Tag Archives: Farming

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California farms are still working to supply food to much of the United States amid the coronavirus. But some farm workers are anxious about the virus spreading among them.

Many travel in groups to fields and say employers show no regard for social distancing. Some farms are keeping workers spaced out and asking them to wear gloves and use hand sanitizer. But an industry group says the distancing measures can be inefficient and costly. If workers are sidelined by illness, it could jeopardize crop yields and disrupt the food supply.

United Farm Workers is using the moment to push for longstanding requests like removing hurdles to sick pay.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, late Wednesday night issued the following statement after the Senate passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes relief for farmers, consumers, and rural communities.

“This health care crisis is affecting every family across the country. The relief package will provide stability for our farmers and ensure the American people have a safe and stable food supply. Our bipartisan agreement includes targeted assistance to farmers who are experiencing severe financial losses during the pandemic, including fruit and vegetable growers, dairy farmers, and local food producers.

“The bill ensures that our small towns and rural communities aren’t left behind. It provides telemedicine resources, critical support for rural hospitals, and loans to help small businesses stay afloat.

“While this bill contains critical relief, I am deeply disappointed that including additional food assistance for children, families, and seniors did not have bipartisan support. I will continue to fight to get families the help they need during this crisis.”

The CARES Act provides:

Relief for Farmers and Ranchers

  • $9.5 billion dedicated disaster fund to help farmers who are experiencing financial losses from the coronavirus crisis, including targeted support for fruit and vegetable growers, dairy and livestock farmers, and local food producers, who have been shorted from receiving emergency assistance in the past.
  • $14 billion to fund the Farm Bill’s farm safety net through the Commodity Credit Corporation.
  • Eligibility for farmers and agricultural and rural businesses to receive up to $10 million in small business interruption loans from eligible lenders, including Farm Credit institutions, through the Small Business Administration. Repayment forgiveness will be provided for funds used for payroll, rent or mortgage, and utility bills.
  • $3 million to increase capacity at the USDA Farm Service Agency to meet increased demand from farmers affected by the coronavirus crisis.

 

Assistance for Small Towns and Rural Communities

  • $1 billion available in guaranteed loans to help rural businesses weather the economic downturn.
  • $100 billion to hospitals, health care providers, and facilities, including those in rural areas.
  • $25 million for telemedicine tools to help rural patients access medical care no matter where they live.
  • $100 million for high speed internet expansion in small towns and rural communities.
  • Over $70 million to help the U.S. Forest Service serve rural communities and reduce the spread of coronavirus through personal protective equipment for first responders and cleaning of facilities.

 

Protections for Consumers and the Food Supply

  • $55 million for inspection and quarantine at our borders to protect against invasive pests and animal disease.
  • $33 million for overtime and temporary food safety inspectors to protect America’s food supply at meat processing plants.
  • $45 million to ensure quality produce and meat reaches grocery stores through increased support for the Agricultural Marketing Service.
  • $1.5 million to expedite EPA approvals of disinfectants needed to control the spread of coronavirus.

Food Access for Families

  • $15.8 billion to fund food assistance changes made in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Republicans and the Trump Administration blocked additional funding to expand benefits for children, families, and seniors.
  • $9 billion to fund child nutrition improvements made in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • $450 million to provide food banks with additional resources for food and distribution.
  • $100 million for food distribution in Tribal communities to provide facility improvements, equipment upgrades, and food purchases.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2020 12:00 NOON, CDT

Link to webinar: zoom.us/j/283190186

*no preregistration for the webinar .. just enter the above address.
Stress has become a fact of life for farm families. Many are facing financial problems, marketing uncertainties, farm transfer issues, weather, production challenges and more.

Nebraska Cattlemen has partnered with UNL–Nebraska Extension to offer this webinar to producers.
· Recognizing symptoms of stress in ourselves and others
· Understanding how chronic stress affects us and learning coping strategies
· How to talk to someone experiencing chronic stress
· How to approach a conversation if you feel someone is considering suicide
· Where to turn for help

If you or someone you know needs help with stress management or would like to talk to someone confidentially. Call the Rural Response Hotline 800-464-0258

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for Nebraska agriculture and trade, met with Secretary Perdue and the entire Nebraska congressional delegation at the Department of Agriculture to discuss challenges to Nebraska agriculture.

“We just spent an hour talking about Nebraska agriculture with Secretary Perdue,” said Senator Sasse. “We let the Agriculture Secretary know that nobody out hustles Nebraska farmers, and we talked about some of the ways we can give predictability to these families as they slog through everything from disaster applications to bizarre environmental red tape. We gave the Department of Agriculture an unvarnished look at the challenges we’ve got and the Secretary committed to partnering with us on some important priorities.”

During the meeting, Sasse and the Nebraska delegation thanked the Secretary of Agriculture for beginning the sign up for sugar beet producers impacted by the canal collapse in July 2019 and early frost in October 2019.  Sugar beet producers are eligible for disaster assistance under the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP Plus) and sign up begins March 23. This is an important resource for sugar beet growers in western Nebraska that were hit hard by disasters.

Sasse and the delegation relayed concerns from Nebraska farmers who are going into the 2020 crop year facing excessive moisture still in the ground from the 2019 floods and a lack of irrigation following 2019’s irrigation canal collapse.

Sasse and the delegation asked the Department of Agriculture to ease environment restrictions on Nebraska farmers who face delays in completing post-flood restoration work because of bureaucratic environmental red tape.  We want our farmers to get in the fields as planting season will start soon.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Registration is now open for the 2020 World Pork Expo presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Attendees, media and exhibitors can complete their registration by visiting the World Pork Expo website. This year’s trade show will be hosted from June 3 to 5 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“We are thrilled to continue the tradition of the World Pork Expo this year,” said David Herring, NPPC president, and pork producer from Lillington, N.C. “There’s truly something for everyone at the Expo — from the trade show to networking. Anyone in the pork industry is encouraged to attend!”

With 360,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than 500 exhibitors are planned for the 2020 World Pork Expo.

Continually Maximizing Indoor and Outdoor Trade Show Space

Organizers plan to take advantage of all the space available in order to give attendees and exhibitors the best experience possible. Of the 500 plus companies attending the show, they will be displaying products and services from animal health, nutrition, build and equipment, financial marketing, genetics and more.

The Expo will be held in the Varied Industries Building and the Jacobson Exhibition Center, outdoors on Grand Avenue and the areas between the two main buildings. Attendees are encouraged to explore the fairground space to experience all the Expo’s offerings.

“We’re currently making adjustments around the show to maximize the flow of the entire trade show. This will help with show continuity for years to come,” said Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing for NPCC.

Company-sponsored hospitality tents will continue to be around throughout the fairgrounds. Organizers are expecting 60 plus tents this year, giving industry representatives an opportunity to network with producers and employees in a more relaxed setting.

The trade show will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 3-4, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 5.

Start Planning Your Expo Experience

The Expo is packed with three days of learning and networking opportunities, events and activities. More than 15 educational and informational seminars are free to attend. These seminars address innovative production and management strategies, and current issues and topics related to the pork industry.

Other activities you won’t want to miss include:

  • MusicFest — Join us on Thursday evening to relax and enjoy free live music and refreshments. Stay tuned to find out who this year will feature!
  • Big Grill — Stop by and enjoy a free pork lunch during all three days of the Expo. More than 10,000 lunches are served! Lunches are available between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • NPPC Hospitality Tent — Visit one-on-one with NPPC board members and staff to learn about current legislation, regulation, and public policy issues that impact pork production.

Additional Registration Information

Registration is now available online until May 28. Tickets include entry to the Expo for all three days. Discounted rates are available during pre-registration including $10 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $1 for children (6 to 11 years old). Registration on-site will be $20 per adult. There is an on-site Friday-only option for $10.

Save the date for June 3-5 to visit Des Moines. Three days of education, fun, networking and delicious pork await you.

(SAN ANTONIO) – Five dedicated leaders in soil health received the Soil Health Partnership’s  (SHP) “Seeds of Change” awards at the 2020 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. These awards highlight those participants in SHP who go above and beyond to promote soil health throughout the year.

 

“The Soil Health Partnership’s farmers are at the core of our work. Without their commitment and support, the work of SHP does not exist. I feel honored to partner with this strong group of farmers and recognize five farmers that go above and beyond in their work with SHP,” said John Mesko, SHP senior director. “These five individuals exemplify the very best of our dedicated partners, and we thank them for their great work.”

 

The five award recipients are:

 

Super Sprout: Trinity Creek Ranch

Trinity Creek Ranch in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota received the Super Sprout award for their continuous experiments with management practices to improve soil health, despite the challenges of a shorter growing season and extremely cold winters. The farm is owned and operated by Mikayla Tabert and David Miller, a father-daughter duo that can’t wait to use their data to encourage others to consider implementing a cover crop program on their own farms.

 

Champion Communicator: Mark Heckman with Heckman Farms

Mark Heckman of Heckman Farms received the Champion Communicator award for his work helping other farmers understand his farm’s soil health journey. Mark hosted a field day in summer 2019 to give other farmers a firsthand glimpse of the benefits and challenges of some key management changes that have improved his farm’s soil health. Mark and his brothers and parents have also opened their West Liberty, Iowa farm to a cover crop demonstration plot, cover crop seeding equipment, a hog finishing barn, and a constructed wetland, allowing for maximum learning opportunities.

 

Data Dominator: Daryl and Jason Maple with Maple Farms

Receiving the Data Dominator award is Daryl and Jason Maple of Maple Farms in Kokomo, Indiana. Daryl and Jason promote optimum soil health from timely sharing of data with many precision ag programs. They are confident that their data will tell the story of what changes are taking place in their field and they genuinely enjoy the learning opportunities of their Soil Health Partnership trial. The data from their trials offer their farm and others the best opportunities to learn what management changes will work best to improve soil health.

 

Exceptional Educator: Doug Palen with Palen Family Farms

The Exceptional Educator award goes to Doug Palen of Palen Family Farms. Doug and his family enjoy talking about their soil health management experiences, and they jump into many experiences with both feet, giving them even more to teach about.  Palen Family Farms of Glen Elder, Kansas is involved with research via a Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE) grant, field demonstration days featuring no-till companion cropping, research on nutrient management, and projects with Kansas State. Doug takes an active role in his community and in the ag community as a whole, so his voice is a respected one in the area of soil health.

 

Ace Agronomist: Darin Kennelly with Precise Crop

A knowledgeable agronomist in his own right, Darin Kennelly received the Ace Agronomist award for his leadership with his test plots. He works diligently to ensure soil tests are pulled correctly, is actively engaged in all soil testing, and is well respected with his farmer. Darin asks thought provoking questions and engages with SHP to ensure his test plots are done with great integrity. Darin is an independent ag consultant based in central Illinois.

Last year was a rough one for American sugar farmers. The Hagstrom Report says America is facing a sugar shortage after last year’s bad weather in the Midwest, a freeze in Louisiana, and drought in Mexico.

The shortage is driving the prices for the industrial sweetener higher, reaching several cents above average. A national refiner of raw sugar is offering refined cane sugar at 44 cents per pound now and 41 cents for the calendar year 2021. That’s compared with the more usual prices of 37 to 38 cents. The bad weather hit particularly hard in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota.

Those areas have some of the most sophisticated delivery systems to candy makers and other food companies in Chicago and other midwestern cities. The U.S. Ag Department can make changes if needed to its sugar management system to make it easier and cheaper to bring in raw cane sugar from other countries into the United States, but also has no control over the refining process once the sugar enters the country.

The U.S. sugar industry used to have 104 production plants but now has 45.

Farmers The USDA’s most recent forecast of net farm income in 2020 pegs it at $96.7 billion, up 3.3 percent or $3.1 billion, from last year. If realized, 2020 would represent the fourth consecutive year of improved farm income. However, according to American Farm Bureau, 2020 farm income would only be slightly higher than the 20-year, inflation-adjusted, national average of $93 billion. Cash receipts from crop and livestock sales are projected to $384.4 billion, up 2.7 percent or $10.1 billion, from 2019. Total animal/animal product receipts are expected to increase 4.6 percent with growth seen in hogs, cattle/calves, and poultry/eggs. Projected receipts from cattle/calves, $69 billion, is expected to be the highest since 2015. Cash receipts from crops are forecast at $198.6 billion, up $1.9 billion or 1 percent, from the prior year. Corn receipts are projected to be $1 billion higher; soybeans are projected to be about $1 billion lower. Federal government payments are expected to fall 37 percent. This is due to the expectation of no Market Facilitation Payments (MFP) this year. The final tranche of the 2019 payments, $3.7 billion, was made earlier this month.

 

The farm income forecasts offer positive news for Nebraska. Higher cattle/calves receipts are particularly positive as Nebraska is second only to Texas in the number of beef cattle. Poultry receipts in Nebraska should also be higher due to the ramp up of production at the Costco facility in Fremont. On the crop side, typical production levels with steady prices could be coupled with lower per bushel costs.

 

The USDA projections do not include any growth in exports to China due to the Phase 1 deal. If China ramps up purchases of U.S. agricultural goods, a big “if” given the uncertainties created by the coronavirus outbreak and its accompanying economic impacts, the farm income numbers could improve. Another uncertainty is federal support payments. As noted above, the income projections do not include any MFP payments this year. With the Phase 1 agreement and passage of a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, most people thought a MFP program this year was unlikely. However, a President Trump tweet on Friday said additional aid to farmers will be provided until the trade deals “fully kick in.” Either way, more exports to China or additional MFP payments should improve income conditions on the farm or ranch.

 

On July 25, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of additional actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture would take to support American agricultural producers while continued efforts on free, fair and reciprocal trade deals take place. As part of those actions, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced up to $17 million of food purchases in American lamb under the authority of Section 5 of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act for distribution to various food nutrition assistance programs.

 

A pre-solicitation notice issued Feb. 18 announced a near-term opportunity for a solicitation of lamb products to be procured as to include, but not limited to, lamb shanks. A delivery period is suggested as May through September.

 

Solicitations will be issued soon and will be available electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management system. Public WBSCM information is available without an account on the WBSCM Public Procurement Page. All future information regarding this acquisition, including solicitation amendments and award notices, will be published through WBSCM, and on the Agricultural Marketing Service’s website at www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food. Interested parties shall be responsible for ensuring that they have the most up-to-date information about this acquisition. The contract type is anticipated to be firm-fixed price. Deliveries are expected to be to various locations in the United States on an FOB destination basis.

 

Pursuant to Agricultural Acquisition Regulation 470.103(b), commodities and the products of agricultural commodities acquired under this contract must be a product of the United States, and shall be considered to be such a product if it is grown, processed and otherwise prepared for sale or distribution exclusively in the United States. Packaging and container components under this acquisition will be the only portion subject to the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement and Free Trade Agreements, as addressed by FAR clause 52.225-5.

 

To be eligible to submit offers, potential contractors must meet the AMS vendor qualification requirements. The AMS point of contact for new vendors may be reached via email at NewVendor@usda.gov. Details of these requirements are available online at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food/becoming-approved.

 

Source: USDA/AMS

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Thursday a new department-wide initiative aimed at reducing the agriculture industry’s environmental impact while continuing to use innovation to increase production and output to meet growing global demand.

The Agriculture Innovation Agenda aligns USDA’s resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050. The strategy will set benchmarks for food loss and waste, carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, and renewable energy.

“Farmers are the original and best conservationists on earth,” said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “Through innovation, conservation, and continual adaptation of practices, farmers across the U.S. have learned to do more with less. Secretary Perdue and his team at USDA should be applauded for their leadership in this area and I have full confidence our Kansas farmers and ranchers will rise to the challenge and not only decrease their impact on our environment but do so while creating more fuel, food, and fiber than ever before.”

Read more about the USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda HERE.

Today’s announcement comes one day after the unveiling of Farmers for a Sustainable Future, an initiative of 20 different farm groups to serve as a primary resource for policy makers as they consider sustainability and climate policies important to the agriculture industry.

“The Green New Deal and other left-wing, socialist, government takeover plans proposed by the Democratic party would destroy Kansas agriculture,” said Rep. Marshall. “I have fought for Kansas farmers and ranchers and am encouraged to see so many in the agriculture industry come together to educate lawmakers and fight for meaningful and innovative environmental and conservation policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, without destroying agriculture as we know it.”

Read more about the Farmers for a Sustainable Future initiative HERE.