From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 05:57
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday February 28, 2007!
A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- Orion On Hold in Enid- and the Oklahoma Ethanol LLC Project facing same challenges as well!
-- Construction Costs for Ethanol have DOUBLED in two years!
-- Congressional Efforts to Clarify that Manure is Not a Hazardous Waste expected to Swing into Road Gear next week.
-- OkFree renamed POP- looking for a "Home on the Range"
-- When Mama says its safe- it's SAFE! (that's the USMEF Strategy in Japan)
-- Former VEEP Gore talking Global Warming Warnings in Norman- and thoughts on Carbon Credits!
-- Commodity Classic Coverage Cranks Up Thursday!

Howdy Neighbors!

Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. Our email this morning is a service of Midwest Farm Shows, featuring the Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City April 19-21, 2007, as well as the Tulsa Farm Show held each December. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.

If you have received this by someone forwarding it to you, you are welcome to subscribe and get this weekday update sent to you directly by clicking here.

Orion On Hold in Enid- and the Oklahoma Ethanol LLC Project facing same challenges as well!
Yesterday came word from Orion Ethanol of Pratt, Kansas that they were putting on hold plans to build the plant to produce ethanol in Enid- a plan that W.B. Johnston was to be closely tied to. Officials with the company cited the poor economics in the ethanol business that is postponing their plans to build.

Now, this morning, Enid News.Com is reporting that Oklahoma Sustainable Energy LLC is apparently in the same boat with Orion, as they are having to rebid pretty much their entire project because of the delays they ran into last fall when they were preparing to break ground in Enid adjacent to the mammoth grain elevator facilities now owned by ADM. OSE President Terry Detrick says that costs have gone up at least twenty to thirty percent in those six months- and it is causing them to have to redo financing and rethink the entire project.

OSE is the LLC that raised money in late summer from Oklahomans for the project that allowed them to own a part of Oklahoma Ethanol LLC, a joint venture effort from OSE and Chaparral Energy. Detrick says they are moving "cautiously ahead" to come up with a deal that will make his investors money in the rapidly changing world of ethanol production.

Construction Costs for Ethanol have DOUBLED in two years!
That's the word we get here in Tampa at a Cereal Grains Media Seminar sponsored by Bayer Crop Science as we prepare to cover the 2007 Commodity Classic that will involved three of the major program crops that are grown here in the United States. Steven Wagner is Vice President of Merrick Company, an engineering firm that built their first ethanol plant in 1996- and has been expanding rapidly in the last couple of years as the boom has hit.

Wagner had sobering numbers for groups like Oklahoma Ethanol and Orion- the cost of a plant the size of the ones planned in Enid today will cost about $2.50 per gallon capacity- versus $1.20 or so a couple of years ago. And, he says that if you were signing a deal today- you would wait in line until the first quarter of 2009 to see your plant begin to be built.

Wagner calls the distribution aspect of the ethanol efforts in this country "immature" as he says it is especially hard to handle the DDGs (Dried Distillers Grains) coming from a distance. The best solution is to be able to handle them as wet distillers grains- but you can only go about a hundred miles- they have a short shelf life and they can really be messy in handling. We chatted with Wagner for several minutes yesterday here in Tampa- click here to listen to that interview.

Click here to listen to Ron and Steven Wagner of Ethanol Plant Builder Merrick talk about the state of the Ethanol Industry.

Congressional Efforts to Clarify that Manure is Not a Hazardous Waste expected to Swing into Road Gear next week.
That’s what Ericka McPherson told us as we talked with her about several of these national issues that she is following as the National Policy Director for the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. She says that she is hearing that a rollout of the companion bills in the House and Senate may be coming on or about March 5th. She also indicated that Rancher turned Lawmaker Frank Lucas, Republican from Oklahoma’s Third District, will be signing on as an original co- sponsor of this measure that will be very similar to what was proposed in the last session of Congress.

Supporters are excited to have the commitment of House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota as the Principal Sponsor of this measure in the House. On the Senate side, they are still working on a few key lawmakers to get them on board before they start the process of getting as many lawmakers as possible to sign on as co-sponsors in the days to come. McPherson says it is still early to tell how much opposition might surface this session- but she believes we may have opportunity to get some traction on this measure this session of Congress.

She does report that Farm Bureau will be visiting with the entire Oklahoma delegation about this issue in the days to come- including when they head to Washington the last few days of March. In 2006, Congressman Lucas and Ernest Istook were the only House members who signed on as co-sponsors, while Senator Tom Coburn signed on as a co- sponsor in the Senate. Senator Istook, who was serving at that time as the Chairman of the Committee that had jurisdiction over it, was supportive but did not come on as a co-sponsor, which freed his ability to use his influence as Committee Chair on the measure. McPherson says Lucas is obviously onboard- she expects Senator Coburn to be supportive as well and indicates they will be working on the rest of the delegation to educate them on the issue. Ericka is our guest today on the Beef Buzz on the Radio Oklahoma Network- and you can hear her comments by clicking on the link below.

Click here to listen to today's Beef Buzz with Ericka McPherson on the Congressional Efforts on defining Manure.

OkFree renamed POP- looking for a "Home on the Range"
One of the Commissioners of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Matt Gard of Fairview, is also involved up to his eyeballs with a renewable energy and oilseed crushing facility effort for western Oklahoma. It was originally called OkFree- but now has been renamed Plains Oilseeds Producers, LLC- or POP and is in the process of looking for communities that want some economic development in the western part of the state where they can receive and crush canola seed, as well as a variety of other types of oilseeds.

The project was initiated by Oklahoma Farmers Union, who funded the writing of a grant to do a feasibility study and put together a steering committee to oversee the administration of initial research. The committee partnered with industry experts, and in 2004, received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to complete the feasibility study and business plan. Oklahoma State University was selected as the contractor to provide these services.

Besides Gard who is the Chairman of the Board for POP, others on their initial Board of Directors include Terry Detrick who is serving as Vice-Chairman of the Board and Vice President of POP, Mark Holder of Altus who serves as Secretary/Treasurer and board members Walt Grabow of Omega, Clay Pope of Loyal, Pete McDaniel of Apache and Dr. Jerry Hedges of Vici. Gene Neuens serves as POP's Project Development Coordinator. You can call Gene for more information on POP at 405- 218-5753.

When Mama says its safe- it's SAFE! (that's the USMEF Strategy in Japan)
The U.S. Meat Export Federation has just wrapped a special image campaign in Japan featuring four U.S. women that are involved in the beef industry talking straight to Japanese women about the safety of U.S. beef. These ads endorsed U.S. beef as a safe, wholesome and delicious product that is suitable to purchase and prepare for loved ones.

This effort is a part of the USMEF “We Care” campaign that concentrates on the sincerity of the U.S. beef industry in delivering safe and quality beef products for consumers to enjoy. It features both trade and consumer elements including advertising, virtual video presentations, retail and foodservice promotions, point-of-sale materials, buyer teams, a beef caravan seminar series, local barbecues, media events and other promotional efforts.

This is the second time that the USMEF has developed a "woman to woman" approach as they rebuild the credibility of US beef with Japanese consumers. USMEF consumer research found that Japanese women – the key decision-makers when it came to family meals – had lost faith in government officials and retailers. Only 1 percent believed that a celebrity could be a valid source of safety information. So, both the campaign after the first domestic case of BSE in Japan and this newest "woman to woman" effort have both been designed to showcase real life women from the United States who can say with credibility that American beef is safe to buy, serve and enjoy. We have linked the news release from the USMEF that describes this campaign in more detail. Phil Seng, CEO and President of the USMEF, is just back from both Tokyo and Seoul and is planning a news teleconference later this week- we will break away from coverage here in Tampa to see what he has to say.

Click here to learn more about the "Woman to Woman" approach the US Beef industry is using in Japan.

Former VEEP Gore talking Global Warming Warnings in Norman- and thoughts on Carbon Credits!
We were on the road during the day on Tuesday traveling south to Tampa for coverage this week of first the Commodity Classic- and then this coming weekend- the National Farmers Union convention in Orlando. That means we won’t have the opportunity to take advantage of an event that our OSU spy in Norman, Al Sutherland, has provided us details of. Former Vice President turned Global Warming Authority Al Gore will be speaking Thursday evening at the Lloyd Noble Center, promoting the theories he has developed(I think about the same time as he invented the internet) regarding Global Warming. Seriously, the push continues on global warming by a wide variety of folks- and some, like Vice President Gore, are more sold on the need to take drastic steps than are others. I guess one that comes to mind that is somewhat less sold on Global Warming as the catastrophe Gore likes to proclaim is Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe. Anyway, wherever you stand on the subject- with the former Veep in the state- the subject will be front and center the latter part of this week in the media I suspect.

One final note on that subject that could be good news for Oklahoma agriculture in the days to come- if we should start regulating business as seriously as the Europeans do- that could raise the value even more for “Carbon Credits” and make the value of what a farmer can sell even more valuable to his operation. This is a story that we will be following up on in the days to come- we may get some from the NFU meeting this weekend and we talked with Mike Thralls of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission about it as well Monday during the OACD meeting- Thralls says they are working on getting ALL of Oklahoma’s land mass included in the opportunity to sell carbon credits from planting trees, or turning cropland back to pasture or even going from conventional till to conservation till. We will be working more on that story for you in the days ahead.

Commodity Classic Coverage Cranks Up Thursday!
We will have a lot more from Tampa tomorrow and Friday as we cover this joint meeting of the National Corn Growers, National Association of Wheat Growers and American Soybean Association- Day two of our Cereal Grains Summit with Bayer Crop Science is this morning and early afternoon- and then early events of the Commodity Classic start rolling this afternoon.

Several Oklahomans have indicated to me they will be here in Tampa and we hope to look some of them up- including Terry Detrick of Oklahoma Farmers Union, J.T. Winters, President of the Oklahoma Association of Wheat Growers and several of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission Commissioners will be on hand for meetings of U.S. Wheat Associates.

Our thanks to Midwest Farm Shows for their support of our daily Farm News Update. Go to their website at the link at the top of today's email for more information on either the Tulsa Farm Show or the Southern Plains Farm Show.

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Click here to check out WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com

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