04-24-17 Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

NRCS-CO News Release HEader 010816Conservation Volunteers Honored During National Volunteer Week

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is celebrating National Volunteer Week April 23-29, 2017 by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation.

Earth Team is the agency’s volunteer workforce, and nationally, in fiscal year 2016, more than 28,500 people donated 3012,219 hours of service to NRCS valued at over $7.1 million. Continue reading

04-24-17 USMEF Statement on Senate Confirmation of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

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USMEF Statement on Senate Confirmation of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

April 24, 2017 – Today, on a vote of 87 to 11, the United States Senate confirmed former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue as the new U.S. secretary of agriculture. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng issued the following statement:

USMEF is pleased to see Secretary Perdue receive such strong, bipartisan support in the Senate, and we look forward to working with him to promote U.S. red meat products worldwide. Secretary Perdue’s track record as governor and his recent testimony before the Senate leave no doubt that he understands the important role of international trade in enhancing the profitability of U.S. livestock producers and the entire U.S. supply chain, and that he is very committed to expanding U.S. exports. This is a critical and rather uncertain time for agricultural trade, and USMEF is confident that Secretary Perdue will be a champion for U.S. agriculture and will help the Trump administration build strong relationships with key trading partners. Continue reading

04-24-17 NMPF Statement on Senate Confirmation of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

NMPF Statement on Senate Confirmation of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

From Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF

ARLINGTON, VA – “We congratulate Secretary Sonny Perdue on his confirmation by the Senate today, and we’re eager to work with him on the challenges facing the nation’s dairy farmers – issues he’s already indicated he will tackle at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Secretary Perdue knows that dairy farmers depend on export markets around the world and closer to home, which is why it is important for USDA to insist on preserving market access to key customers in Mexico, and demand that Canada plays by the international trade rules to which it has already agreed.  Continue reading

04-24-17 NPPC: Perdue ‘Very Good’ For U.S. Agriculture

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NPPC: Perdue ‘Very Good’ For U.S. Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2017 – Calling him “very good for America’s farmers and ranchers,” the National Pork Producers Council congratulated former Georgia Gov. George “Sonny” Perdue on his confirmation today by the U.S. Senate as the new Secretary of Agriculture.

“Sonny Perdue is the kind of leader the pork industry, and the entire livestock industry, needs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “He’ll be very good for America’s farmers and ranchers.” Continue reading

04-24-17 NCGA Welcomes Sonny Perdue to USDA

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NCGA Welcomes Sonny Perdue to USDA

WASHINGTON (April 24, 2017) – Today the United States Senate voted to confirm Sonny Perdue as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association:

“The National Corn Growers Association congratulates Secretary Perdue on his confirmation. USDA has been without a Secretary for too long, but we are confident that Secretary Perdue will bring strong leadership to the Department. There are still more than 200 political appointments at USDA that have yet to be made. We strongly urge the Administration to move quickly in filling these positions. Continue reading

04-24 NFU Statement on Sonny Perdue’s Confirmation as Agriculture Secretary

NFU Statement on Sonny Perdue’s Confirmation as Ag Secretary

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today confirmed former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response to the announcement:

“Having endured months of the current farm crisis and drastic policy changes in Washington without a Secretary of Agriculture, family farmers and ranchers are relieved that Sonny Perdue has finally been confirmed to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We are hopeful Perdue will provide rural America with a strong voice in Washington. NFU stands ready to assist the new Secretary as he navigates the myriad issues facing family agriculture and rural communities. Continue reading

04-24-17 NACD CONGRATULATES SONNY PERDUE ON NEW POST

NACD CONGRATULATES SONNY PERDUE ON NEW POST

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2017 The National Association of Conservation Districts congratulates Secretary Sonny Perdue on his confirmation as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture today.

Former Georgia Governor Perdue is the third agriculture secretary in the history of USDA to live and work on a farm as an adult. NACD has supported his nomination since it was first announced by President Donald Trump in January.

“As governor, he oversaw the economy of one of the top agricultural states in this nation,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. “He has a proven track record for effective governing and a reputation as a dedicated public servant. NACD appreciated his endorsement of voluntary conservation in this nomination hearing and look forward to working with him, now and throughout his tenure, to advance the adoption of voluntary conservation on working lands across this country.” Continue reading

04-24-17 ACE News: Biofuels Stakeholders Issue Statement on Oral Arguments for 2014-2016 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs)

Biofuels Stakeholders Issue Statement on Oral Arguments for 2014-2016 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs)

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Sioux Falls, SD (April 24, 2017) – In response to oral arguments held earlier today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the petition for review of the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2014-2016 filed by Americans for Clean Energy, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January 2016, the American Coalition for Ethanol, BIO, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and Renewable Fuels Association issued the following statement: Continue reading

04-24-17 USCA Welcomes Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

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USCA Welcomes Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

(WASHINGTON) –United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) President Kenny Graner issued the following statement on the confirmation of Sonny Perdue to the position of Secretary of Agriculture:

“On behalf of the USCA membership, and cattle producers across the country, we wish to officially welcome Sonny Perdue as the Secretary of Agriculture.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 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 Monday, April 24th

NAFTA Talks Not Happening Soon

President Donald Trump says the White House will offer some preliminary plans on the possible renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement sometime within the next two weeks. While he didn’t get more specific than that, Politico’s Morning Agriculture report adds that a White House spokesman says the Administration is currently working on negotiating text with Congress. The White House will then proceed with the required 90-day notice to Congress once a U.S. Trade Representative is confirmed. Robert Lighthizer is the nominee for the position but his confirmation is being held up because of past work he’s done representing foreign governments in Washington, D.C. Democrats say he needs a waiver approved by both the House and Senate to be confirmed, while the White House says he doesn’t. Before the letter can be sent to Congress, the White House must complete a series of meetings with groups of lawmakers, one of which is the Senate Advisory Group on Negotiations. Democrats on the panel are refusing to meet with anyone but Lighthizer. As a result, Politico says it’s looking like the nominee will have to get the waiver, clear a committee vote, and then get the full Senate vote for confirmation. All that means the two-week timeline is more than a little uncertain.

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Renewable Fuels Standard Heads to Court

The Environmental Protection Agency will be in Washington D.C. Circuit court starting Monday (April 24) as the court hears oral challenges to the 2014-2016 Renewable Fuels Standard Volumes. Politico’s Morning Energy Report says the RFS has supporters and detractors in both major political parties, so this case represents a rare nonpartisan issue for the EPA. The agency will have to defend itself against accusations that it set volumes for conventional biofuels, cellulosic biofuels, and biomass biodiesel too high or too low, depending on who’s speaking at the time in the courtroom. The EPA will need to defend its waiver to set the conventional biofuel requirements below congressionally-set levels. The EPA will also argue it’s under no obligation to change who must comply with the program. EPA’s positions in this case maximize administrative flexibility for the agency, something that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt likely wants to preserve. The Morning Energy Report also stressed that this isn’t an issue that began when Donald Trump was elected as it’s been a debate for years.

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Farm Lending Continues to Moderate

Lending activity at agricultural banks across the country continued to decline in the first quarter of 2017. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says economic conditions in the farm sector are still weak, so borrowers and lenders have worked together to make adjustments in financing agricultural production across America. Ag lenders are making more adjustments to loan terms because of heightened risk in the ag sector. For example, the report says revenues from agricultural production are expected to decline again in 2017. Farm incomes from corn, soybeans, wheat, and cattle, are expected to drop by five percent compared to 2016. Some producers are making adjustments in the cost of their inputs when they can. The reduced amount of producer spending likely has contributed to reductions in the volume of new farm loans. The overall volume of non-real estate farm loans in the first quarter of this year dropped 16 percent from 2016. The Survey of Terms of Bank Lending to Farmers showed the decrease in the first quarter as the sixth consecutive year-over-year decline in the volume of new non-real estate farm loans and followed a significant drop in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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Buffet Foundation/Drovers to Raise $2 Million for Wildfire Relief

Drovers, a Farm Journal Media franchise, and the Drovers Foundation have accepted a challenge from philanthropist and American farmer-rancher Howard G. Buffet to raise $2 million for wildfire relief. Last month saw devastating wildfires burn 1.6 million acres in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Starting now, all monetary donations to the Drovers/Farm Journal Million Dollar Wildfire Relief Challenge will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, up to $1 million. Howard Buffet says, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime disaster that’s left ranchers with both immediate and long-term needs to rebuild what they’ve lost. We are pleased to partner with Drovers and the Farm Journal Foundation in this recovery effort and hope our matching contribution pledge will inspire others to show their support.” While the ag community rallied to deliver hay and other in-kind contributions, the long-term job of rebuilding is really just beginning. For example, roughly 18,000 miles of fencing needs to be rebuilt, likely at a cost of $10,000 a mile. All donations will be administered by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association, a respected nonprofit dedicated to assisting working ranch cowboys and their families in time of need. For more information on recovery efforts, check out Wildfire Relief Fund Dot Org.

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Another Farm Credit System Merger Takes Place

Two Farm Credit organizations serving the upper midwest will join together after both received stockholder approval. AgCountry Farm Credit Services and United FCS serve farmers in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, but now become AgCountry Farm Credit Services beginning on July first. The headquarters will be in Fargo, North Dakota, with the Association serving 18,000 customer-members and have nearly $7.2 billion in assets. It will operate in 65 counties with 38 offices spread out through Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. “We believed that the culture, values, and vision of both cooperatives made this a natural fit,” says Greg Nelson and Brad Sunderland, who serve as board chairs for Ag Country and United FCS, respectively. They both thanked stockholders in each organization for participating in the voting process and for recognizing that the merger would better help both organizations serve agriculture and rural America more efficiently. “Since merger discussions began last year, our goal has been to build on the strengths of both organizations to best serve the needs of our members,” says Bob Bahl, AgCountry CEO. “In merging these two associations, we are positioned for even greater success and a strong, bright future.” 

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Salad Shortage Because of California Rains

Over the last several years, California farmers have been plagued by drought. However, the problem in 2017 is too much rain, which may be putting a squeeze on the nation’s salad supplies. A Bloomberg report says it may take until sometime in May before the nation’s grocery store shelves are fully stocked with salads again. Unusually warm weather meant an early end to the winter growing season in southern California and western Arizona. The warm weather was followed by unusually heavy rains that pushed back planting dates along the coastal areas of California, which is the largest fruit and vegetable producer in the country. The delays have led to shortfalls of crops like lettuce and broccoli, sending wholesale prices much higher. For example, the cost of a carton of 30 celery heads has almost tripled to $25. A senior produce analyst with Rabobank in Fresno, California, says prices may remain volatile and “relatively elevated” through mid-May

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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04-21-17 USDA/NASS-CO: Cattle on Feed

CATTLE ON FEED

COLORADO

The number 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 930,000 head as of April 1, 2017. The latest inventory was 3 percent above April 1, 2016 inventory and 2 percent above the previous month’s inventory. The inventory included 600,000 steer and steer calves, 2 percent below the previous year. The number of heifer and heifer calves, at 330,000 head, are up 14 percent from a year ago. Cattle feeders with 1,000 head or larger capacity marketed an estimated 170,000 head of fed cattle during March 2017. This was 3 percent above the previous month’s marketings, and 13 percent above marketings one year earlier. An estimated 195,000 cattle and calves were placed on feed during March, 8 percent above the previous month’s placements, and up 18 percent from March 2016 placements. Of the number placed in March, 15 percent weighed less than 600 pounds, 15 percent weighed from 600 to 699 pounds, 31 percent weighed from 700 to 799 pounds, 26 percent weighed 800-899 pounds, and 13 percent weighed 900 pounds or greater. Other disappearance for March, at 5,000 head, was the same as last month and last year.

UNITED STATES Continue reading

04-21-17 CSU Ext’s Schoderbek: Let’s talk about stocker cattle in Colorado

CSU Ext’s Schoderbek: Let’s talk about stocker cattle in Colorado

*CORRECTED VERSION* Maybe you know them as a savvy buyer of ‘odds and ends’ at the sale barn.  Perhaps they are a cow-calf operator who holds back some steers for extra profit.  Or, they run a crackerjack starting yard.  I’m talking about the so-called ‘elusive’ stocker operator.   These operations exist because of a simple fact – young cattle are risky cattle, and feedlots prefer a safer investment.  Stocker operators get those rangy steers into feedlot shape! Continue reading

04-21-17 FSA-CO Weld County: Acreage Reports for 2017 Spring Plantings

USDA Press Release

Acreage Reports for 2017 Spring Plantings

(GREELEY, CO) – April 21, 2017 – Weld County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Jeff Wilson asks producers visit their local FSA office once spring planting is completed. Even though July 15 is the final reporting date for most crops. Continue reading

04-21-17 CCAC continues support of USMEF with another $15,000 investment

Colorado Corn Administrative Committee continues support of
U.S. Meat Export Federation with another $15,000 investment

Colorado Corn Administrative Committee (CCAC) President Mike Lefever and CCAC Vice President Troy Schneider this month presented a check for $15,000 to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) – an organization whose projects focus on growing meat exports in developing countries.

With this recent contribution – which took place at the Colorado Livestock Association’s annual banquet – CCAC has contributed $94,000 total to USMEF in recent years.

“This check presentation served as yet another opportunity to highlight the relationship and correlation between the success of the livestock industry and that of corn producers,” said Schneider, who farms in Yuma and Washington counties. “The livestock industry remains the largest purchaser of U.S. grain corn, while the vast majority grown here in the Centennial State goes to local livestock operations. Furthermore, exports play a vital role for both grain corn and livestock producers in Colorado.” Continue reading

04-21-17 US Senator Bennet Joins Bipartisan Bill to Benefit Rural Hospitals

US Senator Bennet Joins Bipartisan Bill to Benefit Rural Hospitals

Extends Key Medicare Programs Critical to Colorado’s Rural Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in introducing legislation to permanently extend critical Medicare financing programs that assist rural hospitals in Colorado.

“Colorado’s rural hospitals are vital to our communities, and it’s essential that we do our part to help them overcome the financial challenges they face,” Bennet said. “Last month, I visited Delta County Memorial Hospital and saw firsthand the value it brings to the community. Extending these programs would help stabilize rural hospitals and ensure they continue to provide high quality health care services.”

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04-21-17 National Dairy FARM Program Releases Environmental Stewardship Reference Manual to Celebrate Earth Day

National Dairy FARM Program Releases Environmental Stewardship Reference Manual to Celebrate Earth Day

ARLINGTON, VA –  The National Dairy FARM Program has released its Environmental Stewardship Continuous Improvement Reference Manual in cooperation with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Released in celebration of Earth Day, the guide provides a comprehensive suite of on-farm management practices to reduce a farm’s environmental footprint and improve its profitability.

Specifically, the manual features a detailed explanation of the FARM Environmental Stewardship (ES) module, as well as strategies to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in various areas of farm management, including feed, manure, energy, forage, and animal health.

“FARM Environmental Stewardship helps us tell our story in a measurable, science-based way while providing business value that is both financially and environmentally beneficial,” said Mike McCloskey, Chairman of the NMPF Environmental Committee, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Environmental Stewardship Committee and co-founder of fairlife, LLC.  “The FARM Environmental Stewardship Continuous Improvement Reference Manual provides a resource that aggregates existing science and technology that can help us drive continuous improvement, all while tracking our progress in a way we can share with dairy customers.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, April 21st

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, April 21st

Australia and New Zealand Dairy Leaders Would Support U.S. WTO Action on Canada

Dairy industry leaders from Australia and New Zealand say they would support the U.S. in potential World Trade Organization action against Canada. Leaders from both nations say they would support President Donald Trump if he included the WTO in a trade dispute over a milk pricing scheme by Canada that is harming U.S. dairy farmers. U.S. dairy groups say the issue will hurt the entire U.S. dairy industry, and President Trump said in Wisconsin this week that the existing rules were unfair. New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay told Reuters in an email his government was assessing the “WTO-consistency” of Canada’s dairy industry policy, and had raised concern with the Canadian government. Malcolm Bailey, chairman of the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, said his organization was working with his foreign ministry to gather information for a possible WTO complaint. The dairy industry in the European Union, which has two-thirds of Canada’s cheese import allocation, signed a letter last September along with Australian, New Zealand, U.S. and Mexican peers, demanding the start of a WTO dispute, as well.

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Canada Doubling Down on Dairy Trade Comments

Canada continues to say ‘it’s not our problem’ when asked about dairy trade with the United States. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (true-doh) told Bloomberg News Thursday: “It’s not Canada that’s the challenge here.” Trudeau said the U.S. has a large dairy trade surplus with Canada. He stood by his own system, by saying every country subsidizes agriculture, adding: “Let’s not pretend we’re in a global free market when it comes to agriculture.” Canada says the problem is that the U.S. is over producing, rather than the new milk pricing scheme implemented by Canada. The comments were Trudeau’s first response to President Donald Trump’s Wisconsin pledge to press Canada for changes to its dairy system as part of North American Free Trade Agreement talks. The dispute was spurred by changes to Canada’s milk policy that the U.S. claims violate NAFTA. 

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Organic Farms Increasing at Highest Level Since 2008

The number of organic farms in the United States continues to increase, and at a level not seen since 2008. Data by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows there are now 24,650 certified organic operations in the United States, a 13 percent increase from a year ago. USDA has tracked the number of certified organic operations in the U.S. since 2002. Organic certification is managed through a public-private partnership. USDA accredits and oversees about 80 business and state governments which directly certify organic farms and businesses. USDA also provides educational resources to assist the growing organic market, including interactive videos and fact sheets.

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General Mills Backing Soil Health Partnership

The Soil Health Partnership announced Thursday General Mills has agreed to back the partnerships sustainability efforts. The Soil Health Partnership started as an initiative by the National Corn Growers Association to help farmers achieve better soil health. General Mills chief sustainability officer Jerry Lynch said: “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.” Nick Goeser (Gay’-zer), NCGA director of soil health and sustainability, says the commitment by General Mills will allow the partnership to expand to new geographies in and out of the Upper Midwest, where efforts have been focused so far. General Mills joins a list of supporters that includes Monsanto, the Walton Family Foundation, the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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Walmart Urging Suppliers to Join Greenhouse Gas Reducing Project

Walmart has launched a sustainability platform aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is calling on its supply chain to join the initiative. Dubbed Project Gigaton, the initiative will provide an emissions reduction toolkit to a broad network of suppliers seeking to eliminate one gigaton of emissions, focusing on areas such as manufacturing, materials and use of products by 2030. The company estimated achieving the goal would be equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off U.S. roads and highways for a year. Meat industry publication Meatingpalce reports the company has identified energy, agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation and product use and design as the goal areas in which to focus part of the plans climate efforts.

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Idaho Researcher: Farmers Benefit from Drought

A researcher at the University of Idaho says farmers can benefit from droughts. Garth Taylor says droughts can be harsh on the farmers who are directly impacted, but as a whole, farmers benefit from droughts because they reduce production and drive prices higher, according to news organization The Capital Press. Taylor pointed out that during the most recent extended drought period in the United States, the value of crop production in the U.S. set records in 2012 and 2013. He made the comments during a joint meeting of the Western Snow Conference and Weather Modification Association. Taylor told The Capital Press that many farmers are initially shocked when he shares his data with them “but when you explain it to them, they understand.” Taylor adds: “You’ve heard farmers say, gee, if we could just get everybody to reduce potato production 10 percent this year or onion production 20 percent, we’d do all right with prices.” He says when you have good water years, it causes prices to go down because farmers are over-producing.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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