Thursday, November 30, 2017
Secretary Perdue Statement: U.S. Farm Exports to Continue Strong in FY 2018 WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2017 - Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement regarding the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export forecast published today. “Today’s quarterly trade forecast reflects the fact that U.S. agricultural exports are continuing strong in the 2018 fiscal year. We just closed out FY 2017 with the third-highest export total on record and I’m delighted to see that FY 2018 is shaping up to come close. With a forecast of $140 billion, we’re looking at the fourth-best year in history. And there’s additional positive news in the fact that agriculture’s trade surplus is expected to grow eight percent, from $21.3 billion last year to $23 billion in 2018. “Much of this expected success can be attributed to robust sales to our East Asian and North American trading partners. China is again shaping up to be our top market, led by continued strong soybean sales, while Canada and Mexico remain our second- and third-largest markets, respectively. We’re expecting exports to grow in the coming year to all of our top three markets. “The bottom line is that exports continue to be a major driver of the rural economy, generating 20 percent of U.S. farm income and supporting more than a million U.S. jobs. The USDA team continues to work around the clock and around the globe to boost export prospects for American farmers and ranchers not only by expanding existing markets and improving existing trade agreements, but also by aggressively pursuing new markets and new opportunities.” The complete USDA Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade is available at: www.fas.usda.gov/data/quarterly-agricultural-export-forecast
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Donald Griego, Division Director State Forestry Division November 29, 2017 Ordering for seedlings from the NM Forestry Division Conservation seedling program for Spring 2018 begins December 4, 2017 and orders will be accepted through April 6, 2018. Distribution of seedlings begins March12, 2018 and ends on April 20, 2018. You may order on-line at www.nmforestry.com or by mailing in an order form with payment (order forms can be downloaded and printed from the website). We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover for on-line orders and check for mail orders. 53,000 seedlings are available for purchase through the Spring 2018 Conservation Seedling Program. There are over 60 species available for the Spring 2018 Distribution. Both containerized and bareroot stock are available for spring distribution.
WOODS NOTE: No matter how small of a farm or ranch you may be this is important. Based on this data Extension receives its funding, NMSU college of agriculture receives its funding. It determines disaster funding and more. So even if you are just a small farm it is important. It is important for all Agriculture producers to reply. In the past NM has been under what we really knew was out there. I know out here in the west Ranchers do not like to be called farms but for the USDA you are called a livestock farm. Nov. 29, 2017 Media Contact: Kristie Garcia, Public Information Officer, New Mexico Department of Agriculture 575-646-2804, email@example.com 2017 Census of Agriculture will capture complete picture of New Mexico production Questionnaires to be mailed in December (Las Cruces, New Mexico) – New Mexico farmers and ranchers should be on the lookout for a Census of Agriculture questionnaire in the mail in December. Farmers and ranchers across the country will soon have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their communities and industry by taking part in the census. For a simpler, faster and more efficient process, producers are encouraged to complete the online questionnaire at www.agcensus.usda.gov upon receiving their questionnaire. In order to complete the online version, each person will need his or her unique 17-digit code, which may be found on the questionnaire. Conducted every five years by United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census captures a complete count of all U.S. farms and ranches and those who operate them. Even the smallest plots of land and those raising only a few animals during the census year are counted. New Mexico State Statistician Longino Bustillos said the census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation. “It’s a critical tool that gives farmers a voice to influence decisions that will shape the future of their community, industry and operation,” Bustillos said. The census highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, expenditures and other topics. The information gathered by the Census of Agriculture guides Congress, agribusiness, policymakers, researchers, local governments and many others on the creation and funding of agricultural programs and services – decisions that can directly impact local operations and the future of the agriculture industry for years to come. New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte encourages all New Mexico producers to respond. “We only have this opportunity every five years, so please complete the census and take pride in what we do in New Mexico,” Witte said. “The results of the census truly show the impact of agriculture in our state.” This year, NASS will collect new information, including data on active duty and military veteran farmers, as well as expanded questions about food marketing practices. In 2012, New Mexico reported a total of 24,721 farms and ranches, spanning more than 43 million acres. This showed an 18 percent increase from the previous census in 2007. Although the state’s average age of farmers and ranchers climbed to over 60 (second highest in the country), New Mexico data showed an increase in young farmers and ranchers. This telling information and thousands of additional farm and ranch statistics are only available every five years, as a direct result of responses to the census. Census of Agriculture responses must be submitted by Feb. 5. “Your answers to the census impact farm programs and rural services that support your community,” Bustillos said. “So please do your part, and be counted when you receive your form, because there’s strength in numbers that only the census can reveal.” For more information about the census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828). The Census of Agriculture is Your Voice, Your Future, Your Opportunity.
The last opertunity to receive CEU's in Eddy County will be December 14, registration at 8:30 class at 9:00 in the meeting room of the Eddy County Extension Office, 1304 West Stevens. id you need special accommodation for a disability contact Robin at 575-887-6595 or toll free at 877-887-6595 before December 10.
Woods note: The issue of NRCS and FSA made national news on polotico ag page. I included a lot this time because it all seem of interest to me. Subject: POLITICO's Morning Agriculture: Glyphosate gets EU renewal — Perdue's almost-empty sub-cabinet — USDA vacancies said to affect customer service By Christine Haughney | 11/28/2017 10:00 AM EDT With Catherine Boudreau, Jenny Hopkinson, Eric Wolff and Helena Bottemiller Evich GLYPHOSATE GETS EU RENEWAL: After more than two years of fierce political debate in Europe over whether glyphosate causes cancer, EU countries on Monday approved a five-year license renewal for the world's most commonly used herbicide. The vote was made possible by a last-minute U-turn from Germany, which gave the green light after months of abstaining on the issue. The EU vote, made by a food safety committee, came as a relief to farmers across Europe, who see the weedkiller as a vital tool. At the height of the debate, it often looked as if environmental campaigners would win the political battle by arguing that glyphosate was both carcinogenic and harmful to the soil. Looking ahead to December: The vote did not put to rest the debate in Europe, but it spared Monsanto, which markets glyphosate under the Roundup label, from a damaging regulatory decision shortly before an important hearing next month in federal court in San Francisco. Judge Vince Chhabria of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is scheduled to review all of the scientific evidence in a case in which U.S. farmers allege glyphosate gave them cancer. Chhabria will determine if there is enough proof that glyphosate causes cancer to warrant bringing the case to trial. Angry environmental groups: Monday's decision sparked an angry reaction from environmental groups, who have argued for years that policymakers should have paid closer attention to the assessment of the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, which concluded that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. Both the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency, by contrast, determined the chemical is safe. Not so fast: Although glyphosate is now approved at the EU level, France reacted immediately with a declaration that it would move to ban the substance "as soon as alternatives have been found," and within three years. And Italy's Agriculture Minister, Maurizio Martina, told POLITICO the country would get rid of glyphosate within its borders by 2020. The vote flew in the face of a non-binding European Parliament resolution asking the European Commission to phase out glyphosate by 2022. HAPPY TUESDAY, NOV. 28! Welcome to Morning Ag, where your host is giddy about next spring's nuptials between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Have any other engagement announcements, news tips or birthday shoutouts? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and @chaughney. Follow the team at @Morning_Ag. PERDUE'S ALMOST-EMPTY SUB-CABINET: Seven months after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue took office, USDA is still operating with little permanent leadership. Only four of more than a dozen Senate-confirmed positions have been filled, Perdue's included. Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky, Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney and Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach are all in place - but otherwise, Perdue's looking at a winter of discontent in his effort to get boots on the ground. There are only a few USDA nominees waiting for sign off, and the Senate has an extremely busy agenda over the two weeks it will be in session before the holidays. It could be a few months before final votes are taken on nominations for which selections have yet to be made. Who's still waiting? - Stephen Vaden: The nominee for general counsel has not cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee, and a markup has not been scheduled. The panel held a confirmation hearing on the former Jones Day attorney and USDA beachhead team member on Nov. 9. But his momentum has stalled since then. The Tennessee native has come under fire from Democrats for past work backing state voter ID laws, which some argue were designed to restrict voting access of blacks and other minorities. He's also run afoul of the union that represents USDA's lawyers. - Bill Northey: The administration's pick to head the newly created farm services and conservation mission area was expected to get a quick confirmation vote after the committee voted on Oct. 19 to send his nomination to the Senate floor. But since then, the three-term Iowa Agriculture Secretary has become a pawn in Sen. Ted Cruz 's efforts to get the Trump Administration to walk back its plans for the Renewable Fuel Standard. The agency faces a Thursday deadline to publish the blending requirements for biofuel in 2018 and 2019, and the meeting Cruz demanded to discuss changes to the program has not happened. How Cruz will handle things once the rule drops is an unanswered question. - Gregg Doud: He is awaiting a floor vote on his nomination to be USTR's chief agricultural negotiator, but he may not get anywhere soon. Sen. Jeff Flake put a hold on his nomination over the controversial seasonal produce proposal USTR put forward during the NAFTA 2.0 talks. His selection was announced on June 16. Senate Finance held a confirmation hearing on Oct. 5 and unanimously cleared him on Oct. 25. - Michael Dourson: The pick to head EPA's chemicals office - which oversees pesticides - has also hit some trouble. Dourson, a toxicologist, has for years consulted for companies seeking sign-off on their products, often pushing for legal limits far weaker than other scientists recommended. He's worked on chlorpyrifos and other organophosphates. Some GOP Senators are opposing him over his efforts to get EPA and states to set a weaker threshold for certain chemicals that have been linked to health problems. Republican North Carolina Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have said they won't vote to confirm him and Maine Sen. Susan Collins has indicated she may follow suit. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee signed off on Dourson on Oct. 25 in a party-line 11-10 vote. Which positions are vacant at USDA? - Four undersecretary posts: Picks have not been announced for natural resources and the environment; food, nutrition and consumer services; and food safety. And the post of undersecretary for research, education and economics is also open after Sam Clovis withdrew from consideration earlier this month. - Three assistant secretary posts: The administration also has not announced selections for the assistant secretaries for congressional relations, administration or civil rights. Same is true for the CFO post. USDA VACANCIES SAID TO AFFECT CUSTOMER SERVICE: There are thousands of open positions at the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency, and the Democratic members of New Mexico's congressional delegation want Perdue to fill them ASAP. The vacancies - 1,446 at NRCS and a like number at FSA - are harming the agencies' ability to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers, the lawmakers said in a letter to Perdue. Carlsbad, N.M., a city in an important agricultural part of the state, hasn't had any NRCS staff for nearly a year, the lawmakers said. Read their letter here. USDA's response: A spokesperson said the department is "already in the process of conducting workload assessments for our customer-facing agencies to ensure that USDA maintains its superior level of customer service." Hiring freeze? President Donald Trump instituted a hiring freeze across federal departments shortly after being inaugurated in January. It was lifted in April and replaced with a call to reduce government personnel. The New Mexico Democrats requested Perdue lift a hiring freeze at USDA, but the department spokesperson did not specifically respond to the accusation. Pros, more from Catherine Boudreau here. WELLS FARGO: INDEPENDENT REFINERS DOING FINE UNDER RFS: Independent refiners are making money on biofuels credits (called Renewable Identification Numbers) under the Renewable Fuel Standard, Wells Fargo said in a research note, Pro's Eric Wolff reports. "In what may be a surprise to some, most Independent Refiners now enjoy a net benefit from Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), based on our analysis," the bank said. "Consumers now bear the majority of RINs costs - like a tax." The analysis undercuts arguments from refiners who claimed high credit prices have been hurting their bottom lines. But it also supports the argument from big oil companies that consumers are paying the costs of the program. Ethanol backers say it depends on how you define a consumer. "The consumer in this case is the wholesale purchaser of gasoline blendstock - not the retail consumer," said Geoff Cooper, executive vice president for the Renewable Fuels Association. "The RIN cost is effectively erased when the gasoline blendstock is combined with ethanol (which comes with a RIN credit) to make the finished fuel (E10) that is sold at retail." ROW CROPS: - Daines opposes Senate tax bill: Senate Agriculture member Steve Daines (R-Mont.) on Monday joined Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) as the only senators to publicly declare they would oppose the Senate's tax overhaul as written. They are demanding more generous tax treatment for so-called "pass-through" businesses. One potential obstacle for leadership evaporated Monday when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced he'd vote in favor. - Last-ditch changes to Senate tax plan: The Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to meet today to prepare the tax legislation for the floor. Leaders are planning for floor debate on Wednesday. In an effort to woo at least a half-dozen holdouts, Senate Republican leaders are trying to make late-game changes to the measure. POLITICO's Seung Min Kim, Colin Wilhelm, and Bernie Becker have more here. - Gutierrez saying goodbye to Washington: Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), a leading national voice on immigration reform, will not seek reelection and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday morning, three Democratic sources with knowledge of the decision told POLITICO's Natasha Korecki. More here. - Analyzing impact of a NAFTA withdrawal: If Trump were to withdraw from NAFTA it could increase the U.S. trade deficit and slow the nation's economic growth, a new report from BMO Economics has found. Overall, it would probably reduce U.S. gross domestic product by 0.2 percent over the next five years. "On a regional basis, we view some of the border states and those with heavy agriculture exposure as the most vulnerable," said Doug Porter, chief economist for BMO Financial Group. Our Doug - Pro Trade's Doug Palmer - has more here. - Soda tax revenue down in Philly: The 1.5-cent-per-ounce sugary drink tax in Philadelphia pulled in $6.1 million in October, city officials said. The figures are still preliminary, but that appears to be a significant drop from September - which was the highest-collection month all year, at $7.4 million. More here. - GAO report gives update on FSMA produce Q response times: The FDA is still using its Technical Assistance Network (TAN) to respond to questions and concerns about its produce safety rule. On Monday, the GAO released an update on how the agency is doing in its responses: As of June, FDA had responded to 81 percent of all 5,291 questions submitted to the TAN, with a median response time of 16 business days. The response time, however, was slower for produce rule inquiries from businesses (48 days), a gap FDA officials said was due to the fact that questions were raised that the agency hadn't considered when it wrote the complex rule. More from GAO here. - China's tariff cuts boost U.S. dairy exports: Three years of "bridge-building" efforts on the part of the U.S. dairy industry resulted in cheese being included in a broader package of tariff cuts China announced last week, Pro Trade's Adam Behsudi reports. - Lobbying news: Aramark, the food services giant, hired Ernst & Young to lobby on tax reform, POLITICO Influence reports. - Grocery stores getting punitive with suppliers: Major U.S. grocers like Kroger are imposing fines to punish suppliers for delayed shipments that deprive them of sales, The Wall Street Journal reports. - After Maria, still no help? HuffPost revisits the farmers in Puerto Rico it spoke with right after Hurricane Maria. So far, no aid has arrived. THAT'S ALL FOR MA! See you again soon! 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NMSU professor conducts research on golden eagles being killed by wind turbines DATE: 11/28/2017 WRITER: Ximena Tapia, 575-646-6233, email@example.com CONTACT: Gary Roemer, 575-646-3394, firstname.lastname@example.org A New Mexico State University professor in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is conducting research on golden eagles being killed by wind turbines and other human-related factors. Gary Roemer, professor for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, is conducting a research project to identify whether certain factors impact golden eagle populations. Some of the factors that impact the eagles are electrocutions, vehicle strikes and illegal shootings, but another more recent factor is wind turbine strikes, Roemer said. From 1997 to 2012, there were 85 eagle fatalities reported in 32 facilities around the United States. More than 78 percent of those fatalities occurred from 2008 to 2012. Roemer said there is no way to know exactly how many eagles are killed, “as monitoring programs are usually not in place at wind energy facilities.” His research is focused on finding out where the eagles that have been killed come from. Roemer said eagles “breed throughout the Western U.S., Alaska and throughout portions of Canada, but they can move a lot.” Many eagles from northern portions of the continent, such as Alaska and Canada, migrate to southern locales in the winter, including New Mexico and Texas. According to the American Wind Energy Association, there are 863 wind turbines in New Mexico, generating enough clean electricity to power about 334,000 homes. During 2016, wind energy provided 10.95 percent of all in-state electricity production. Although wind energy has many environmental benefits, it also has the potential to impact eagles and other wildlife. “If you put a wind farm down here in New Mexico, you might not only be whacking New Mexico breeding birds, but you might be whacking birds that are breeding in Alaska or the Canadian Arctic,” Roemer said. In January 2017, under the Obama administration, a rule was implemented that allows wind-energy companies to accidentally kill or injure eagles while operating high-speed turbines for up to 30 years. That is six times longer than the former rule, which was five years. The rule change also increased the number of eagles the companies can be permitted to accidentally kill or injure, but only under certain conditions. Under the new rule, wind companies, other power providers, and other activities that might accidentally take eagles can obtain permits to accidentally kill eagles. For a company to obtain such a permit, they must demonstrate that they have taken all practical steps to avoid and minimize impacts, such as modifying power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution. This is to show that any incident that occurs is unavoidable. As part of the research project, Roemer went to Coronation Gulf in Nunavut, Canada, and collaborated with Canadian wildlife biologists. They climbed into golden eagle nests to sample and band young eagles. Roemer said the nesting occupancy was apparently low this year. Out of approximately 30 nests that were surveyed, five of them were active, and they were able to sample seven eaglets. Roemer and his colleagues are using genetic methods and stable isotope analysis of feather samples from nestling golden eagles to determine if the eagles exhibit any population structure. He said that by finding this information, “We might be able to figure out what kind of impact we’re having on golden eagles across the continent.”
Large U.S. farm study finds no cancer link to Monsanto weedkiller Reuters By Kate Kelland A large long-term study on the use of the big-selling weedkiller glyphosate by agricultural workers in the United States has found no firm link between exposure to the pesticide and cancer, scientists said on Thursday. Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), the study found there was no association between glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide RoundUp, “and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including non-Hogkin Lymphoma (NHL) and its subtypes”. It said there was “some evidence of increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) among the highest exposed group”, but added this association was “not statistically significant”.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Udall Secures Important Funding for NM in Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill Expressed opposition to poison pill policy riders and severely inadequate funding levels that make it impossible to support the bill without significant changes Would have offered an amendment to restore critical funding WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, blasted the Republican majority’s release of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies fiscal year 2018 Appropriations bill. In an unusual move, the Republican leadership on the committee chose to bypass the regular committee process by posting the bill online, rather than hold a formal markup. Although Udall worked hard to secured many critical provisions to benefit New Mexico in the final bill, he expressed his strong opposition to the damaging funding cuts and extreme policy riders included by Senate Republicans, which will weaken our efforts to protect clean air and water and public health, safeguard our public lands and natural resources, and uphold our responsibility to Tribes. Had the committee marked up the bill, Udall would have offered an amendment to restore $3.1 billion in funding, contingent on a bipartisan budget agreement to lift caps on spending, known as sequestration. He issued the following statement: “I deeply regret that we weren’t able to come together and produce a bipartisan bill, because this bill includes many priorities for New Mexico and the nation that I fought to secure and want to support. In particular, I was proud to fight for strong funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program, for key Tribal programs, for Gold King Mine cleanup, and for several other initiatives that are critical to New Mexico communities. I especially appreciate that Senator Lisa Murkowski worked with me and other members on both sides of the aisle to reject the president’s disastrous proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities and maintain level funding for each of the endowments. But I can’t look past the deep and damaging cuts to the EPA budget in this bill that put public health at risk. And I can't ignore that it takes aim at the laws that protect our environment and our communities. It’s very disappointing that this bill continues to be the target for unacceptable poison pill policy riders that undercut bedrock environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. Had we marked up this bill in committee, I would have offered an amendment to restore the EPA's budget and significantly expand other critical Tribal, natural resources and environmental protection programs. It wouldn’t have restored every cut or patched every hole, but it would have responded to the worst funding gaps in the EPA budget, strengthened infrastructure and created jobs.” New Mexico highlights that Udall fought to secure include: Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – The bill provides a total of $400 million for land acquisition, conservation easements, and state assistance grants, which is equal to the fiscal year 2017 level and well above the $64 million proposed in the president’s request. LWCF has had a powerful impact on New Mexico through protection of places like Valle d’Oro, Brazzo Cliffs and Rio Grande del Norte. These acquisitions are critical for improving recreational access to our federal lands, protecting iconic landscapes, delivering grants to states and local governments to create and protect urban parks and open spaces, and providing farmers and ranchers with easements to allow them to continue to steward their private lands in the face of development pressures. Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) – The bill funds payments to counties through the PILT program at a total of $465 million, equal to fiscal year 2017. Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund – The bill provides $10 million for grant funding to federally recognized Tribes for reclamation of abandoned mine lands that support economic development. These new dollars can help address high priority coal cleanup projects, as identified by the Navajo Nation. Udall also included language in the bill, which directs the administration to plan to provide worker training and transition assistance in light of the impending closure of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS). Indian Education Construction & Repairs – The bill provides $136.3 million for construction and maintenance at Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools. Four New Mexico schools are currently on the bureau’s school construction priority list awaiting replacement. Indian Health Construction & Repairs – The bill includes $128.5 million for construction and repairs at Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities and supports the budget request to begin design of the Alamo (N.M.) Health Center. Indian Health Services Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program – The bill provides over $219.6 million for IHS substance abuse programs, with $2 million in funding for detoxification services provided by partner facilities, such as the one in Gallup, N.M. Tribal Colleges and Universities – The bill provides $22.5 million in base funding and $11.8 million in forward funding for Haskell Indian University and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic to allow these institutions to effectively budget and plan for the future. Gold King Mine Cleanup – The bill provides $4 million for a long-term water quality monitoring program for the states and Tribes affected by the Gold King Mine spill into the Animas and San Juan rivers. Indian Land and Water Claims Settlements – The bill provides over $45 million to enhance support of Tribal nations, most notably through establishment of an Indian Water Rights Settlement account. Protecting Tribal cultural patrimony – The bill provides a $1 million increase for Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement efforts to ensure greater protection against trafficking of American Indian and Alaska Native artifacts, and provides $1 million for BIE law enforcement funds to protect Tribal artifacts. National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities – The bill provides $149.8 million each for the NEA and NEH to support arts and humanities programs, after the president proposed zeroing out funding for these programs, which support arts and cultural programs as well as thousands of jobs in New Mexico and across the country. United States-Mexico Transboundary Aquifer Assessment – $1 million to continue developing a scientific foundation for state and local officials to address pressing water resources challenges in the United States-Mexico border region. Institute of American Indian Arts – $9.835 million for IAIA. Navajo Indian Irrigation Project – The bill provides $3.386 million to fund current construction of the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project to deliver water to approximately 110,630 acres of land. U.S.-Mexico Border Infrastructure – The bill provides $10 million for the U.S.-Mexico Border Program to address the backlog of water and wastewater infrastructure needs along the border. New Mexico Parks – The bill provides $221 million for facilities improvements at national parks, including $2.8 million to complete the renovation of the Old Santa Fe Trail Building and $3.4 million for electrical system upgrades at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Senator Udall also included language to direct the agency to better consult and engage on the Navajo Generating Station, coordinate with acequias and land grants, increase recreational access, and work to finish the planning around Chaco Canyon. Overall Funding Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Operations – The bill includes unacceptable cuts to EPA’s operating budget, including 10 percent reductions to programs supporting clean water, clean air, enforcement against polluters, and scientific research. The bill even eliminates the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), the critical EPA program relied on worldwide for assessments of toxic chemicals. The bill imposes the IRIS workload onto the recently reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) program, which was not designed to accommodate the breadth of the IRIS program’s responsibilities. The bill also allows EPA to allocate an additional $68 million in program cuts with no restrictions – enabling even further cuts to critical programs without the input of the Appropriations Committee. Funding is also included to enable the administration to cut a full quarter of EPA’s current staff of scientists and public health experts. Finally, the bill endorses the president’s request to eliminate nearly all of the agency’s climate change programs. Water Infrastructure State Revolving Funds – Within the budget for EPA, the bill provides $2.258 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water revolving funds, which are provided directly to the states for water and wastewater infrastructure projects. This is the same level of funding provided in fiscal year 2017 and will help supply Americans with clean drinking water and replace aging sewer systems. The bill focuses new investments on drinking water, which is critical for states and cities working to replace lead service lines and upgrade other aging infrastructure. This funding also supports construction jobs. The bill would result in nearly 1,000 water infrastructure projects, more than 50,000 jobs, and $4.3 billion in matching investments from states. However, the bill offsets these much needed investments with unacceptable cuts to key EPA programs supporting clean water, clean air, climate, and environmental enforcement. Wildland Fire Management – The bill provides $3.625 billion to the Forest Service and Interior Department for wildland firefighting, a decrease of $97 million below the fiscal year 2017 level. Within that amount, the bill provides for the forecasted costs estimated by the agencies for fire suppression, which is $507 million more than the President requested. In addition, hazardous fuels reduction is funded at $392.5 million for the Forest Service and $184 million for Interior, a total increase of $6.5 million above the fiscal 2017 level. National Park Service – The bill provides $2.942 billion for the National Park Service, an increase of $10 million above the fiscal year 2017 level and an increase of $389 million above the budget request. The bill includes $221.7 million for national park construction needs, an increase of $12 million above fiscal year 2017. Funding for park operations is reduced by nearly 1 percent compared to fiscal year 2017, though the bill does provide sufficient funding for operations of newly authorized parks and also continues $13 million for grants to protect and preserve important civil rights sites. A total of $20 million is provided for the Centennial Challenge program to match non-federal investments and fund infrastructure and visitor services needs at parks around the nation. Native American Trust Responsibilities – The bill includes $5.040 billion for Tribal health programs of the Indian Health Service (IHS), which is flat compared to the fiscal year 2017 level and $302 million above the president’s request. The bill restores proposed cuts in the president’s request to Tribal health programs, including substance abuse and mental health services, and provides $50 million in additional funds not included in the budget request to staff newly constructed facilities. However, the recommendation also forces the IHS to absorb current service costs—meaning that most Tribal health programs will effectively get cut by inflation. The bill also includes $2.87 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, $7.5 million above the fiscal year 2017 level and $379 million above the president’s request. The bill provides fixed costs and small increases to public safety and justice programs, road maintenance, school construction, natural resource programs and some tribal education programs. Fish and Wildlife Service – The bill makes an unacceptable cut to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s programs supporting the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, reducing funding for listing of species by $3.4 million (16 percent). The bill maintains funding for operations of the National Wildlife Refuge System at the fiscal year 2017 level of $483.9 million, rejecting the president’s budget proposal to cut funding for refuges by $13.8 million. Despite cuts proposed in the president’s budget request, the bill does provide $1 million more than fiscal year 2017’s level in funding for anti-wildlife trafficking programs to better protect elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, and other iconic species. Poison Pill Riders The bill includes a number of troubling policy riders that undermine core environmental protection laws and are unrelated to the committee’s jurisdiction, including: Clean Water. Provides a free pass to rescind and replace federal protections for streams and wetlands by blocking any new rule to define Waters of the United States from being challenged on its merits and exempting EPA from longstanding procedural requirements, weakening public involvement in the regulatory process. Forestry Reforms. Couples budgetary reforms for wildland firefighting with major new authorizations that modify environmental requirements for forestry projects, set aside logging restrictions on old-growth trees in the Tongass National Forest, and provide a blanket exemption for Alaska from the Roadless Rule, which prohibits commercial logging and road construction in certain areas, overriding various court decisions. Endangered Species Protections. The bill includes several provisions that erode the Endangered Species Act and override court rulings upholding the protections afforded to species under the law, including: • Reconsultation Requirements. Includes new language that would overturn a court decision that requires federal land managers to reconsult with the Fish and Wildlife Service on land management plans when a new species is listed, critical habitat is designated, or other new pertinent information on a listed species becomes available. This will result in logging and resource development decisions being made without up-to-date science and species status, which could further imperil threatened or endangered species. • Gray Wolves. Includes new language that overrides court rulings requiring that specific populations of gray wolves must maintain protections under the Endangered Species Act, circumventing the scientific and legal process established to protect imperiled species. • Lesser Prairie Chicken. Includes new language that prevents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from fulfilling its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. The provision blocks the agency from conducting any activities related to determining if the lesser prairie chicken may be a threatened species, setting a dangerous precedent by circumventing the scientific and legal process established to protect imperiled species. • Sage Grouse. Continues language that prevents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from fulfilling its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. The provision overrides a court requirement that the agency make a determination on whether sage-grouse should be listed as a threatened or endangered species and sets a dangerous precedent by circumventing the scientific and legal process established to protect imperiled species. Forest Biomass. Includes language making permanent changes to federal policy on carbon emissions from forest biomass, that shortcuts the scientific process by automatically deeming certain activities as having a neutral impact on climate change. Lead Ammunition. Continues language that exempts lead ammunition and fishing tackle from environmental controls under TSCA and other environmental laws. Yazoo Pumps Reconsideration. New language directing immediate construction of a controversial flood control project, despite the George W. Bush administration’s rejection of the project based on findings that it would significantly degrade municipal water supplies, fisheries, productive bottomland hardwood forests, and wildlife and habitat on tens of thousands of acres of public and private lands. The language would also block any legal challenges and waive all other administrative requirements, such as compliance with the Endangered Species Act. Udall Amendment Udall planned to offer a funding amendment to the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill that would have increased funding for safe drinking water and clean water infrastructure, to protect natural and cultural resources, fulfill the nation’s trust responsibility, and protect science and human health. The amendment, totaling $3.1 billion, would have been a component of the effort by committee Democrats to invest in the American people. The Democrats’ proposals would ultimately increase defense spending in fiscal year 2018 by $54 billion above post-sequester spending caps, mandated by the Budget Control Act, and provide an equal increase in non-defense programs – a budget and policy approach known as “parity.” The text and breakdown of the Udall Amendment is available HERE. - $1 billion in new funds for water infrastructure, including $500 million for grants to states through EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund, $380 million for grants to states through EPA Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and $120 million to fully fund new water lead protection grants authorized through the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. - $400 million to double investments in Land and Water Conservation Fund, for a total of $800 million. - $255 million in new funds for Park Service operations and construction. - $125 million for Forest Service fuels reduction and capital improvements. - $80 million each in new operating funds for the Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management, including funds to support all existing national monuments. - $18 million in new funding to fully fund county payments through the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program. - $404 million in new funds for Tribal health priorities through the Indian Health Service to cover current service requirements and expand clinical programs. - $171 million in new funds for construction of Tribal health facilities. - $200 million for new funds for core program needs at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, including education, public safety and law enforcement, natural resources programs and broadband capacity development. - $50 million for construction of Tribal schools. - $25 million to fund additional Tribal land and water claims settlements. - $200 million to restore proposed cuts within the bill to EPA’s core research and regulatory programs, including fully restoring funding eliminated in the base bill for the IRIS program and protecting the TSCA program from being overwhelmed by new responsibilities outside the scope of its current authorities. - $79 million to fully fund need museum repairs at the Smithsonian Institution. - $25 million in grants to states to fund historic preservation needs, including brick and mortar projects through the Save America’s Treasures program. - $17.5 million each in new funds for grants to state arts and humanities councils through the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.
State Water Planning Town Hall: Advancing New Mexico’s Water Future In partnership with the Interstate Stream Commission, New Mexico First will convene a two-day town hall deliberation to inform the update of the New Mexico State Water Plan. This event will bring together people from around the state to generate suggestions for the ISC. The town hall will focus primarily on supply and demand, water quality, infrastructure, legal issues, water planning and collaboration, and changing conditions. 13-DEC-2017 - 14-DEC-2017 Albuquerque More information and registration at: http://nmfirst.org/event-details/state-water-planning-town-hall-advancing-new-mexico-s-water-future
Ag groups sue California over glyphosate declaration Western Farm Press National Association of Wheat Growers Agricultural groups, including the National Association of Wheat Growers, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against California and its regulatory conclusions related to glyphosate, the popular active ingredient in herbicides. At issue is California’s decision last July to force what plaintiffs are calling “false and misleading warning labels” under the state’s Proposition 65 labeling law. Prop. 65 is a voter-passed initiative that requires the state to publish a list of all chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. California opted to include glyphosate on that list, in spite of what plaintiffs say is evidence to the contrary. NAWG says California ignored its own scientific reviews, as well as those conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Chemicals agency in making the claim.
Michael White To Serve As State Executive Director For USDA’s Farm Service Agency In New Mexico Los Alamos Daily Post Press Release The Trump Administration recently appointed Michael White as the new State Executive Director (SED) for the USDA New Mexico Farm Service Agency (FSA). White will join the New Mexico FSA team Monday, Nov. 27. White has worked in agriculture his entire life. He was raised on a dairy and farming operation in the Pecos Valley and has managed his farming operation for more than 30 years. He has been a life-long advocate for New Mexico’s farm and ranch families while striving to ensure a successful future for the state’s rural communities. The Farm Service Agency serves farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs. The agency offers farmers a strong safety net through the administration of farm commodity and disaster programs. FSA continues to conserve natural resources and also provides credit to agricultural producers who are unable to receive private, commercial credit, including special emphasis on beginning, underserved and women farmers and ranchers. The agency also purchases and delivers commodities for use in international humanitarian food programs. Under the direction of Secretary Sonny Perdue, the USDA will always be facts-based and data-driven, with a decision-making mindset that is customer-focused. Secretary Perdue leads the USDA with four guiding principles: to maximize the ability of American agriculture to create jobs, sell foods and fiber, and feed and clothe the world; to prioritize customer service for the taxpayers; to ensure that our food supply is safe and secure; and to maintain good stewardship of the natural resources that provide us with our miraculous bounty. And understanding that we live in a global economy where trade is of top importance, Secretary Perdue has pledged to be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture. As SED, White will use his leadership experience to oversee FSA programs in a customer-focused manner to ensure a safe, affordable, abundant and nutritious food supply for consumers.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Study: 28% of U.S. jobs are linked to food and agriculture FoodDive.com By Erika Kincaid A new study commissioned by 22 food and agriculture organizations found that more than 20% of the nation’s economy and 28% of all American jobs are linked either directly or indirectly to the food and agriculture sectors, according to the Food Marketing Institute. The nationwide research also found the U.S. exports $146.32 billion in food, with a total food and industry economic impact of $6.7 trillion. More here https://www.fooddive.com/news/study-28-of-us-jobs-are-linked-to-food-and-agriculture/511316/
Rio Grande water fight scheduled in high court Southwest Farm Press By Logan Hawkes …the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear opening oral arguments Jan. 8 from attorneys representing both states over management of one of North America's longest rivers, the Rio Grande. On the issue of water rights, officials from both states have agreed, the stakes are high as this controversial legal battle enters the judicial and hallowed halls of the Nation's highest court, a legal disagreement that has been years in the making and has captured the attention of an entire nation because it's legal outcome could affect every river in every state in the years ahead. more here: http://www.southwestfarmpress.com/water/rio-grande-water-fight-scheduled-high-court
Monday, November 20, 2017
On NMDA’s website http://www.nmda.nmsu.edu/ the quarantine (via link) is now posted along with FAQ (via a link as well) which may be helpful and informative for growers, buyers, and homeowners to some extent. There may be more specific FAQ posted in future about PW biology, for homeowners specifically, etc., but this addresses questions about the quarantine which begins today. With nightime frosts getting a little harder lately, I expect harvest season to start ramping up. The Eddy County Cooperative Extension is not a law enforcement agency so question about the law should go to NM Department of Agriculture.
In hopes of eradicating the notorious pecan weevil, state officials announced another emergency quarantine to restrict shipments from four southeast New Mexican counties. Effective Monday, the 180-day quarantine applies to Chaves, Curry, Lea and Eddy Counties. During that time, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture intends to solicit input from the pecan industry to make the ban permanent. The restriction is in response to continual weevil findings in both residential and commercial pecan operations throughout the region. Yard trees in Hobbs, Lovington, Roswell, Clovis and Artesia were found to be infested with the insect, read a Friday news release from the New Mexico Agriculture Department. The weevil bores into the nut meat to lay its eggs, leaving the larva to feed on the nut meat. This process destroys the nut meat, making the nuts unfit for human consumption.
LAS CRUCES - Southeastern New Mexico is facing water scarcity issues, and with an increased demand for freshwater, there is a need for alternative water sources in Eddy and Lea counties. Faculty and staff from New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute teamed up with researchers from around the state for a feasibility study on the reuse of produced water last year. Produced water is underground water brought to the surface during the drilling process. Treating of disposing of produced water creates an additional expense for oil companies. One of the most relevant findings from the study is that the most feasible use of produced water generated from the oil and gas industry is for that industry to reuse its own produced water, as opposed to using fresh water. Robert Sabie Jr., a geographic information systems analyst for NM WRRI, said this cost-effective solution would allow freshwater to be reserved for drinking water.
Guide B-710: Russian Knapweed and Yellow Star-Thistle Poisoning of Horses Jason Turner (Professor/Extension Horse Specialist, Dept. of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources) Kert Young (Extension Brush and Weed Specialist, Dept. of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources) Jesse LeFevre (Extension Agent, Jicarilla Apache Nation Extension Office) PDF: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_b/B710.pdf HTML: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_b/B710/welcome.html
Friday, November 10, 2017
Are you interested in New Mexico’s water future? Sign up today for a two-day deliberative town hall to inform the next State Water Plan! This document is the primary policy guide for New Mexico’s water policy. As part of public engagement on the update of the plan, the upcoming town hall will be held December 13-14 in Albuquerque. Participants will engage in discussions on water issues and offer suggestions advising the Interstate Stream of significant changed conditions facing New Mexico’s water future. Registration opens for the State Water Planning Town Hall: Advancing New Mexico’s Water Future Are you interested in New Mexico’s water future? Sign up now for a two-day deliberative town hall to discuss a comprehensive update of the New Mexico State Water Plan. The State Water Plan is a critical guide for New Mexico’s water policy. The ideas offered through this town hall will advise the Interstate Stream Commission (in collaboration with the Office of the State Engineer and the Water Trust Board) of significant changed conditions facing New Mexico’s water future. Sponsored by the ISC and managed by New Mexico First, the town hall will focus primarily on supply and demand, water quality, infrastructure, legal issues, water planning and collaboration, and changing conditions. Sign-up today!
Estate tax forces farmers to play defense USA Today By Zippy Duvall, AFBF President Many people think the estate tax is for high rollers. An individual exemption of $5.5 million should be more than enough for anyone, they say. But things are a little different for farmers. We are land rich but cash poor. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, 22% of the farms in Iowa were 500 acres or larger — more or less the size farmers will need to make a full-time living on their own property. At $8,100 an acre, that means $4 million in land plus several hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, seed, fertilizer and other inventory just to make $75,000 a year or so. And that’s in a good year: Right now, commodity prices are depressed, which means far less income to the farmer. Even an exemption of $11 million means owning land that can produce maybe $160,000 a year. That’s not a trivial income, but it’s hardly the sort of cash that demands a tax designed for the truly wealthy. OUR VIEW: Don't kill the estate tax Many farmers play defense. They establish trusts, buy life insurance or make gifts to their families while they are still living, but this comes at a high cost. That money would be better pumped back into the farm. And that’s our biggest issue with the tax: endless expenses and legal maneuvering that accomplish nothing of value. All this happens so farmers don’t have to sell the farm piece by piece to pay the IRS. Story from Qantas and Visit Victoria How much do you know about the land down under? The vast majority of farmers and ranchers come from multigenerational agriculture families for the simple reason that land and equipment is very expensive. Assets like those return much, much less than a similar portfolio of stocks and bonds would. And land is not just low-performing as an investment, but difficult to sell, too. The estate tax means passing the family business on from one generation to the next remains a challenge for too many farmers. The estate tax was meant for the truly rich, not people like us. Zippy Duvall is president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
USDA To Use Clear, Consumer-Friendly On-Package GMO Labeling KRWG This week, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich pressed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to clearly label genetically engineered food to ensure all New Mexicans have the right to know what is in their food. In a letter, the senators urged USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to prioritize clear, consumer-friendly on-package text labels and discouraged the use of electronic codes and labeling that would require access to a smartphone or broadband internet and would not help the thousands of New Mexicans living in rural communities. “All Americans have the right to know what is in their food and how their food is produced,” the senators wrote. “We are writing to urge you and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to consider carefully the rights and will of the American people as the AMS undertakes a rulemaking process to develop a national standard for clear, accessible labels for food products containing bioengineered (GE) ingredients.”
Thursday, November 9, 2017
Notice of Availability of Draft Scientific Assessment for Public Comment A Federal Register Notice entitled "Notice of Availability of Draft Scientific Assessment for Public Comment" was published in the Federal Register on November 8, 2017. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is publishing this notice on behalf of the Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group (CCIWG)/U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program and the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) to announce the availability of a draft assessment, the 2nd State of the Carbon Cycle Science Report (SOCCR-2), for a 60-day public review. Collected comments will be carefully reviewed by the relevant chapter author teams. Following revision and further review, a revised draft will undergo final Federal interagency clearance. Written comments on this notice must be received by 11:59 p.m. on January 8, 2018.
Release No. 0147.17 Contact: USDA Press Phone: (202) 720-4623 Email: email@example.com Secretary Perdue Launches Veteran Resources at USDA (Washington, D.C., November 9, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the launch of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resources to provide comprehensive and timely support to veterans interested in opportunities in agriculture, agribusiness, and in rural America. The resources include a new website and a USDA-wide AgLearn curriculum to allow all employees to understand the unique opportunities offered to our nation’s veterans. “From the beginning of this Administration, USDA has focused on how to best serve our veterans,” said Secretary Perdue. “These men and women of the United States military have kept America free and deserve the utmost respect. Across the country, these veterans are beginning to fill roles that preserve rural communities while providing for their livelihood. Through these resources, USDA is committed to helping veterans in agricultural areas so we can strengthen the American economy and provide assistance for those who have served. Veterans and agriculture are just a great fit.” USDA supports veterans in the areas of the “three Es” – employment, education, and entrepreneurship, and pulls together programs from the Department’s 17 agencies that veterans may use. Watch this video or view below to learn more about USDA’s new veterans resources.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
The following CES publication has been revised and is now available online in PDF and HTML formats. Guide B-711: Help Your Horse Handle Heat Stress Jason L. Turner (Professor/Extension Horse Specialist, Dept. of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources) Sandra Barraza (Extension Agriculture Agent, Chaves County Extension Office) PDF: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_b/B711.pdf HTML: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_b/B711/welcome.html
Monday, November 6, 2017
USDA to Re-engage Stakeholders on Revisions to Biotechnology Regulations WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced it is withdrawing a proposed rule to revise the Agency’s biotechnology regulations and will re-engage with stakeholders to determine the most effective, science-based approach for regulating the products of modern biotechnology while protecting plant health. “It’s critical that our regulatory requirements foster public confidence and empower American agriculture while also providing industry with an efficient and transparent review process that doesn’t restrict innovation,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “To ensure we effectively balance the two, we need to take a fresh look, explore policy alternatives, and continue the dialogue with all interested stakeholders, both domestic and international.” APHIS oversees the importation, interstate movement and environmental release of genetically engineered organisms to ensure they do not pose a plant pest risk. This important work will continue as APHIS re-engages with stakeholders. “Today, we need to feed some 7 billion people. By the year 2050, that population will swell to 9.5 billion, over half of which will be living in under-developed conditions. To put the demand for food into perspective, we are going to have to double our production between now and 2050. We will have to produce more food in the next 30 years than has been produced in the last 8,000 years. Innovations in biotechnology have been helping American farmers produce food more efficiently for more than 20 years, and that framework has been essential to that productivity,” Perdue said. “We know that this technology is evolving every day, and we need regulations and policies that are flexible and adaptable to these innovations to ensure food security for the growing population.” More information will be posted at our webpage below as it becomes available: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/news.
Friday, November 3, 2017
PESTICIDE TRAINING PROGRAM OFFERED Eddy County Extension Service will be conducting pesticide applicator training on November 16 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Cost is $10 per person. This class is good for 5 CEU’s. Private applicator testing will not be available if you need to test call and arranged with NMDA 575-646-3007. The information presented may help you prepare for the exams however. These will be in Carlsbad at the Eddy County Extension Office. Dr. Sam Samallidge Extension Wildlife Specialist will be presenting information on gopher control, rodent control, keeping pack rats out of trucks, rattle snakes and more. There is limited space so if you wish to pre-register or if you are in need of special assistance due to a disability please contact the Eddy County Extension Office 887-6595 at least 7 days before the class. This and all programs are available to everyone regardless of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, or veteran status. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating “to put knowledge to work”.
Thursday, November 2, 2017
November 15 Sales Closing Date Approaches for USDA Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF) Program New Mexico producers are reminded of the November 15 sales closing date for the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF) Program, administered by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). The PRF program has become widely used by New Mexico producers in recent years. In fact, for 2017, the PRF Program covers over $84M in liability across more than 7M New Mexico acres. The PRF program is an area-based plan of insurance designed to give forage and livestock producers the ability to buy protection for losses of forage produced for haying and/or grazing. The program is based on a rainfall index approach for determining losses and triggering indemnities. The flexible program allows producers to personalize their policy by choosing at least two specific 2-month coverage intervals, a coverage level between 70 to 90 percent, and a productivity factor anywhere between 60 and 150 percent of the county base value. When applying for coverage, producers will also need to allocate the percentage of the total value for their operation. Program payment are not based on individual rain gauges or on a single local weather station. Online tools are available to assist producers in determining how well the PRF program correlated with their past forage production. Specifically, history for each grid and interval across covered areas can be accessed using decision support tools found on RMA’s PRF web page (http://www.rma.usda.gov/policies/pasturerangeforage/). The tools allow producers to see which years and coverage periods would have paid indemnities in past years based on hypothetical coverage levels in selected grids. Producers are strongly encouraged to use the available tools to help make purchase and coverage level decisions. Not all acres that are grazed need to be insured, but producers must have an insurable interest in the acres covered. An insurable interest, defined as the right to graze the property, must be documented. The PRF Program is available in the 48 contiguous states. Interested producers are encouraged to visit with their crop insurance agent to learn additional program details. An agent locator tool is also available on the RMA website (http://www.RMA.USDA.gov). To speak with a rancher who has analyzed and purchased this product, producers are encouraged to contact Brett Crosby, President of Wyoming-based Custom Ag Solutions (CAS), and Wyoming cow calf operator who is well versed in the complex risk management decisions facing livestock producers. Crosby can be reached at 307-548-9636. Custom Ag Solutions works with RMA and other partner organizations to educate producers about risk management and Federal crop insurance programs. More information about Federal crop insurance programs, including RMA’s Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Program, can be found at the RMA website, www.rma.usda.gov. To receive information by mail, call CAS at 877-227-8094. USDA, RMA, and CAS are equal opportunity providers.
Our first certified sale is scheduled for November 15th at Clovis. I spoke with Charlie and the tentative plan is to stop the sale at about 11:00 am, announce the program, and then start selling program calves. Patrick brought up a good point about having a presence there. I’ll try to get a banner made with the logos and we thought about setting up a table with information. I can also see if we can get some funds for coffee and donuts? I don’t know if it is a concern about giving something out that the might be selling in their café (if they have a café). Either way, I think banner, table with information, brochures, etc. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please let me know and also if you’d like to help out. We’ll have some grad students there trying to collect data, so I think between what Charlie will have and what the students get, we should be able to generate a full economic report to share with everyone. Thanks a ton for all of the help! Craig.