From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2007 07:10
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday March 1, 2007!
A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- U.S. Consumers are not worried about Biotech Wheat.
-- The 2007 Farm Bill Cometh- Here's Charlie Stenholm's current take.
-- Can this Trio Sing Harmony???
-- NAWG Domestic Policy Committee says we are "standing pat."
-- COOL it quicker!
-- COOL off unless you want Mandatory Animal ID- another word from former Congressman Stenholm
-- LATE WORD FROM OIE- US to be rated a "Controlled Risk" Country for BSE!

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.

U.S. Consumers are not worried about Biotech Wheat.
That's the word from the President of the Wheat Foods Council, Marcia Scheideman who addressed the Cereal Grains Summit that is going on as a part of the 2007 Commodity Classic here in Tampa. She says that while foreign customers are very concerned about biotech wheat- consumers in this country are just not concerned- they are confident in the U.S. food supply.

She acknowledges that the Atkins Diet craze of a few years ago "did a number" on the wheat foods industry- but that we are recovering now as more consumers want to increase the number of servings of fiber and cereal grain foods. She says that consumers are confused about carbohydrates- dealing with "good carbs" and "bad carbs" and that the best remedy to is a continued education effort to help today's consumer sort things out. We talked with Marcia just before her presentation on Wednesday- and we have that conversation linked below.

Marcia says one interesting trend for the industry is that consumers are really wanting more whole white wheat products- and that we likely need to find more acres to grow Hard White Wheat on in the next few years.The Wheat Foods Council is the domestic promotion arm of the U.S. wheat industry, with support all the way from the farm to the end user. This is not a big budget operation- in the past they have tried to primarily speak to "influencers" but with the Internet- they are able to take their message more and more directly to the consumer.

Click here to listen to Ron visit with Marcia Scheideman.

The 2007 Farm Bill Cometh- Here's Charlie Stenholm's current take.
The man who might have been the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, former Texas lawmaker Charles Stenholm, talked informally with the Cereal Grains Summit sponsored by Bayer Crop Science yesterday here in Tampa. Stenholm was ousted from Congress as his District was zeroed out by the redistricting efforts of another former Texas lawmaker- Tom Delay- he was forced to run against an incumbent in the Lubbock area- and he was beaten by Randy Neugebaurer. Now, he is "consulting" for several agricultural groups

He says that one of the challenges here in 2007 in writing good farm policy will be limited experience on the House Ag Committee of how bills have been crafted. Of the current 46 on the House Ag Committee, 15 of them were around in 2002 when the last farm bill was written.

He acknowledged that the budget number given to agriculture by the Budget Committee will be likely be less than what agriculture really wants and needs to write new farm legislation. Some points he made on current and future farm policy:
Payment Limits- He says that the USDA Proposal probably won't fly- but he says that the issue has to be addressed this year and producers need to expect change on pay limits.
USDA's Proposal- Stenholm complimented Ag Secretary Mike Johanns and the work done at USDA on their farm bill proposal. He calls it a "good piece of work."
WTO- Stenholm says that we will get a WTO Doha deal.
Higher Direct Payments- He thinks that it is doable here in 2007.

Click here to listen to an informal news conference with Congressman Stenholm and several farm broadcasters

Can this Trio Sing Harmony???
The 2007 Commodity Classic marks the first time the nation’s largest corn, soybean and wheat organizations will all come together in one location. It’s a year of hot issues like the upcoming farm bill - alternative fuel production - world trade negotiations - and competitiveness at home and abroad - all of which are on the agenda. But underlying those issues? Finding common ground and using the collective voice of all three groups to get what’s best for agriculture and all of the producers represented.

The National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association and National Association of Wheat Growers have already been working together on biofuels - recognizing there’s room for everyone and the need to expand overall demand. Each group is also part of a broader ag coalition working to expand market access in world trade organizations and to secure more baseline dollars for the next farm bill. But that doesn’t mean they share the same views on what the next farm bill should look like.

Wheat growers haven’t experienced the same yield gains their corn growing friends have - leading NAWG members to say they suffer from lower net returns and lower level of support than the other program crops. To even that out - association members would like to see their direct payment and target price increased. Along with that - they’d like to see payment limits increased to support the higher levels of direct payments. ASA wants inequities corrected as well - but is asking for adjustments to loan rates and target prices based on the Olympic average of season average prices in 2000 to 2004. If the support prices can’t be rebalanced - they’ll consider a revenue protection alternative like the one NCGA has proposed.

The NCGA plan - in the face of growing ethanol demand - higher prices - and strong exports - looks beyond traditional price supports to better risk management tools. Their revenue assurance plan only kicks in when revenue drops below a certain level. So - the question is - can all three groups get on board with a unified farm bill proposal? The answer is unknown - but NAWG CEO Daren Coppock says the leadership of each organization understands that what one may want - may not work for the others.

NAWG Domestic Policy Committee says we are "standing pat."
The Immediate Past President of the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, Jeff Krehbiel of Hydro, tells us that the key decision made by the Domestic Policy Committee of the National Association of Wheat Growers on Wednesday was to remain where they have been all along when it comes to a farm bill position- a higher target price and a higher direct payment for wheat- mostly for the arguments that we articulated above.

Jeff and the other wheat producers involved in this committee meeting agreed that this is the lynchpin for getting a better deal for the wheat producers across the country- so the NAWG says we like the 2002 farm law structure- if we can get a wheat target price of $5.29 and a direct payment of $1.19 to those we who have a wheat base.

Jeff came out of the meeting Wednesday with a new job- that of Vice Chairman of the Committee, serving under Chairman Dusty Tallman of Colorado, former NAWG President.

Click here to listen to Ron and Jeff discuss the "stay the course" position of the Wheat Growers.

COOL it quicker!
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the 110th Congress to change the date of implementing mandatory country-of-origin labeling from September of 2008 to September of 2007. The bill has the support of a coalition of more than 200 organizations from across the country.

One of the groups that is leading the charge to get implementation moved back up to this fall is the National Farmers Union. They believe - more than a million Americans - represented through the coalition - have grown impatient with previous Congress' delays of implementation - and continue to stand united in support of the program that was originally included in the 2002 Farm Bill.

Click here for the release by NFU pushing for a Quicker Mandatory COOL

COOL off unless you want Mandatory Animal ID- another word from former Congressman Stenholm
Former top Democrat of the House Ag Committee, Charles Stenholm also visited with us about Mandatory COOL and the heat that Farmers Union and others are putting on Congress to get the implementation date moved up to this coming September.

Stenholm is no fan of COOL being forced onto the retail sector- and he adds it is amazing to him when people say they want COOL but not Animal ID( he mentioned R-Calf and Independent Cattlemen of Texas who fall into that camp). He believes that the retail sector will demand immediate traceback of animals as of the start date of COOL or they may not be willing to buy your product- the liability issues for them are huge.

You can hear Stenholm's thoughts on the COOL front by clicking below as we featured him today on our Beef Buzz on the Radio Oklahoma Network. We have it linked below- and remember we have a multitude of previous Buzzes on our our web site that you can listen to 24/7.

Click here for the Beef Buzz with Charles Stenholm on Mandatory COOL

LATE WORD FROM OIE- US to be rated a "Controlled Risk" Country for BSE!
This is exactly the rating that the U.S. was anticipating- and while it is not an official stamp of approval of how we have handled our cases of BSE in this country until May when the 167 countries vote on the designation- it is a enough for the US to start bargaining with other countries to allow our beef, bone in or boneless, to be imported as long as we adequately remove the SRMs.

The South Korean government has already reacted- saying they don't want anything to do with our beef no matter what rating of safety we get from the OIE. In a news conference Wednesday, Vice Agriculture Minister Park Has-sang indicated that regardless of OIE recommendations, South Korea has no plans to re-open its markets to bone-in beef product. "The crux of the standoff lies with health risks from bone fragments from the head and spinal cord being mistakenly shipped with the meat," Park said.

There are three possible categories and "negligible" status is considered the best. That rating is reserved for countries with the smallest risk for "mad cow" disease, known scientifically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Next best, and the rating U.S. government officials have privately said they are expecting, is a "controlled" rating. That is the category being proposed by the OIE Scientific Commission for the U.S. and Canada, government and industry officials said this week. The third rating is "undetermined."

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.

We also invite you to check out our website at the link below to check out an archive of these daily emails, audio reports and top farm news story links from around the globe.

Click here to check out WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com

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