20 Dec
2019

Live updates: Warriors vs. Heat, Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

first_imgClick HERE if you’re unable to view the gallery on your mobile device. Join us Sunday at 5:30 for live news and analysis from Oracle Arena when the streaking Warriors face the Miami Heat.The Warriors (39-15), who needed to rally to beat the lowly Suns in Phoenix on Friday, hope to avoid falling into a hole when the Heat (25-28) come to town. Miami’s Dwyane Wade is set to make his final regular season appearance in Oakland. The 13-time All-Star scored 15 points off the bench Friday in …last_img

Read More
17 Dec
2019

Trade emphasis a part of newly announced USDA reorganization

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Thus far, U.S. agriculture has fairly mixed reviews about President Donald Trump. Despite massive support from rural America in his election, the president has been generating significant concern with crucial agricultural policies, most notably with regard to international trade.Trade, of course, is absolutely essential for the economic sustainability of virtually every major U.S. agricultural commodity. The President’s very aggressive stance in opposition to beneficial trade deals for agriculture including the Trans Pacific Partnership (which President Trump withdrew from) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (which President Trump threatened to withdraw from) were making U.S. agriculturalists increasingly uneasy, if not outright angry.The Trump Administration directly addressed this and other growing agricultural concerns in a Cincinnati press conference with newly confirmed U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.Listen to the full audio from the press conference here.Secretary Purdue in Cincinnati 5-11-17 FULL AUDIO“In order to advance agricultural trade, USDA intends to create an Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and realign the Foreign Agricultural Service to report to the new Undersecretary,” Perdue said. “Our plan to establish an undersecretary for trade fits right in line with my goal to be American agriculture’s unapologetic advocate and chief salesman around the world. By working side by side with our U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the USDA undersecretary for trade will ensure that American producers are well equipped to sell their products and feed the world.”Photo by Dale Minyo.In the last farm bill, Congress provided direction for USDA to examine options for reorganizing the international trade functions at USDA and potentially creating the new Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. The new trade-focused position at the USDA is part of a larger department-wide reorganization. Under the existing structure at USDA, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which deals with overseas markets, and the Farm Service Agency (FSA), which handles domestic issues, are housed under one mission area, along with the Risk Management Agency (RMA). Perdue pointed out that it makes much more sense to situate FAS under the new undersecretary for trade, where staff can sharpen their focus on foreign markets.Perdue said that the reorganization also includes the formation of a new Farm Production and Conservation mission area with a customer focus that meets USDA constituents in the field.“To create a customer-focused culture of public service and improve service delivery to agricultural producers, USDA intends to create an Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation and realign the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to report to the renamed Undersecretary,” Perdue said. “USDA also intends to realign the Rural Development agencies to report directly to the Secretary to provide additional visibility for the investments being made in rural America.”Though a reduction in USDA workforce is not part of the reorganization plan, with big budget cuts proposed by the Administration the reorganization efforts will likely ultimately facilitate doing more with less.“USDA remains committed to focusing our constrained resources where they will be most effective — on pushing our record-breaking pace of trade and ensuring that opportunities exist throughout the country for Americans to participate in a transformational global economy. In particular, USDA continues to negotiate and support strong trade deals that will open up markets and help farms, ranches, forests, and production facilities grow, create jobs, and increase wages,” Perdue said. “This plan also details additional changes to our Department that will improve the effectiveness of USDA efforts to meet the needs of agricultural and forest managers and demonstrate increased accountability to the American taxpayer.”Click HERE to view the report on the USDA website.The reviews remained mixed from the agricultural community. Those keenly interested in moving trade forward were pleased.“The National Corn Growers Association has long advocated for a dedicated position at USDA focused on increasing U.S. agricultural exports, and we pushed for this provision in the 2014 farm bill. We are pleased to see that post finally become a reality today,” said Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “Secretary Perdue’s announcement signals to farm country that the Trump Administration is listening to America’s farmers and ranchers. In this farm economy, trade is more important than ever to farmers’ incomes. Overseas markets represent 73% of the world’s purchasing power, 87% of economic growth, and 95% of the world’s customers. Now is the time for U.S. agriculture to fully capitalize on growing global demand for our products. Today’s announcement is a big step toward that goal.”There were concerns, however, about some other parts of the re-organization.“The Center for Rural Affairs has fought on behalf of rural communities for nearly 45 years. We are heartened that Sec. Perdue is making strong efforts during his early days in office to express support for rural communities. However, we are concerned about the path he has chosen. Sec. Purdue has proposed eliminating the position of Undersecretary for Rural Development and moving oversight of Rural Development agencies to the Deputy Secretary, USDA’s second-in-command. If he makes this change, Sec. Perdue will be removing the position of the most significant rural advocate within USDA. Rural America stands to suffer as a result,” said Anna Johnson, Center for Rural Affairs Policy Associate. “While USDA has a broad mission to promote and support our country’s food and agriculture, Rural Development is the only part of USDA that has the explicit directive to support rural communities.last_img read more

Read More
16 Dec
2019

Retrofits versus Reductions

first_imgAnyone who is contemplating a deep energy retrofit has to consider multiple approaches and techniques for taking the diverse building stock we have and transforming it — from the standpoint not just of energy use, but also comfort, health and safety, and durability — because so much of our building stock is plagued with deficiencies. Retrofits fix the issues with the building — and saving energy almost ends up as a desirable byproduct.If energy saving is the principal goal, it’s important to look carefully at the choices the occupants make. Energy in buildings goes to more than heating and cooling, which are the main loads that retrofits target. Over forty percent of primary energy in U.S. homes goes to non-thermal loads.Once we superinsulate a house in New England, energy for heating, once the largest load by a comfortable margin, may become the smallest load among heating, domestic hot water (DHW), and plug loads/lighting/appliances (PLA). To get to truly low energy performance then requires focus on domestic hot water and PLA loads. RELATED ARTICLES What Is a Deep Energy Retrofit?Deep Energy Retrofits Are Often MisguidedThe High Cost of Deep-Energy RetrofitsIt’s Not About Space HeatingWindow Installation Tips for a Deep Energy Retrofit Roofing and Siding Jobs Are Energy-Retrofit OpportunitiesBest Construction Details for Deep-Energy RetrofitsBuilding Details for a Deep-Energy RetrofitThe History of the Chainsaw RetrofitA German Deep-Energy Retrofit Deep savings without a deep energy retrofitWith motivated homeowners, it’s possible to get deep energy reductions without a deep energy retrofit. People can do a moderate amount of weatherization work on a house, and then install a point-source heater such as a single-zone minisplit heat pump to keep the most-used part of the house comfortable. The rest of the house runs cooler and the main heating system stays off until the outdoor conditions get severe.Lots of savings have been demonstrated with this approach. Couple that with LED lighting replacement in high-use fixtures; great low-flow showerheads like the Delta H2OKinetic; a horizontal-axis clothes washer; and (depending on the household size) perhaps a heat-pump water heater. Replace the dryer with a drying rack and a clothesline. Make a concerted attempt to keep appliances and entertainment stuff off when not using it. Hunt down phantom loads.Combine all of the above, and the total outlay might be $10,000 to $20,000. The energy saved might equal or even exceed what a second household might achieve by going the whole enchilada and doing a deep energy retrofit, especially if that second household is much less conscious of their domestic hot water and PLA usage, and heats the whole retrofitted house to comfort temperatures. Relief from ice dams is worth somethingI’ve noticed that households that pursue a deep energy retrofit have a pretty wide range of energy use per person. The climate doesn’t care how we each reduce our consumption, just that we do. Of course a motivated, conserving household living in a house that has undergone a deep energy retrofit will have the lowest energy usage of all, but if a household is committed to reducing their carbon emissions, they needn’t spend six figures to get there.What a deep energy retrofit gets that the other strategy (targeted weatherization and behavior-based deep energy reductions) may not is relief from the non-energy deficiencies — ice dams, pest infestations, water issues, mold, etc. — and true comfort. The cost of remediating those defects shouldn’t have to be paid for solely by the energy savings that accrue. A deep energy retrofit courseI’m excited because I’ve been putting together a new online course on deep energy retrofits. Because there are so many different buildings and conditions, and therefore solutions, the course is based on case studies, and we show many approaches that people have chosen to implement.To learn more about the transformative possibilities of deep energy retrofits, click on the link for the ten-week Deep Energy Retrofit online course, and join me starting September 14th. Comparing a deep energy retrofit with weatherizationI live in a zero net energy house that has undergone a deep energy retrofit. Previously, I weatherized a pretty good house and also reaching zero net energy.I like the second house a lot better because of its superior comfort and air quality. But I spent a lot more money to get there, and the total energy performance isn’t much better, because domestic hot water usage and PLA loads are pretty similar. The deep energy retrofit house uses less energy for heating at an even 70°F setpoint than the pretty good house used with some temperature setback and letting parts of the house get cooler. I hope to live in this retrofitted house for a long time, and it’s worth it to me to have spent what I did to get a house my wife and I are so pleased to inhabit. I’m just not fooling myself that I needed a deep energy retrofit to achieve deep energy reductions, if that was my only goal.last_img read more

Read More
9 Dec
2019

Disclose Your Pricing When Asked

first_imgFor a long time, salespeople have been taught and trained not to disclose their pricing when asked. Instead, they have been directed to require their prospective client to engage in the discovery process with them, allowing the salesperson to gain the information they need to provide pricing. It’s a very logical idea that one should know what they are pricing before doing so, but that logic tends to elicit an emotional response.Why Can’t You Say It?The fact that you are unwilling to disclose your price can signal to your prospective client that it is so much higher than your competitors that you dare not disclose it for fear of chasing them off. If you are afraid of your price, then maybe they should also be concerned.Even more troubling is that fact that you don’t seem to believe that your price is appropriate for the value that you create, or you’d be more likely to share it. The Mercedes dealership doesn’t hide their prices. Neither does Tiffany’s. Any brand that is differentiating and creating value understands that higher prices are a signal of greater value.The fact that you won’t share your pricing is a lack of transparency. You look like you are hiding something negative. What kind of partner are you going to make if you are going withhold things that your dream client will perceive as a negative? One of the ways you build trust is to deal with things that are negative in a frank and candid way.But in this case, your price isn’t a negative at all. In fact, it’s the way you capture enough value to generate the better results for your clients. Without their investment, your company can make the investments in creating compelling, differentiated value, the value worth paying more to obtain.Sooner. Not Later.There is no way you are going to win a deal with a higher price by hiding that fact from your client. By hiding it, you create doubt. By sharing the price, you create confidence in what you sell.When asked, you say, “Based on the little that we know now, the price is likely somewhere between $100,000 and $140,000. If you are willing to answer a few questions to make sure I understand what you need, I can dial that number in from you.” If your prospective client says, “That’s more than we’ve heard up to this point, you reply, “I understand. Our price is little higher, but as we talk through what you need, I’ll share with you the investments we make to produce better results, and we’ll see if it makes sense for you to make the same investments.”If you don’t want your prospects to believe your price is higher than you can justify, don’t be the cause of that belief.last_img read more

Read More