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|Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Friday, December 22, 2017
Your 2017 Christmas Holiday Schedule- What You Need to Know!
I realize that many of our regular readers have already gone onto holiday mode- and if you are one of those or not- whenever you do read this- I am hoping you and yours have a wonderful Christmas holiday! Now let's give you a few things about the next few days:
It's a short trading day for our Ag Futures: Livestock Futures close today at 12:15 pm central, Grain Futures close at 12:05 pm while cotton trades in New York to its regular closing time of 1:20 pm. Crude and Natural Gas and the rest of the energy complex trade to their normal close of 4:00 PM central.
All markets are closed on Monday, December 25th in observance of Christmas- as banks, government offices and almost every office you normally do business with.
Livestock Auction Barns are universally closed until after the New Year.
We will not be sending an email on Monday, December 25- but will return on Tuesday morning.
THIS MORNING- USDA will be issuing a whole six pack of reports-
Cattle on Feed, Chickens and Eggs, Cold Storage, Cotton Ginnings, Hogs and Pigs and Peanut Prices.
All of these reports will be released at the same time- 11:00 AM Central- which means we will have these reports all being released while the Livestock Futures are open and trading- which happens only once a year and only when the Friday before Christmas lands where holiday hours of trade are in place.
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|Scott Yager Briefs Cattlemen on Latest Environmental Issues that Have Landed on NCBA's Radar
Environmental Counsel for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Scott Yager
recently spoke with cattle producers across the country via a year-end webinar to discuss some of the regulatory issues concerning cattlemen that have unfolded in Washington, DC during 2017. One of the highlights of Yager's report was the fact that the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule is on its way out the door.
"The 2015 WOTUS rule was terrible because it went way beyond federal jurisdiction and tried to really claim more waters and land features than had ever been jurisdictional before by the federal government," he said. "So, we have an opportunity now with Scott Pruitt's
EPA to redefine those terms and put proper limitations on the Clean Water Act and the federal government's reach on that issue."
Yager notes that NCBA, in cooperation with its Environmental Working Group, has drafted its own language to replace the existing rule. They have also been involved in the litigation to suspend the current form of WOTUS. The Supreme Court has already heard the oral arguments from both sides of this issue and Yager believes an answer to their question - which at the moment is about which court has jurisdiction over the case, district or appellate - will be delivered in the coming weeks. In summary, Yager says WOTUS is on a good path now and producers have a lot to be happy about. As that process continues to unfurl, though, another has arisen. It seems a regulation known as CERCLA and EPCRA, or Superfund, has resurfaced again this year, which if enforced by the EPA, would mandate nearly 100,000 producers to begin reporting the air emissions of their cattle. Yager says the initial mandate deadline has been pushed back from May 2017 to late January 2018, giving just a few precious days left for NCBA to come up with a legislative solution to permanently block this action.
"This has been one that's kind of been sitting in the background over the year," Yager said. "It's bubbled back up to the surface this past April due to a DC Circuit Court decision that rendered an EPA exemption rule invalid. If we don't get help from Congress, a lot of people are going to have to start reporting that stuff."
Listen to Scott Yager of NCBA discuss the status of some of the more pressing environmental issues concerning cattlemen this year, with me, on yesterday's Beef Buzz - click here
We wanted to be among the first to congratulate Rachel Pickens of Stillwater, Okla. for recently being named by American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, as one of several members to have a seat on two new national committees formed to better serve the organization.
Duvall announced this week, the formation of AFBF's new Young Farmer and Rancher committee and the Promotion and Education committee.
Pickens will serve on the former for a two-year term beginning in 2018.
The YF&R Committee is comprised of 16 positions representing all regions of the U.S., according to a statement by AFBF announcing the appointments. An individual or couple may hold each committee appointment. Committee members are responsible for program planning, which includes the coordination of YF&R competitive events during AFBF's Annual Convention each January and the Harvest for All program.
The P&E Committee is comprised of 10 individuals representing qualifying Farm Bureau Promotion & Education states. The committee strives to develop and centralize resources that inspire and equip Farm Bureau members to convey the significance of agriculture. Committee members support and encourage state Farm Bureau volunteers to participate in projects and activities by providing resources for programs, communicating with state leaders and contributing collaborative ideas.
Like humans, the nutritional needs of a horse can change over time during the different seasons of an animal's life.
According to Kris Hiney, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension equine specialist, "Aging may necessitate making changes to the feeding programs of older horses in consideration of nutrient content, degree of processing and the amount fed."
Many physical aspects of an aging horse can contribute to its nutritional necessities. For instance, horse's teeth begin to fall out as they age which may limit its ability to chew, resulting in weight loss, along with a lessening ability to absorb nutrients and increase the animal's risk of choking or impaction colic.
Many feeds designed for older horses include more processed feeds and alternative feed sources that may be easier to digest.
Obesity in an older horse can be as problematic as the animal being underweight. Much as with aging people, a reduction in activity can lead an older horse to gain excessive weight and cause even more health problems.
Learn more about what health risks are associated with aging equines, their nutritional needs and what practices you can adopt on the farm to keep your four-legged friends performing at their best, by clicking here to read more of Hiney's advice.
If you have got questions about your beef checkoff- the Oklahoma Beef Council has lots of resources on their website that can provide answers!
AND- click here for the home page of the Oklahoma Beef Council website- there's tons of resources you can discover- including great recipes to try out with your family.
Oklahoma's Beef Producers want to remind you- above all else- BEEF, It's Whats for Dinner!
Former president of the Oklahoma Farmers Union and the National Farmers Union, George Stone, a longtime and well-respected facet of the agriculture industry, sat down recently with Sam Knipp of American Farmers & Ranchers, to talk about the good 'ol days. In his interview with Knipp, the 98-year-old from Byars, Okla. reflected on his childhood memories about what Christmas time was like during the early part of the 20th Century.
"It was more a family deal than it is now," Stone said, describing how people celebrated the winter holiday. "Transportation was slow and scarce. So, the families met together for a short period of time - I think families were closer together for that reason."
On Christmas Eve, Stone says he and the family would gather around and anxiously wait for the dark of the night to arrive, so they could hurry off to bed in anticipation of waking to see what evidence they might find of Santa Clause's silent visit during the night.
"I remember the best thing was waking up in the morning and seeing what happened - seeing who could beat the other kids to wherever we were going to find it," he said. "We always got something for Christmas and celebrated together."
To Stone, living and working on a farm; living a bit harder life than neighbors in town and being in around nature gives country folks a bit more of an appreciation - or at least a different perspective on the true meaning of Christmas.
"I'm from a family of eight kids. I was born and raised on the same farm. And in spite of the Depression and all our problems - we survived," he said. "We didn't decorate the whole house like we do now. We didn't have the entertainment we have now. We fixed up different. I think just bringing us together occasionally was a blessing."
Click here for a chance to listen to Stone speak with Knipp about his Christmas memories as a child, a get a nostalgic glimpse into what life was like around the holidays during a simpler time.
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|So, Just How Do Santa's Reindeer Get the Job Done Christmas Eve Night? OSU's Glenn Selk Knows
Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist, took a moment this Christmas season to explain, very scientifically, how Santa's Reindeer are able to fly through the sky Christmas Eve night to deliver toys to all the good boys and girls across the world.
"First of all," Selk writes, "historians report that reindeer have been domesticated by humans for over 5000 years. Since Santa himself is no spring chicken, we can assume that they have worked together for quite awhile. They should not have any trouble finding their way around. There is no need to worry about them getting lost.
"We do know that reindeer are ruminants. They are like cattle in this regard. They have four compartments to their stomach. Of course Santa gets them filled up with hay and moss before he leaves the North Pole, so they should have plenty of feed stored in the four compartments to make it all around the globe. Also, cattle nutritionists have known for years that hay digests more slowly than grain, therefore the big meal that the reindeer eat before the journey should last even longer. Or just like your mom says 'It'll stick to their ribs!'
"As for drinking water that should be no problem whatsoever. In their homeland the water is all frozen so they are used to getting the moisture they need by eating snow. So as the sleigh is parked on snowy rooftops in cold weather cities, the reindeer can take on the moisture they need if they get thirsty.
"How do they keep warm while flying around on Christmas Eve? The reindeer coat is made of two layers; an outer layer of bristles and an inner layer of dense fur. The fur that they have is very thick and can hold a lot of air. The 'blanket' of insulation combining fur and air helps keep them warm in even the coldest of climates. Plus flying around Christmas night in many areas of the world that are warmer than they have at home should not be a problem.
"How do they fly? Well that's a tougher question, but let's look at what we do know about them. Reindeer are amazingly fast runners on the ground. University of Alaska researchers report that a newborn baby reindeer at one day of age can out run the fastest graduate student. By the time that they are fully grown it is hard to tell what speeds that they could reach. Next remember those huge antlers. Antlers of adult male reindeer can be as much as 4 feet long! Just think about it. Each reindeer has 2 sets; that's 8 feet of antlers and with eight reindeer, or nine, if we count Rudolph on foggy nights, that is 64 to 72 feet of total antler span. A typical small Cessna airplane only has about 36 feet of wingspan. Certainly it seems feasible those eight reindeer running that fast with all that antler span could get off the ground.
"There are a couple of myths about reindeer that we should clear up. You have probably heard the poem that says that they have tiny reindeer feet. Actually they have a very wide large hoof that they use at home to dig through the snow to find grass and moss to eat. You've got to think that those wide hooves would come in handy for sliding to rather sudden stops on the small landing sites that Santa has to work with on Christmas Eve.
"And you've probably heard the song about 'up on the house top click, click, click.' Well it is true that reindeer do make a clicking sound as they walk. They have a tendon that snaps over a bone joint and makes a clicking sound on every step.
"These are just a few facts about Santa's Reindeer. Maybe this will help us understand that age-old mystery that occurs every Christmas Eve."
So, if you have any Doubting Thomas' in your family this year,
skeptical about Santa and his Reindeer, we'd like to invite you to prove them wrong as we all know they secretly hope to be. Click here
to view this story on our website, and share it with all your friends and family to spread a little Christmas cheer.
|The Questions That Joseph Had 2,000 Years Ago- as He Welcomed His Son Into This InPerfect World
Max Lucado has a way of taking the truths of the season and allowing us to see them in a different way. What if we were able to go back some 2,000 years ago- and be a fly on the wall where Joseph of Nazareth was standing- looking up into the night sky?
It's always amazing to me that God choose a farm setting to bring his Son into this world- and here's what Max Lucado says that Joseph might be muttering as he waits on the birth of a child by his wife, Mary. (From He Still Moves Stones)
"This isn't the way I planned it, God. Not at all. My child being born in a stable? This isn't the way I thought it would be. A cave with sheep and donkeys, hay and straw? My wife giving birth with only the stars to hear her pain?
"This isn't at all what I imagined. No, I imagined family. I imagined grandmothers. I imagined neighbors clustered outside the door and friends standing at my side. I imagined the house erupting with the first cry of the infant. Slaps on the back. Loud laughter. Jubilation.
"That's how I thought it would be.
"But now. Now look. Nazareth is five days' journey away. And here we are in a- in a sheep pasture. Who will celebrate with us? The sheep? The shepherds? The stars?
"This doesn't seem right. What kind of husband am I? I provide no midwife to aid my wife. No bed to rest her back. Her pillow is a blanket from my donkey. My house for her is a shed of hay and straw.
"The smell is bad, the animals are loud. Why, I even smell like a shepherd myself.
"Did I miss something? Did I, God?
"When you sent the angel and spoke of the son being born--this isn't what I pictured. I envisioned Jerusalem, the temple, the priests, and the people gathered to watch. A pageant perhaps. A parade. A banquet at least. I mean, this is the Messiah!
"Or, if not born in Jerusalem, how about Nazareth? Wouldn't Nazareth have been better? At least there I have my house and my business. Out here, what do I have? A weary mule, a stack of firewood, and a pot of warm water. This is not the way I wanted it to be! This is not the way I wanted my son.
"Oh my, I did it again. I did it again didn't I, Father? I don't mean to do that; it's just that I forget. He's not my son. He's yours.
The child is yours. The plan is yours. The idea is yours. And forgive me for asking but, is this how God enters the world? The coming of the angel, I've accepted. The questions people asked about the pregnancy, I can tolerate. The trip to Bethlehem, fine. But why a birth in a stable, God?
"Any minute now Mary will give birth. Not to a child, but to the Messiah. Not to an infant, but to God. That's what the angel said. That's what Mary believes. And, God, my God, that's what I want to believe. But surely you can understand; it's not easy. It seems so- bizarre.
"I'm unaccustomed to such strangeness, God. I'm a carpenter. I make things fit. I square off the edges. I follow the plumb line. I measure twice before I cut once. Surprises are not the friend of a builder. I like to see the plan before I begin.
"But this time I'm not the builder, am I? This time I'm a tool. A hammer in your grip. A nail between your fingers. A chisel in your hands. This project is yours, not mine.
"I guess it's foolish of me to question you. Forgive my struggling. Trust doesn't come easy to me, God. But you never said it would be easy, did you?
"One final thing, Father. The angel you sent? Any chance you could send another? If not an angel, maybe a person? I don't know anyone around here and some company would be nice. Maybe the innkeeper or a traveler? Even a shepherd would do."
Max Lucado goes on to say "I wonder. Did Joseph ever pray such a prayer? Perhaps he did. Perhaps he didn't.
"But you probably have.
"You've stood where Joseph stood. Caught between what God says and what makes sense. You've stared into a sky blackened with doubt. And you've asked what Joseph asked.
"You've asked if you're still on the right road. You've asked if you were supposed to turn left when you turned right. And you've asked if there is a plan behind this scheme. Things haven't turned out like you thought they would.
"Each of us knows what it's like to search the night for light. Not outside a stable, but perhaps outside an emergency room. On the gravel of a roadside. On the manicured grass of a cemetery. We've asked our questions. We questioned God's plan. And we've wondered why God does what he does.
"No, the Bethlehem sky is not the first to hear the pleadings of an honest heart, nor the last. And perhaps God didn't answer every question for Joseph. But he answered the most important one. "Are you still with me, God?" And through the first cries of the God-child the answer came. "Yes. Yes, Joseph. I'm with you."
"There are many questions that we won't be able to answer. Many times we will muse, "I wonder"
"But in our wonderings, there is one question we never need to ask. Does God care? Do we matter to God? Does he still love his children?
"Through the small face of the stable-born baby, he says yes.
"Yes, your sins can be forgiven.
"Yes, your name can be written in heaven.
"Yes, death has been defeated.
"Because God has entered the world.
"God is with us."
From Jan and I to you and yours- Merry Christmas- May You Have Your Best Christmas EVER!!!!!!!!!
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