READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, January 7th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

EPA Nominee Meets with Farm Groups

President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency met with farm group leaders Tuesday. Michael Regan, the EPA Administrator-designate, hosted a virtual round table with more than 16 members of the Ag CEO Council and staff. The Biden transition team says  Regan reiterated President-elect Joe Biden’s commitment to working with agricultural leaders to promote healthy and secure food supplies, clean air, and clean water. They also discussed how the incoming Biden-Harris Administration wants to work closely with farmers to find “practical, common-sense solutions to environmental challenges.” They also discussed how the incoming administration can create jobs and expand economic opportunities in rural communities through the Build Back Better plan, and to “harness the ingenuity of farmers and ranchers to promote clean energy and tackle climate change.” The meeting included American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, along with leadership from the American Soybean Association National Corn Growers Association, The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, and others.

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Rural Group Urges Biden to Pick Well-Qualified, Diverse USDA Leaders

The Rural Coalition urges President-elect Joe Biden to select highly qualified leaders for Department of Agriculture politically appointed positions. The group of more than 70 food and farming organizations sent the request to the incoming administration in a recent letter. The letter calls on Biden to choose USDA mission and agency leaders who deeply understand how to utilize the full range of USDA programs to achieve his goals of racial justice, climate change, and pandemic recovery.  The letter states, “We have the opportunity and imperative now to work together to make things happen in a way that didn’t happen before,” at USDA. Further, the organization says Biden should start doing so by nominating Native American Agriculture Fund CEO Janie Simms Hipp as the USDA Deputy Secretary. Hipp is the former senior advisor for tribal relations to former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and director of the Office of Tribal Relations. The letter adds, “We stand ready to work with a progressive and racially diverse leadership team at USDA.”

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COVID-19 Taking Heavy Toll on Farmers’ Mental Health

A majority of farmers and farm workers say the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their mental health, according to a new American Farm Federation Bureau poll. The results, announced Wednesday, find more than half of respondents say they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago. The survey of rural adults and farmers and farmworkers explores how the pandemic has affected their mental health personally, and in their communities. The survey also explored how attitudes and experiences around mental health have changed in rural and farm communities since AFBF conducted its first rural mental health survey in 2019. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “My takeaway from this survey is that the need for support is real, and we must not allow lack of access or a ‘too tough to need help’ mentality to stand in the way.” The survey of 2,000 rural adults was conducted by Morning Consult in December.

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USDA Seeks Members for Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture

The Department of Agriculture seeks members for a new advisory committee on urban agriculture. The committee is part of a broader effort to focus on the needs of urban farmers. The 12-person committee will advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the development of policies and outreach relating to urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices and identify any barriers to urban agriculture. USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey says, “This group will underscore USDA’s commitment to all segments of agriculture.” USDA seeks four agricultural producers for the committee, two in urban areas and two who use innovative technology. The committee will also feature two representatives from higher education or extension programs and a member from a nonprofit organization. USDA also seeks a committee member with supply chain experience, one from a financing entity and two with experience in urban agriculture production. The nomination deadline is March 5, 2021. Find more information about the nomination process at fsa.usda.gov.

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Quality Loss Adjustment Program Signup Open

Signup is open for the Quality Loss Adjustment Program, just announced by the Department of Agriculture. Funded by the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, the program provides assistance to producers who suffered eligible crop quality losses due to natural disasters occurring in 2018 and 2019. Eligible crops include those for which federal crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage is available, except for grazed crops and value loss crops, such as honey, maple sap, aquaculture, floriculture, mushrooms, ginseng root, ornamental nursery, Christmas trees, and turfgrass sod. Additionally, crops that were sold or fed to livestock or that are in storage may be eligible. However, crops that were destroyed before harvest are not eligible. Crop quality losses occurring after harvest, due to deterioration in storage, or that could have been mitigated, are also not eligible. The deadline to apply for QLA is Friday, March 5, 2021. For more information, visit farmers.gov/quality-loss.

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NCBA Rolls Out New Event for 2021

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Wednesday announced the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention Winter Reboot. Planned for February 23-24, the event allows the organization to come together for industry news, updates, education and networking. NCBA says Winter Reboot attendees will receive a sneak peek into plans for the Cattle Industry Convention and the Cattlemen’s College, moved to August of this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. NCBA CEO Colin Woodall says, “This virtual experience will provide vital industry updates and education as we start the New Year.” Winter Reboot sessions include an NCBA Washington, D.C. issues update and expectations with the new administration. Ten educational programs will be offered covering topics such as sustainability, as well as a tech tool introduction. A virtual marketplace will also be featured during the Winter Reboot to allow attendees interaction with leading agribusinesses. Registration for the Winter Reboot is now open, and details about the event can be found at convention.ncba.org/winter-reboot.

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.