what benefits would offset the billions of dollars in harm this will cause the American economy,” Brown says. “The agency also fails to take into account the negative effect on consumers, innovation, competition, and even food safety.” Brown says his organization is particularly concerned about a potential storm of litigation that may result from the new rules. He says the new rules appear designed to create uncertainty and litigation, saying that even GIPSA admits costly litigation will ensue. Eight different Courts of Appeals have rejected a key part of the new rules which say a litigant would need to prove competitive injury to demonstrate a violation.

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Iowa Legislature Passes Bill to Limit Nuisance Livestock Lawsuits

The Iowa Legislature recently passed a bill that would put a limit on some damages associated with what it calls “nuisance” livestock lawsuits. Republican Representative Chip Baltimore is the bill’s floor manager, who says Senate File 447 would limit the amount of risk that comes with running a farm and livestock operation for those who are consistently good farmers. The limits on lawsuits would put a cap on some damages. However, those limits don’t apply to consistent offenders or farms that violate environmental regulations. Baltimore says, “This is an agricultural state. We want to foster a healthy agricultural environment so our kids and grandkids can come back and continue the legacy of agriculture. That’s what this bill does.” However, Democrats in the Iowa Legislature are worried that the legislation would protect factory farms while limiting Iowa homeowners ability to receive fair compensation. The bill was approved 60 to 39 and now heads to Governor Terry Branstad.

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Black Market Hackers Selling Tractor Repair Software Illegally

A battle is brewing in at least eight states over “right-to-repair” legislation. Tractors have gone high tech and often require software downloads to aid in the repair process. Fox News Tech Dot Com reports that software hackers overseas are creating and selling hacks to John Deere software. Local repair shops in America’s farm country are downloading the hacks and using them to repair the company’s tractors. The article says when farmers are in crunch-time, like harvest, they usually don’t have time to wait for a dealership employee to come out and authorize a download to help with repairs. But farmers who buy John Deere equipment have to sign a license agreement that doesn’t allow virtually all types of unauthorized repair and modification to the software embedded in most of the new machines. The agreement allows repairs to the actual machinery but no work on the software.  Nebraska is one of eight states considering the “right-to-repair” legislation that would invalidate the John Deere licensing agreement. It would also prevent farmers from suing for “crop loss, lost profits, loss of goodwill, or loss of use of equipment arising from the performance or non-performance of any aspect of the software.” John Deere is against the legislation, noting that any non-authorized modifications to the software increase the risk that the machinery won’t work as designed.

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JBS Suspends Brazil Product After Meat Scandal

The world’s biggest packer, JBS, suspended meat production at 33 of its 36 meatpacking plants in Brazil as countries continue to ban Brazilian beef due to the corruption scandal and ongoing investigation. Reuters is reporting that a Brazil police investigation is alleging that multiple meat processors bribed inspectors to turn a blind eye to unsanitary or irregular activity. Those activities are causing challenges to the condition of Brazil’s meat exports. JBS is one of the dozens of firms that police are looking into as part of the ongoing meat investigation, but the company admits to no wrongdoing. Countries that have implemented full or partial bans on Brazilian meat include Egypt, China, Mexico, Canada, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Chile. The United States Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued no ban on beef products from Brazil. However, the service has put pathogen testing in place and increased the examination of all imports of raw beef and ready-to-eat products coming in from Brazil. Donald Trump’s nominee for Ag Secretary, Sonny Perdue, said at his confirmation hearing that he wouldn’t call for a ban either, fearing retaliation from other countries against American agricultural products.

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Study: 82% of U.S. Households Buy Organic Regularly

A recent study by the Organic Trade Association finds that 82 percent of U.S. households in the lower 48 states buy organic products regularly. The Association says those findings build a strong case for continued U.S. Department of Agriculture funding under incoming secretary Sonny Perdue. Laura Batcha (Bat-cha), CEO and Executive Director of the Association, says, “The organic community is looking forward to working with new leadership coming into the USDA.” She says they’re looking forward to showing how important adequate funding is to keep a strong organic program moving forward and to help organic become a part of healthy diets across the country. The survey results showed the five states where organic is growing the fastest include North Dakota, Rhode Island, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The Association says organic accounts for 5 percent of total food sales, amounting to $40 billion in annual spending.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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“This Weekend Inside the BARN” Weekly Radio Show

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The Denver Cash Grain Bids…

Grain Elevator

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03-24-17 WGCD Second Scholarship Opportunity

03-24-17 WGCD Scholarship Opportunity

03-24-17 WGCD: New Funding Partnership Developed for Agricultural Producers

03-24-17 Get Ready, Get Set For Camp Rocky 2017 in Divide this July!

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Get Ready, Get Set For Camp Rocky in Divide this July!

Attn: Youth – Make your summer plans for 2017 Camp Rocky

Greeley, CO – The 54th Camp Rocky is an educational week long, residential camp adventure for youth 14 to 19 year old who enjoy the outdoors and are interested in natural resources. The Camp will be July 9-15 just outside Divide, Colo., about 45 minutes west of Colorado Springs. Camp Rocky’s professional staff helps participants learn about their environment through hands-on experiences. The student participants are put into teams to tackle various projects related to:

  • Forest Management
  • Rangeland Science
  • Soil and Water Conservation
  • Fish and Wildlife Management

Continue reading

03-24-17 USDA/NASS-CO: Cattle on Feed

CATTLE ON FEED

COLORADO

The umber of cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Colorado feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger was estimated at 910,000 head as of March 1, 2017. The latest inventory was 1 percent above last month’s inventory and up 2 percent from the March 1, 2016 inventory. Cattle feeders with 1,000 head or larger capacity marketed an estimated 165,000 head of fed cattle during February 2017. This was 6 percent below the previous month’s marketings but 7 percent above marketings one year earlier. An estimated 180,000 head of cattle and calves were placed on feed during February, no change from the previous month but up 6 percent from February 2016 placements. Of the number placed in February, 14 percent weighed less than 600 pounds, 22 percent weighed from 600 to 699 pounds, 28 percent weighed from 700 to 799 pounds, 25 percent weighed 800-899 pounds and 11 percent weighed 900 pounds or greater. Other disappearance for February, at 5,000 head, was unchanged from last month and last year.

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03-24-17 CO Ag Council: Cook-off competition at the Capitol highlights Agriculture Week in Colorado

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CO Ag Council: Cook-off competition at the Capitol highlights Agriculture Week in Colorado

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO COURTESY OF STORMY PRODUCTIONS

The “most popular event under the Golden Dome” was once again a success, as Gov. John Hickenlooper, state officials, the media and others took part in a well-deserved “thank you” to Colorado’s farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses during Agriculture Day at the Capitol on Wednesday.  

With an estimated 900 people in attendance, the event was highlighted by a cook-off competition that featured the teaming up of local chefs, lawmakers and ag representatives, creating dishes with Colorado-grown foods.

The day also included remarks from Gov. Hickenlooper, Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown, Senate Ag Committee Chair Jerry Sonnenberg, House Ag Committee Chair Jeni Arndt, and Colorado Agriculture Council Chair Julie McCaleb. Continue reading

03-24-17 CPW aids eastern plains landowner after fire

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CPW aids eastern plains landowner after fire

DENVER–Earlier this week, Colorado Parks & Wildlife provided support to an eastern plains neighbor who experienced damage due to the Haxtun Fire by donating approximately 66 bales of hay to help the family feed their livestock in the coming months.

“As neighbors and land managers as well, we recognize that wildfires like the recent Haxtun, Logan and Sandhill fires can have a devastating impact,” said Todd Schmidt, Area Wildlife Manager for Brush (Area 3). “We realized we have hay bales stored that could really help the community during this difficult time and now we got to work in getting those resources moved down where they are most needed.” Continue reading

03-24-17 NPPC Asks USDA To Abandon GIPSA Rules

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NPPC Asks USDA To Abandon GIPSA Rules

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 24, 2017 Citing grave concerns that they would “cause serious harm to the pork industry,” the National Pork Producers Council in comments submitted today said the U.S. Department of Agriculture should not finalize – or at least exempt pork producers from – regulations related to the buying and selling of livestock.

According to NPPC, the so-called Farmer Fair Practices Rules – an interim final rule and a proposed regulation – would “enable a torrent of lawsuits against members of the pork industry,” replace carefully negotiated contracts with standard terms that are unworkable, ignore crucial differences among the various sectors of the meat industry and raise serious constitutional concerns under the First Amendment.” The regulations were issued in the last weeks of the Obama administration by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

“GIPSA’s one-size-fits-all approach would restrict livestock transactions, lead to consolidation of the livestock industry – putting farmers out of business – and increase consumer prices for meat,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “These regulations could impose staggering costs on the pork industry. The only people who would benefit from this heavy-handed government intrusion in the hog market are trial lawyers.” Continue reading

03-24-17 Colorado Springs Stormwater Efforts Showcased at Arkansas River Basin Water Forum

Colorado Springs Stormwater Efforts Showcased at Arkansas River Basin Water Forum

Some called it “Miracle May,” but the rains in the spring of 2015 exacerbated problems left behind by wildfire in one of Colorado Springs’ top tourist draws, Garden of the Gods Park.

The ongoing work on the Camp Creek Drainage Improvement Project will be among El Paso County programs highlighted during afternoon tours at this year’s Arkansas River Basin Water Forum, April 26-27 at Hotel Elegante, 2886 S. Circle Drive, Colorado Springs. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 24th

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 Friday, March 24th

Senate Ag Committee Talks with Perdue

Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue appears to have won over the Senate Agriculture Committee and is headed for confirmation by the full Senate, after the committee votes to move Perdue forward. During a confirmation hearing Thursday, Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow announced intentions to vote for the former Georgia Governor to become the next to lead the Department of Agriculture. Much of the hearing focused on what Perdue plans to do as Agriculture Secretary, rather than his qualifications for the job. The hearing came 73 days after President Donald Trump made his final Cabinet selection, being Perdue, a day before Trump’s inauguration. The Committee will hold a separate business meeting to vote on the nomination and has yet to schedule the meeting.

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Margin Protection Program Fix Costly

Dairy groups are asking Congress to tweak the dairy Margin Protection Program, but the fix may prove to be too costly. The House Agriculture Committee Wednesday reviewed the program while seeking options to make MPP more effective for farmers. The National Milk Producers Federation wrote Congress earlier this month suggesting changes to the program. Federation CEO Jim Mulhern testified that “while MPP was, and is, the right approach for the future of federal dairy policy, the program in its current form does not provide meaningful safety net support.” However, a fix could cost near $200 million a year, and the price tag is problematic for lawmakers. House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson said the way that the Congressional Budget Office scores the MPP will cause budget problems for the next farm bill. Peterson says he doesn’t agree with the way the CBO scored the program in 2014, according to the Hagstrom Report. The CBO estimated such a high cost that Congress reduced the feed calculating formula under the program, leading to lower payments and participation. That means Congress has to come up with more money if it is to fix the program in the next farm bill.

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Amid Brazil Scandal, Groups Urging Reconsideration of COOL

Amid a meat safety issue in Brazil and a trade priorities list from President Trump, some groups are calling for the reconsideration of country-of-origin meat labeling. COOL was repealed by Congress in late 2015 when the World Trade Organization authorized retaliatory measures against the U.S. because of the legislation. But, with a recent scandal in Brazil regarding tainted meat being overlooked and a new trade priorities list from the President, groups such as the National Farmers Union are urging the administration to pursue COOL. NFU is urging the administration to keep COOL on the list and to ensure a reinstatement of COOL would be allowable under any renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mandatory COOL, first passed in 2002 and then again in 2008, required that muscle cuts of meat and some vegetables, nuts and fruits sold at retail must contain a label informing consumers about the country where the product was sourced.

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USDA: No Tainted Beef from Brazil has Entered the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week said no tainted meat from Brazil had entered the United States. The comments follow last week’s findings of a bribery scheme at Brazilian meat packing plants to entice inspectors to turn a blind eye to tainted meat and sanitary issues. USDA says that while none of the slaughter or processing facilities implicated in the Brazilian scandal have shipped meat products to the United States, the Food Safety and Inspection Service immediately instituted additional pathogen testing of all shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat products from Brazil upon hearing reports of the investigation. FSIS has also increased its examination of all these products at ports-of-entry across the country. The agency will indefinitely maintain its 100 percent re-inspection and pathogen testing of all lots of FSIS-regulated products imported from Brazil.

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House Passes Agro-terrorism Bill

The U.S. House this week passed the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, agro-terrorism preparedness legislation that’s also up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. The bill passed the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 406-6. Iowa Republican Representative David Young, a sponsor of the bill, says the legislation is a step “towards protecting America and consumers from agro-terrorism, and other high-risk events that pose serious threats to our food, agriculture and livestock industries.” The Act requires the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, through the assistant secretary for Health Affairs, to elevate preparedness of our nation’s food, agriculture and veterinary systems against terrorism and high-risk events. The bill authorizes DHS to collaborate with other agencies to ensure food, agriculture and animal and human health sectors receive attention and are integrated into the department’s domestic preparedness policy initiatives. The U.S. Senate version of Young’s legislation has been voted out of committee and is waiting for a vote to be scheduled in the full Senate.

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U.S. Biodiesel Industry Calls Out Illegal Trading

The National Biodiesel Board Thursday filed an antidumping and countervailing duty petition, making the case that Argentine and Indonesian companies are violating trade laws by flooding the U.S. market with dumped and subsidized biodiesel. The petition was filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition, which is made up of the National Biodiesel Board and U.S. biodiesel producers. NBB leadership says the “this is a simple case where companies in Argentina and Indonesia are getting advantages that cheat U.S. trade laws and are counter to fair competition.” Because of illegal trade activities, biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, according to NBB. That growth has taken 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers. This is not the first time that Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel producers have been charged with violating international trade laws.  In 2013, the European Union imposed 41.9 to 49.2 percent duties on Argentina and 8.8 to 23.3 percent duties on Indonesia. Just last year, Peru imposed both antidumping and countervailing duties on Argentine biodiesel.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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03-23-17 Colorado Weekly Hay Report…

03-23-17 Haxtun Community Fire Relief Committee’s Aubriel Jones Details their Efforts & How YOU can Help…

Haxtun Community Fire Relief Committee’s Aubriel Jones Details their Efforts & How YOU can Help…

Aubriel Jones – RMFU Membership Coordinator

(The BARN – Briggsdale, CO) March 23, 2017 – Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Membership Coordinator Aubriel Jones is part of a relief committee working for people who have been affected by the Northeast Colorado fire. The Haxtun Commuity Fire Relief Committee is made up of volunteers that work cooperatively to meet the ongoing individual and community needs stemming from the fire, as well as gathering all incident-related information and locating all available resources for those in need….

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If you are interested in donating anything to help those who have been affected by the fire, please call Jones at 308.778.6535 or email aubriel.jones@rmfu.org.

Fire relief donations should be made to the Haxtun Chamber of Commerce at the Haxtun Community Federal Credit Union. Other donation sites are available such as gofundme pages, Amazon and the Red Cross. Accounts have been established at the Haxtun Community Federal Credit Union for general fire relief, individual families affected by the fire, for local fire departments, for agriculture related losses and necessities and assistance with oats needed to plant in the burnt soil. Total there are 10 accounts set up for specific families affected by the fire and additional accounts may be added at any time.

Donations to any of the above mentioned funds may be made to the Haxtun Chamber of Commerce, in care of the donor’s area of choice, at the Haxtun Community Federal Credit Union, P.O Box 41, Haxtun, CO 80731. Continue reading

03-23-17 CFB: Monsanto Donates $50,000 to Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation Disaster Relief Fund

CFB: Monsanto Donates $50,000 to Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation Disaster Relief Fund

Centennial, Colo., – March 23, 2017 – Just this week, Colorado agriculture celebrated National Ag Day at the State Capitol, only a few weeks after a grass fire spread throughout Northeast Colorado, devouring more than 30,000 acres and the livelihoods of many in the agricultural community. In response to the disaster, Monsanto has announced it will donate $50,000 to the Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation Disaster Relief Fund in an effort to help provide relief for fire victims.

In addition to the donation from Monsanto, monetary and in-kind support has poured in from across the country, and from both rural and urban communities.

“Many of the impacted farmers and ranchers have lost in a matter of seconds what had taken them decades to build. It is times like these in which we see how strong our agricultural community truly is, as we witness the outpouring of support from around the country to help the victims of this natural disaster,” said Don Shawcroft, President of Colorado Farm Bureau. Continue reading