READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, January 26th

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Biden Speaks with Canada’s Trudeau

President Joe Biden spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday in his first call with a foreign official. The leaders discussed combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening economic ties, defense and climate change. They also discussed the U.S.-Canada supply chain, along with promoting and protecting the economic relationship between the U.S. and Canada, including bilateral trade and energy commitments. Trudeau raised Canada’s disappointment with the United States’ decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, underscoring “the important economic and energy security benefits of our bilateral energy relationship,” as well as his support for energy workers. Biden halted construction on the controversial pipeline via an executive order on his first day in office. The White House noted Biden acknowledged the disappointment regarding the decision, adding Biden “reaffirmed his commitment to maintain an active bilateral dialogue and to further deepen cooperation with Canada.” The two leaders agreed to meet next month to continue the dialogue. 

USDA Announces Heather Dawn Thompson as Director, Office of Tribal Relations

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced Heather Dawn Thompson’s appointment as Director of the Office of Tribal Relations. USDA says Thompson is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, a Harvard Law School graduate, and an expert in American Indian law, tribal sovereignty, and rural tribal economic development. With Thompson in place, USDA will return the position directly under the Secretary, “restoring the office’s important government-to-government role.” A USDA spokesperson says it’s “important to have a Director who can serve as a lead voice on tribal issues, relations and economic development within the Office of the Secretary.” Most recently, Thompson served as a member of the American Indian Law Practice Group, where she worked on federal Indian law and Tribal agriculture. In the private sector, Thompson was previously a partner at Dentons, where she was one of only a handful of Native American partners at an “AmLaw 100” law firm.

2021 Pork Industry Forum Will be a Virtual Event

The National Pork Board recently announced the 2021 Pork Industry Forum will be a virtual event. The organization says the decision comes after much consideration and guidance from health officials. The event largely serves as a planning session for the National Pork Board. The virtual event, scheduled for March 3-5, 2021, includes the Pork Act Delegate session. The 15 producers who serve as members of the National Pork Board and Pork Checkoff staff leadership will hear directly from Pork Act delegates appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Each year the delegates confer, vote on resolutions and advisements and provide direction on the issues facing pork producers and the industry. All pork producers and media are invited to attend the Pork Act Delegate Session. The National Pork Board says a detailed agenda and registration details will be available soon. The 2020 event was held in Kansas City, Missouri. The 2022 Pork Industry Forum will be held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Colorado Senators Ask Biden to keep BLM HQ in Colorado

Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper recently reiterated their support for a fully functioning Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado. The Democrats penned a letter to President Joe Biden touting the benefits of a fully-fledged headquarters on the Western Slope. Despite committing to move the headquarters to Colorado, the Department of the Interior assigned 41 senior staff positions to Grand Junction, many of which they rushed to fill at the end of 2020. Bennet has supported moving the BLM national headquarters West for years, commenting on the idea in August 2017. As Governor, Hickenlooper advocated for the BLM to move its headquarters and touted the economic benefits for the state. In July 2019, then-Secretary Bernhardt announced that the BLM headquarters would move to Grand Junction, and just over a year later the department signed an order formalizing the move. However, the Senators say, “Despite these important and symbolic steps, the Trump Administration did not follow through on their commitment to Grand Junction.”

Rising Dairy Consumption Providing Comfort in a Challenging Time

Data shows dairy is bringing some comfort during a challenging time. Throughout the market ups and downs of the pandemic era, consumers love of dairy products has been constant, even rising in 2020 from 2019, according to the National Milk Producers Federation. Retail dairy purchases, which jumped at the pandemic’s beginning, remained elevated throughout the year. With more meals being prepared at home, dairy has provided comfort in uncomfortable times. Coffee was complemented with real dairy cream or half-and-half. Milk remained essential to family nutrition. Milk consumption itself saw gains across all categories. Buttermilk use rose with the baking revival, organic and conventional volumes of fluid milk rose, and lactose-free milk saw increases comparable to those of plant-based beverages – which, is a comparably-sized market to that of lactose-free alone. Milk sales also grew more than plant-based beverages during the pandemic, nearly $1 billion in growth compared to less than $400 million for plant-based drinks.

Growing the Future of Agriculture through Give FFA Day

The National FFA Organization will again hold Give FFA Day. In 2020, through generous donations from FFA supporters, students and teachers across the country were able to continue to make a difference.  Once again, during National FFA Week, individuals will have an opportunity to step up and support FFA and agricultural education through Give FFA Day on Thursday, February 25. This year, the organization has a goal of getting 1,500 donors during the 24-hour period. FFA corporate partners will also participate in increasing contributions by matching them dollar-for-dollar on Give FFA Day. The first $25,000 donated will be matched by Carhartt, and the second $25,000 will be matched by John Deere. Other challenges will be announced throughout the day.  In addition, former FFA members and FFA alumni are encouraged to donate $19.71 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the National FFA Alumni, which was chartered in 1971. To prepare for Give FFA day, visit

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.