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USDA Announces Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

This new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. President Trump directed USDA to craft this $19 billion immediate relief program to provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need.

“During this time of national crisis, President Trump and USDA are standing with our farmers, ranchers, and all citizens to make sure they are taken care of,” Secretary Perdue said. “The American food supply chain had to adapt, and it remains safe, secure, and strong, and we all know that starts with America’s farmers and ranchers. This program will not only provide immediate relief for our farmers and ranchers, but it will also allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance to help our fellow Americans in need.”

CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities. The program includes two major elements to achieve these goals.

  1. Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers: The program will provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.
  2. USDA Purchase and Distribution: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. We will begin with the procurement of an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.

Click here for more information.

Extended Equine Certificates of Veterinary Inspection

UDAF’s Animal Industry would like to announce Utah will now be recognizing Extended Equine Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (EECVI’s or Equine Passports).

These certificates allow horse owners to travel multiple times with one veterinary visit to have their horses examined and Coggins Test updated. Owners may create electronic permits for travel for each trip by logging into their account online to input travel information. Disease outbreaks may restrict these certificates.

Currently one company, Global Vet Link, supports this online platform. Please contact your veterinarian to find out more. Save travels this summer.

UDAF Brand Inspection Program Creating Fiscal Responsibility for Citizens and Fairness for the Animal Industry

For ranchers, making ends meet is a struggle as old as time. Add to that a bumpy ride and wide range of uncertainties related to health, weather, market conditions, and even the location of lost or stolen animals.

The Utah Legislature is sensitive to those realities balanced against the fiscal responsibility and fairness for all citizens. So, for the last two years, officials at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) and the Legislature have sought to create more alignment in the brand inspection fees category.

For many years, other funding was needed to correct budgetary shortfalls in brand inspection services and costs. However, working with legislative staffers last year, UDAF officials created a plan to bring parity to the program through prudent cost-cutting and adjustments to the fee schedule.

The results are now officially in with the brand inspection program now operating in the black for the first time in several years.

“I am proud of our team,” explained Leann Hunting, Animal Industry division director. “This was a very challenging issue that could have created a great deal of divisiveness in the industry, but the feedback we are now getting is positive and I am confident we are much stronger for having taken this course of action.”

Brand inspection fees are critical to the ranching industry, as the revenues generated create security and vitality in the industry. UDAF animal industry officials inspect nearly 1 million animals each year, registering almost 16,000 brands and earmarks, and issuing more than 57,000 certificates.

Funding through fees supports the agency’s ability to conduct brand identification and theft prevention activities. In fact, last year UDAF officials located and helped return 1,743 lost or stolen animals that were identified because of their brand. The value of these animals varies, but the market impact on ranchers is substantial – estimated at nearly $2 million.

“The work of our animal industry inspectors is an important part of our efforts to protect our ranchers and their industry,” said UDAF Commissioner Kerry Gibson. “In Utah, we understand that getting things done means working together for the common good, and that includes fairness and balance in our regulatory practices, fees, and services.”

Brand renewals will begin March 1, 2020, and are valid for five years. Renewals this year, and from now on, will primarily occur online: Brand owners will receive a renewal notice between late February and early March with a custom brand link. Renewing is now as simple as:

1: Create an account
2: Find your brand
3: Claim your brand
4: Click renew
5: Pay online

Brand owners will be able to print their brand certificate from home and download the certificate on their smartphone for easy access. No more waiting for processing for weeks or months for your brand to be renewed. Just click, claim, pay and you’re on your way!”

Feel free to call our Brand Recorder Jermain White with any questions: 801-982-2240.

The renewal process will be done electronically but registration through the mail may also be accepted.

First Woman on Utah Horse Racing Commission Board

We’re pleased to welcome the addition of Robyn Christiansen to the Utah Horse Racing Commission Board. She’s the first female member on the board and she brings a lifetime of horsemanship experience to the board.

Robyn has over fifteen years of experience training race horses and is a member of the Washington County Barrel Racing Association and Southern Utah Barrel Racing Association. She brings her passion and love of horses to her work as an EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association)-certified Equine Specialist with Falcon Ridge Ranch helping young girls overcome adversity. 

Robyn believes “there’s nothing better than being on the rail with a horse at 5-6am with the smell of grain and feed in the air” and hopes to see horse racing continue in Southern Utah where she lives near the foot of Zion in Virgin, Utah.