May 22, 2020
Newsletter for May 22, 2020
This Issue:
  • Please Give Your Input – If You Haven’t Already
  • Nevada Government Actions Taking Shape
  • More Information On USDA Assistance Programs For Farmers & Ranchers
  • Nevada Department of Ag Offering Proposed Remake Of State Brand Program
  • Wondering About Whether This Is Needed Here?
  • Nevada Agricultural News & Outlooks
  • Farm Bureau Policy Discussions Starting Out With Some Sizzle…
Please Give Your Input – If You Haven’t Already
A couple of weeks ago you were asked to participate in this survey We’ve been asked to give those who didn’t complete the survey another shot at providing input to the several few questions that have been offered.  Please click on the “this survey” highlighted above and give the Extension representatives the feedback they are seeking from you…
Nevada Government Actions Taking Shape
The Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee met on Monday, May 18 and voted, on party-lines, to transfer the authorized amount that could be transferred from the state’s rainy-day fund to the general fund.  The approval amounts to roughly $400 million moving from what the majority party considers as the Nevada “savings account” to the state’s “checking account.”  Those committee members who voted against the transfer identified that their opposition to making the full transfer at this time was based on wanting to know what the plan going forward would be for cutting back on the amount of money being spent from the state’s “checking account.”  It was also noted, on the record, that the balance in the “checking account,” before the transfer, was sufficient to cover the checks that had to be written.

With the shut-down of Nevada’s economy by Governor Steve Sisolack, the estimates are that Nevada has somewhere between a $741 million to $911 million hole.  So far there’s not been any indication over reductions in the state’s spending, but state agencies have been asked to offer ideas on cutting the current fiscal year expenditures by something like four percent and possibly up to 14 percent in the second year of the biennium (which starts July 1).   
More Information On USDA Assistance Programs For Farmers & Ranchers

More details have been presented on the assistance programs that were created to aid in the impacts on farmers and ranchers. This report by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) offers the details of the plans from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

We encourage agricultural producers to visit this USDA website to learn more and get started with the sign-up process to acquire the assistance.

AFBF welcomed May 19 th ’s announcement by President Trump detailing how the $16 billion in direct payments to farmers from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will be distributed.
 
Payments will go directly to farmers who have suffered a 5 percent or greater price loss and who are facing significant marketing costs due to the coronavirus. Eligible commodities include cattle, hog, dairy, specialty crops and row crops. Payments will be limited to $250,000 per person.
 
“This aid can’t arrive soon enough as many farmers file for bankruptcy, facing unprecedented losses,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.  “We are grateful to the Administration and to Congress for sending aid to America’s farmers and ranchers reeling from the breakdown in distribution channels resulting from COVID-19. Although supply is strong, the shutdown of restaurants and school cafeterias caused the markets for meat, dairy and produce to shrink drastically almost overnight.”

Background on COVID-19 Impact:
  • Farm bankruptcies increased 23 percent in March 2020 compared to a year earlier.
  •  By mid-April 2020:
  • Hog future prices fell 53 percent
  • Live cattle futures fell 25 percent
  • Ethanol futures fell 33 percent
  • Cotton futures fell 25 percent
Background on CFAP Direct Payments:
  • Direct support sign-ups will begin on May 26, 2020, through local Farm Service Agency offices. 
  • There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per individual as well as a $900,000 adjusted gross income limit for individuals who do not derive 75% or more of their income from farming.
  • Corporations with up to three individuals actively engaged in farming will be eligible to receive up to three payment limits.
  • Eligible farmers will receive 80% of the total payment, up to the payment limit, upon approval of the application. The remaining 20% will be paid at a later date as funds remain available.
  • The $16 billion includes $9.5 billion appropriated by the CARES Act and $6.5 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act.
Nevada Department of Ag Offering Proposed Remake Of State Brand Program
In remote interactions with leaders of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association and with the Nevada Farm Bureau, the Nevada Department of Agriculture this week presented a starting point proposal for changes to the state’s livestock brand inspection program.  

Coming out of the last Nevada legislative session the agency was issued a letter of intent to present a budget solution for the brand inspection account.  The Department’s plan is aimed at establishing a more financially sustainable program which provides for the required levels of reserves to be met while funding an operation that meets the needs of Nevada’s livestock owners.

The framework of the draft proposal from the Department of Agriculture (which is being proposed to begin with the 2022 fiscal year – starting July 1, 2021) includes an overhaul which proposes:

  • Staffing the program with 9 full-time inspectors and 15 part-time inspectors
  •  Using a centralized dispatch program that would provide both on-line or phone calls to schedule brand inspection appointments
  • A fee system that would include a $35 fee for a brand visit to carry out livestock brand inspections
  • A cattle fee increase to $1.15 per head (from the present $1 per head rate)
  • A horse fee increase to $5 per head (from the present $3 per head rate)
  • An annual horse brand fee increase to $35 (from the present $25 annual rate)
  • A lifetime horse brand fee increase to $75 (from the present $50 annual rate 

The more formalized employment relationship with the full and part-time inspectors, the Department’s objectives include higher levels of training and enhanced expectations for job performance.  Staff assignments would also locate inspectors for specific areas.

Prior to actual implementation of changes, regulations would need to be changed and legislative actions would also be necessary.  The process for regulatory changes would provide for public involvement through workshops as well as a formal hearing.

Under the proposal, livestock owners seeking a livestock brand inspection would be able to continue to bring their livestock to the inspector or have the inspections take place at the state’s livestock auction market locations and not be assessed the $35 fee.  The $35 inspection charge for the inspector to travel to the location would not cause a travel or time fee to be charged as is now the case for trips which aren’t scheduled 24 hours in advance.

We invite Farm Bureau members who use the brand inspection program to share their input and thoughts on the rough outline that has been proposed by the Department of Agriculture.  Email  doug@nvfb.org   your questions, thoughts, concerns, ideas.
Wondering About Whether This Is Needed Here?
Nevada Farm Bureau was recently contacted with a suggestion of adding a section to the Nevada Farm Bureau website like a place found on the Missouri Farm Bureau’s website which identifies livestock producers in the “Show Me State” who have meat for sale.  This service is geared to matching consumers who want to gain better direct sources for meat with local farmers who are set up to sell their livestock into this direct market system.

We’re not certain whether this type of service would be helpful for Nevada livestock producers, especially since we don’t know who might have an interest in selling finished livestock directly to consumers.  There is also the issue of having a processing connection to turn the livestock into cut up meat.  Nevada Farm Bureau has been working with a potential business concern who are exploring adding a meat processing facility in Southern Nevada and we’ve attempted to help a Northern Nevada processing facility to work their way through local zoning issues. 

There is also the possible lack of a need for Nevada Farm Bureau to provide this type of notification for available producers, since the Nevada Grown website offering the contact information that they provide.

Given all these factors, we’re asking you for your input and hope that you’ll share your thoughts and suggestions.  Drop us an email to  doug@nvfb.org and let us know…
Nevada Agricultural News & Outlooks
Over the past several weeks there has been on-going attention from agriculturally-oriented economists at the University of Nevada who have been offering updates and details about agricultural market conditions.  A very informative video of about 15 ½ minutes is presented here with Malieka Bordigioni sharing the current information on Nevada’s beef and milk pricing markets. 

The series this week also offers the insights of Kynda Curtis of Utah State University’s Cooperative Extension program on the effects of COVID 19 on local food systems in Nevada/Utah and the dynamics that are shaping the landscape for direct to consumer food marketing.  Her video presentation of about 25 ½ minutes is available by clicking here . Curtis, who once was part of the University of Nevada, Reno, also has an informative blog that provides some insights and helpful tips for agricultural producers who are involved or considering direct to consumer food marketing.  “Marketing in Motion” would be worth your time in reading through the ideas that Curtis has presented for consideration.
Farm Bureau Policy Discussions Starting Out With Some Sizzle…
From the looks of one person’s Twitter feed that we’ve been sent, Farm Bureau’s policy development process might be getting off to an interesting start, considering a change to the organization’s policy on whether un-pasteurized milk should be sold for human consumption. 

In the last Nevada Legislature, Nevada Farm Bureau opposed  legislation which worked to allow for the sale of un-pasteurized milk in Nevada.  This opposition was based on Farm Bureau policy which supports that only pasteurized milk be sold for human consumption.

Beyond the possible policy deliberations of changing Farm Bureau’s position for the sale of un-pasteurized milk for human consumption, other policy matters may also be weighed with additions of new policy ideas or changes to current policy.  Please consider these general ideas covered in this survey and share what your ranking of priority issue areas should be.  
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend!
Please Take Our Quick One Question Survey! 
Please share what you think is necessary for rebuilding Nevada’s economy going forward…