READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, October 21st…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

U.S. Winter Outlook: Cooler North, Warmer South

Expect a dry, warm winter in the south, and cooler, wetter, conditions in the North, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA last week released its U.S. Winter Outlook, indicating weather impacts from an ongoing La Nina. Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center are also closely monitoring persistent drought during the winter months ahead. Currently, large areas of drought extend over the western half of the U.S., with parts of the Northeast also experiencing drought and near-record low stream flows. Wetter-than-average conditions are most likely across the northern tier of the U.S., extending from the Pacific Northwest, across the Northern Plains, Great Lakes and into the Ohio Valley, as well as Hawaii and northern Alaska. The ongoing La Nina is expected to expand and intensify drought across the southern and central Plains, eastern Gulf Coast, and in California during the months ahead. However, drought conditions are expected to improve in the northern Rockies, Northwest, New England, Alaska and Hawaii over the coming months.

************************************************************************
Reuters: Payments to Farmers at All Time High Before Election

Direct payments to U.S. farmers are at an all-time high as the nation prepares for a national election next month. Record government subsidies, much needed in the turbulent trade environment and coronavirus pandemic, are projected to make up more than a third of farm income in 2020. In a report by Reuters, the aid programs could be key to Donald Trump’s chances of success in swing states. The Environmental Working Group called agriculture aid in the latest COVID-19 relief package “old-fashioned vote-buying.” Farmers, facing steep losses stemming from Trump’s trade policies and COVID-19 related market disruption would argue the funds are needed. However, this fall, commodity prices are slowly improving and providing a better outlook for agriculture. Meanwhile, the direct payments have the attention of farm groups in Canada. Grain Farmers of Ontario is seeking more funding from the Canadian government. One farm group executive from Canada states, “Government funds have allowed U.S. producers an advantage over farmers in Canada, not just on price but money to invest in their operations.”

************************************************************************
Lack of Trade Deal Will Hurt EU-UK Food Supply Chain

The absence of an EU-UK trade deal on January 1, 2021, would cause significant economic losses on both sides for companies active in food and agriculture supply chains. Rabobank researchers say companies in the food supply chain should be prepared for loss of export and import opportunities. A certainty of a no-deal scenario is that the EU will consider the UK a third country as of January 1, 2021, and will apply import tariffs on UK food and agriculture products, just as the EU does on imports from other third countries. Import increases related to agriculture include dairy, red meats, sugar, and consumer foods, among other categories. Rabobank says that without a trade deal, export volumes out of the UK to the EU will shrink to almost negligible levels in most cases. Tariff levels range from 30 percent, for beef, dairy and sugar, to 10-30 percent for pork and poultry, and ten percent for some fruits and vegetables, beverages and fertilizers.

************************************************************************

CDA Makes Nearly $1 Million in CARES Act Funds Available to Colorado Farmers, Ranchers and Processors

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is making up to $1 million in grant funding available for Colorado farmers, ranchers, food hubs and processors to support them in adjusting to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food supply chain. 

Colorado agricultural producers are eligible for grant awards up to $12,500. Farmers’ markets, food hubs, processors, and other intermediaries that support producers are eligible for up to $50,000. Grant dollars were made available through CARES Act funds.

“COVID-19 has had serious impacts on agriculture and underscored how vital our food systems are,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “It is critical that farmers, ranchers and processors receive financial support to ensure their operations continue in the wake of this unprecedented pandemic. The Department of Agriculture has been fighting for them every step of the way and will continue to do so as we build a more resilient future.” 

Previous grantees include Star View Farm in Berthoud, CO and Green Junction Farmstead in Clifton, CO. “The funding couldn’t have come at a better time, and pivoting our business model turned out to be helpful for us,” said Bryce Barker, Co-owner of Star View Farm. “It actually caused us to focus even more on what we want to do with our farm.” 

The respond and rebuild grants will be administered by the independent Colorado Farm & Food Systems Respond & Rebuild FundApplications are open now and will be accepted through Monday, November 9, 2020. Apply hereThere’s much more on this story online inside The BARN – CLICK HERE

************************************************************************

Minnesota Governor Announces State Aid for Agriculture

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz this week announced a $7.7 million plan to support farmers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES ACT, the financial support will help farmers who have experienced market disruptions recover from and purchase equipment and supplies necessary for COVID-19 in Minnesota. Walz stated, “the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way farmers and agricultural businesses must operate.” The funding includes $5.75 million for direct payments to turkey and pork producers to compensate for market disruptions and associated costs due to COVID-19. The funding also includes $1 million for cost-share aid to companies or individuals looking to expand or open a meat processing facility. Walz says further investment in meat processing capabilities will help alleviate the back up of animals caused by supply-chain impacts of COVID-19. Finally, the plan includes funding for local food systems, farm business management scholarships, and reimbursements for grants that provided Minnesota-grown food in school summer meal programs.

************************************************************************
Grants Support Ethanol Industry Safety Education

$75,000 in grants awarded to the Renewable Fuels Association will promote safety education through on-site seminars and internet webinars. Both grants were received via the association’s work with a voluntary national outreach effort that assists communities in preparing for and responding to a possible hazardous material transportation incident. RFA Technical Services Manager Missy Ruff says, “Safety is a high priority for the renewable fuels industry, and we consider it an important part of our mission.” A $25,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration will support ten ethanol safety seminars and four “train the trainer” webinars for first responders. A $50,000 Community Safety Grant from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will fund six Ethanol and Steel Drum Safety seminars in conjunction with the Industrial Steel Drum Institute. The four “train the trainer” webinars will take place starting in December. For more information, visit the Ethanol Emergency Response website at www.ethanolresponse.com.

************************************************************************
Forest Service Accepting Grants for Innovations in Wood Products, Energy

The USDA Forest Service is accepting applications for innovation grants. Announced Tuesday, the agency has approximately $10 million in funding available through the 2021 Wood Innovations Grant and the 2021 Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Grant. The grants seek to support local economies through wood products and wood energy innovations while reducing hazardous fuels and improving forest health. USDA says the Wood Innovations Grant program has a long track record of success and seeks to strengthen emerging markets for innovative wood products such as mass timber and cross-laminated timber. Eligible projects should increase wood products manufacturing capacity, strengthen markets that support forest ecosystem restoration and develop commercial facilities for wood biomass and wood products, among others. The application for 2021 Wood Innovations Grants closes in January. Meanwhile, the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Grant program aims to support forest health by expanding renewable wood energy use and innovative manufacturing for wood products. The application period closes in February.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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.