Member Alert: March 26, 2020
As the positive case count rises and the pandemic intensifies, cattle producers and the entire country are dealing with an unprecedented situation. The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) has been working with state and federal decision-makers to communicate those challenges, help shape the agriculture relief package and minimize disruptions in our industry.
Following are some short updates on various coronavirus-related topics:
Phase III coronavirus relief
Last night, the U.S. Senate passed a Phase III coronavirus relief bill, which passed 96 to 0. The bill provides direct payments of up to $1,200 for most individuals and $2,400 for most married couples filing jointly, with an extra $500 for each child.
Among other things, it includes nearly $25 billion in resources for farmers, ranchers and rural America. Specifically, the legislation provides $14 billion to replenish Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) borrowing authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and $9.5 billion in separate funding for USDA to help agricultural producers, including livestock producers, impacted by COVID-19.
Additionally, the legislation includes funding to support rural communities, including $20.5 million to enable the Rural Business Cooperative Service to make $1 billion in lending authority available for the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program; $100 million for the Reconnect Pilot Program to provide grants for the costs of construction, improvement or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas; and $25 million for the Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program, which supports rural communities accessing telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment and related advanced technologies for students, teachers and medical professionals.
The bill now will move to the House. The House is expected to convene on Friday morning to consider the legislation and send it to the president for his signature.
The full text of the bill can be read at https://www.agri-pulse.com/ext/resources/BAI20215.pdf?mc_cid=2ac378caac&mc_eid=49162bea4a.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) yesterday added hauling of fertilizer and feed inputs to the emergency declaration waiving hours of service until April 12.
DOT also waived the requirement that CDL holders have a medical examination and certification, as long as they can prove they have a valid medical certification that was issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or after March 1, 2020. They will also allow CDL holders to drive with an expired license as the long as they can show the current license expired on or after March 1, 2020. These waivers are in effect until June 30, 2020.
On Tuesday, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) temporarily lifted the seasonal load restrictions on state highways. The change was made after an executive order by Gov. Doug Burgum. During this time, the NDDOT still has the authority to implement load and weight restrictions as deemed appropriate under current law if it is determined that removal of the restriction is negatively impacting the roadway or creating a safety risk. Statewide seasonal load restriction information is available by calling 511 or online at www.dot.nd/travel-info. Load restriction e-mail updates are also available athttp://www.dot.nd.gov/roadreport/loadlimit/loadlimitinfo.htm. Haulers who purchased an oversize permit with a start date of March 24 or later and who incurred ton mile fees due to spring weight restrictions will automatically receive a refund. The refund could take up to two weeks to process. Those with questions should contact the North Dakota Highway Patrol by e-mailing email@example.com or calling (701) 328-2621.
Ag economics information
North Dakota State University Extension will be hosting a series of agricultural economics webinars in response to COVID-19. The series will begin at 12:30 p.m. CT March 27 and will continue each Friday at 12:30 p.m. while the need for information continues. Presenters will include Tim Petry, NDSU Extension livestock economist; David Ripplinger, NDSU Extension bioproducts/bioenergy economist; Ron Haugen, NDSA Extension farm management specialist; Byron Parman, NDSU Extension ag finance specialist; and Frayne Olson, NDSU Extension crops economist. For webinar login information and recordings of past webinars, visit https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/alerts/coronavirus or search for “NDSU Extension coronavirus.”
Mental health resources
The coronavirus situation and a culmination of other factors have made this a stressful time for many farm and ranch families across North Dakota. Know that you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to, call a friend or a neighbor, our office or 211, a statewide 24-hour crisis intervention, health and human services information and referral line.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is hosting a free “When Stress is More Than a Season” webinar at 7 p.m. CT March 26. To register and get more details, go to https://www.ncba.org/cattlemenswebinarseries.aspx.
CME daily price limit increase for feeder cattle futures
On Monday, the CME Group took emergency action to expand the March 2020 feeder cattle futures contract price limits to $10 for March 24, 25 and 26. The CME took this action to address convergence between the feeder cattle index and the futures contract. A copy of the emergency declaration can be found here - CME_Emergency_Declaration_2__2.jpg
Sale and industry event changes and cancellations
The NDSA is compiling a list of industry event and cattle sale changes and cancellations. The list, along with other coronavirus resources, can be found at http://www.ndstockmen.org/association/industry-issues/COVID_19. If you have a change or cancellation to report, call our office at (701) 223-2522 and we will add it to the list.