USDA – FAS Weekly Export Sales Report for April 2nd

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

Weekly Export Sales for April 2nd

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, April 2nd

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, April 2nd

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

House Ag Launches COVID-19 Resources Webpage

The House Agriculture Committee this week launched a COVID-19 resource webpage to provide information to the agriculture industry. The webpage includes resources and information for agriculture and nutrition, and will be updated as more information becomes available. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota says the page is a collection of updates, announcements and online resources detailing programs available to those affected by the pandemic, as well as adjustments made by USDA and other Federal agencies serving the food, agriculture and rural economic supply chain. Peterson also spoke with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week, about volatility in the commodity markets, particularly for livestock and poultry industries, the bleak conditions for dairy farmers, and the status of the food supply chain. Peterson thanked Perdue and the Department of Agriculture “for their efforts to continue to monitor America’s food supply and provide needed assistance and flexibility in this emergency.” The page is available at agriculture.house.gov/covid19.

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Lawmakers Ask Health Department to Send Aid to Rural Hospitals

A coalition of lawmakers is asking the Health and Human Services Department to provide immediate assistance to rural hospitals and clinics. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, 122 lawmakers asked the Trump administration to provide financial aid included in the CARES Act to help rural hospitals during the COVID-19 outbreak. The legislation includes new funding to provide financial relief for hospitals. The lawmakers point out that many rural hospitals have ceased performing elective procedures and seeing non-urgent patients. Lawmakers say the rural hospitals know the COVID-19 emergency confronting the U.S. must take precedence. However, these actions threaten rural hospitals’ financial viability. The letter states, “We are hearing from rural hospitals from across the country that have only days left of cash-on-hand – money needed for payroll and supplies.” The lawmakers say, “now it is up to the administration to respond with rapid action to sustain rural providers,” adding “any unnecessary delay will only worsen this situation.”

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Grocery Industry Adapting to Temporary Norms

Grocery stores and the food chain across the nation are adapting to the new normal, with shelter in place and work from home orders across the county. Doug Baker, industry relations vice president at The Food Industry Association, says in a blog post, “the industry is rewriting the playbook on crisis response in real-time.” To heighten personal safety and engender a deeper comfort level among associates and shoppers, retailers are using various tactics in their stores to implement the protocol of maintaining safe social distance. Every store looks different, so the measures retailers are taking vary depending on the unique needs of their setting. For example, some retailers are putting up stanchions and floor decals to indicate where shoppers should stand to help them measure the appropriate amount of space in queues and depending on the store. Additionally, stores are piloting “pick-up only” at some facilities. Baker adds, “Our industry is at its best when the public needs us the most.”

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National Sorghum Producers Predicts More Acres than USDA Estimate

The Prospective Planting report released this week by the Department of Agriculture indicates an 11 percent increase in sorghum acres for 2020. However, National Sorghum Producers says there is greater opportunity for increased sorghum acres in the United States for the 2020-2021 marketing year. When the analysis was conducted in February, sorghum prices did not reflect basis appreciation from export sales that occurred since that time. Significant purchase activity by China, approaching one million metric tons over the last seven weeks, has driven basis improvements, and these purchases account for roughly ten percent of the sorghum produced last year. Today, sorghum for export commands a 13 percent premium. These gains have been seen at interior country elevators, as well, with new crop basis gains of $0.20-$0.40 in the past two weeks.  With these factors in mind, NSP says both domestic and international demand will continue to drive sorghum acres this spring.

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Crop Year Rice Imports Projected at Record High

Although rice is not considered a staple food in the United States, Americans are turning to the global rice market more than ever. The Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service says U.S. imports of rice now account for about one percent of the value of all U.S. agricultural imports. In 2019/20, U.S. rice imports are projected at 32.5 million hundredweight, up nine percent from a year earlier and the third consecutive record. Imports now account for more than 20 percent of the total domestic rice market, with two factors driving the recent records. First is a large increase in demand for Asian aromatic varieties, primarily jasmine rice from Thailand and basmati rice from India and Pakistan. These specific varieties are not grown in the United States and account for around 70 percent of U.S. rice imports. Second, Puerto Rico is importing cheaper rice from China, about eight percent of total U.S. rice imports, and largely replacing U.S. suppliers. Nearly all of China’s rice exports to Puerto Rico are from its Government-accumulated stocks of older rice that are sold at well below current trading prices.

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STD Awareness Month Doesn’t Just Apply to Humans

April is STD Awareness Month, and cows should not be left out of the conversation. Trichomoniasis, or trich, is a sexually transmitted disease that has the ability to cut a calf crop in half, according to Boehringer Ingelheim. Infected animals may show no outward signs, which is why trich often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. When bulls are infected with trich, it is considered a lifelong infection with no legal treatment. While cows can clear the disease, they will likely experience reproductive failures such as infertility and low pregnancy rates. Boehringer Ingelheim suggests producers take a moment during STD Awareness Month to learn about trich, and work with a veterinarian to put a prevention plan in place that includes testing, bull selection, record keeping, biosecurity measures and vaccination. Boehringer Ingelheim says it’s important to work with a veterinarian to develop management practices and a vaccination regimen to keep your herd STD free.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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04-01-20 Colorado Beef Council Develops Directory to Connect Consumers to Local Beef

Colorado Beef Council Develops Directory to Connect Consumers to Local Beef

ENGLEWOOD, CO (April 1, 2020) – The Colorado Beef Council (CBC) has created an online directory to help connect Colorado farms and ranches that sell beef with consumers who want to buy it. The Colorado Beef Directory will help educate consumers about beef sourcing and allow them to purchase directly from Colorado producers who sell local and freezer beef. 

“Today’s global challenges have shown us that consumers want to support their local economies,” says Todd Inglee, CBC Executive Director. “We’ve also seen a growing desire by consumers to learn more about how beef is produced and where they can find direct marketing opportunities.  This beef directory is a resource for helping make that connection.” 

Colorado beef producers wanting to submit their operation for this CBC service can go here. The form allows farms and ranches to self-list to the directory. The directory will be housed on the CBC web site at www.cobeef.com. The form for producers is also housed on the site under the Cattlemen’s Corner section.  Continue reading

04-01-20 Colorado Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on State Response to COVID-19

Colorado Governor Polis Provides Latest Update on State Response to COVID-19

HERE’S ALL THE AUDIO FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE TOO

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***INFORMACIÓN SEGUIDA EN ESPAÑOL***

CENTENNIAL – Gov. Polis today provided an update to the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is one of the greatest challenges we’ve ever faced. The more we stay home, the sooner we’ll be able to squash this threat, start earning money, and support our families,” said Governor Jared Polis. “At this point of this crisis, masks and gloves equals lives. Ventilators equals lives. We will continue to work with new suppliers in the private sector until Colorado’s needs are met. My administration is moving heaven and earth to acquire the needed materials to support the expected medical surge, and ensure that we can do adequate testing so that we can better isolate and contain future cases.”

Continue reading

04-01-20 USDA Engages Public for Input on the Agriculture Innovation Agenda

USDA Engages Public for Input on the Agriculture Innovation Agenda

(Washington, D.C., April 1, 2020) – To further the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) work on the Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA), USDA today announced it is seeking public and private sector input on the most important innovation opportunities to be addressed in the near and long term. Using input provided, USDA will identify common themes across the agriculture customer base to inform research and innovation efforts in the Department, the broader public-sector, and the private sector.

“Even during this uncertain time, we recognize our work at USDA is twofold: to meet the immediate needs of our customers in this national health emergency and to support American agriculture in the face of future demands. To do this, we are taking a page from our farmers’ playbook to remain resilient and to keep an eye to the horizon,” said Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky. “We know now, more than ever, it is important to double down on innovation in order to support farmers, ranchers, and producers as they work to increase productivity while conserving our natural resource base. Although current dynamics have shifted, our focus remains on positioning American agriculture to be a part of the solution to future demands.”
“Bold and transformative innovation is needed to meet future agricultural production demands,” said Deputy Under Secretary Scott Hutchins, who leads USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics mission area. “We intend to work collaboratively with both the agricultural community and the broad innovation community to align on the most important opportunities. By working together, we can transform our nation and leave our world in a much better state for generations to come.”
USDA is currently accepting public comments and written stakeholder input through its Request for Information (RFI) (PDF, 257 KB) through August 1, 2020 following its publication in the Federal Register. Continue reading

04-01-20 NRA Teams with Colorado’s Stop the Wolf Coalition

Colorado Stop the Wolf Coalition: NRA Teams with Colorado’s Stop the Wolf Coalition

America’s largest pro-hunting organization joins local movement to educate citizens about the dangers of forced wolf introduction

Fairfax, VA -On Tuesday, March 31st, the non-profit Colorado Stop the Wolf Coalition announced its latest coalition member, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA).  With over 5 million NRA members nation-wide, this is the latest sign that national pro-hunting groups are fully engaging in Colorado’s fight to oppose the forced introduction of non-native wolves.

“Fighting for the rights of hunters and every law-abiding citizen is what we are about.  That’s why we’re proud to team with the Colorado Coalition to get the facts out about how forcing wolves on the public is such a bad idea,” said Erica Tergeson, Director of Hunting Policy, NRA-ILA.

Also in opposition to forced wolf introduction are 39 Colorado County Commissioner Boards that have come out against the initiative from across our state.  To view this list, please visit: www.stopthewolf.org/counties-opposed. Continue reading

04-01-20 USDA-NASS-CO Grain Stocks Report…


GRAIN STOCKS – MARCH 1, 2020

ARIZONA

Off-farm corn stocks in Arizona on March 1, 2020 were 2.62 million bushels, down 2 percent from March 1, 2019, according to the March 1 Agricultural Survey and March Grain Stocks Report conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National
Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Off-farm all wheat stocks in Arizona on March 1, 2020 were 2.96 million bushels, down 28 percent from March 1, 2019. Off-farm barley stocks totaled 78,000 bushels. Other Arizona grain stocks were not published separately to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.

COLORADO

All corn stocks in Colorado on March 1, 2020 were 68.95 million bushels, down 7 percent from March 1, 2019, according to the March 1 Agricultural Survey and March Grain Stocks Report conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. All corn stocks stored on farms amounted to 36.00 million bushels, down 10 percent from a year ago. All corn stored off farms amounted to 32.95 million bushels, down 3 percent from a year ago. Off-farm oat stocks in Colorado were estimated at 38,000 bushels, down 30 percent from last year. Off-farm sorghum stocks totaled 3.98 million bushels on March 1, 2020.

All wheat stocks in Colorado on March 1, 2020 were 39.79 million bushels, down 11 percent from March 1, 2019. All wheat stocks stored on farms amounted to 12.00 million bushels, unchanged from a year ago. All wheat stored off farms amounted to 27.79 million bushels, down 15 percent from a year ago. Off-farm barley stocks totaled 5.49 million bushels, down 11 percent from last year. Other Colorado grain stocks were not published separately to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.

MONTANA Continue reading

04-01-20 Coronavirus Public Health Emergency Underscores Need for Department of Education’s Proposed Distance Learning Rules

Coronavirus Public Health Emergency Underscores Need for Department of Education’s Proposed Distance Learning Rules

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed new rules today that would govern distance learning for higher education students. Although work on the proposed Distance Learning and Innovation regulation started more than a year ago, the COVID-19 National Emergency underscores the need for reform and for all educational institutions to have a robust capacity to teach remotely.

“With our support, colleges and universities were among the first to transition to online and distance learning so learning could continue during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary DeVos. “Frankly, though, they are working within the confines of stale rules and regulations that are in desperate need of rethinking. We know there are fewer and fewer ‘traditional’ students in higher education, and this current crisis has made crystal clear the need for more innovation. It’s past time we rethink higher ed to meet the needs of all students. Fortunately, we started work last year to develop a new set of standards that are responsive to current realities, that embrace new technology, that open doors for much-needed innovation in higher education, and that expand access for students to the flexible, relevant education opportunities they need.”

Crafted by a diverse group of experts during the Department’s 2019 negotiated rulemaking, the Department’s proposed Distance Learning and Innovation regulations enhance educational quality and reduce barriers to innovation while maintaining safeguards to limit the risks to students and taxpayers. These proposed regulations build upon Secretary DeVos’ call for institutions, educators, and policy makers to “rethink higher education” and find new ways to expand educational opportunity, demonstrate the value of a postsecondary credential and lifelong learning, and reduce costs for students and schools.

The proposed regulation would do the following:

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04-01-20 Secretary DeVos Announces New Federal Deadline Flexibility for Career and Technical Education Leaders, Allowing Them to Focus on Serving Students During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Secretary DeVos Announces New Federal Deadline Flexibility for Career and Technical Education Leaders, Allowing Them to Focus on Serving Students During the COVID-19 Outbreak

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today new flexibilities for career and technical education (CTE) leaders who are required to submit their local CTE plan for FY 2020-2023 under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) by April 15, 2020.

Following up on feedback she received from town hall meetings between the Department and state CTE directors, the Secretary has decided to use transition authority to provide an extension for states that need additional time to submit their Perkins V state plans, allow states and local Perkins recipients to receive their first installment of Perkins V funds on time—even if they need an extension, and allow states to provide funding recipients additional time to complete their applications.

“The 12 million students in career and technical education programs today are tomorrow’s first responders, nurses, and medical assistants—those who are right now on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus,” said Secretary DeVos. “They are also those who will help rebuild and grow our economy. This Administration’s commitment to CTE programs is unwavering, and the flexibilities provided today will help to ensure their critical work continues.”

Information on the new flexibilities was provided to local leaders through a new Q&A document which can be found here. Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 1st

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 1st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA Releases Perspective Plantings Report

Producers surveyed across the United States intend to plant an estimated 97.0 million acres of corn in 2020, up eight percent from last year. The Agriculture Department’s National Agricultural Statistics Survey released its Prospective Planting report Tuesday. The report says planted acreage intentions for corn are up or unchanged in 38 of the 48 estimating states. Soybean growers intend to plant 83.5 million acres in 2020, up ten percent from last year, the third-highest planted acreage on record. Compared with last year, planted acreage is expected to be up or unchanged in 22 of the 29 states estimated. NASS also released the quarterly Grain Stocks report as of March 1. The report says corn stocks totaled 7.95 billion bushels, down eight percent from the same time last year. On-farm corn stocks were down 13 percent from a year ago, but off-farm stocks were up less than one percent. And, Soybeans stored totaled 2.25 billion bushels, down 17 percent. On-farm soybean stocks were down 20 percent, while off-farm stocks were down 15 percent.

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Farm Journal Releases Poll on COVID-19 Impact

A poll by Farm Journal shows farmers and ranchers are concerned about uncertainty in commodity markets, the financial stability of their businesses, and the health of their families, and their workforce. The poll gaged farmer responses regarding top issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey results show 90 percent of farmers and ranchers say they expect COVID-19 to impact their business. While only 30 percent have a fear of becoming sick themselves, many expressed concerns about family and friends in higher risk categories. One-third of respondents said they’ve been directly impacted by the disease. Farm Journal’s Charlene Finck says, “Planting crops, maintaining dairy operations and other agricultural work is critical to our national security and social well-being,” adding, “We will get through these uncertain times together.” Agriculture is naturally designated as an essential or critical industry for the nation, as the farm workforce helps to feed the nation, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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DOT and EPA Issue Final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule

The Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency released final emissions rules Tuesday. The agencies will change the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule setting corporate fuel economy and CO2 emissions standards, known as CAFÉ standards, for model years 2021-2026 passenger cars and light trucks. The final rule will increase stringency of CAFE and CO2 emissions standards by 1.5 percent each year through model year 2026, as compared with the standards issued in 2012, which would have required about five percent annual increases. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the final rule “puts in place a sensible national program that strikes the right regulatory balance that protects our environment and sets reasonable targets for the auto industry.” Meeting the previous CAFÉ standards were seen as a way to increase biofuel demand. Under the SAFE Rule, the projected overall industry average required fuel economy is 40.4 miles per gallon, compared to 46.7 projected requirements for model year 2025 under the 2012 standards.

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NASS to Host Virtual Annual USDA Data Users’ Meeting

The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will host its annual USDA Data Users’ Meeting virtually later this month. The event is one of many that have opted to go virtual amid the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. Planned for Tuesday, April 21, the event is regularly held to share recent and pending program changes, and to solicit comments and input on various data and information programs important to agriculture. Usually held in person, the online Data Users’ Meeting remains free of charge and open to the public and will take place from 1:00-3:30 p.m. (ET). The meeting is organized by NASS in cooperation with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, Farm Service Agency, Economic Research Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and the U.S. Census Bureau. Leaders from each agency will provide an overview of current issues and then take questions and comments. Registration and participation information is available at www.nass.usda.gov.

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No World Pork Expo for Second Straight Year

For the second-straight year, the National Pork Producers Council has canceled the World Pork Expo. Canceled last year to avoid the spread of African swine fever, this year’s event is one of many interrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. NPPC announced the cancellation early this week due to COVID-19 human health concerns. NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth says, while disappointing, canceling the event allows “producers and others across the industry to focus on the essential role we play in the nation’s food supply system at this critical time.” Roth says NPPC will “do our part to support the nation’s transition back to normalcy and look forward to making next year’s World Pork Expo better than ever.” World Pork Expo is the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, where more than 20,000 industry professionals gather for three days to showcase innovations, introduce new products and participate in training and educational programs. World Pork Expo 2021 is scheduled for June 9-11 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

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DFA Named Winning Bidder for Dean Foods Assets

Dean Foods announced Tuesday Dairy Farmers of America as the winning bidder to acquire a substantial portion of Dean Foods’ business operations. In a statement, Dean Foods says. “We ran a competitive auction process and are pleased to have reached these agreements.” The two previously reached an agreement in February before withdrawing the plan to favor a competitive bidding process. DFA will acquire the assets, rights, interests, and properties relating to 44 of the company’s fluid and frozen facilities for $433 million. In addition, as part of the court-supervised sale process, Dean Foods has designated Prairie Farms Dairy as the winner of the assets, rights, interests, and properties relating to eight additional facilities, two distribution branches and certain other assets for $75 million in cash. Dean Foods has designated Mana Saves McArthur, LLC, and Producers Dairy Foods as winning bidders for the sale of the facilities located in Miami, Florida and Reno, Nevada, respectively. Harmoni, Inc. has been designated as the winning bidder for the Uncle Matt’s business.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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03-31-20 CO Farm Bureau: Times are Hard. There is Help.

CO Farm Bureau: Times are Hard. There is Help.

Rural Mental Health Resources are Here for You

CENTENNIAL, CO —March 31, 2020This is a challenging time for all of us. Coloradans are trying to figure out how to navigate the situation, and the toll it takes on all of us can be overwhelming. Life is different and that’s okay. We are all in this together and we are all doing the best we can.

Rural Colorado has been working through stress for quite some time. Before this pandemic, the agriculture industry was suffering from high input costs and low returns. Now, farmers and ranchers continue to work and grow food in order to keep our supply chain stable and moving, but that doesn’t make times easier. Prices are still low and Spring brings added pressure of keeping baby calves and lambs healthy and it’s also a busy time for farmers who are planting. Labor is hard to come by and small businesses are suffering. It’s not easy.

It’s okay to feel stress. There is help.

It’s incredibly important that we take care of ourselves, our families and our communities.

If you or someone you love is struggling, please know that there is help. Colorado Crisis Services is here to help you get through this. To talk to someone, call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.

About the Colorado Farm Bureau Continue reading

03-31-20 CO Farm Bureau: State Legislative Session Still in Limbo

CO Farm Bureau: State Legislative Session Still in Limbo 

The General Assembly reconvened briefly on Monday morning after the two week recess in response to the COVID-19 global health pandemic. A quorum was not present, so the assembly recessed until Thursday April 2nd, the longest they can do so without a quorum. The General Assembly is still awaiting a ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court (CSC) on whether the 120 days of the general assembly are consecutive or if there can be a pause in the session for a health emergency. Once a determination has been made by the CSC, the general assembly will proceed with planning for the rest of the session. Continue reading

03-31-20 AFBF: Pandemic Injects Volatility into Cattle and Beef Markets

AFBF: Pandemic Injects Volatility into Cattle and Beef Markets

Intro

The self-distancing and quarantine protocols put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 have reduced economic growth, shuttered consumers in their homes, and changed the way Americans purchase and consume food. A slowing economy is bad for all of the animal proteins, but beef — typically the highest priced of the proteins and considered a luxury product in economic terms – stands to suffer the most when consumers spend less in response to wage cuts and job losses. Additionally, beef is used more heavily in the food service channel than pork. We already know that consumers will be shifting more of their food dollars to at-home spending as opposed to eating out (a one-two punch to food service in the form of greatly reduced demand caused by the recessionary pressures and social distancing efforts practiced by consumers). This shift by consumers, combined with panic buying as families stock up on supplies, is sending shockwaves through the American food, meat, and beef supply chain.

Record Jump in Boxed Beef Cutout

Beef prices tend to move higher in March and April as warmer weather drives spring features and we see increased traffic at food service restaurants. However, warmer weather cannot account for the historic jump that has occurred in the boxed beef cutout (Figure 1). In just a week, the daily boxed beef cutout has jumped 25% (calculated from the daily reported cutout as the difference between the peak and the low point preceding the peak, not the weekly boxed beef cutout report). The last time we saw a jump nearing this magnitude was in April/May 2017, and then it was spread out over a period of 27 days from low to high, and, at 21%, still a smaller percentage. In August 2019, another black swan event, a  fire at one of the nation’s largest packing plants, caused a significant runup in the cutout as well, but that was an increase of 12% in seven days. Since its peak, the cutout has begun to weaken somewhat over the last few days. Continue reading

03-31-20 Readout of the U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 Conference Call with Higher Education Stakeholders

Readout of the U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 Conference Call with Higher Education Stakeholders

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with several senior Department officials, held a conference call today with higher education leaders to provide an update on the Trump Administration’s whole-of-government response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) national emergency.

The Secretary began the call by welcoming the participants, including state higher education executive officers, college and university presidents, accreditors, and leaders of national higher education organizations, and thanking them for their continued work on behalf of students. Continue reading

03-31-20 NFU: Fuel Standards a Missed Opportunity for Farmers, Consumers, and Environment

NFU: Fuel Standards a Missed Opportunity for Farmers, Consumers, and Environment

WASHINGTON – In the final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today relaxed fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2021-2026 passenger vehicles.

When the rule was initially proposed a year and a half ago, National Farmers Union (NFU) urged EPA to incorporate greater access mid-level ethanol blends as a way to boost octane and increase vehicle efficiency. Despite widespread support from automakers and retailers for a higher minimum octane level for gasoline, the agency ultimately decided against the change.  Additionally, EPA declined to adopt new incentives for the production of flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) because such incentives were deemed outside the scope of the rulemaking.

NFU President Rob Larew issued the following statement in response to the rule:

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TEXT OF STATEMENT:

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03-31-20 U.S Senator Gardner Requests COVID-19 Testing for Colorado Tribes

U.S Senator Gardner Requests COVID-19 Testing for Colorado Tribes

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) is requesting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provide additional COVID-19 testing kits to the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes in Colorado and ensure they have the testing capabilities necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There have already been two confirmed positive cases on the Southern Ute Indian reservation, and the Indian Health Service expects an increase in positive cases amongst all tribes in the coming weeks. The federal government needs to fulfill its trust responsibility to tribal governments and ensure they have access to the resources they need,” wrote Senator Gardner. “It is crucial that FEMA provides a sufficient amount of testing kits both to the state of Colorado and to our tribal communities in order to ensure that they are able to respond to the grave threat that COVID-19 poses.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below: Continue reading