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Posted 05/15/2020

Member Alert

Member Update: May 15, 2020


The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) is continuing to work on issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other topics.


Following is an update:


Still awaiting details on CFAP

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which was authorized in March, has been submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Upon completion of this review, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will publish the program rules. The relief package is directed at agricultural producers impacted by the pandemic and funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The NDSA is still awaiting official details of how CFAP will be implemented and how payments will be dispersed to producers. These are expected soon.


What you will need to apply for CFAP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted a Zoom call and released a guidance document yesterday to help agricultural producers prepare for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) when the program becomes available later this month.


While the application process has not yet started, USDA said that producers can start gathering/understanding their farms’ recent sales and inventory.


Local Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff will work with producers to apply for the program. Contact information, personal information (including a tax identification number), farming operating structure, adjusted gross income and direct deposit information to enable payment processing will be required. USDA said producers should not send any personal information to FSA without first initiating contact through a phone call. More CFAP sign-up information and downloadable forms can be found here.


Producers who have worked with FSA in other capacities may already have much of the necessary information already on file there. They can call their local office to see if their information is up-to-date.


A map and contact information for North Dakota’s county FSA offices can be found here.


Posting application pilot now available for landowners in Ramsey, Richland and Slope Counties

Landowners in three North Dakota counties will get a chance to try a new concept for managing hunter access starting this fall. As part of a pilot study authorized by the 2019 North Dakota Legislature, Ramsey, Richland and Slope Counties were chosen to test a system that would allow landowners who post their land with signs the option to “post” their land electronically through an online database that is linked to land descriptions based on property tax records.


The electronic posting pilot study application for the 2020-2021 hunting season is temporarily hosted on the Game and Fish Department website at Landowners new to the site will need to create a profile, while others who have previously purchased a hunting or fishing license can proceed to the “Land Parcel” section at the bottom of the page. Once landowners locate their records, the deadline to designate any posting of land is July 15.


Landowners in those counties are encouraged to participate in the project to evaluate the good, the bad, the ugly and whether or not this is a viable option to consider in the future. They are reminded, however, that this is a trial study, and currently there are no laws or penalties to address electronic posting. Therefore, landowners who post electronically as part of this project will still have to display physical signs on their property during the 2020-2021 hunting season in order to have legal protection against trespass.


CME to reduce pre-open time period for livestock futures and options contracts

Effective Sunday, May 31, for trade Monday, June 1, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) will reduce the pre-open time period in connection with trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform for all livestock futures and options contracts. The change was initiated after an industry ask, which pointed to the potential for spoofing-like market disruptions under the current two-and-a-half-hour pre-open period. The pre-open period after the change will be 30 minutes long.


Call for prevent plant reforms

The NDSA joined with peer organizations across the country in sending a letter to U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders today, encouraging Congress to immediately pass the Cover Crop Flexibility Act of 2020 to permanently address the domino effect created by producers’ inability to plant crops in the spring and summer. The bill, which is sponsored by Sens. John Thune and Debbie Stabenow, would allow producers to graze and harvest prevented plant cover crop acreage at an earlier date than the Nov. 1 date that is currently used. Last year, the adjustment was made via the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s buzzer-beater guidance. This bill aims to eliminate the need for last-minute guidance, making the change permanent.


The NDSA has expressed this as a priority to North Dakota’s Congressional members. The concept was included as an element in the HEROES Act that is being considered.


The text of the Cover Crop Flexibility Act can be read here.


Hours-of-service exemption expanded

Many of the original exemptions from federal rules and regulations due to COVID-19 are coming up on expiration. The Department of Transportation this week extended its hours-of-service exemption through June 14. The official notice can be read here.


Product of the USA label reforms

Rep. Kelly Armstrong joined with House colleagues this week in penning a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer encouraging continued work on shoring up the use of Product of USA labels when minimal processing is done to imported products. There are a couple of different approaches on this topic being discussed now in Washington, D.C., to improve product labeling without triggering the World Trade Organization’s already authorized tariffs.


Primary election to be held through mail

Every county in North Dakota has voted to offer mail-in voting for the June 9 primary election because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. County auditors started mailing applications to voters a few weeks ago, and ballots started going in the mail earlier this month. It’s possible some people may not have gotten an application. If so, you can still vote in June, provided you meet the state’s eligibility requirements. To apply for a mail-in ballot, visit here. Then, fill in the application, print out the finished application, sign it and mail it to your county’s auditor office.


It takes about 10 days for the mail-in ballot request to be processed and a ballot to be sent out. The state recommends contacting your county auditor if you don’t submit your application by May 31, so you can get your ballot in time to vote.


Ballots must be mailed by June 8 or can be dropped off at a dropbox by 4 p.m. June 9.


Brand renewal to begin this summer

North Dakota requires brands to be renewed every five years, which means, by law, brands will expire Jan. 1, 2021. Registered brandowners should watch for their renewal notices to arrive in the mail in mid-August.


Brands that are not renewed within the brand renewal period may not be eligible for renewal due to potential conflicts with other recorded brands. If a brandowner has moved or if his or her address has changed within the last five years, chances are the address on file at the NDSA is no longer valid.


If your address has changed since 2015 or if you are unsure what address the NDSA has on file, you should call (701) 223-2522 or e-mail to ensure that your address is correct.


“Intersection of the Cattle and Beef Industries” series continues

Cattle producers, consumers and decision-makers can learn more about current issues in the cattle and beef industries through a webinar series that North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension is co-hosting with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension and West Virginia University. The next webinar in the “Intersection of the Cattle and Beef Industries” series will be held May 19 at 7 p.m. CT.


The remaining webinar schedule is as follows:

• May 19: In-depth perspective of euthanasia of livestock

• May 21: In-depth perspective of local meats: challenges and opportunities

• May 26: In-depth perspective of the beef checkoff

• May 28: In-depth perspective of how cattle are priced: a discussion about price and value discovery and the futures market

• June 2: Virtual packing plant tour

• June 4: In-depth perspective of ground beef, heavy carcasses and imports

• June 9: In-depth perspective of domestic and international supply and demand

• June 11: Historical overview of the beef industry from “The Jungle” to today

• June 16: In-depth perspective of changes in how beef is supplied to grocery stores and restaurants

• June 18: In-depth perspective of the steer and heifer complex

• June 23: In-depth perspective of cow and bull complex

• June 25: In-depth perspective of drop credit, hide and offal


Registration is required to participate in the webinars. You can register here.


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.