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All-American July 4th Cookout Ticks Up, Still Under $6 Per Person

WASHINGTON, D.C.,  – A cookout of Americans’ favorite foods for the Fourth of July, including hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, lemonade and chocolate milk, will cost slightly more this year but still comes in at less than $6 per person, says the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Farm Bureau’s informal survey reveals the average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people is $56.06, or $5.61 per person.

Although the cost for the cookout is up slightly (less than 1 percent), “Prices in the meat case are starting to look better from the consumers’ perspective,” said Veronica Nigh, an AFBF economist. “Retail ground round prices are trending lower,” she noted, pointing to the nation’s cattle inventory and commercial beef production, which continue to rebound from dramatically low levels in 2014 and 2015.

AFBFA Announces Grants for Middle and After-School STEM 'Maker Kits'

WASHINGTON D.C., - The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is offering a total of $10,000 in grants to 10 middle school science classrooms and 10 after-school programs serving middle school students. Participating schools will receive $500 each to pilot a new Maker Kit challenge developed by the Foundation.

The STEM-focused Maker Kits encourage students to research scenarios related to food production and build their own models to solve a challenge. A detailed outline on how to conduct the challenge - written by teachers, aligned to national learning standards and reviewed by industry experts - will be provided to pilot schools. Supplies to complete the challenge will also be provided.

Pilot locations will be selected by July 15. Materials will be distributed the first week of August, and pilots must be completed by September 15.

Farm Bureau Hails Supreme Court Victory: Farmers and Ranchers May Sue to Stop Clean Water Regulation of Ordinary Farmland

WASHINGTON, D.C., – A unanimous Supreme Court today ruled landowners may challenge the federal government whenever the Army Corps of Engineers tries improperly to regulate land with regulations designed to protect water.

Landowners have attempted many times to challenge Corps rulings known as jurisdictional determinations, but the government successfully argued that those determinations were not “final agency actions” and the lawsuits were dismissed. Now, when the Corps asserts jurisdiction over low spots that look more like land than water, it will have to do so with the knowledge that its jurisdictional determination can be tested in court.

“Today’s decision removes a huge roadblock that has prevented landowners from obtaining relief from the courts when the Corps illegally claims their land is federally regulated water,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Now, farmers and ranchers can have their day in court when the government tells them they cannot plow a field or improve a ditch without a federal permit.”

My American Farm Outreach Grant Winners Announced

WASHINGTON, D.C, - The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has announced the 10 schools receiving this year's $1,500 My American Farm Outreach Grants. They are:

Cassia High School (Burley, Idaho)
Christian Academy of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky)
Cumberland Valley FFA (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania)
Elk Grove High School Agriculture Department (Elk Grove, California)
Linn-Mar FFA Chapter (Marion, Iowa)
McArthur FFA (Hollywood, Florida)
North Iredell High School (Olin, North Carolina)
Ponchatoula High School FFA Chapter and Agriscience Department (Ponchatoula, Louisiana)
Sonora High School FFA (Sonora, California)
Waupun Area High School FFA (Waupun, Wisconsin)

Fifty-Plus Ag Groups Show Support for Farm Credit System

WASHINGTON, D.C.,  - With farm and ranch commodity prices increasingly under pressure, concerns are growing that the agriculture economy may be entering a prolonged period of instability, making the role of the Farm Credit System more important than ever, the American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 50 agricultural groups wrote to the Senate Agriculture Committee.

"Credit availability in good times is singularly important to our respective members. Credit availability in tough times may well mean the difference between producers staying on the land or being forced to abandon their operations," the groups wrote.

The array of credit products offered by both the Farm Credit System and commercial banks, often in a collaborative and cooperative manner, ensures that farmers and ranchers and their industry sector partners have access to financial tools that are vital to their success, according to the groups.

EPA Disparages Farmers, Hinders Progress, Farm Bureau Tells Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C, – Three Farm Bureau members today called on the federal government to use more carrots and fewer sticks with farmers who care for land that has often been in their families for generations. Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Richard Ebert, former Ohio Farm Bureau President Terry McClure and Florida Farm Bureau member Kate English testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.

Ebert told the subcommittee that the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to explain its expectations in the ongoing Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

“Despite my four-year degree in animal science from a well-known and respected university and 34 years of farming while implementing modern technologies, I don’t understand EPA’s science,” Ebert said. “And no farmer can legitimately comprehend and respond to the reams of academic analyses that have been produced through these meetings and continue to perform the tasks needed to run his or her farm business.”

AFBF Statement Regarding H-2A e-Approval System

WASHINGTON, D.C.,  - "Farm Bureau is pleased to see the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department launching a new online approval platform today that will hopefully expedite H-2A processing.

"These visa approval delays have gone on far too long and cost farmers across the country hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost business. Without workers in place to plant, tend and harvest, crops are going to waste while bureaucratic paperwork keeps piling up.

Farm Bureau Survey: Farmers Want to Control Their Own Data

WASHINGTON, D.C., – Farmers and ranchers want to control the information their equipment collects every time it passes through a field, a survey released today by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows. Farmers also believe that creating a cooperative-style central repository for their data is the best way to enhance its security and maximize its value.

“We asked our members what they thought about data, and it is clear that boosting farmer confidence in security and data management will be critical to unlocking the potential this technology holds,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “This survey also shows that we are on the right track with various ag group initiatives designed to improve data integration and promote transparency about how the data is collected and used.”

AFBF is a founding member of the Ag Data Coalition, an organization created by several leading agricultural groups and companies to help farmers better store and manage their information in a central location. The ADC will establish a co-op-style repository for agricultural data, with farmers having a governing role over the group.

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