04-23-15 ASI News: DOL changes ‘Special Procedures’ that have served the industry well for decades….

ASI Sheep Logo 1

DENVER, C) – April 23, 2015 – Livestock producers in the western United States were dealt a blow last week when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Federal Register notice proposing significant changes to regulations governing the employment of non-immigrant H-2A workers as sheepherders, goat herders and for the production of livestock on the open range.

A 2014 court order directed the DOL to engage in a notice-and-comment rulemaking to formalize special procedure guidance that has governed the H-2A sheep and livestock herding occupations for decades. The H-2A program was instituted in the 1950’s and has been used successfully ever since.

The proposed changes issued by the department include definitions that do not accurately reflect the unique characteristics of the industry, inadequate job description parameters and an alarming wage methodology that will triple labor costs and impose additional expenses on employers. Continue reading

02-05-15 CSU Extension: Golden Plains Area – “Firewise Landscaping”

CSU Extension Golden Plains Area logo

Firewise Landscaping by Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Program Associate

No plant is “fireproof”.  Plants with high moisture content such as succulents are have a higher resistance to wildfire.  There are other plants such as Oriental Poppy, Saxifrage, Rockrose and Sea thrift which require high moisture content and have a high resistance to wildfire.  Native species are the best overall.  For a more comprehensive list go on-line to Colorado State University Extension Website for Fact Sheet Number 6.305 titled, “FireWise Plant Materials”.Have you ever considered the types of plants and their proximity to your home can actually save your home from catching fire in the event of a wildfire?  These FireWise plants can reduce the amount potential fuel during a wildfire.  Being FireWise means placing these plants in a defensible zone by creating a gap or space around your home making it harder for those plants to add fuel to the fire.  Remember you start a fire with kindling.  In other words, the kindling is the low intensity heat working to higher intensity.  The pine needles and the wood chips are the kindling to burn the logs.

Other characteristics of plants to consider for your landscape are those that grow slowly and require little to no pruning.  Groundcovers which are short and stay close to the ground are also good choices.  Plants with open and loose branching such as mountain mahogany have a low volume of vegetation.  Any plants such as aspens which grow without accumulating large amounts of dead debris. Continue reading

02-03-15 CSU Extension: Golden Plains Area -“Leaving a Lasting Legacy”

CSU Extension Golden Plains Area logo(Akron, Colo.) It was a beautiful afternoon in late spring when Bob clutched his hands to his chest and collapsed in the field. He was dead within minutes. No warning. No chance of survival.

His wife and five children were left in utter disbelief. How was it possible that such a young man could be gone so quickly and without warning? There was no will or estate plan to assist with the transfer of real estate and other assets. There was no communication on how family members could fulfill his final wishes and instructions.

Bob and his family always had intentions to clarify his legacy plans. Now he is gone and younger generations will not have the opportunity to share his stories, faith, hopes for future generations, and life experiences. There were no final instructions for burial, to celebrate his life, or who was to get his collection of toy cars and silver spurs.

But, life had to go on. Chores had to be done, crops planted, calves branded, bills paid, and family activities to enjoy – all during a time of grief, anger, and other emotional struggles. How would they go on without their husband and father? Continue reading

01-22-15 USDA Reminds Producers of Upcoming Livestock Disaster Assistance Deadline…

FSA-CO News Release HeaderWASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2015 — Leland Swenson, State Executive Director, Colorado Farm Service Agency reminds livestock producers that the Jan. 30, 2015, deadline to request assistance for losses suffered from Oct. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2014, is fast approaching.

Applications for the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, restored by the 2014 Farm Bill resumed in April 2014, after having expired on Sept. 30, 2011.To date, more than 556,000 applications have been approved to assist farmers and ranchers in recovering from nearly three years of natural disasters.

The Livestock Indemnity Program provides financial assistance to eligible producers for livestock deaths. Losses can be caused by adverse weather, extreme temperatures, disease, or wildfires, or due to attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law, including wolves and avian predators.

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01-19-15 CSU Extension: Golden Plains Area -CHOOSING AN AG CONSULTANT…

CSU Extension Golden Plains Area logo

Attendees receiving Certified Crop Advisor credits at the Colorado State University Crops Clinic.

Attendees receiving Certified Crop Advisor credits at the
Colorado State University Crops Clinic.

Farmers can choose to gather all the information they can via Extension, local seed and chemical companies, agricultural magazines and newsletters, trade shows, field tours, and even from neighbors.  Then, armed with this new knowledge, farmers can apply it during the growing season to crop production problems encountered.  Much of this information is available at little or no direct cost.The science of farming is becoming more complex each year.  Farmers increasingly deal with unforgiving agricultural pests, some of which are developing resistance to current technology.  In addition, new and improved farming methods are advancing at a rapid pace in agriculture.  Methods that sometimes change rather quickly based on scientific research findings.  In addition to established pests attacking agricultural crops, new unfamiliar pests are also a threat.  Further, there are more than just a handful of pesticides available as tools for rescuing crops, and the current crop protection chemical reference is over 2000 pages.

Another option for producers who neither have the time nor technical expertise, is hiring an agricultural consultant, a trained agronomist who can focus on a farm’s production issues during the growing season.  This is a farm management strategy that is working for many producers.  Surveys indicate over 5 million acres are serviced by crop consultants nationwide with 21% of producers employing them, mostly in the Midwestern region of the U.S.

According to the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC), average acres for producers who employ a consultant is approximately 2,000.

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01-11-15 CSU Extension: Golden Plains Area – Weight Management for Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes…

CSU Extension Golden Plains Area logo

Mark your calendars for Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. for the first in a series of diabetes related webinars to be broadcast in numerous locations across Northeast Colorado.  The webinars will allow people to learn about a variety of topics and interact live with the professionals presenting the information.

The first webinar will be presented by Dr. Colby Jolley, a board certified family practitioner at the Haxtun Hospital. She is a strong proponent of preventative care and encourages patients to seek the reward of healthy living by focusing on life style changes.  Dr. Jolley will be discussing weight management for the prevention and treatment of diabetes and other chronic disease.  She will address how adjusting our behaviors, dietary choices and physical activity plays a role in weight loss and management. Continue reading

12-24-14 CSU Extension: Golden Plains Area – Pesticide License Recertification Programs…

CSU Extension Golden Plains Area logo

BURLINGTON, CO – December 24, 2014 – Colorado State University Extension is hosting Private Pesticide Recertification sessions at various locations in Northeast Colorado.  Anyone who purchases restricted-use pesticides must have a Private Pesticide Applicator license which is issued by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.  Private Applicator license study guides and exams can be obtained either from the Colorado Department of Agriculture or some Extension offices.  Once a license is received, it is active for 3 years before renewal is needed.  Renewal can be achieved by either retaking the exam or attending a recertification meeting.  These recertification meetings offer credits which can be substituted for retaking the exam. Pre-registration can be accomplished by visiting the Golden Plains Area website at http://goldenplains.colostate.edu.  Cost for the Private Applicator’s recertification is $40 with the Commercial license recertification being $50.  Registrations can also be done by calling the local CSU Extension Office where the event is taking place.

Locations and times are as follows:

  • February 9 – 1:00 p.m.  CSU Extension office at Sterling (Private Pesticide Recertification) – contact 970-522-3200
  • February 10 – 8:00 a.m.  CSU Extension Office at Ft. Morgan (Private Pesticide Recertification) – contact 970-542-3540
  • February 23 – 1:00 p.m.  Burlington Community Center (Private Pesticide Recertification) – contact 719-346-5571
  • February 24 – 8:00 a.m.  Phillips County Events Center (Private Pesticide Recertification) – contact 970-854-3616
  • March 6 – 8:00 a.m. CSU Extension Office in Akron  (Commercial License Recertification Only*) – contact 970-345-2287.
  • March 6 – 1:00 p.m.  Washington County Extension Office (Private Pesticide Recertification) – contact 970-345-2287

* Commercial Pesticide Licenses are in a different category and are needed for pesticide applicators charging a fee for pesticide services.

 

Submitted to BARN Media by: Ron F. Meyer, CSU Extension Agent, Agronomy

12-03-14 CSU Extension: Golden Plains Area – “Raise Friends, Raise Funds”…

CSU Extension Golden Plains Area logoThis is the philosophy from Granny’s Garden School; when you make friends it helps raise funds. The Executive Director of Granny’s Garden School is Roberta Paolo. She also believes and I agree, spend money on staff, and not stuff. Investing in people is more important. People are irreplaceable while stuff is replaceable. You can always get another shovel. But where can you find another you?

The garden school focuses their programs using hands-on learning. Their programs are school-based garden and nature programs. There is a happy medium between the relationships of their school-based programs. The teachers’ needs are met and the gardens’ needs are met. And by gardens, I mean, this garden school has six outdoor learning centers which they created to fit the needs of teachers so that both the needs of the classroom and garden are aligned. They serve 1,400 students every week. Now that might seem overwhelming; however, they have trained volunteers who come from a retired teacher’s base.

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11-24-14 CSU Extension: Golden Plains Area – 2015 IRM Red Books Available…

NCBA IRM Redbook 2015

CSU Extension Golden Plains Area logoNovember 24, 2014 – The 2015 edition of the IRM Redbook is available at each Golden Plains Area Extension office. This has been a valuable tool for many years for livestock producers to collect calving data in the field along with maintaining a calendar and important contact information. Producers can also track pasture usage, herd health activity and treatment activity in the Redbook.

There is no cost for the book but supplies are limited. The IRM Redbooks are sponsored by Golden Plains Area Extension, Yuma County Cattlemen’s Association and Kit Carson County Cattlemen’s Association.

Submitted to BARN Media by: Dennis A. Kaan, Golden Plains Area Director and Community Development Agent

11-10-14 USDA – FSA News: Coverage Selection for New 2014 Farm Bill Safety Net Programs Begins Nov 17th…

USDA FSA Logo

Producers have Until March 31, 2015, to Choose the Program Best for their Operation

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farm owners and producers that the opportunity to choose between the new 2014 Farm Bill established programs, Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), begins Nov. 17, 2014, and continues through March 31, 2015. The new programs, designed to help producers better manage risk, usher in one of the most significant reforms to U.S. farm programs in decades.

“USDA is committed to keeping farm owners and producers well informed on all steps in this process to ensure that they have all of the information that they need before making their coverage choice,” said Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini. “The new ARC and PLC programs provide a more rational approach to helping farmers manage risk by ensuring families don’t lose the farm because of events beyond their control.”

USDA helped create online tools to assist in the decision process, allowing farm owners and producers to enter information about their operation and see projections that show what ARC and/or PLC will mean for them under possible future scenarios. Farm owners and producers can access the online resources, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, from the convenience of their home computer or mobile device at any time. Continue reading

10-31-14 USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections to Begin Monday, Nov. 3…

USDA FSA Logo

Farmers and Ranchers Encouraged to Make Their Voices Heard

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2014 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging farmers and ranchers to make their voices heard by voting in the upcoming Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee elections. FSA Administrator Val Dolcini announced that beginning Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, USDA will mail ballots for the 2014 elections to eligible producers across the country. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by the Dec. 1, 2014, deadline to ensure that their vote is counted.

“The role and input of our county committee members is vital as we implement the 2014 Farm Bill,” said Dolcini. “New members provide input and make important decisions on the local administration of FSA programs. We have seen promising increases in the number of women and minority candidates willing to serve on county committees, helping to better represent the diversity of American agriculture.”

FSA County Committee members provide an important link between the local agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity support programs; conservation programs; indemnity and disaster programs; emergency programs and eligibility. County committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

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09-04-14 FSA-CO: Colorado Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by October 1st…

USDA FSA Logo

TN_LelandSwenson1111Denver CO, September 3, 2014 – Colorado Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Leland Swenson, is encouraging all Colorado livestock producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to contact their local FSA office to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014. After September 30, 2014, congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date.
Swenson stated, “In just four months, the Colorado Farm Service Agency local offices have assisted over 3,800 livestock producers and distributed more than $68 million dollars in disaster benefits. These dollars have been critical for producers looking to recover from the multi-year drought, rebuild their herds and pay off debts.” Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits, but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible.

The Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires USDA to implement reductions of 7.3 percent to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2014. However, producers seeking LFP support who have scheduled appointments with their local FSA office before Oct. 1, even if the appointment occurs after Oct.1, will not see reductions in the amount of disaster relief they receive.

USDA is encouraging producers to register, request an appointment or begin a Livestock Forage Disaster Program application with their county FSA office before Oct. 1, 2014, to lock in the current zero percent sequestration rate. As an additional aid to qualified producers applying for LFP, the Farm Service Agency has developed an online registration that enables farmers and ranchers to put their names on an electronic list before the deadline to avoid reductions in their disaster assistance. This is an alternative to visiting or contacting the county office. To place a name on the Livestock Forage Disaster Program list online, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster-register.

Producers who already contacted the county office and have an appointment scheduled, need do nothing more. Continue reading

09-02-14 USDA Announces First Quarter Sugar Feedstock Flexibility Program Expectations and Sugar Tariff Rate Quotas for Fiscal Year 2015..

USDA FSA Logo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced that it does not expect to purchase sugar under the Feedstock Flexibility Program in fiscal year 2015. CCC is required to announce quarterly estimates of sugar to be purchased for the Feedstock Flexibility Program in a given crop year. USDA also announced fiscal year 2015 raw and refined sugar tariff-rate quotas.

Feedstock Flexibility Program

Federal law allows sugar processors to obtain loans from USDA with maturities of up to nine months when the sugarcane or sugar beet harvest begins. Upon loan maturity, the sugar processor may repay the loan in full or forfeit the collateral (sugar) to USDA to satisfy the loan.

The Feedstock Flexibility Program was reauthorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill as an option to avoid sugar forfeitures. USDA’s Aug. 12, 2014, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report (www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/latest.pdf) projects a domestic fiscal year 2015 ending sugar stocks-to-use ratio of 6.9 percent. USDA has determined that sugar loan collateral forfeitures are unlikely.

The department will closely monitor stocks, consumption, imports, and all sugar market and program variables on an ongoing basis, and will continue to administer the sugar program as transparently as possible using the latest available data.

Sugar Tariff Rate Quotas

USDA is establishing the fiscal year 2015 traffic rate quota (TRQ) for raw cane sugar at 1,231,497 short tons raw value (1,117,195 metric tons raw value*), the minimum to which the United States is committed under the World Trade Organization Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture. Pursuant to additional U.S. note 5 to chapter 17 of the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule and section 359k of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended, USDA published this decision in the Federal Register.

Raw cane sugar under this TRQ must be accompanied by a certificate of quota eligibility and may enter the United States until Sept. 30, 2015. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will allocate this TRQ among supplying countries and customs areas.

USDA is also establishing the fiscal year 2015 refined sugar TRQ at 139,993 short tons raw value (127,000 metric tons raw value). Of this quantity, 117,568 short tons raw value (106,656 metric tons raw value) is reserved for the importation of specialty sugars as defined by the USTR. The total refined sugar TRQ includes the 24,251 short tons raw value (22,000 metric tons raw value) minimum to which the United States is committed under the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture, of which 1,825 short tons raw value (1,656 metric tons raw value) is reserved for specialty sugar.

Because the specialty sugar TRQ is first-come, first-served, tranches are needed to allow for orderly marketing throughout the year. The fiscal year 2015 specialty sugar TRQ will be opened in five tranches. The first, totaling 1,825 short tons raw value (1,656 metric tons raw value), will open Oct. 10, 2014. All specialty sugars are eligible for entry under this tranche. The second will open on Oct. 24, 2014, and be equal to 42,825 short tons raw value (38,850 metric tons raw value). The remaining three tranches will each be equal to 24,306 short tons raw value (22,050 metric tons raw value), with the third opening on Jan. 9, 2015; the fourth on April 10, 2015; and the fifth on July 10, 2015. The second, third, fourth, and fifth tranches will be reserved for organic sugar and other specialty sugars not currently produced commercially in the United States or reasonably available from domestic sources.

The USTR will allocate the refined TRQ, other than the amount reserved for specialty sugar, among supplying countries and customs areas.

* Conversion factor: 1 metric ton = 1.10231125 short tons. Continue reading

09-02-14 USDA – FSA News: Livestock Producers Urged to Enroll in Disaster Assistance Program by Oct 1st…

USDA FSA Logo

Congressionally Mandated Payment Reductions to Take Effect at Beginning of New Fiscal Year

Ranchers Applying for LFP Support Who Have Scheduled Appointments by Sept. 30th Will not be Impacted

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging producers who have suffered eligible disaster-related losses to act to secure assistance by Sept. 30, 2014, as congressionally mandated payment reductions will take place for producers who have not acted before that date. Livestock producers that have experienced grazing losses since October 2011 and may be eligible for benefits but have not yet contacted their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office should do so as soon as possible.

The Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011 requires USDA to implement reductions of 7.3 percent to the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) in the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2014. However, producers seeking LFP support who have scheduled appointments with their local FSA office before Oct. 1, even if the appointment occurs after Oct.1, will not see reductions in the amount of disaster relief they receive.

USDA is encouraging producers to register, request an appointment or begin a Livestock Forage Disaster Program application with their county FSA office before Oct. 1, 2014, to lock in the current zero percent sequestration rate. As an additional aid to qualified producers applying for LFP, the Farm Service’s Agency has developed an online registration that enables farmers and ranchers to put their names on an electronic list before the deadline to avoid reductions in their disaster assistance. This is an alternative to visiting or contacting the county office. To place a name on the Livestock Forage Disaster Program list online, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster-register.

Producers who already contacted the county office and have an appointment scheduled need do nothing more. Continue reading

08-18-14 *USDA-FSA CO News* Livestock Forage Disaster Program…

5.10.13

Livestock Forage Disaster Program

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is currently conducting sign-up for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP). LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought on privately owned or cash leased land. Eligible producers must physically be located in a county affected by a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period, which is May 1-October 31 for Washington County. This program is retroactive and application can be made for both the 2012 and 2013 grazing period. The deadline to apply for this program is January 30, 2015; however, producers are strongly encouraged to apply prior to October 1, 2014. Producers who suffered eligible grazing losses in Washington County should call and make an appointment as soon as possible, 970-345-2364 extension 2.

Those producers who have already applied and are in process of providing the office with leases, cattle documentation, or eligibility forms are also strongly encouraged to submit these records prior to October 1, 2014.


Questions?
Please contact CED Alicia Davisson, County Executive Director, at 970-345-2364 Ext 2, alicia.davisson@co.usda.gov or for Farm Loans, please contact FLM Jeanne Klemt, Farm Loan Manager, at 970-522-7440, jeanne.klemt@co.usda.gov.

 

07-03-14 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Announces Online Hay and Grazing Acres Locator Tool…

5.10.13For many years, FSA’s Hay Net website www.fsa.usda.gov/haynet  has been the “go to” online resource for agricultural producers to list information concerning the need for hay or the availability of hay.

Now, in response to requests from livestock producers and landowners, FSA has expanded the site to include the option to list a need for grazing acres or to list acres available for grazing.

If, due to extenuating circumstances, producers are in need of hay and/or grazing acres to support livestock, please use Hay Net to post an advertisement seeking these resources. Likewise, landowners who have hay and/or grazing acres available for livestock producers should post a Hay Net advertisement as well.

A few things to remember when using the Hay Net website:

  • There is a one-time registration process that should be completed by all users who want to post an ad online.
  • Users who just want to browse ads DO NOT NEED to have an eAuthentication user id.
  • Hay and grazing acre ads will be automatically removed after a period of 13 months.
  • Please help your fellow farmer and rancher by keeping ads current and up to date and remove ads you no longer need or want advertised on Hay Net. Please, no corporate advertisements on this site.

Hay Net is brought to you by FSA as a public service. The sole purpose of this online resource is to provide a site for the exchange of information. FSA does not endorse, guarantee, or otherwise make representations of any kind regarding any user of this site and FSA is not responsible for defining the terms of grazing agreements or lease contracts.

For more information about Hay Net and other FSA services and programs, please contact your local FSA office.  For local FSA Service Center contact information, please visit: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app .

05-27-14 *USDA/NASS-CO* The Latest Colorado Crop Progress Report…

CLICK HERE to visit the USDA/NASS Website

CLICK HERE to visit the USDA/NASS  Colorado Website

Agricultural Summary: Showers and storms concentrated east of the Front Range replenished soil moisture supplies and in some cases, improved crop conditions. Planting activity was slowed as a result of the soggy conditions that followed. Hail was reported in localized areas with damage to crops in some cases. Planting activities throughout the San Luis Valley were in full swing as precipitation was limited to isolated rain events. It was noted that irrigation diversions within the San Luis valley were occurring in greater frequency last week. Overall, mountain snowpack was 189 percent of average as of May 27. Farmers were allowed 5.6 days in the field for spring operations.

Small Grains: Spring wheat seeding was virtually completed as of last week, with 72 percent was emerged, compared with 75 percent last year and 81 percent on average. Up from 70 percent last week, 91 percent of the spring barley crop had emerged. Eighty-seven percent of the winter wheat crop was jointed, up 19 percentage points from the previous week. Thirty-eight percent was headed, compared with 9 percent last year and 45 percent on average.

Row Crops: Corn plantings retained a lead on last year and the average with 93 percent planted by week’s end while 55 percent had emerged. Planting of dry beans were delayed as only 2 percentage points were gained in progress last week, ending on 8 percent complete. Planting of potatoes outside the San Luis Valley was 93 percent complete while 65 percent had emerged, ahead of average in both stages. Planting of potatoes inside the San Luis Valley was virtually complete by week’s end, ahead of last year and average, while 11 percent was emerged. Sorghum planting activities were limited last week with a gain of one percentage point, ending on 25 percent complete. Ninety-one percent of the sugarbeet crop was planted, 29 percent of which was planted last week. Modest progress was realized in the planting of sunflowers last week, ending on 3 percent complete.

Pasture and Range: Pasture and range conditions were rated 59 percent fair to good across the State. Last year, 54 percent was rated fair to good while 69 percent is fair to good on average. The first cutting of alfalfa ended with 7 percent complete by week’s end, up from 1 percent previously.

Livestock: Death losses for cattle and sheep were mostly average to light. Stored feed supplies were rated mostly adequate to short.

CLICK HERE to view the full report

05-12-13 NFU Submits Additional Livestock Testimony…

NFU logo 3

WASHINGTON (May 12, 2014) – Today National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson submitted additional testimony to the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit, following up on an April 30, 2014, hearing on the state of the livestock industry. Johnson’s comments respond to discussion that occurred during the hearing.

“Witnesses and congressional Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) opponents insist that COOL holds no value to consumers, but NFU knows that is simply not true,” said Chandler Goule, NFU senior vice president of programs. “A 2003 Colorado State University study confirms that consumers are willing to pay a premium to know the origin of their food. Furthermore, COOL compliance costs amount to less than one-third of a cent per pound of meat, which certainly doesn’t justify the protests of the packers and processors reaping billions of dollars of profit.”

Of the seven witnesses who testified at the April hearing, only two represent organizations with strictly farmer or rancher members and the remaining five witnesses represent packer-producer organizations or meat companies. This presented a disproportionate opportunity for packers and processors to express their views in conflict with family farmers and ranchers.
“Congress acted in favor of COOL by including it in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills and demonstrated support for COOL by defeating an effort to undermine it in the 2014 Farm Bill. All parties in the livestock sector would be well-served to look toward a future in which consumers wish to know more about their food – an objective fulfilled in part by COOL,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s written comments elaborate on other important livestock issues, including an outline of common-sense rules about the relationship between meatpackers and contract poultry growers, which are currently being blocked by appropriations riders. NFU’s testimony also cites the May 5, 2014, discovery of a cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Brazil as an additional reason to oppose the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposal to allow the importation of animal products from Brazil.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.

03-06-14 USDA – FSA News: Livestock Producers Affected by Severe Weather Urged to Keep Good Records…

USDA FSA LogoWASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia, today repeated his appeal to livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as the drought in the West and the unexpected winter storm in the upper Midwest to keep thorough records. This includes livestock and feed losses, and any additional expenses that are a result of losses to purchased forage or feed stuff.

“The 2014 Farm Bill provides a strong farm safety net to help ranchers during these difficult times,” said Garcia. “We’ll provide producers with information on new program requirements, updates and signups as the information becomes available. In the meantime, I urge producers to keep thorough records. We know these disasters have caused serious economic hardships for our livestock producers. We’ll do all we can to assist in their recovery.”

In addition to western drought and the early-winter snowstorms, there are a variety of disasters from floods to storms to unexpected freezes. Each event causes economic consequences for farmers and ranchers throughout the United States. FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:

Continue reading

12-18-13 *NFU News* Applications Now Being Accepted for 2014 NFU Beginning Farmers Institute…

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WASHINGTON (Sept. 12, 2013) – National Farmers Union (NFU) is now accepting applications for its 2014 Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) program. The annual program, now accepting its fourth class of students, is open to individuals who are new to farming, are in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or are contemplating a career in farming or ranching.

 “The Beginning Farmers Institute underscores NFU’s commitment to growing a new generation of family agriculture,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “One unique feature of the Institute is that participants direct the agenda, allowing them to gain information on topics that will be most relevant to their particular operations. The small size and diversity of the group also ensures valuable interaction and learning opportunities among the participants.”