READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 8th

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, December 8th

State Farm Bureau Study Estimates Cost of NAFTA Withdraw

A study from the Nebraska Farm Bureau finds withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement could cost farms in the state up to $55,000 each, annually. The report identifies the 2016 export value of individual Nebraska agriculture commodities to both Canada and Mexico. Analysis in the report also assigns a dollar value of NAFTA on a unit basis for individual agriculture commodities, demonstrating how NAFTA supports commodity prices, but also what the loss of NAFTA could mean. Nebraska Farm Bureau president Steve Nelson says the report shows withdrawing from NAFTA “would be damaging.” Nelson points out that nearly half of the state’s agricultural exports are bound for Canada and Mexico. He calls the idea of withdrawing from NAFTA “unfathomable,” saying farm and ranch families are already working through a struggling agriculture economy. Find the report at www.nefb.org.

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Global Food Prices Slightly Lower in November

A measure of global food prices decreased in November largely due to a decline in dairy values. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations monthly Food Price Index averaged 175.8 points in November 2017, down 0.5 percent, from October. However, the index is still four points, or 2.3 percent, higher than the same time last year. November saw a sharp rise in sugar and vegetable oil, but those increases were offset by a fall in dairy values, while international prices of cereals and meat products remained relatively unchanged. Cereal prices were unchanged for the month, but up eight percent since a year ago. The Vegetable Oil Price Index rose 1.2 percent in November, while sugar prices increased 4.5 percent. Meat prices were nearly unchanged, and dairy prices fell 4.9 percent in November, but remain 9.6 percent higher than the same time last year.

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Beef, Pork Exports Post ‘Stellar’ November

U.S. pork exports remained ahead of last year’s record volume pace, and beef exports are poised to break $7 billion this year for only the second time. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says October pork exports were the largest since May, totaling 211,500 metric tons, up five percent from a year ago, valued at $565.4 million. Through the first ten months of the year, pork exports increased eight percent in volume and ten percent in value from the same period last year. Meanwhile, beef exports reached 111,000 metric tons in October, up five percent from a year ago, valued at $662 million. These were the second-largest monthly totals of 2017, trailing only August. For January through October, exports totaled 1.038 million metric tons, up nine percent year-over-year, valued at $5.93 billion.

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China Needs More Corn to Meet Fuel Mandate

To meet a fuel blend requirement, China must import more corn, according to industry analysts. A Stewart Peterson advisor tells Farm Journal’s AgDay that China will need to import “an additional billion bushels of corn a year” to meet the mandate. Earlier this year, China announced the nation would require ethanol blends in all fuel by 2020. Demand is growing in China, and ethanol imports to China increased in October. Currently, just 20 percent of fuels in China contain ethanol. Stewart Peterson is a commodity brokerage and analysis firm. The firm says China is starting to make moves now to meet the mandate, and that 70 percent of China’s current corn stocks may be unusable. If so, those stocks will need replenished with fresh corn, and some analysts expect a demand boom will come in 2019.

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USDA to Revisit Standard for Beef Carcass Grades

The Department of Agriculture announced it will revisit the United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef, a move drawing praise from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. NCBA President Craig Uden (you-den) says the updates to the beef standards will improve accuracy by basing carcass quality grades on the most current scientific data available. Following a petition led by NCBA, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced that dental study documentation of actual age will now be used as additional methods for classifying maturity of carcasses. Prior to the change, some cattle were incorrectly deemed ineligible for USDA quality grades because of limitations in the process used to assess their age. A beef industry working group composed of representatives from the cow-calf, feeder and packer segments conservatively estimated that incorrect classification of carcasses cost the industry nearly $60 million annually.

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Bayer, Luke Bryan, Celebrate Successful Feeding Campaign

A campaign by Bayer and country star Luke Bryan has donated more than one million meals to hungry families. Bayer says the “Here’s to the Farmer” campaign this year asked Luke Bryan fans to give thanks to American Farmers, while also helping hungry Americans. Bayer donated one meal through Feeding America for each #HeresToTheFarmer hashtag share online. The campaign, coinciding with the 2017 Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour, set a target of one million meals donated before the end of the year. However, this year the campaign reached and surpassed the goal in less than four months. A Bayer spokesperson offered thanks to Luke Bryan and his fans, calling the campaign a huge success. To learn more about the campaign visit www.herestothefarmer.com.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-07-17 Southeastern District approves $28.8 million budget

Southeastern District approves $28.8 million budget

The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Thursday approved a $28.8 million budget for 2018, which includes the District’s general fund, Enterprise water fund and a newly created hydropower fund within the enterprise.

The general fund totals $16 million, most of which reflects Fryingpan-Arkansas Project payments to the Bureau of Reclamation. Those payments total $13.1 million, including $7.4 million from property taxes in parts of nine counties for Fry-Ark Contract obligations, and $5.3 million in payment from the Fountain Valley Authority in El Paso County. Other payments to Reclamation include $265,000 for excess-capacity contracts and an estimated $117,000 for winter water. Continue reading

Flags lowered to half-staff on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Flags lowered to half-staff on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

DENVER — Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 — Flags will be lowered to half-staff today, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in recognition of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Flags should be at half-staff for the entire day on Thursday. The President is expected to sign a proclamation soon.

SOURCE: www.colorado.gov/governor

12-07-17 U.S. Wheat Associates, Other Farm Organizations Outline Priorities for WTO Ministerial

U.S. Wheat Associates, Other Farm Organizations Outline Priorities for WTO Ministerial

ARLINGTON, Virginia — The World Trade Organization will hold its Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference Dec. 10 to 13, 2017, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and 13 other U.S. farm organizations urged the United States to defend the interests of U.S. agriculture. Specifically, the letter describes industry stances on public stockholding and domestic support, while underscoring the importance of an effective dispute settlement mechanism for agriculture.

First addressing attempts to weaken the WTO Agreement on Agriculture by exempting price support programs tied to public stock procurement, the letter said “Market price support is one of the most trade distorting forms of domestic support for agriculture. Relaxing price support disciplines for certain countries could lead to a much more distorted global marketplace.” Continue reading

12-07-17 EPA backs Colorado’s plan to improve water quality with $24.9 million in water infrastructure funding

EPA backs Colorado’s plan to improve water quality with $24.9 million in water infrastructure funding

Projects located in Breckenridge, Durango, Evans and many other communities

 

DENVER (Dec. 7, 2017) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded approximately $10.6 million in clean water infrastructure and $14.3 million in drinking water state revolving loan funding (SRF) to the state of Colorado to support key water infrastructure projects, including new and upgraded wastewater and drinking water plants to ensure clean drinking and surface water, better serve residents, increase efficiency and reduce pollution.

“Investing in our nation’s water infrastructure is one of EPA’s most fundamental priorities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “These projects will ensure that the state and its communities are providing clean and safe water to all the residents of Colorado.”

“The State Revolving Fund programs are critical for Colorado as they have provided the ability to fund more than $1.2 billion for clean water and $600 million for drinking water infrastructure projects throughout the state”, said Pat Pfaltzgraff, Director of the Water Quality Control Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  “The SRF programs continue to help offset the $12 billion dollar funding gap and provide low cost, affordable financing to protect public health and the environment in Colorado.”

In addition to the $24.9 million just funded, Colorado’s water infrastructure projects are also funded with state match, repayments from prior SRF loans, and interest earnings. Several projects targeted for wastewater treatment as well as drinking water SRF loans include: Continue reading

12-07-17 Colorado Weekly Hay Report…

USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for December 7th

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

Weekly Export Sales

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 7th

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, December 7th

Senators Calling for House-Passed ELD Mandate Delay

Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas and North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp are spearheading a bipartisan effort to make sure the Electronic Logging Device mandate for livestock haulers is delayed one year. A group of Senators wrote to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressing support for the delay that was written into the House-passed transportation bill. The delay of the ELD mandate is set for one year, which should give haulers time to work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on the strict hours-of-service rules that truckers have to live by. U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Transportation Committee Chair Steve Hilker thanked each Senator that signed the letter. “We’re hauling a living, breathing commodity that must get to its destination as soon as possible after it’s loaded onto the truck,” says Hilker. “An ELD would only increase the number of stops, thereby keeping cattle in the trailer longer. It would only add to what is already a stressful time in the animals’ lives. The comfort and safety of our cargo is of utmost importance.” He adds that the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association appreciates that Congress recognizes the need for additional flexibility within the rule.

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Trump Talks Trade with Senators

Several pro-trade Republicans met with President Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss trade. Their goal was to let the president know on a face-to-face basis how important the North American Free Trade Agreement is and to keep negotiating. U.S. officials have taken a hard-line stance in the negotiations with Canada and Mexico, causing concern that the talks could fall apart and Trump would likely then pull out of the deal. Ahead of the meeting, Trump talked about the “tremendous losses” in trade with Canada and Mexico, including $71 billion with Mexico and $17 billion with Canada. Politico says those numbers are false, saying the U.S. deficit with Mexico was $63 billion and $10.9 billion with Canada. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she made a strong case to Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about the importance of the duty-free access to other countries provided by NAFTA. Deb Fischer of Nebraska highlighted the significance of NAFTA to ag exports and related manufacturing jobs. For example, U.S. food manufacturers exported $25 billion in products to Mexico and Canada in 2015. Without NAFTA, those products would have faced an additional $3.8 billion in tariffs.  

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Mexican Ambassador: 50% Chance NAFTA is Terminated

The Mexican Ambassador says there is a 50-50 chance that the North American Free Trade Agreement will be “terminated.” Geronimo Gutierrez (Goo-tee-ehr-ehz) says there are tensions hanging over the three sides in the negotiations and that’s creating an air of uncertainty. The Hill Dot Com says despite that, he still thinks a deal to update the agreement can be done by next year. “In spite of differences, we’re communicating fluently, we’re engaging, and that’s important,” he tells CBS News. “In fact, I’m moderately convinced that we can still reach an agreement in the next few months.” He also addressed the wall that the president wants to build along the U.S.-Mexican border, saying there’s no way his country will be paying for the wall. However, he says a tolling system was one thing that could be used to finance the construction. “There have been preliminary discussions on that matter and I think both sides are open,” he adds.

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Monsanto Asks Judge to Block Arkansas Dicabma Restrictions

Monsanto went before a judge on Tuesday to officially ask the court to prevent a proposal to ban the use of a weed killer that many farmers say drifts and causes damage to their crops. An Associated Press report says the Arkansas ban on dicamba will go before legislators next month. The company is asking a judge to issue an injunction preventing the ban on dicamba use in the state while the company challenges the decision that came from the Arkansas Plant Board. The board’s proposal would ban in-season use of dicamba from April 15 through October 31. “Monsanto is losing sales every day the ban remains in effect,” the company says in its court filing. “The losses cannot be recovered through an action against the state.”  Earlier this year, the state approved an initial ban on dicamba use and has received over 1,000 complaints about dicamba drift. The company adds that the ban deprives farmers of a needed tool in their weed-control arsenal and the injunction is needed to avoid any potential confusion as farmers make plans and buy inputs for next year. It’s also asking the judge to consider whether or not the Plant Board exceeded its authority.

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USDA Emphasizing Trade Expansion

Ted McKinney, the new USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, has been busy since being sworn in. He’s visited India, Brazil, Columbia, and Panama recently with the goal of increasing trade opportunities. Capital Press Dot Com says the U.S. Department of Agriculture is putting a new emphasis on generating more trade opportunities overseas for American agriculture. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue recently said his goal is to have McKinney become a member of the “million-mile club.” McKinney spoke from a recent trip to Panama City, saying the goal is to remind trade partners that “we’re open for business, including both exports and imports.” The four countries he’s taken trips to are not the biggest U.S. trading partners but the goal is to “leave no stone unturned” when it comes to generating more business for agriculture. The U.S. signed free-trade agreements with Colombia and Panama in 2012 and trade has flourished since then. The intention of these trips is also to grow trade both ways, with McKinney saying the U.S. benefits from imports too, especially of products the country doesn’t produce itself.

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USDA to Allow States Flexibility for SNAP

The U.S. Ag Department sent a letter to state administrators of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program advising them that changes will be coming to the program. The Hagstrom Report says USDA will allow states more flexibility in managing SNAP. Brandon Lipps, the acting undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumers services says the USDA will allow more flexibility in areas that don’t increase costs for taxpayers or various partners on the ground. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “SNAP was created to provide people with the help they need to feed themselves and their families, but it was not intended to be a lifestyle. As a former governor, I know first-hand how important it is for states to be given the flexibility to achieve the desired goal of self-sufficiency for people.” Perdue says they want to provide the nutrition people need but we also want to help people transition from government programs back to work and into independence. President Donald Trump has said when tax reform efforts are done, he wants to turn his attention to welfare reform, possibly setting up a future battle within the next farm bill development process, which also contains food programs like SNAP.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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12-06-17 US Senators Bennet and Gardner Introduce Bipartisan Public Lands Management Bill

US Senators Bennet and Gardner Introduce Bipartisan Public Lands Management Bill

Legislation Would Reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act

Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) this week introduced a bill to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA). Before it expired in 2011, FLTFA allowed the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service in the Western United States to use the proceeds from sales of certain federally designated areas to protect lands of exceptional conservation value.

“In Colorado, conservation is not only part of our heritage, but also vital to our outdoor recreation economy,” Bennet said. “We’ll work to advance this legislation that boosts economic development, improves land management, and conserves high priority land for future generations.”

“This fiscally responsible, bipartisan bill will prioritize conservation across Colorado and the West at no cost to the taxpayers,” Gardner said. “I’m proud to work with Senator Bennet and others from both sides off the aisle on this legislation to ensure future generations of Coloradans can enjoy our great state’s natural treasures.” Continue reading

12-06-17 Potatoes USA: In-Store Display Banners are Available for Retailers Nationwide

In-Store Display Banners are Available for Retailers Nationwide

Potatoes USA developed a variety of in-store display merchandise to elevate potato promotions for retailers throughout the U.S. These banners highlight the versatility and convenience of potatoes. The elegantly designed displays showcase mouthwatering potato dishes on a slate background and utilize an eye-catching potato font. This unique typeface will be used to engage retailers and connect with consumers throughout the campaign. The design also highlights a “U.S. Grown” seal, which has been trending as more and more retailers are promoting local and U.S. produce. Continue reading

12-06-17 Pork Demand Remains Steady As Signs Point to Strong Fourth Quarter

Pork Demand Remains Steady As Signs Point to Strong Fourth Quarter

DES MOINES, Iowa – Dec. 6, 2017 – Pig farmers and food production companies alike are wrapping up a successful 2017 that continues to show steady consumer demand for pork. The summer grilling season ended strongly, and signs point to a solid year-end opportunity for ham.

According to Nielsen Perishables Group data for the 13 weeks ended Oct. 28, total sausage and rib volumes were up from the same time last year 3.3 percent and 2.6 percent respectively, while sales were up in those categories 4.1 percent and 3.2 percent.

“Summer is always an ideal time for cooking pork outdoors,” said Patrick Fleming, National Pork Board director of market intelligence. “Whether it was brats on the grill or a few racks of ribs on the smoker, consumers made room for pork on their picnic plate in 2017.” Continue reading

12-06-17 NACD DEBUTS INTERACTIVE DISTRICT DIRECTORY

NACD DEBUTS INTERACTIVE DISTRICT DIRECTORY

NACD’s Conservation District Directory is more user-friendly than ever, thanks to our new, interactive district maps! Available on each state’s page, the maps allow farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners across the country the ability to locate the nearest conservation district in their state.

Continue reading

12-06-17 NACD GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS UPDATE

Conservation Partnership Presidents at the office of the Agriculture Secretary. From left to right: Tim Riley (NCDEA), Brent Van Dyke (NACD), Marc Cribb (NASCA) and William Hodge (NARC&DC).

NACD GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS UPDATE

As we enter the final month of 2017, there are several issues on NACD’s radar that we want you to be aware of. You can read NACD Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison’s blog post – which includes the following topics – by clicking here. Continue reading

12-06-17 RMFU Policy For 2018 Is On-Line

RMFU Policy For 2018 Is On-Line

Rancher Marsha Daughenbaugh voices a concern during RMFU grassroots policy development. It’s what we do. Our grassroots policy is introduced, debated, and adopted by members who show up at the local, county, and state conventions. Here’s the link to the policy for 2018.

To read it, click here https://www.rmfu.org/what-we-do/legislation/rmfu-policy/

12-06-17 CFVGA Launches Member of the Year Award

CFVGA Launches Member of the Year Award

The Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association has established a Member of the Year Award aimed at annually recognizing a member who has contributed with excellence to furthering CFVGA’s goals and who is distinguished as a leader in the Colorado produce industry. The candidate’s local community involvement also will be considered in the selection. The CFVGA Member of the Year will be recognized at the annual conference, in CFVGA communication and via a statewide news release.
Please submit an application for a member you think should be considered. The deadline is Jan. 1, 2018. Learn more about the award and download an application at https://coloradoproduce.org/

12-06-17 CFB News: State Tax Expenditures Review

CFB News: State Tax Expenditures Review

Staff has been working with the office of the State Auditor to provide feedback on the importance of various agricultural tax exemptions and deductions. The office is conducting a review of all state tax expenditures, and sought Farm Bureau feedback on ag-related expenditures.

If you have participated in ag-related tax deductions and/or would like to provide feedback on the importance of current deductions, credits and exemptions, please contact Shawn Martini at the state office at shawn@coloradofb.org.

12-06-17 CFB News: Electronic Logging Device Mandate Causes Confusion

CFB News: Electronic Logging Device Mandate Causes Confusion 

On the evening of December 4th, CFB staff hosted a call to discuss the Electronic Logging Device Mandate and the impact it has on the agriculture community. The American Farm Bureau Federation and other agriculture-related groups petitioned the Department of Labor to provide an exemption specific to those hauling animals. Staff provided comments in support of this position. Continue reading

12-06-17 CEP News: Local egg producers contribute $30,000 and other support to Ronald McDonald House Radiothon

Local egg producers contribute $30,000 and other support to Ronald McDonald House Radiothon

The Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association and its member farms this past week contributed $30,000 in matching funds to the Ronald McDonald House Radiothon.

Additionally, CEP Vice President Jerry Wilkins, who serves as chair of the local Ronald McDonald House fundraising event, was among those working the phones during the “Light the House” Radiothon on KOSI 101.1 FM, Eggland’s Best was one of the major sponsors, and CEP representatives were also on hand providing an omelet breakfast for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House and for volunteers.

In total, the recent radiothon raised about $350,000, which will help keep families of sick children close to the care and resources they need while the child is hospitalized.

“It’s an absolute honor to be associated with an event and an organization that has such an impact, like the Ronald McDonald House and its radiothon,” said Wilkins, adding that local farms also regularly supply farm-fresh eggs throughout the year to families staying at Colorado’s Ronald McDonald Houses. “Our Colorado egg farmers are continuously looking for ways to give back to our communities, and having partners like the Ronald McDonald House makes our impact more widespread.” Continue reading