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Livestock Groups Launch Media Campaign in Support of Barrasso Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018

WASHINGTON  – The Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today launched an online campaign to educate the public on the need for a modernized Endangered Species Act. The campaign, which focuses on the ranching industry, highlights the importance of wor...

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Livestock Groups Launch Media Campaign in Support of Barrasso Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018

WASHINGTON  – The Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today launched an online campaign to educate the public on the need for a modernized Endangered Species Act. The campaign, which focuses on the ranching industry, highlights the importance of wor...

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Ag Shippers Say Trade War Costly

Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz says trade disruptions are threatening to undermine an otherwise robust economy. The rail company, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, told the Omaha World-Herald that the current trade disruption: “Affects the 7,300 communities Union Pacific serves.” Specifically,...

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(Video) Morning Ag News Update - July 17, 2018

Susan Littlefield reports on agriculture news. Watch agriculture feature stories:  ...

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U.S.-China Dispute Harming Canadian Soybean Growers

Soybean farmers in Canada are feeling the impact of the U.S.-China trade war as soybean prices decline. CNBC reports that while Canadian soybean farmers could see an increased market share from importing nations, experts say the current soybean market plays a much more significant role. Since Apr...

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Futures One Crop Progress Report

OMAHA -- Good-to-excellent condition ratings for both corn and soybeans declined nationwide last week, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday. NASS estimated that 72% of the nation's corn was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, Ju...

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Crops

U.S.-China Dispute Harming Canadian Soybean Growers

Soybean farmers in Canada are feeling the impact of the U.S.-China trade war as soybean prices decline. CNBC reports that while Canadian soybean farmers could see an increased market share from importing nations, experts say the current soybean market plays a much more significant role. Since April, soybean futures have dropped nearly 20 percent in the United States, and Canadian soybean prices are closely tied to the U.S. futures market. A market expert from Canada says “we are being caught in the crossfire” of the U.S.-China dispute. A market advisor based in Winnipeg claims “North America has really become one large agricultural market with no border,” adding all soybeans grown in Canada are priced “basically directly off the U.S. futures market." China has forecast its total soybean imports will be lower for the next crop year due to the new tariffs. China is also encouraging the use of alternative animal feeds, as China currently buys about two-thirds of the world's soybean exports, using most of it as feed for the roughly 700 million pigs in the country.

Futures One Crop Progress Report

OMAHA -- Good-to-excellent condition ratings for both corn and soybeans declined nationwide last week, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday. NASS estimated that 72% of the nation's corn was in good-to-excellent condition as of Sunday, July 15, down 3 percentage points from 75% the previous week. "Hot and dry weather increased poor-to-very-poor ratings from Missouri to Texas," said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman. "Michigan is also experiencing dry weather with 20% of their corn crop rated poor or very poor." Corn development continued to run well ahead of the average pace with NASS estimating that 63% of the crop was silking as of Sunday, 26 percentage points ahead of 37% for both last year and the five-year average. Soybean condition also declined last week. The crop was rated 69% good to excellent on Sunday, down 2 percentage points from 71% the previous week. Poor-to-very-poor ratings increased in Missouri, Kansas and Michigan. "Good-to-excellent ratings for both corn and soybeans are not as good as those seen in 2016, but are still significantly higher than a year ago," Hultman said. Like corn, soybean development was also running well ahead of normal, with NASS estimating 65% of the crop blooming as of Sunday, 20 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 45%. Twenty-six percent of soybeans were estimated to be setting pods, 15 percentage points ahead of the five-year average pace of 11%. Meanwhile, NASS estimated that 74% of winter wheat was harvested as of Sunday, equal to last year's pace of 74%, but slightly ahead of the five-year average of 71%. Spring wheat was 93% headed as of Sunday, ahead of the last year's 89% and also ahead of the five-year average of 85%. The condition of the crop held steady from the previous week at 80% good to excellent. That's still the highest good-to-excellent rating for spring wheat for this time of year since 2010, Hultman noted. Sorghum was 31% headed, equal to last year and near the five-year average of 32%. Sorghum coloring was 19%, near 20% for both last year and the five-year average. Sorghum condition slipped again from 51% good to excellent the previous week to 47% last week. Barley was 90% headed as of Sunday, ahead of 87% last year and also ahead of the average pace of 88%. Oats were 96% headed, equal to last year and near the average pace of 95%. Sixteen percent of oats were harvested as of Sunday, ahead of 13% last year and also ahead of the five-year average of 14%. Rice was 32% headed as of Sunday, near 31% last year and slightly ahead of the average of 29%. Cotton was 72% squaring, ahead of the average of 70%. Thirty-one percent of cotton was setting bolls, also ahead of the average pace of 24%. Cotton condition held steady last week while rice's good-to-excellent rating dropped 3 percentage points. To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov. Look for the U.S. map in the "Find Data and Reports by" section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state's "Crop Progress & Condition" report. National Crop Progress Summary This Last Last 5-Year Week Week Year Avg. Corn Silking 63 37 37 37 Soybeans Blooming 65 47 49 45 Soybeans Setting Pods 26 11 15 11 Cotton Squaring 72 59 69 70 Cotton Setting Bolls 31 21 25 24 Sorghum Headed 31 25 31 32 Sorghum Coloring 19 17 20 20 Spring Wheat Headed 93 81 89 85 Winter Wheat Harvested 74 63 74 71 Rice Headed 32 21 31 29 Barley Headed 90 78 87 88 Oats Headed 96 91 96 95 Oats Harvested 16 10 13 14 ** National Crop Condition Summary (VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent) This Week Last Week Last Year VP P F G E VP P F G E VP P F G E Corn 3 6 19 51 21 2 5 18 54 21 3 8 25 51 13 Soybeans 2 6 23 53 16 2 5 22 55 16 3 8 28 51 10 Spring Wheat 1 3 16 67 13 1 3 16 66 14 21 20 25 28 6 Sorghum 5 12 36 43 4 4 11 34 46 5 2 6 29 56 7 Cotton 10 18 31 34 7 8 19 32 34 7 1 9 30 46 14 Rice 1 5 25 56 13 1 5 22 59 13 1 4 25 46 24 Oats 4 3 22 58 13 3 3 21 60 13 9 13 27 42 9 Barley 1 2 12 70 15 1 2 12 68 17 8 10 29 43 10

U.S. Grains Council Taiwan Director Chang Retires; New Director Lu to Assume Role in August

Washington, D.C. - Clover Chang, the longtime director of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC's) office in Taiwan, will retire effective Aug. 10, with Michael Lu hired to take on the role as of Aug. 6. Chang has worked for the Council for 34 years, and his achievements will be honored by members and his colleagues at the organization’s 58th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting scheduled for late this month. “It has been an honor to work with Clover over so many years, and we’ve relied heavily on his understanding of the unique political, economic and trade factors that affect the Taiwanese market,” said USGC Chairman Deb Keller. “We at the Council are most appreciative of Clover’s service. It is bittersweet to lose someone of Clover’s magnitude because he has been a key part of our outreach. His innate understanding of the market in Taiwan has attributed to his ability to handle the U.S. coarse grain industry with both grace and diplomacy.” Based in Taipei, Chang has been responsible for identifying and addressing trade, technical and policy factors relevant to building and maintaining the market for U.S. coarse grains and related products in Taiwan. Prior to the Council, Chang – who holds a master’s degree in animal science – worked for the Cyanamid Taiwan Corporation, starting as a sales representative and was promoted to a product manager in 1981. He also previously worked for the Taiwan government’s Livestock Research Institute. Lu, who comes to the Council from Cargill Taiwan, will carry on Chang’s critical work in the region. “We are very excited to have Michael join our Asia regional team and follow Clover to further build upon our market presence and strong commitment to our loyal customers in Taiwan,” said USGC President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Sleight. Lu brings 25 years of experience in agri-food industries, trading and sales and marketing. Prior to joining the Council, Lu worked for Cargill in Taiwan as the assistant general manager in charge of grains, oilseeds, oils and non-grain feed ingredients business, working with products originated around the world. Lu has strong relationships and connections with government agencies and grain end-users in Taiwan, including animal feed producers, poultry and hog producers, crushing plants and oil refiners, flour milling and corn milling plants and local traders supplying agri-food ingredients for local markets. He earned a bachelor's degree in animal sciences from National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan. Taiwan was the fifth largest market for U.S. corn in the 2016/2017 marketing year, purchasing nearly 3 million metric tons at a value of $511 million dollars. It is also the fourth largest market for U.S. barley exports. The Council has maintained an office in Taiwan since 1973.

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Livestock

Livestock Groups Launch Media Campaign in Support of Barrasso Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018

WASHINGTON  – The Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today launched an online campaign to educate the public on the need for a modernized Endangered Species Act. The campaign, which focuses on the ranching industry, highlights the importance of working landscapes in improving ecological services and achieving species conservation targets. The campaign comes at a pivotal time, as Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, introduced the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018. Barrasso’s amendments are based on bipartisan policy recommendations from the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) that was informed by several years of workshops and roundtables held throughout the west and including key stakeholders across the political spectrum. Besides PLC and NCBA (as well as many of its state affiliates) participants included state wildlife agencies, conservation groups such as The Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, and Environmental Defense Fund, as well as energy companies and sportsmen’s groups. “The Endangered Species Act is showing its age, and needs to be modernized in order to really accomplish its core goal of recovering imperiled species. Without this bipartisan effort, we fear that litigation will remain firmly in the driver’s seat, rather than science,” PLC President Dave Eliason said. “Participating in the WGA Initiative over the past few years has been a real eye-opener for our industry, and the resulting legislation finally moves us towards a functioning ESA.” According to Kevin Kester, California rancher and NCBA President, the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 is a once in a lifetime opportunity for species conservation reform. “This campaign will help ranchers tell their stories about how ESA impacts their operation and draw that connection for their elected officials on Capitol Hill. This is particularly important as the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 are considered by the Senate,” Kester said. “But it’s also about clearing the air. We want to ensure America understands that the Endangered Species Act needs to be brought into the 21st century.  I hope our messages educates elected officials, the media, and the public about the role of ranching in species recovery and habitat conservation.” To learn more about the need to modernize the ESA or to watch the campaign’s kick-off video, visit www.ModernizeEsa.com.

Dutch Company Gets funding to Bring Lab-Grown Meat to Market

BERLIN (AP) — A Dutch company that presented the world's first lab-grown beef burger five years ago says it has received funding to pursue its plans to make and sell artificially grown meat to restaurants from 2021. Maastricht-based Mosa Meat said Tuesday it raised 7.5 million euros ($8.8 million), mainly from M Ventures and Bell Food Group. M Ventures is an investment vehicle for German pharmaceuticals company Merck KGaA. Bell Food is a European meat processing company based in Switzerland. Mosa Meat has in the past also received 1 million euros from Google co-founder Sergey Brin. It's one of several working to produce cultured meat for consumers concerned about the environmental and ethical impact of traditional farming. Mosa Meat aims to sell its first products in 2021, achieving industrial-scale production 2-3 years later.

U.S. Pork Calls for Level Playing Field on Regulatory Issues

The National Pork Producers Council says pork producers now face a “regulatory land grab” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Bearing the brunt of global trade retaliation, NPPC called on the Department of Agriculture to assert its “proper oversight” of two emerging issues: laboratory-produced cultured protein and gene editing in livestock production. The comments came after the FDA seemed to take the reins of the regulatory framework last week. The FDA held a public meeting to address regulatory oversight of cultured products, that NPPC says are “misleading” by using terms such as “clean meat” and “prime beef” in packaging prototypes. NPPC President Jim Heimerl said FDA oversight without USDA regulation would allow the cultured meat industry to "avoid rigorous inspection, labeling scrutiny and other regulations faced by livestock agriculture."

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Technology

As Farmers Grow Drone Use, Privacy Issues Top List of Concerns

PRINCETON, N.J.-- The popularity of drones is flourishing on the farm. Three in four U.S. farmers (74%) are currently using or considering adopting the technology to assess, monitor and manage their farm according to an April 2018 Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. survey of 269 U.S. farmers. Seventy-six percent (76%) of all respondents have concerns related to drone usage: privacy issues (23%) topped the list, followed by cyber security concerns over data captured and transferred (20%), and potential damage or injury from the drone (17%). “As Federal Aviation Administration regulations open up the skies to the use of commercial drones, we are seeing a growing investment in the technology by farmers focused on precision agriculture or smart farming,” said Jason Dunn, Strategic Products Expert, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. “Whether a farm has less than 100 or more than 5,000 acres, drones can be the eyes and ears for farmers that want to efficiently and cost effectively monitor and manage crops, livestock and soil conditions. However, farmers may be exposing their business to new risks related to drone usage, and their insurance coverage may not have kept pace with the rapid development and use of this technology.” Of those who currently use the technology, it is nearly split between farmers who contract with an outside company to operate their drones (49%) and farmers who handle drone usage on their own (51%). Eighty-three percent (83%) of respondents use drones on their farms either daily or once a week or more. Drones are used for or considered being used for crop monitoring (73%), soil and field analysis (46%), and health assessment of [crops and livestock] (43%). “Fortunately, a majority of farmers are talking to their insurance company about their drone usage,” said Dunn. Sixty-five percent (65%) of survey respondents using drones have informed their insurance company; 16% plan to do so. “Traditional commercial insurance policies don’t cover or offer very limited liability protection for drones. Farmers should speak with their agents or brokers to insure that their policy protects against privacy claims as well as bodily injury and property damage incurred as a result of drone usage.” Munich Re America offers a Drone Liability Endorsement that can be attached to an existing commercial general liability insurance policy purchased through a participating insurance carrier. The endorsement, which provides bodily injury and property damage liability and/or personal injury liability coverage for drones that are under 55 pounds, is designed for small to medium size businesses and farm and agricultural operations in the U.S. Methodology This online survey was conducted by Qualtrics, which conducts research to capture customer, product, brand and employee experience insights, in April 2018 and is intended to represent the views of 269 U.S. farmers who participated.

Montana Researchers Pioneer Using Wool for Erosion Control

The stuff of socks, sweaters and high-tech underwear now has yet another use, according to a Montana State University study: revegetating roadsides to prevent erosion. At a road cut along Highway 287 near Three Forks, Mont., healthy patches of native grasses are a testament to the lasting benefits of using wool, said Rob Ament, a research scientist at the Western Transportation Institute in MSU's Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering. When Ament's research team began the project four years ago, they suspected that wool might have advantages over the straw and shredded coconut hull used in traditional erosion control blankets, which buffer slopes against sun and rain until seeds germinate and plants take hold. The results of the recently concluded study, however, surprised him. "We were astonished by the vigorous plant growth," Ament said during a recent visit to the site. At the square-meter plots that received erosion blankets made of wool blended with straw, the team observed three to four times more perennial grasses - a result Ament called "stunning." Eli Cuelho, a former research engineer at WTI, also contributed to the project, as did Stuart Jennings and Monica Pokorny at KC Harvey Environmental, a Bozeman-based consulting firm specializing in reclamation. Pokorny, who now works as a plant materials specialist at the Bozeman office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, worked with Ament to develop the wool products and conduct the field trials. Revegetating disturbed ground along roadsides is required by various laws to prevent takeover by noxious weeds and runoff of sediment, which can harm fish and other aquatic life, and it also contributes to the longevity of the roadbed by reducing pooling water, according to Phil Johnson. He oversaw roadside reclamation for the Montana Department of Transportation for 25 years before retiring in 2017. Johnson provided guidance for the project, which received an MDT grant, and was "very pleased," he said. Prior to the experiment, MDT had seeded the road cut in a traditional manner with a seed drill. But the plants on the exposed, west-facing slope had difficulty surviving, and the agency recommended the road cut for the experiment, according to Ament. "We picked a really harsh site," Ament said. "We didn't want it to be easy." Some erosion-preventing wool products were available internationally, Ament said. But they were prohibitively expensive to ship and weren't designed specifically for revegetation. "We had to be creative and work with wool producers here in Montana," he said. Ament and Pokorny traveled to three Montana mills and worked with them to produce shredded wool, which was then sent to a Minnesota manufacturer with the specialized equipment for blending the wool with straw to produce the erosion blankets. The researchers then seeded the Highway 287 road cut with native grasses and laid down the wool erosion blankets side by side with various other erosion blankets. They observed the site periodically and measured the growth of the grasses during the course of three years. "We don't know what mechanisms, exactly, give wool an advantage," Ament said. He suspects that the wool holds more moisture for a longer period. And wool, which is about 17 percent nitrogen, likely has a fertilizing effect on the plants as it slowly biodegrades. Ament said that wool also appears to adhere better to soil on steep embankments. Ament noted that if wool were widely adopted for erosion control, it could support local manufacturing of the blankets as well as create a significant new market for Montana's wool growers. Low-grade wool that is otherwise discarded could potentially be used.

Mini Babybel® Featured in the New Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios®

CHICAGO -- Mini Babybel® snack cheese plays a starring role in the all-new Toy Story Land, an 11-acre land at Disney's Hollywood Studios® located at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Guests in Toy Story Land will feel like they have shrunk to the size of a toy as Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Slinky Dog, the Aliens, Green Army Men and other Toy Story characters interact in the larger-than-life outdoor setting of Andy's backyard. The space incorporates both the fun of Mini Babybel and the magic of the hit Disney•Pixar Toy Story films. [gallery order="DESC" ids="322685,322686,322687,322684"] As the official snack cheese of Walt Disney World® Resort, Babybel worked closely with Walt Disney Imagineering to bring the unique Mini Babybel product experience to life at Woody's Lunch Box, the quick-service food-and-beverage location within Toy Story Land. Woody's Lunch Box puts a modern spin on timeless menu favorites for all the members of the family to enjoy in an exciting themed dining experience, including tables with seats that resemble jumbo replicas of the Mini Babybel snack cheese and umbrellas that are modeled after the cheese's wrappers. Guests might even see one of the Green Army Men carrying a four-foot, jumbo cheese wrapped in its famous red wax. "In addition to offering a fun and delicious snack option that every member of the family can enjoy at Toy Story Land, we're excited to see the playful elements of Mini Babybel that fans know and love come to life in a way only Disney could imagine," says Shannon Maher, brand director for Babybel. The adventure continues for fans outside the park in an exciting consumer promotion, One Magical Mission. Now consumers can use their Mini Babybel Original wrapper as a secret decoder at the official sweepstakes website, BabybelMagicalMission.com, for a chance to win one of thousands of prizes including a chance to win a vacation to see the new Toy Story Land area. Program ends 9/30/2018 and purchase is not required. Experience the fun and excitement yourself at Disney's Hollywood Studios and share your snacking adventures with us @Babybel on Twitter, or @BabybelUS on Facebook, and Instagram using #LunchBoxGoals. Mini Babybel was named the Official Snack Cheese of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the Disneyland Resort in California and Disney Cruise Line in 2017 as part of a multi-year strategic alliance between the two family-focused brands.

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Ag Policy

Congressional Delegation Asks New EPA Head to Reconsider Waivers Program

OMAHA (DTN) -- New EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler may be visiting Iowa after the state's congressional delegation outlined in a letter the challenges farmers and ethanol producers are facing with the way the agency has implemented the Renewable Fuel Standard. The agriculture and ethanol industries are trying to get a feel for how the EPA led by Wheeler will operate the RFS. In particular, the Iowa delegation said the industries have been harmed by EPA small-refinery waivers and a lack of movement in implementing year-round E15 sales. "It is our expectation you will reinforce the Renewable Fuel Standard and bolster our nation's energy security," the letter said. "We're encouraged by your statement at your confirmation hearing last year where you said, 'The RFS is the law of the land. I fully support the program.' Iowa farmers deserve nothing less." The letter is signed by Republican Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, Republican Reps. David Young, Steve King and Rod Blum, and Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack. Wheeler has said little publicly about where he stands on issues important to agriculture, including the RFS. He was asked about the RFS during a Nov. 8, 2017, hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "The RFS is the law of the land, and I fully support the program," Wheeler said during that hearing. "I have not had specific conversation with the president on this issue, but from all accounts, he fully supports the program and the intent of the program, and I support both the law and the intent of the RFS program." Prior to his confirmation, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told federal lawmakers he would implement the RFS law as written. Wheeler did consulting work for Growth Energy, Archer Daniels Midland, General Mills, and lobbied for the likes of Sargento Foods and Underwriters Laboratory, as well as for a variety of energy and other companies. Prior to his lobbying work, Wheeler was the majority staff director and chief counsel and minority staff director of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for six years. Most notably, Wheeler worked for Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who is a vocal critic of the RFS. RFS CONCERNS In the letter on Monday, the lawmakers outlined their concerns about how EPA implemented the RFS when Pruitt was head of the agency. "We remain concerned about the demand destruction of 2.25 billion gallons due to the unprecedented number of small-refinery 'hardship' waivers granted in 2016 and 2017," the letter said. "The recently released 2019 proposed rule indicates there will be no accounting moving forward of gallons that might be waived under the small-refinery waivers in order to maintain the statutory renewable volume obligation. A reduction in demand for renewable fuels pushes commodity prices even lower and farmers are already facing low commodity prices. We strongly urge you to reconsider the proposed rule and work to ensure that the final rule is structured to ensure that any waivers granted do not reduce the overall renewable volume obligation." Last week, the EPA indicated in a letter to Grassley that it intends to continue in the same direction with the waiver program. The agency said it granted 19 of 20 petitions received in 2016, 29 of 33 in 2017 and so far had not received petitions for 2018. The EPA is set to host a public hearing in Michigan on the proposed volumes on Wednesday, with at least 58 witnesses expected to testify. As a result of a series of White House meetings involving industry representatives, members of Congress and administration officials, President Donald Trump made a public pronouncement that EPA would move forward with a proposal to allow year-round E15 sales. Pruitt did not act on E15 before his resignation. "President Trump directed the EPA to allow for the sale of E15 year round but unfortunately this hasn't come to fruition," the letter said. "This is particularly frustrating given the damaging impact that previously granted waivers have already had on RIN (renewable identification number) prices and renewable fuel demand. As Iowa corn farmers are anxiously awaiting their 2018 crop, a Reid Vapor Pressure waiver would help grow demand and improve the markets. Across Iowa, cooperatives and renewable fuel plants dot the landscape. We invite you to visit Iowa and look forward to working with you."

Livestock Groups Launch Media Campaign in Support of Barrasso Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018

WASHINGTON  – The Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today launched an online campaign to educate the public on the need for a modernized Endangered Species Act. The campaign, which focuses on the ranching industry, highlights the importance of working landscapes in improving ecological services and achieving species conservation targets. The campaign comes at a pivotal time, as Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, introduced the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018. Barrasso’s amendments are based on bipartisan policy recommendations from the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) that was informed by several years of workshops and roundtables held throughout the west and including key stakeholders across the political spectrum. Besides PLC and NCBA (as well as many of its state affiliates) participants included state wildlife agencies, conservation groups such as The Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, and Environmental Defense Fund, as well as energy companies and sportsmen’s groups. “The Endangered Species Act is showing its age, and needs to be modernized in order to really accomplish its core goal of recovering imperiled species. Without this bipartisan effort, we fear that litigation will remain firmly in the driver’s seat, rather than science,” PLC President Dave Eliason said. “Participating in the WGA Initiative over the past few years has been a real eye-opener for our industry, and the resulting legislation finally moves us towards a functioning ESA.” According to Kevin Kester, California rancher and NCBA President, the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 is a once in a lifetime opportunity for species conservation reform. “This campaign will help ranchers tell their stories about how ESA impacts their operation and draw that connection for their elected officials on Capitol Hill. This is particularly important as the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018 are considered by the Senate,” Kester said. “But it’s also about clearing the air. We want to ensure America understands that the Endangered Species Act needs to be brought into the 21st century.  I hope our messages educates elected officials, the media, and the public about the role of ranching in species recovery and habitat conservation.” To learn more about the need to modernize the ESA or to watch the campaign’s kick-off video, visit www.ModernizeEsa.com.

USDA Investing in Upgrading Rural Water Systems

The Department of Agriculture is investing $267 million in 103 infrastructure projects across the nation to upgrade water and wastewater systems in rural communities. Announced by Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett Monday, the program makes investments in 35 states through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funds can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. In the Announcement, Hazlett noted that: "Robust, modern infrastructure is foundational for quality of life and economic opportunity." In funding for fiscal year 2018, USDA says Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.2 billion. Learn more and find a list of projects at visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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Markets

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Corn Congress 2018
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