Leopold Conservation Award® Program Seeks Nominees in Utah
Sand County Foundation, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Western AgCredit and the Utah Cattlemen’s Association, are accepting applications for the 2016 Leopold Conservation Award, which honors Utah farmers and ranchers who demonstrate exemplary stewardship and management of natural resources. The award, which is comprised of $10,000 and an Aldo Leopold crystal, recognizes Utah farmers and ranchers who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and sustainable management of natural resources.
Farm Bureau Pleased by USDA Checkoff Decision for Cuba
The Agriculture Department’s announcement that commodity checkoff funds can be used to help market U.S. farm products in Cuba lets America’s farmers invest directly in the growth in trade between the two nations, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.
Strategies for Enhancing Your Business Online
Navigating the fast-paced world of social media can be intimidating, especially to beginners. However, social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter, offer endless opportunities to market your company, brand and products to millions of people with just the click of a mouse.
Secure Rural Schools Funding Announced
Agriculture Department officials recently announced the agency would provide $272 million in support of local schools and roads in 41 states and Puerto Rico. The funding is authorized through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. The actual amount of each state’s payment is determined by a number of factors written into the law, including how many counties had elected to share in that payment. Since 1908, 25 percent of USDA’s Forest Service revenues, such as those from timber sales, mineral resources and grazing fees, have been returned to states in which national forest lands are located. Rural communities and schools rely on these revenues to provide education services, road maintenance and conservation projects. In the late 1980s, national resource policies diminished revenue-generating activity in the forests, and by 1998, revenues for these communities had declined by more than 70 percent. The decline affected more than 780 counties nationwide and more than 9 million school children. The act was signed into law in 2000 to provide assistance to rural counties affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests on federal lands. The funds are used for schools, roads and maintaining current infrastructure, in addition to creating employment opportunities and improving the health of watersheds and ecosystems.
Eggs For Your Spring Basket Up, Salad and Orange Juice Down
Lower retail prices for several foods, including salad, orange juice, shredded cheddar, ground chuck, sirloin tip roast, vegetable oil, white bread, ground chuck, deli ham and orange juice, resulted in a slight decrease in AFBF’s Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $53.28, down $.59 or about 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, ten decreased and six increased in average price. “Egg prices are up sharply from first quarter of 2015, a year ago but are down even more sharply from the third quarter of 2015. This shows the effect of the HPAI (High Pathogenic Avian Influenza) event last year,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “Prices soared in the latter half of last year, but are working their way back down as increasing production has started to catch up with demand, which has moderated prices somewhat,” he said. Prices on the beef items in the marketbasket – ground chuck and sirloin tip roast – are lower compared with the first quarter of 2015, explained Anderson. Retail beef prices peaked in early 2015 at record high levels.
Terrorism a Real Threat to U.S. Agriculture
Former Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award from the American Farm Bureau Federation this year. In addition to his accomplishments in food and agriculture, he played an important role in homeland security and intelligence gathering. He does not assume terrorists will overlook U.S. food and agriculture. “We have to make sure that America always has a safe supply of food as well as a safe supply of water. Those are somewhat easy targets for the terrorist community to look at,” he says. “There is no question that food security is a very vital part of national security and a vital part of what we look at from a counter-terrorism standpoint in the intelligence community every day.” Focus on Agriculture column
Farm Bureau and Partners Launch Clearinghouse for Agriculture Safety Info for Youth
A new initiative provides a clearinghouse of information for agricultural educators who seek safety resources and training programs aimed toward youth. The Safety in Agriculture for Youth project homepage, http://extension.org/say, is an umbrella compilation that includes many different curricula, programs, projects and activities that together have a common purpose of increasing safety and health knowledge and reducing hazard and risk exposure to youth on farms and ranches. All educational resources located on the SAY Clearinghouse are aligned to the 2015 Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources standards. The clearinghouse also includes a search engine feature that allows users to search for a curriculum or resource by a specific topic.
Farm Bureau Files Statement on FY 17 Agriculture Appropriations
AFBF submitted a statement for the record to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture regarding agricultural appropriations for fiscal year 2017. The statement outlines several areas for funding, including opposition to reopening the 2014 farm bill; programs that promote biotechnology and animal health; research priorities; programs that expand international markets and safeguard U.S. agriculture; programs that enhance and improve food safety and protection; programs that ensure crop protection tools; programs that strengthen rural communities and rural housing; programs that support wildlife services; and programs that encourage renewable energy. The agriculture appropriations bill provides funding for a wide array of federal programs, mostly within the Agriculture Department. These programs include: agricultural research; education and Extension activities; natural resources conservation programs; food safety, marketing and inspection activities; rural economic and community development activities; telecommunications and electrification assistance; and various export and international activities conducted by the agency.
Women in Ag Embrace Innovation
In her post to the National Ag Day Blog, Isabella Chism, vice chair of the AFB Women’s Leadership Committee wrote, “On our farm we are embracing innovation as we use global positioning satellites and auto-steer guidance systems to prepare the soil, plant and harvest our crops. This technology benefits the soil and the environment and it can help increase crop yields while lowering input costs.” Chism is one of several women leaders AFBF is highlighting during March (Women’s History Month). Follow #WomenInAg on social media to learn more.
@WaPo: ‘On Free trade, This Election is Giving Business the Willies’
“With anti-trade rhetoric rising on both sides, prospects for the Trans-Pacific Partnership seem increasingly remote,” according to “On Free trade, This Election is Giving Business the Willies,” a Washington Post Wonkblog item. Glenn Brunkow, a Farm Bureau member and fifth-generation farmer from Kansas who grows corn, soybeans and beef cattle, was interviewed by the Post. “The longer it continues, the harder it gets,” Brunkow said. He thinks passing the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal might help: Opening markets like Japan and Vietnam might add a few cents a bushel, letting him fix things around the farm and put money away for retirement. Brunkow is a member of AFBF’s Grassroots Outreach (GO) Team.