ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.
U.S. exports for fiscal 2010 are poised to achieve a value of $104.5 billion in sales—an $8 billion increase over last year and the second highest level in history, according to Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade released Thursday.
The trade surplus in agriculture is now forecast to reach $28 billion, the second highest ever achieved.
The report comes on the heels of a historic six-month pace of U.S. agricultural exports, which shattered records with $59 billion in sales in the first half of the fiscal year and generated a 14 percent increase over the same period last year.
U.S. agricultural exports to China grew by nearly $3 billion during the first half of the fiscal year to $10.6 billion, making China the United States’ top market for this period.
The 2nd Legislative Session of the 67th General Assembly adjourned late Wednesday night, May 12th, finishing a few hours before the midnight deadline, but clearly not days early as they had hoped. The total number of ‘introduced’ bills this session was 649 (that does not include any Resolutions).
In the end, it is expected that probably about 300 of those measures will have become law. The Governor has 30 days to sign or veto bills, after that date any measure that remains on his desk automatically goes into law. CFB had an active position on 54 measures this year and staff tracked about another 20 bills. The Policy staff worked on a wide range of topics from the “sheep-herder taskforce” bill, to the “re-imposed taxes” measures, to the ever long living “Right to Float” bill.
The 2010 Colorado Wheat Field Days will be held June 7-16th at eleven different variety trial sites throughout eastern Colorado. Jointly hosted by the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC), Colorado Association of Wheat Growers (CAWG), Colorado Wheat Research Foundation (CWRF) and Colorado State University (CSU) Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Experiment Station, the days will represent nearly every wheat variety planted in Colorado.
New hard red and hard white wheat varieties developed by CSU and new experimental varieties that are still in development will make their debut. Hour long plot tours will be great opportunities for producers to see the varieties that perform best in their areas.
All wheat producers are urged to attend at least one of the Colorado Wheat Field Days. For more information, a schedule and a map, visit www.coloradowheat.org or call 1-800-Wheat-10.
China, the world’s second biggest corn consumer, has booked almost 1 million metric tons of corn imports from the U.S. and will probably buy more, according to the U.S. Grains Council.
The U.S. can double or triple sales to China, as the nation seeks to complement domestic supply and satisfy expanding demand, said Alvaro Cordero, manager of international operations- marketing at the Grains Council.
China purchased about 600,000 tons of U.S. corn in the past month, according to the Agriculture Department. It is securing imports and selling from state inventories to cool domestic prices that have rallied 11 percent in the past six months to near record levels. A reduced crop last year and planting delays have increased speculation of a supply shortage.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for a vote on her resolution that essentially vetoes the Environmental Protection Agency’s scheme to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Debate and a vote is expected by June 10, after the Senate returns from its Memorial Day recess. AFBF strongly backs the Murkowski resolution and urges state Farm Bureaus to contact their senators during the recess and ask them to vote for the resolution.
In the meantime, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is saying he expects the Senate to pass the Murkowski resolution. “I think it will pass. There are a lot of people who will be in the camp of, ‘We should do it, not the EPA,’” said Graham, who is a co-sponsor of the resolution.
The resolution needs 51 votes to pass. Even if the measure passes the Senate, it faces a tougher climb in the House, and President Barack Obama is expected to veto the measure if it manages to clear both chambers.
A federal judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by horse activists that sought to halt the roundups of wild horses in Nevada and the stockpiling of the animals in Midwestern facilities.
District Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington, D.C. dismissed In Defense of Animals, Craig Downer, a Nevada wildlife ecologist, and Verdi children’s author Terri Farley’s lawsuit against government agencies on the basis that the parties did not have standing to take legal action in the matter of holding the horses in a long-term facility and because the roundup in the Calico area of Nevada ended in February.
Get out the charcoal. It’s time to fire up the grill. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of grilling season, which is certainly good news for livestock and poultry farmers.
“Memorial Day is significant. It’s a weekend holiday where we expect people to be out going to the lake, getting in the backyard. Whatever they’re going to do, a lot of time it’s going to involve a grill and that grill is going to have meat on it,” said John Anderson, AFBF livestock economist.
Anderson said livestock and poultry farmers have waited a while for good news. They have been losing money since 2008. Livestock prices started edging back up at the beginning of this year due to supply reductions and improving demand as the economy improves.
“We’re coming into this Memorial Day season at historically what are pretty good prices and that’s been very favorable for our producers who very much needed to see some price improvement because of the rough couple of years they’ve been through,” Anderson said.
Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Sciences is offering Beef University, a hands-on workshop on Thursday, June 3 and Friday, June 4 at CSU’s Agricultural Research Development and Educational Center, 4482 E. County Road 56, Fort Collins.
This day-and-a-half workshop is open to all individuals seeking beef knowledge. The workshop topics include:
Cattle production and handling
Consumer demand and methods to increase profitability
Beef University has become recognized as a key outreach program to help cattle producers improve production practices that influence the safety, wholesomeness and quality of the beef they produce.
Producers can expect to hear from key individuals in the livestock industry, including the world-renowned CSU faculty member Temple Grandin, animal handling and well-being expert.
A new survey released by ConAgra Foods shows that despite the recent improvement in the nation’s economy overall, Americans will not be changing their shopping habits any time soon. Four out of five people surveyed (79 percent) said they do like not feel like the recession is over and most (71 percent) plan to continue the savings habits they developed during the economic downturn.
The recession continues to affect the way people shop for and prepare food. During the past year, 75 percent of Americans said they cooked more meals at home and they plan to keep doing so. About two-thirds (68 percent) said cooking has helped bring their family together and just over 60 percent said they enjoy cooking now more than ever. About 80 percent of those surveyed will continue to save money by using coupons, following a budget or taking advantage of store specials. Two-thirds (63 percent) will continue to cut back on premium food purchases.
About one-third of consumers interviewed for the survey said they cut costs by stretching meals with water or canned foods or by buying more frozen or prepared meals.
The U.S. government recently banned shipments of beef from Japan following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in cattle in the southern prefecture of Miyazaki. USDA banned imports of boneless Japanese beef on April 21.
Beef valued at $6 million was sold by Japan to the U.S. in 2009.
All pigs, beef cattle and dairy cows in areas where most cases of the disease were discovered will be culled, raising the figure by about 205,000, from 118,160 animals as of yesterday, Agriculture Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu told reporters in Tokyo today. The government will vaccinate them before slaughter to slow the spread of the virus, he said.
Foot-and-mouth disease is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine. It also affects sheep, goats, deer and other cloven-hooved ruminants. FMD is not a threat to people and no human health risks are associated with the disease.
File this one under “Shameless ‘Scientific’ Political Pandering”…
The National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, released three reports on Wednesday declaring that climate change is real and is driven mostly by human activity, chiefly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
One of the reports, “Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change,” urges the United States to set a greenhouse gas emissions “budget” that restricts overall emissions and provides a measurable goal for policymakers and for industry. The report does not explicitly recommend a cap-and-trade program, but says a system of tradeable emissions permits gives industry more flexibility in meeting an emissions target or budget.
The Kerry-Lieberman climate change and energy bill appears to be in legislative limbo, with many senators questioning whether the measure will see the light of day this year.
The bill by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has not been formally introduced and there is no word on committee hearings.
However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he hoped to gather 59 votes by the middle of June to pass the legislation. Still, many senators say approval this year is unlikely.
“My feeling is it’s not going to be coming up this year, but if it does, I will dig into it at great depth,” Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told Reuters.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and 48 other farm groups have joined together in urging the Senate to adopt a resolution that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act without prior congressional approval.
Virtually all of American agriculture is united in the belief that regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should be decided by Congress and not by fiat from a federal regulatory agency.
In a letter sent to members of the Senate on Tuesday, the broad coalition of agricultural groups, representing crop and livestock producers and allied industries, explained that without relief from Congress, agriculture could suffer severe economic impacts from EPA’s plan to regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
Here is come additional coverage of the 2010 NJC Ag Olympics. Make sure to watch the end. Click here if the video will not load.
Last week the NJC Collegiate Farm Bureau was busy hosting the NJC Ag Olympics competition at the Sterling campus. The event, a tradition at the school, pits teams of students against each other in various Ag related challenges such as building fence, setting irrigation tubes, drinking from large calf bottles, stacking hay and just for fun, a panty hose potato push race.
This year was one of the biggest contests ever with well over 10 teams signing up to compete for prize money, first place being $60, second $40 and third $20.
In the end, the teams that won the money were composed of ag students. However, in at least one contest, a group of greenhorns gave some of their aggie counterparts a run for the money.
After a quick lesson from veteran tube setter Ryan Wagner, an NJC sophomore from Iliff, the students showed what they had learned by beating everyone else out in this one event.
Williams said that his grandfather had grown up on a farm and he’d heard him talk about having to use tubes to irrigate, but he didn’t really know what that meant until this contest.
Besides being a great campus event that brings a lot of students together, the Ag Olympics is, as more and more students begin participating, also becoming a great exchange of culture between the rural and metro students at NJC.
Jackson-Shaw, owner of the Wilder on the Taylor fishing reserve, announced today that it is granting the two Taylor River rafting companies, Three Rivers Outfitting and Scenic River Tours, permission to float through its property this summer.
Conflicts between fishermen and commercial rafting on the Taylor River gave rise earlier this year to Colorado House Bill 1188, which died at the end of the legislative session this week.
Jackson-Shaw Chairman and CEO Lewis Shaw said, “While mediation between Jackson-Shaw and the two Taylor River rafting companies continues, Jackson-Shaw recognizes that Three Rivers and Scenic are at the threshold of their commercial rafting season and that it will take time to finalize any formal agreement. Accordingly, as a show of good faith, Jackson-Shaw has decided to give Three Rivers and Scenic permission to float through Wilder on the Taylor this summer.”
Shaw added, “Jackson-Shaw is still hopeful that the mediation process will result in a formal agreement among the parties.”
Mediation between the two rafting companies and Jackson-Shaw began on April 22 and remains ongoing. All parties have agreed that the content of the mediation must remain confidential.
Due to differences in the parties’ and mediator’s availability, a second mediation session could not be scheduled at the Judicial Arbiter Group in Denver until May 26.
The much ballyhooed Kerry/Liberman climate measure may face stiff opposition.
Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced their “American Power Act,” compromise climate bill Wednesday, amid concerns about the legislation’s affect on production agriculture and the nation’s energy prices.
Industry groups and business are still assessing the content of the bill and many have not yet taken official positions. Legislative staffers for the two sponsors have only released parts of the language, with several key provisions still absent from the text.
The Colorado Farm Bureau (CFB) is pleased to announce the addition of Mr. Brent Boydston to the CFB staff team. Boydston will serve as the Colorado Farm Bureau Vice President, Public Policy and will begin his employment on June 1.
As Vice President, Public Policy, Boydston will serve as the chief administrator of the Colorado Farm Bureau Public Policy Division and will be responsible for all aspects of the CFB public policy programs and issues. In addition, the Vice President, Public Policy will manage all staff within the Public Policy Division including the State Affairs Director, the National Affairs Director and any other staff that works within the area of Public Policy.
Brent is a native Kansan and graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in History. Brent is currently serving as Senior Legislative Assistant for US House Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) in Washington, DC where he has served for 4 years. Previous to his current post, Brent served 2 years for US Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota).
Boydston brings a legislative knowledge base and passion to the CFB team and will be a huge asset to Colorado Farm Bureau members in the area of public policy. Please join CFB in welcoming Brent Boydston to Colorado and to the Colorado Farm Bureau team!
I you would like to drop him a welcome note, Brent’s e-mail address will be firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to eggs, choices being made in the U.S. marketplace seem pretty overwhelming. A report published by Feedstuffs Online revealed today that Americans buy conventional eggs from cage housing systems in a ratio of 40:1 compared to cage-free eggs. That information originated from Information Resources Inc. (IRI), a firm that tracks checkout scanner transactions from 34,000 grocery and other retail stores in the U.S.
Other facts reported in the story indicated that Americans pay three times less for eggs than Europeans do. More than half of all Americans prefer that eggs be produced using current cage methods or that producers change to less intensive aviary or colony systems. Only 44 percent said they prefer cage-free housing, but apparently those people are not voting with their pocketbooks.
Three Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee—Dave Camp (Mich.), Frank Lucas (Okla.) and Kevin Brady (Texas)—issued a news release yesterday marking the third anniversary of a bipartisan compromise on a new framework designed to move America’s trade policy forward. In addition, the three announced a new report showing the harm suffered by American agriculture due to a failure to move forward on pending trade agreements.
Floating Bill Sinks
A conference committee that was convened to work out differences between two versions of the controversial Right-to-Trespass (HB 1188 – Right-to-Float) legislation was unable to find compromise and the committee was discontinued.
Rep. Kathleen Curry (I-Gunnison) made a motion to support a version of the bill that was slightly modified from the House version that would have allowed commercial river outfitters the ability to float through private land on specific rivers, but the committee deadlocked on a 3-3 vote.
Sen. Al White (R-Hayden) made a second motion to support the Senate version of the bill which would have directed a study of the issue to be done this summer. The committee again deadlocked on a 3-3 vote. As a result, proponents acknowledged that there would not be a compromised reached this year and the bill is considered lost. The issue is far from over however, with 20 separate ballot initiative proposals being introduced.
Yesterday Governor Ritter vetoed his first bill of the 2010 session. The bill, HB 1101 “Concerning the registration of a vehicle used for agricultural production” offered by Rep. Baumgardner (R- Hot Sulphur Springs), would have prohibited issuers of farm truck license plates from requiring registrants to show proof of eligibility for those agricultural license plates.
The measure was supported by Farm Bureau and was passed easily by both houses of the state legislature. The text of the Governor’s veto message can be found below.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am returning to the Colorado House of Representatives House Bill 10-1101,
“Concerning the registration of a vehicle used for agricultural production.” I vetoed this bill as of 2:54 p.m. today, and this letter sets forth my reasons for doing so.
As someone who grew up on a farm, I strongly value the work of Colorado’s farmers and ranchers. The agricultural industry contributes not only to the economic well-being of Colorado–which is more important now than ever before–but also the moral fiber and long history of our state.
According to USDA’s most recent numbers pasture and range feed conditions in Colorado improved slightly over the week and were rated in mostly good condition despite a dry week. Last year at this time they were rated mostly fair to good.
Ninety-four percent of cows have calved since January 1st while 95% of ewes have lambed during the same time frame.
Colorado farmers had 60% of the corn crop planted by week’s end. This is ahead of last year’s 41 percent complete and 44% for the 5-year average. Emergence was 2% complete compared with 8% on average.
Growers made excellent progress planting sugarbeets last week with 90% in the ground and 19% up to stand by the end of the week.
During a hearing of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee Thursday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Obama Administration was “very close” to announcing a plan that would resolve the cross-border trucking dispute with Mexico.
“Back in March, I urged you and the administration to move quickly to craft a plan to resume cross-border trucking with Mexico in a way that would address the safety concerns raised during the pilot and end the tariffs imposed by the Mexican government,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) said during Thursday’s hearing.
Murray wanted to make sure the fabled proposal was really near this time around, interrupting LaHood with, “Sooner than soon?” He responded saying, “It is closer than soon.”
The Associated Press reports on the difficulty of finding temporary farm workers and the need for Congress to pass an “AgJobs” bill and a simplified temporary worker visa program.
The labor shortage is impacting farms across the country. In Appleton, N.Y., Jim Bittner had to cut down a quarter of his cherry and peach trees due to the shortage of migrant workers. In California’s Imperial Valley, asparagus production dropped from 786 acres in 2006 to 373 acres in 2008 due in a large part to a shortage of workers.
“Asparagus in the Imperial Valley is an indicator as to what happens with crops that are labor intensive and what happens when labor becomes unfeasible economically and also just hard to find,” said Ayron Moiola, the executive director of the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association.
Farm Bureau supports a worker program that addresses agriculture’s unique needs and backs a visa program that lasts at least three years and is renewable multiple times.
Richard Connell giving a safety program presentation on grain safety.
The Colorado Big Game Landowner Voucher Program Review Committee is seeking public comment on ways to improve the Landowner Voucher Program at an open-house meeting in Limon. The purpose of the public forum is to give Eastern Plains landowners and sportsmen the opportunity to meet with committee members to discuss the allocation of big game hunting licenses through the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Landowner Voucher Program.
The meeting will be held Thursday, May 13 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Limon Community Center, 477 D Ave.
Although the DOW is facilitating the meeting, the Landowner Voucher Committee is an independent, collaborative group of sportsmen, landowners, outfitters and wildlife managers that is reviewing and recommending changes to the voucher program. Delta County Farm Bureau President, Hugh Sanburg sits on the committee.
*Update* Today (May 6th) the Senate Ag Committee unanimously killed HB1407. Colorado Farm Bureau was the only group to testify in opposition to the measure in the Ag Committee. CFB along with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association were the only two groups to oppose the measure.
Proposed Creation of a Range Worker Advisory Council
Rep. Daniel Kagan (D-Cherry Hills) has brought forward HB 1407 to create a Range Worker advisory council, termed the Sheep Herder Task Force. This council will be charged to study and discuss issues concerning range workers in Colorado who are working under the federal H-2A visa program.
The bill requires the advisory council to report recommendations, including any legislation deemed necessary, to committees of reference of the Colorado General Assembly. The council is set to dissolve after a report is issued. They will be required to meet at least twice, but not more than four times, and one of the said meetings must be held on the Western Slope. The bill also creates a cash fund for gifts, grants, and donations to cover the costs associated with the advisory council, which is believed to come from the Catholic Conference of Colorado.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wants the Environmental Protection Agency to quickly make a decision on raising the ethanol blend rate in gasoline from the current level of 10 percent.
On Wednesday, Vilsack and other USDA officials said unless the rate is increased soon, production growth ethanol could halt because demand for it won’t be able to expand. The American Farm Bureau Federation supports raising the ethanol blend level to up to 15 percent.
USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber said he expects ethanol production this year to reach about 13 billion gallons, and there is not much room for expansion beyond that. Glauber said the “blend wall,” or the maximum amount of ethanol that can be produced to meet demand, will be about 15 billion gallons per year.