READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 16th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA Posts 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Final Report

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday posted the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final scientific report. The report will inform USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services as they co-develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines will provide recommendations on what to eat and drink to promote health and prevent chronic disease. Moving into the next stage of development of the guidelines, USDA and HHS will leverage the scientific advice in the committee’s report, as well as comments from the public and other federal agencies to develop the upcoming edition of the dietary guidelines. The departments plan to publish the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines by the end of December 2020. USDA and HHS are accepting written public comments on the committee’s final report through August 13, 2020. The public will also have an opportunity to provide oral comments on the scientific report to the departments at a public meeting on August 11, 2020.

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Globally, Farmers Adapting to Pandemic Challenges

A new global survey shows farmers have once again demonstrated their ability to adapt to new challenges. Kynetec, a global market research firm specializing in animal health and agriculture, released the survey results this week. The survey spanned six key countries, the U.S., Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Czech Republic, and included feedback from 873 farmers. The survey provided a mix of positive and negative insights into the impact COVID-19 has had on their lifestyle and livelihood. The degree of impact varied between countries with country variation ranging from 41 percent to 67 percent of farmers saying the virus has impacted their personal lives. In the short-term, farmers in most countries lack optimism regarding the current outlook for agriculture and the speed of economic post-lockdown recovery. Farmers adapting to the pandemic say planned investments were some of the main challenges across all countries that farmers have faced because of COVID-19.

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Graves Introduces 2020 Water Resources Development Act

U.S. Representative Sam Graves, a Missouri Republican, introduced the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 this week. Graves says the legislation plays a key role in any water infrastructure project, including flood control, navigation, ports, locks and dams. The legislation will facilitate commerce through ports and inland waterways, improve flood control infrastructure, and “help develop flood control plans that actually work.” The legislation will give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers new construction authority for communities facing repetitive flooding events. One of the more significant roadblocks to ensuring a project can be done quickly is getting construction authority expeditiously, and this bill will allow those communities to be protected more quickly, according to Graves. The bill also makes an important change in the cost-share for Inland Waterways Trust Fund projects on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River systems. This change will accelerate the timeframe for funding and completion of projects to modernize outdated locks and dams on these rivers.

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Senators Seek Textile Industry Assistance

A group of Senators wants the next round of COVID-19 assistance to support the cotton and textile industry. Led by Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the group penned a letter to Senate leadership this week. The Senators say the U.S. cotton and textile industry “is particularly hard hit as the COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented demand destruction for cotton apparel and textiles.” The group says the “viability of the farms and businesses, and the jobs they represent, are at risk of not surviving this crisis.” From March through May, clothing sales are down by $44 billion, or 67 percent, relative to the same three-month period in 2019. U.S. textile mills report a 90 percent drop in orders for the yarn they produce. Cotton prices fell by as much as 30 percent since early this year, and that decline represents a loss in market value of approximately $160 per acre of cotton.

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USDA Invests $153 Million in Rural Community Facilities

The Department of Agriculture announced a $153 million investment to build and improve critical community facilities to benefit nearly two million rural residents in 23 states. USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand says, “Rural America needs safe, modern infrastructure to help residents and businesses achieve greater prosperity and have access to essential services.” USDA is investing in 94 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. The investments can be used to build or upgrade a wide range of rural community facilities such as schools, libraries, clinics and public safety facilities. More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details.

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American Farmland Trust Sponsors Leopold Conservation Award Program

American Farmland Trust will join forces with the Sand County Foundation to present the Leopold Conservation Award Program through a national sponsorship. Sand County Foundation created and presents the award in 21 states. The award is for farmers, ranchers and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat conservation on agricultural land. AFT President and CEO John Piotti calls the Leopold Conservation Award, “an honor bestowed on the best land stewards in this nation,” adding, “It’s a natural fit.” Given in honor of conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in voluntary conservation. Since 2003, the award has been presented to more than 140 dedicated land stewards who are leaders in their industry and communities. Award recipients receive a $10,000 cash award at high profile events attended by their peers. Their conservation success stories are promoted widely to other agricultural landowners and the general public. 

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.